the value of life

Image: Paweł L.

By LORENZO Stained Glass*

Supporting politically those who defend death and torture is not compatible with Christian doctrine

It is a truism to admit that fascism worships death. From the cry of Francoist general Millán-Astray (“Abajo la inteligencia, viva la muerte!”), to the role played by Nazi-fascism in World War II, we are intrigued by the apparent escape from the scope of reason of this fundamental trait of fascism .

In our country, there was never any doubt about the compatibility of this phenomenon with the “ideas” of the current government. From the “shooting the guns” in 2018, the contempt for the mortality caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the arming of the civilian population to the carrying out of political assassinations, we find ourselves in a social-political record that we can classify as fascist; in addition to the commented feature, the current “spirit” of the country fits quite well in the 14 (fourteen) criteria proposed by Umberto Eco to classify this type of political regime.[1]

On the other hand, we are taken by a feeling of strangeness when we find that many people who share the Christian faith, be it Protestant, Neo-Pentecostal or Catholic, consent to this state of affairs or, at least, their disapproval is not seen in an unequivocal way. The first explanation that comes to mind is admitting that there are hidden or unconfessable interests in supporting the current government on the part of Christianity, as may have been the case with the apparent corruption in the MEC during the Milton Ribeiro administration. After all, supporting politically those who advocate death and torture is not compatible with Christian doctrine, which leads us to think that Christian support for what befell our country only finds reasons in exceptional circumstances, with justifications of other natures.

However, the alleged reason does not seem to us to be sufficient. Let us therefore think about how death and murder are actually conceived in Christian doctrine, taking the Holy Bible as reference.

There is, of course, the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” and the condemnation of the first murder which was the death of Abel by Cain (Genesis:4:3-8); Cain receives a mark or token ("owth") for his crime, but he is not put to death. In other parts of the Old Testament, however, especially on battlefields, murder is not repudiated. There are, among others, passages such as the following: “With divine approval, Joshua destroys all the people of Ai, killing 12.000 men and women, with not one escaping (Joshua 8: 22-25); “Of the cities of these nations, which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not let anything that breathes live” (Deuteronomy 20:16). How to understand the apparent antagonism of these biblical passages? As everything indicates, murder was constituted as a sin only when members of one's own people, their equals, were killed, but not if the target were enemies of one's people, including women and children in that list.[2]

The relativization of the value of life in all its manifestations and the apology for murder, which has cast its mantle over us, thus seems to find shelter in the refusal of the legitimacy of otherness which, far from being able to participate in a process of inclusion through the republican, can and should be eliminated; after all, since they are different, they are enemies. In other words, since reason cannot manifest itself – as in the cry of the fascist general – which prevents dialectical thinking, there is no inclusion of antagonism; the different is the enemy since, in this confrontation, the latter must be conceived as weak, castrated, which makes intelligible the reason for fascist misogyny, homophobia and racism.

National Christians who omit or condone this state of affairs have not been able to reach the New Testament synthesis version of the commandments, that is, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, from the Pauline epistle (Romanos 13:9). For these religious groupings, however, which not by chance approach, with more emphasis, the Old Testament word, mimicking elements of Judaism, on the other hand, a good regarded as supreme is reinforced, which does not admit relativization, and it seems, thus, hierarchically superior to the value of life: it is the private property that comes along with its hereditary transmission.

Let us remember that the first collective cultural conceptualization that justified adherence to civil armament was the defense of private property. The lunatic fear of “communism” in a world without communism gains, in this context, its justification: now, as Friedrich Engels' classic on private property shows, the formation of the monogamous family has, among its bases, the conservation and transmission of property, which abolishes a configuration of “primitive communism”. With the advent of history, to guarantee or obtain it, everything is allowed, depending, of course, on ethnic-social origin and compactness between equals.

It is also no coincidence that, among the many recent deaths and assassinations, the death of Dom Luiz de Orleans e Bragança, descendant of the Brazilian royal family, linked to the TFP (Tradition, Family, Property), has deserved official mourning.

*Lorenzo stained glass He is a professor at the Faculty of Letters of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).




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