Steve Bhaerman / The Bohemian – 2006-06-25 23:14:17
Of course, the top echelon of leaders in this country aren’t exactly your usual run-of-the-lineup perps — which, according to Griffin, is why those who’ve pointed fingers at the emperor’s bare buttocks in this case have been marginalized like a bunch of tinfoil-headed kooks. No argument about this.
I’ve asked a number of savvy authors and commentators why they haven’t taken on the unanswered questions and unquestioned answers around 9-11. Their answers have been pretty much the same: It’s just too big a stretch for most Americans to believe their own government could have had anything to do with it.
However, in an exceedingly underreported Zogby poll done just last month, 42 percent of adults polled believe the US government and the 9-11 Commission “concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence” that contradicts the official explanation of the attacks.
Perhaps what these reluctant commentators really meant is that they would be committing career suicide by questioning the official story. So why and how is David Ray Griffin different? And why is he spending his retirement traveling around the country writing and talking about something that conventional wisdom insists people don’t want to hear?
Perhaps it has something to do with Griffin’s background in “process theology.” Process theology is specifically designed to answer such post-Holocaust questions as, how could a loving God have allowed such a thing to happen?
Griffin has written or co-authored a dozen books and articles on the subject, and roughly the answer is this: We, as creations of the Creator, have free will to choose how and what we create in this life. This very often results in what we call “evil.” On the other hand, our greatest power as human beings is to bring that loving God to earth by creating good instead.
To those who assert “God is dead,” process theology says no, Griffin reasons. The loving God is alive in our thoughts and words and deeds. God doesn’t intervene to set things right unilaterally. Rather, that spirit — through us — embodies divine love. In other words, the world changes — if we change it. Divine power, he says, is “persuasive, not controlling.”
While Griffin’s faith may be deep, it certainly isn’t narrow. He recently edited a book called Deep Religious Pluralism.
“I’ve written two books on the problem of evil, so I’ve been dealing with the topic for a long time,” Griffin says. “Frankly, as soon as I saw the evidence that 9-11 was an inside job, I wasn’t surprised. I had studied the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust, the Japanese butchery of the Chinese in Manchuria, our use of nuclear weapons in Japan in spite of their imminent surrender.
I’ve seen the depth of evil in collective situations. It’s an old, old story, and this is just the latest chapter. Once the nation-state announces it is threatened, everything else gets pushed to the back burner. That’s what we’re seeing now.”
Griffin’s intention just over three years ago was to write an article for Harper’s on what he then believed to be “foreknowledge and thwarted intelligence.” But the more evidence he saw that the attacks were likely orchestrated by our own government, the more he felt a book was needed. Since none of the American investigators had been able to get a book published at that time, Griffin figured that as a published author he had a better chance.
But it was far from automatic. Richard Falk, a Princeton professor of international law and practice, had personally recommended Griffin’s book to several publishers. Every one of them turned it down. “Not for us,” said one rejection tersely. At dinner one night, Falk suggested Interlink Books, a tiny publisher that had published a recent book of his.
Interlink took the book, but only because of a quirky coincidence. The editor was dubious. But knowing Griffin was a theologian, she asked her father, a minister, if he’d ever heard of the guy. “David Ray Griffin?” said her father. “I have all of his books!”
And so, in 2004, the book got published. But you’d never learn this from mainstream magazines and newspapers, which have yet to publish a review of The New Pearl Harbor, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Nor will you see him on mainstream TV, which has yet to invite him to appear.
Griffin seems unperturbed by this, and points out that each week and each month the alternative account of 9-11 gains wider credence. Is he afraid? Does he feel in danger? “Well,” he jokes, “there are two possibilities. Either they leave me alone, or they take me out. If they leave me alone, I get to enjoy my old age and write my systematic theology. If they take me out, my 9-11 books go right to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. So it’s a win-win situation.”
More seriously, he points to his Christian faith (Disciples of Christ is his own background), and says that Christian history is full of examples of the faithful who stuck their necks out for the truth. “If we who believe in everlasting life fear death,” he says, “what does that say about our faith?”
Other than standing for his faith, what does Griffin hope to accomplish by exposing the 9-11 story as a lie? As an advocate for a worldwide democratic order, he sees this story as an example of “governmental lawlessness” so egregious that its exposure could call into question the continuation of the present system with its “anarchical competition between nation states.”
First, however, people must be willing to think the unthinkable, and to be willing to look at the evidence that it is our own nation that has become the evil empire.
This is a formidable barrier to cross. Ever since the notion of the “Big Lie” was first put forth to describe the tactics of the Third Reich, it has become a cliché that the bigger the lie, the harder it is for people to see the truth. This is especially so when the official version takes on the status of what theologian Griffin calls “sacred myth.”
“The ‘truth’ of the official 9-11 story,” explains Griffin, “must be taken on faith. It is not a matter of debate or even discussion. Anyone who brings up anything that contradicts the official story is either ignored or denounced as a conspiracy nut.
“However,” he continues, “when the official account of 9-11 is stripped of its halo and treated simply as a theory rather than an unquestionable dogma, it cannot be defended as the best theory to account for the relevant facts. When challenges to it are not treated as blasphemy, it can easily be seen to not correspond with reality.”
And so David Ray Griffin continues to make presentations, do interviews and get his version of the truth to “break the soundless barrier.” With Falk, John B. Cobb Jr. and Catherine Keller, Griffin co-authored the just-published anthology The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God: A Political, Economic, Religious Statement. His own contribution portrays the 9-11 attacks as orchestrated to promote the American empire. Publishing in July is his newest book, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action.
His hope? That enough Americans wake up and call for a re-investigation, and that those who know more will feel safe enough to come forward. But first, he says, we Americans must muster the will and courage to face the situation squarely in the face.
As a postscript to my interview with David Ray Griffin, I am reminded of a March 30 article by journalist Doug Thompson published on OpEdNews.com. In it, Thompson recalls a 1981 encounter with the late John Connally, the former governor of Texas who was wounded in the Kennedy assassination. In an unguarded moment, Thompson asked Connally, “Do you think Lee Harvey Oswald fired the gun that killed Kennedy?”
“Absolutely not,” Connally said. “I do not, for one second, believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission.”
“So why not speak out?” Thompson asked.
“I will never speak out publicly about what I believe,” Connally replied, “because I love this country and we needed closure at the time.”
Now here we are more than 40 years after that devastating perpetration and we have to wonder, how well did “closure” serve us? As we see daily the fruits of self-serving secrecy and unchecked power, it might be time for some disclosure instead.
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