Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oscar Romero

It's the feast of Oscar Romero, archbishop of El Salvador, assassinated 30 years ago on this day.

And it's here I have to say God bless Jon Stewart who, with his patented mix of snark and righteous fury, showed something I didn't see anywhere else: the motion by the Texas Board of Curriculum Review that removed Oscar Romero from our textbooks.
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"And that is how Oscar Romero got disappeared by right wingers a second time," he says.

Meanwhile, in today's El Salvador, on the same day that Stewart aired this episode, an unknown assailant tried to assasinate the Primate of the Anglican Communion in Central America. Bishop Barahona was not hurt, but his driver was shot.

The blogger who posted the news asks this rhetorical question:

Why does Mary Glasspool's receiving consents garner a comment from the Archbishop of Canterbury almost instantaneously (they must have had the text pre-written for either scenario) whereas when one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion nearly loses his life in an assassination attempt that results in his driver being gravely injured we hear nothing?

All of which makes me think how much power there is in saying nothing, in keeping things quiet, or in making sure people can't talk. How if you don't say anything, it's as if it doesn't exist. And how if you say a lie over and over it's as if it's true.

I am still pondering this one.

As I recall, one of the reasons Oscar Romero was assassinated was not just because he preached against oppression, but because he preached on the radio where everyone could hear him. Ah, here we go: "His Sunday homilies were broadcast nationwide on live radio and heard by nearly everyone in the country. Letters poured in from every village, thanking him for his prophetic voice and confessing their own new found courage."

On March 23, Romero exploded with his most direct appeal to the members of the armed forces:

"I would like to make an appeal in a special way to the men of the army, to the police, to those in the barracks. Brothers, you are part of our own people. You kill your own campesino brothers and sisters. And before an order to kill that a man may give, the law of God must prevail that says: Thou shalt not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to recover your consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin. The church, defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, the dignity of the person, cannot remain silent before such abomination. We want the government to take seriously that reforms are worth nothing when they come about stained with so much blood. In the name of God, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise to heaven each day more tumultuously, I beg you, I ask you, I order you in the name of God: Stop the repression!

He was killed the next day, shot while celebrating the Eucharist at the altar.

One of the great gifts of the resurrection is the assurance that death is not the end, which means (among other things) death does not have the power to silence us. At least that's what occurs to me today.

Much to think about.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, *
O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.


Lorin said...

I watched that Daily Show and boy did it set my teeth on edge. When those Texas people were saying that no one knows who Oscar Romero is, I had to stop myself from yelling at the TV. Thanks for your more thoughtful response.

Laura Toepfer said...

I might have, you know, yelled. At the time.