I left the racket the workers were making behind, and headed out into a grey humid day. Daffodils along the bike path made up for the lack of sunshine. I got a second dose of spring on my return trip, while riding through a stretch of blossoming cherry trees, giving me a momentary hallucination that I was in Kyoto, though in reality I was next to the West Side Highway
Yesterday I saw a film that will be released next week. “Constantine’s Sword” a film by Errol Morris featuring James Carroll as the narrator and screen writer. The film is a combination of his biography and his book about Constantine’s Sword, A history of the crusades. I am a fan of James Carroll’s writing and thinking, (I read his articles that are often in the Boston Globe at commomdreams.org, a site that posts alternative news from different media outlets) and though I don’t think this film is very good (music too schmaltzy, too many obvious establishing shots; the film overall needed a tighter edit) it was a great film to watch all the same. Carroll put the war on terror in context by reminding me Bush had proclaimed the war on terror to be a crusade. Terminology his PR people had to spin shortly after Bush addressed the nation the day the invasion of Afghanistan began. Bush’s proclamation that we had embarked on a new crusade eerily reverberated through the screening room.
The film is a history lesson on the persecution of the Jews over the last two thousand years and the how the church has been complicit in disotrorting historic facts that have fueled anti-Semitism. Carroll shows how racism feeds the fanaticism that threatens the world today- and warns of the danger that comes about when military power and religious fervor are joined together.
When it comes to war, there is a litany of justifications for murder and other brutal acts committed. I have always questioned the idea of killing in the name of god. This film draws parallels to what is going on today and the crusades, which were full of state/church sanctioned mass murder. I wonder, if god take sides in war and if he/she really gives people permission to kill.