Saturday, March 09, 2013

Thoughts on the Death of a Dictator (Hugo Chavez) and How Catholics Ought to React (with Patti Sheffield)

By Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong (3-9-13)

This occurred on a Facebook thread, where I announced the death of Venezuelan despot, Hugo Chavez. I entitled it, "Dems praise the dead despot (What else is new? Look how they've adored Castro for 50 years, and later, [Daniel] Ortega)". My friend Patti Sheffield made some excellent corroborating statements. Her words will be in blue.

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In the 30s, liberals adored and fawned over Uncle Joe Stalin, as Malcolm Muggeridge has witheringly noted on many occasions. The more things stay the same, the more they never change. 

I pray that Chavez be shown mercy, and I also pray for his victims. There were many who died under his regime and he will have to answer for their lost lives. May Christ grant him final repentance and may he rest in peace. That said, his policies were despicable and cost many innocent people their lives. Caracas was the modern version of the killing fields of Cambodia. How anyone can praise his government is mind-boggling.

[responding to a critic in the thread, that Patti was also replying to] I haven't said anything about his soul: only that he was a despot, because it's already being spun that he wasn't. I wasn't talking about his death, but his life. May the Lord have mercy on his soul: of course.

Therefore, no one could conclude that I don't care about the man's soul at all, simply because I made a political observation: saying one word about the man: that he was a despot.

I'm a conservative, yes (with important explanatory qualifiers that I talk about in my Facebook profile). But it's neither right nor left to simply observe that a man is a dictator.

No one should be quick to condemn the "conservative" reaction to the death of a dictator. Our Lord Jesus called Herod a "fox" and didn't say everyone should pray for him (and He wasn't guilty of pride and a lack of love):

Luke 13:31-32 (RSV) [31] At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." [32] And he said to them, "Go and tell that fox, `Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

Here's how the Bible matter-of-factly reports Herod's death:

Acts 12:21-23 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. [22] And the people shouted, "The voice of a god, and not of man!" [23] Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died.

It's not saying we should not pray for him, but it is also matter-of-fact about an evil man's death. The Bible treats Judas' death similarly. So we mustn't judge reactions. People are happy that a dictator is out of office; therefore those who suffered under him may get some relief. That is what it means (even if some expression is excessive): not that Catholic "right-wingers" are wicked people who don't care about souls. There is also a legitimate longing for justice.

We're saying "pray, but also don't pretend he was something he was not." We all need to do both. Patti hit exactly the right balance in her comments. But not everyone necessarily needs to do both in public. No one can assume that if we don't say we're praying for a dead person, that we aren't doing so, or think that no one should.

I would also note the distinction between private and public expression. My point was to note the willingness of some folks to praise a person who was demonstrably evil. That seems to put spin and politics above factuality.

That was my point, which is why I went right to it. It's a legitimate public, social point. But just because I didn't mention prayer, proves nothing (just as no mention in the Bible of praying for the dead Judas or dead Herod proves nothing in this regard). I said hardly anything at all. It was a "minimalist" post.

I agree that people, especially Catholics, should be kind in their comments about a dead man. In general, it's a good thing to ask Christ to show him the mercy we ourselves hope to receive.

However, Dave was posting something about the equally appalling praises being heaped on the head of a murderous dictator by people in public life here in the US. Neither the lack of charity nor the lack of truth from [leftists] is right to do. Truth severed from charity is hard and at times very cruel; charity severed from truth fails to be real charity, and instead becomes squishy feel-goodisms that distort truth and confuse people. It is the Church that strikes the real balance here in insisting that the two remain united, as it did so clearly in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What the world needs is government and statesmanship informed by Jesus and the Christian worldview, as opposed to secular, despotic Marxism.

Here's more of the liberal hypocrisy that I was addressing. And yet more leftist idiocy . . . See also the article, "The Killing Fields of Caracas."

Most people have no idea about Caracas because the mainstream media doesn't report on things that don't jibe with their worldview that people like Chavez are really good guys at heart. That article ["Killing Fields"] set out why he wasn't. A man who can protect unborn children yet allow murder and intimidation of his own citizens isn't a paragon of pro-life virtue, sad to say.

Maybe Chavez didn't advocate partial-birth infanticide, as Obama does: sticking scissors in a baby's neck as soon as it enters the world and attempts to draw a breath, and sucking his or her brains out and crushing his or her skull. Maybe he wasn't that evil. Let's hope.

Being pro-life (if he truly was) regarding babies doesn't make him a perfect saint. It makes him a normal human being (in this respect), who ought to oppose the dismemberment and slaughter of a baby. Hitler was pro-life as well: for non-Jewish German babies, of course . . .

I've always been scathing, also, in condemning how African-Americans and Native Americans have been treated, and am long on record saying that America is the wickedest nation ever. Just said it a day or two ago, again, saying that the Nazis were about a third as wicked as us, because they killed 20 million, whereas we are up to 55 million and counting.

Here's a recent article on Chavez's role and how he will not be missed by those he terrorized. Note the section that outlines what he did to try to suppress religious freedom by passing laws that targeted the Church. He did a great deal of harm that most people know nothing about because our liberal press won't cover it.

We thought Obama messianism was bad! Here is how Ahmadinejad eulogized Chavez:

Chávez is alive, as long as justice, love and freedom are living. He is alive, as long as piety, brightness, and humanity are living. He is alive, as long as nations are alive and struggle for consolidating independence, justice and kindness. I have no doubt that he will come back, and along with Christ the Saviour, the heir to all saintly and perfect men, and will bring peace, justice and perfection for all. . . . Hugo Chávez was a name known to all nations. His name is reminiscent of pure innocence, kindness, fortitude and love for the people, to serve the people, especially the poor and the victims of colonialism and imperialism by arrogant powers. He is indeed a martyr of the road to service to Venezuelan people, and preserving human and revolutionary values.

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1 comment:

nissa_loves_cats said...

The problem with praising a dead dictator is that it may be showing kindness toward the dictator, but cruelty toward that dictator's victims.

I think we need to be frank about the fact that a dictator is/was a dictator. That doesn't mean we need to shout out a list of his evil deeds in front of those that mourn him, but neither should we turn him into a saint just because he is dead.

I hope Chavez (and Hitler, and Lenin, and Jeffrey Dahmer) managed to NOT go to hell. Sure, such men are particularly bad sinners--- but Jesus died to forgive sin--- Chavez's sin, and mine.