Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Darkness of the Coverup

Before I get started I wanted to say that I really loved this posting on I monk about Luther's view of how laughter, strong drink, and just plain silliness is a great attack on the devil.  I wish I had more time to read some of the posts there.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the horrible sin of the "cover up."  Of course, and consistent with the painting, is the story about Penn State's Jerry Sandusky pedophilic behavior and how the whole institution seemed to look the other way.

The second piece to this mental puzzle was a mesmerizing piece on PBS last night about the Nazi hunters.  In that story, there were several "cover ups" exposed. The first one was the actual horrors of the holocaust and how an entire society (German) could look the other way and even cover up the most inhumane actions in history.  The program was full of graphic images . . . piles of disfigured human corpses . . . discarded like they were bags of garbage.  I'm sure the question has been asked over and over how could someone created in God's image do such evil?  On top of that, how could people watch and not stop them?

It was stunning when one Jewish man described how he watched as the Nazi's brutally killed his family right before his eyes.  He was sixteen years old and luckily escaped.  He joined a group of resistant fighters. The first German solider that he caught, and killed (in vengeance) he said he shot him right through his belt buckle, which read "God is With Us."

I ask myself what kind of evil can cause us to be so delusional as to think that God wants us to brutalize people created in His image?

Then I watched as they described how after the war, so many people around the world were ready to cover up and protect the most evil of the mass-murderers.  Some of the worse of the Nazis were protected by the Vatican (okay this is not a criticism of the Catholic Church, just one incident which I'm alluding to.)  These Nazi murderers fled to Rome and hid as attendees to a seminary at the Vatican. These priests not only hid the Nazis, who had tortured men, women and children to death by the thousands, but they baptized them, so they could get them a new identity and papers. With this new identity they could get a Red Cross passport and flee to South America.  How could such evil exist within those who profess a relationship with God?

I think too about other cover ups.  When I was a child our youth leader/choir leader was a pedophile. He molested many young boys (including my brother).  The entire church looked the other way because they wanted to keep the look of peace on the surface.  What is wrong with us?

So I come back to Jerry Sandusky.  It certainly appears that he was a pedophile and many people knew it and covered it up.  They looked the other way, almost literally, while children were traumatized in ways that they may never recover from.

As Chaplain Mike described (via Luther's voice) how the devil hates laughter and silliness, I say that the devil loves darkness . . . where we hide the hideous crimes of others.  The cockroaches grow best when the family is silent about the father who is molesting his children, or mother who is slowly killing herself with pills.

I remember in my Christian life experience, when someone in a great position did something bad, like having an affair, there was a scramble to cover it up.  They (The Navigators and churches I've been involved with) will say, "For the sake of the Kingdom of God . . . don't breath a word about what you just witnessed."

I know I seem to ramble but I pray for the light to shine.  One of the reasons that I think the world is getting better, in the days of Twitter, it is becoming harder and harder for darkness to reign.  Daddy, molest you little girl and she will tell the world on you. Dictator try to brutalize your country, then eventually your people with join together, rise up and chase you out of your throne. God loves light.

I will close with one of Lenard Cohen's songs.  I will say, that I want to be one of those people who break things . . . creating the cracks . . . through which the light can shine.


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.


Jaimie said...

Today I found out some guy I went to college with (but didn't personally know) murdered a clerk at an adult video store. It was a woman, and he stabbed her to death. What the crap.

People are writing all these loving things on his FB wall, about how God loves him and how if he needs anything, they will be there. Etc. On some level, I see how it's the Christ-like thing to love people even people who do sick things, but still. It just feels like the wrong response?

I guess the difference between this guy and the Nazis that the Vatican was hiding is this guy is already in jail. He's getting his punishment, so no one's turning a blind eye by reaching out to him.

surfdawg said...

It struck a chord when I read about the actions of your youth minister and the subsequent cover up. A similar situation happened in the church I grew up in. Did you really mean the entire church? Every last person knew about it and decided to sweep it under the rug? In my church there might have been a few that would do that but most would not. I tend toward cynicism concerning my present church and have to remind myself that there are a lot of normal(?) sensible people that sincerely want to be Christ-followers. I don't want others to think everyone in the church is that brain-dead. I enjoy your blog and hope you will continue the story about the guy from another planet! Good stuff.

jmj said...

I honestly think . . . or at least I did think . . . that it is harder to cover up hideous acts these days. The Penn State situation reminded me of the psychology of the masses, when they see their purpose (winning football games, being a great youth leader etc) that it makes the rules not apply to them. In the church I grew up in (and this was the 60s and 70s)the entire congregation knew about the abuse but looked the other way because of this intense desire to look godly on the surface. One pastor tried to make an issue of the youth pastor's sexual relationships with the boys and he was fired. But that was a long time ago.

I may be back with the GERMFASK story. I hate to leave things undone, yet I wasn't so sure how many were following it.

Anna A said...

I, for one, followed the Germfask story intently. Please continue it, if you can.

jmj said...

Okay, I will get back to GERMFASK, eventually.