David Ray Griffin: How a Retired Theologian Became a High Priest of the 9/11 Truth Movement
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Frel: Aside from the issues surrounding your publishing imprint offered for publishing your book, have you faced other obstacles sharing what you argue is 9/11 Truth among Christian clergy that you have in the mainstream media?
Griffin: I discussed these issues in my lecture, "9/11 and Nationalist Faith: How Faith Can Be Illuminating or Blinding." I there endorsed theologian John Cobb's view of the basic "faith" of our culture, according to which “the United States is a fundamentally virtuous nation.” And this "faith" makes it virtually impossible for the facts about 9/11 to be presented.
Cobb wrote: “The response of most Americans [to a recitation of such facts] shows how powerful is the hold upon them of their nationalistic ‘faith.’ They do not want to hear that members of their government may have deceived them on a matter of such importance. They do not want to examine the evidence. They ‘know’ in advance that the questioner is out of line. They ‘know’ this because the alternative does not fit with their ‘faith.’”
With regard to the treatment I have had by some Christian leaders, I wrote: "[T]he fact that Christians in America think of themselves as Christians does not mean that their Christian faith trumps their American faith. They often seem to take the latter with greater seriousness. I have never had a lecture in a church canceled because someone took exception to my christology or doctrine of God, but more than one church has canceled lectures I was scheduled to give about 9/11, and many more churches have refused to rent their buildings out for this purpose in the first place. The leaders of these churches are unwilling to expose their people to, or be seen as supporting, such heresy.
I have, to be sure, spoken in a few churches. And I have been supported by a few theologians, such as John Cobb, Rosemary Ruether, Joe Hough (who was the president of Union Theological Seminary in New York), and the late William Sloane Coffin. But I have been attacked by others. For example, after my first book, The New Pearl Harbor, was published, Christian ethicist Ian Markham, while he was the dean of Hartford Seminary, published a critique of it in a Christian magazine. He said: “There needs to be limits to the range of possibilities considered; and I want to suggest that Griffin is outside them.” Explaining this statement, he said: "When a book argues that the American President deliberately and knowingly was ‘involved’ in the slaughter of 3000 US citizens, then this is irresponsible....I am operating with an a priori assumption that Bush would not kill 3,000 citizens for the sake of a political justification to invade the Middle East for oil."
Jan Frel is AlterNet's editor at large and associate publisher.