The Great Lie – An Excerpt from The Kings and Their Gods: The Pathology of Power

Posted: September 13, 2008 in Uncategorized
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The Great Lie of hell is: There is no heaven. More: put the same matter in a brutal imperative. There can be no heaven.

Historically, the Lie is variously enacted. In Egypt it went this way: There is no Moses. There can be none. And in the era of Kings: There is no Isaiah. There cannot be. This is the flattest of indicative modes, the politesse of power.

The words may be honeyed, implied, laved in innuendo. But the underpinning is ironbound, imperative. There can be no Moses, no Isaiah. Or, if such dare appear, they shall be disposed of. We all but here the muffled drumbeat, the edict of Kings, which is the say, of the Realm of Necessity.

Something is allowed, however. Shall it be a kind of “venting voice”? Well, why not? Let there be such as Elisha and Nathan. These minor objectors to the system (“things as they are”)–their reservations will be duly recorded; written on water, so to speak. Nods of respect will greet them, placations, attentive ears. And nothing will change, not a whit.

(And in our own time: there can be no Oscar Romero or Martin Luther King. Or, if such appear, we shall dispose of them. Meantime, make do with the likes of Billy Graham or Jesse Jackson.)

Daniel Berrigan, The Kings and Their Gods: The Pathology of Power

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