This post is like a little time capsule. It is something I wrote on this day years ago in another forum. I’m just going to paste it in its entirety so you can get a little glimpse into my mind a decade back. Honestly, I don’t even remember what current event or thought first triggered its writing, but…
Cyrus had two sons. After his death, Cambyses, the older son, became ruler of all Persia. The younger son, Smerdis, was made a governor of Bactria and the Defender of the East. As soon as his rule was secure, Cambyses set out on a campaign to subjugate Egypt who was Persia’s only true rival.
Into the scene steps Darius. Darius is the nephew of Cyrus and he is Cambyses’ right hand man on the Egyptian campaign. The problem is, Darius is also very ambitious. He sends a message to secretly that his older brother had died on campaign and young Smerdis needs to hurry to the capital to secure the throne. Then Darius tells Cambyses that his younger brother has gone to the capital to usurp the throne from his older brother.
Cambyses, with his army, immediately turns around and sets for home. On the journey he has an “accident” where he falls from his horse and lands on his sword. The injury proves to be fatal. One down, one to go.
Darius, along with six other conspirators, on the pretense of bringing news of Cambyses’ death to his brother, left the army behind and made a lightening dash to the capital. Upon arriving at the palace they demanded to immediately be brought into Smerdis’ presence. Since he was a man of dignity and importance, no one thought to question Darius’ right up to the bedroom door. There the seven men “delivered their message” through the bloodying of seven swords.
Now here is the kicker. Although Darius now became the next in line for the throne, nobody would accept a man who committed double regicide as their leader. He needed to use some of the mages of the god Ahura Mazda along with the Zoroastrian priests to help spread the story that Cambyses had actually killed his brother long ago and set up an imposter in his place. This imposter had stepped above himself and made a bid for the throne and that is why Darius had come and killed him. In addition to this, they said that Cambyses’ fall from his horse was actually the god Mazda’s vengeance for his evil deed. Not stopping there, a Zoroastrian priest made the prophesy that Darius was the Hand of Truth and anyone who opposed him was an enemy of god and a servant of the Lie.
Darius had hijacked the truth. With the help of an ambitious and corrupt priesthood he successfully rewrote history and social morality so that whoever dared to oppose him was setting themselves against the anointed of god. By having the priesthood declare him the “Hand of Truth” anyone who opposed him would be, by default, a morally bankrupt enemy of the truth.
– – – – – – – – – –
I see today, in our society, a political/religious culture that has pulled the same stunt. They ignore such biblical teachings as love your enemy, pray for those that persecute you, and do good to those that mistreat you. Instead they misuse “an eye for an eye” as a weak justification for the bringing down of two sovereign nations as retaliation for the toppling of two towers. They even ignore the fact that none of the nineteen hijackers were from either of these two countries and Saudi Arabia, the country that was home for fifteen of them is still somehow considered our friend.
The whole point of the Hebrew maxim “an eye for an eye” is to prevent the escalation of force. Just don’t bring that up around the Israeli army as they roll in with their tanks to flatten another Palestinian village. They are to busy abusing “an eye for an eye” to retaliate against another lunatic suicide bomber who snapped when he could no longer deal in a world that has beat him down one too many times. If they really wanted to end terrorism Israel and America should instead invest its efforts in putting an end to the breeding grounds of oppression, injustice, and extreme poverty that our greed is so often one of the root causes of. But this culture that has hijacked the truth doesn’t want to hear that. They have drawn a mythical parallel between the current political nation of Israel and the historical children of Israel, God’s chosen. As a result, even though the nation of Israel continues to defy human rights and the world opinion, breaking more UN sanctions than any other 5 countries combined, this culture still believes they can do no wrong.
This dishonest usurpation of the moral high ground does not just occur overseas. Right here at home the so called “religious right” continues to push for the cutting of necessary and humane social programs so that the rich can continue to get their tax breaks creating an ever wider economic gap. I do not know how they can continue to use this name when scripture makes it clear that true religion is to look after widows and orphans in their distress. They must also ignore Jesus’ instructions to the rich man when he said that if he wanted to inherit eternal life he needs to “liquidate his assets” and give all the proceeds to the poor.
This hypocrisy is evident in many other immoral social and political stands of the so called moral majority. But it’s these two titles: “the moral majority” and “the religious right” that, like Darius’ “Hand of Truth” that I find so annoyingly duplicitous. Does this mean that anybody with the courage and integrity to stand up to them is really a part of an immoral minority? If I am neither “pagan” nor “leftist” (or they might prefer, “wrong”), am I required to tow the party line of these “religious right” hijackers of truth?
It was Darius who was stopped cold by the Greeks and who brought about the beginning of the decline of Persian world dominance. If we allow this culture to continue to have such a strong voice in determining our domestic and world policy, are we headed in the same direction? Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, America has been the preeminent global power, but as we continue to let arrogance, greed, and self-righteousness guide our path, the rest of the world is growing to resent us more and more. It is time to take back what is right and good and true from those who have twisted it for their own unchristian purposes.