Bloggers are in Good Company

Proclaiming the truth can be dangerous, as so demonstrated in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ recent blog: In her piece, she cites how bloggers in Myanmar have been arrested. In her reference of a University of Washington report, she notes how 192 people were arrested for this pastime in 2007, but this figure is not inclusive of those killed, maimed, or otherwise persecuted.

Dr. Pinkola Estés’ gave me a new appreciation, not only for my protected freedom of expression (at least, more-so protected than in other locales abroad), but also invigorates me and gives me a greater sense of purpose writing for this blog.

Throughout history, people have been persecuted for thinking differently, whether it was by the government, the Church, or a circle of peers. However, as individuals, we all think differently. Therefore, the danger lies not with thinking differently, but with vocalizing those thoughts.

For those malcontents not satisfied to fall in the rank and file, some people speak up. And every time someone levels criticism of those in power, there are naturally repercussions. There have been persecutions of people that vocalize their dissent since before the time of Christ. There are persecutions of this nature still today.

In spite of the potential harm to oneself, many figures throughout history stood up for what they believe. Martin Luther spearheaded the Protestant Reformation not because he sought to start a separatist movement, but it came about as a result of speaking against corruption of the clergy for practices of simony, nepotism, and the notorious selling of indulgences. After Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, obviously Pope Leo X (who promoted the selling of indulgences) was not amused.

In the end, the Protestant Reformation led to an internal counter reformation of the Catholic Church. This eliminated the corrupt practices of Church officials, and ultimately created a more just Church.

Others have spoken out against injustice and have been martyred for their cause, first and foremost, our Lord Jesus Christ. In more recent history, political reformers like Mahatma Gandhi were assassinated, and still others have been incarcerated, like Aung San Suu Kyi who still presses for the freedom of the Burmese people while under house arrest in Myanmar.

While the Nobel Peace Prize recipient is detained, many of her people blog for the same freedom that she espouses. However, some of them meet with a more permanent fate. Possibly that is because it doesn’t take a Nobel Peace Prize winner to write a blog. It is a free flow of information from the commoner, the general public, and this pervasive communication can be more of a threat to those in power.

For that reason, I feel compelled to speak out for what I believe to be true and just. Granted, as a blogger in the U.S., I face a different set of challenges. I do not personally fear bodily harm, but blogging can carry a social stigma. There are always those ready to pounce and attack with their own set of opinions.

As a member of Call To Action, I do see the need for Church reform in a few areas, some pertaining to teachings on gender and human sexuality. I also believe there needs to be a major refocus on issues of social justice ranging from education, healthcare, ecological concern, and the general welfare of all God’s people. Voicing one’s opinions on these matters can be controversial; there has been no shortage of commentators on this blog that do not agree with all the conclusions posed by our bloggers.

Even so, we have established this online community to reach out not only to the like-minded, but also to share our ides of a more just Church and society with everyone, in the hopes of one day “being the change we seek” (Gandhi). Those who disagree will not be a deterrent, but rather will assist us in the spread of ideas as well as the expansion of our own understanding. With the other bloggers of the world, we are in good company

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About Dick Dalton

Dick is a third generation native of Phoenix, Arizona, and has a BA in political science and a BA in French from Arizona State University. He currently pursues a Global MBA program in marketing at Thunderbird School of Global Management. -- While very local, he does manage to get around, having visited 23 countries spanning four continents. Some of his interests include travel, foreign language, social justice, culture, religion, politics, and writing, of course!

1 thought on “Bloggers are in Good Company

  1. Thanks for the information on the bloggers in Burma! I didn’t realize that they were being jailed or worse, but unfortunately given the history of suppression and oppression imposed by the Myanmar government, it doesn’t surprise me. I got really interested in learning more about the Myanmar government, Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese history, culture, and the protests last fall when I became the refugee relocation case manager for three Karen (ethnic minorities in Burma) families last fall. I’m sorry to admit it, but I really had no idea what was going on there until their files landed on my desk, and I started doing background research for history and cultural competency. Most people in the U.S. didn’t start taking note of the grave human rights violations and this tyrannical government’s practices until the typhoon (and even that media coverage was sparse!) but again, it has fallen out of the papers and off the American radar.

    Your comments on the mission of CTA, and this blog in particular, are a great reminder of how much work we have to do, and that blogging on this site is just a little way of getting respectful, yet transforming, conversations going.

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