Protesting the Olympic Torch

From The Flame of Pomp and Power by Father Shay Cullen

It’s heartbreaking to see unarmed saffron robed monks kicked, clubbed, beaten, tortured, imprisoned and killed in Tibet simply because they want religious freedom and dignity. They sacrifice themselves for their beliefs. Only months ago, hundreds of Burmese Buddhist monks marched in defiance of the military dictatorship in Burma to demand religious freedom, human rights and dignity for all. They were shot, beaten, hunted and killed too. Is there a separation of church and state? Yes for sure, especially when the state is the oppressor of the rights of the people and becomes a despot and tyrant.

That’s when we all have to take a good look at ourselves and our beliefs and ask what do we believe and live for? Do we have values and convictions to share with others, are we convinced of our own inalienable rights to be free to think, speak and chose our own way of life, our own religion and practice it, to have it respected? Is it not natural to resent and resist being conquered, occupied and dictated to by a more powerful nation? That’s what Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths want and have a right to.

It’s time for us to put those beliefs and convictions into action and take a stand and speak for the oppressed and the god-given rights of all. The journey or relay of the Olympic flame is a very political gesture, it was first started by the oppressive, human rights violating Nazi regime to try and symbolize their hold on power and justify their self- proclaimed superiority oveothers. Is that how both sides see it as a symbol of power and dominance in the world?

Father Shay Cullen has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice.


4 thoughts on “Protesting the Olympic Torch

  1. Some Christians see it as part of the calling to follow Christ to stand up for the rights of the oppressed, such as in the article above, or take a stand on green issues, in the name of stewardship of the earth etc. They would see it as part of a radical discipleship that all Christians are called to. Christians who believe this, might take part in anti-war protests or even peaceful protests such as chaining themselves to trees, etc.

    How does this arguable Christian stance co-exist with the other Christian stance of submission to authority? Civil disobedience can be a way of following Christ.

    Any thoughts?

  2. I was thinking of the example of the Good Samaritan – he helped someone whose rights were taken away – the guy was robbed and bashed. I guess it dosent matter if the oppressors are individual criminals or organisations or governments, we have some duty or responsibility to try to help.

    The difficulty is when you are dealing with large organisations or governments, you necessarily are engaging with them at a political level. So you will be drawn into political methods and strategies. You have to use wisdom as to what causes to get involved in, what is worth the fight and what use you can be in it.

  3. “Some Christians see it as part of the calling to follow Christ to stand up for the rights of the oppressed, such as in the article above, or take a stand on green issues, in the name of stewardship of the earth etc. They would see it as part of a radical discipleship that all Christians are called to. Christians who believe this, might take part in anti-war protests or even peaceful protests such as chaining themselves to trees, etc.
    How does this arguable Christian stance co-exist with the other Christian stance of submission to authority? Civil disobedience can be a way of following Christ.
    Any thoughts?”

    Hmm… I think it’s important for the church to stand up for the poor, meek and oppressed. I see no problem with it speaking out against injustice.
    If the bigger more well known churches as Hillsong, CCC, other major pente churches and some major Catholic churches spoke out, I believe that we would not have been such a negative view of the church, or Christianity.

    I also see no problem in seeing the church helping human government prevent poverty and people living in deprived conditions. To me, this is the church living the gospel message.

    However, they should not be related or be joined. While governments change, we just need to make sure that we are aligned to God’s word in keeping individuals HONEST and accountable. It’s hard, but worth the labour.
    I think the church should bring awareness of China’s brutallity and inhumane treatment of people. I believe we should speak against their ways. However, at the same time, encourage China to change it’s angle so that the Olympic Games should stand for peace and equality for people everywhere be dealing with situations appropriately…

  4. I was thinking of the pharisees- the good show.
    What’s the point in promoting the greatness of humanity through the OG if you’re killing people off to the side?

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