(Terrorism, continued)

One hates to use scare quotes around so many terms used by the United States
government (and its journalistic and academic defenders), but the reality is that political
discourse has commonly been a manifestation of the uses and misuses of language for
economic and other political ends.  These terms have been devalued by the persons who
have used them so glibly.  Nor is this misuse a new phenomenon.  The uses and abuses of
the concept of "terrorism" have been common in the United States since the Reagan era,
although some enterprising young historian might want to go back and document how the
concept of "terror," "terrorist," and "terrorism" have long been used to justify violence on
one side and to denigrate it on the other.

In the history of Christianity, Paul says in Romans 13:3 that "Rulers are not a terror to
those of good behavior, but to the evil."  Jesus never makes any comparable claim, and
indeed Jesus was indeed executed by the "rulers."  Paul was certainly aware of this, and
yet he blithely blundered
(or at least bumbled) on.  It is not clear, of course, whether he
realized the significance of such a blanket endorsement of systems of authority based on
violence or the threat of violence.  In any case, later Christian thinkers, especially
Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, interpreted this passage in Paul through a literal reading,
thereby vesting it with special significance, as if to say that "The authorities are
always of
God."  Thus did Christianity take a turn that vitiated much of its power of social criticism
that it had under the incipient movement of Jesus of Nazareth and became a religion of
institutionalized violence.

[work in progress: Please visit later.]