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“My Name is Legion” – Part 3

“American ‘Legion'”

The story of “Legion” in the region of the Geresenes has been repeated again and again throughout history. Empires rise and expand. People are destroyed or controlled.

“Legion” is in the history of America too.  From the moment European explorers “discovered” the Americas, “Legion” followed.  Armed with the Doctrine of Discovery, the Americas were systematically colonized for the benefit of white Europeans.

Here in the U.S., we annually celebrate God’s provision and preservation of the Pilgrims in the face of a hostile environment, but not long after the first Thanksgiving in 1621, war broke out between colonists and the “savages” over the right to land.  Resistance was futile.  Over the next 200 years, native populations were systematically massacred.  Those who survived the genocide were removed from their land under the “Indian Removal Act” and resettled far from their homelands.  The Cherokee were marched from North Carolina and Georgia to Oklahoma in what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”  The Potawatomi were marched from Indiana to Kansas on the “Trail of Death.”  Once removed, Indians lands were resettled–given to white Europeans.  The colonization of America continued westward, resulting in the death or displacement of millions more people.

Like the man of Geresa, American Indians are the walking dead, possessed by “Legion” under a new name–“Manifest Destiny.”  The impact of the possession that began in 1622 continues.  Almost 400 years later, American Indians are among the poorest people in the United States.  They have the highest suicide rates and the highest substance abuse rates–indicators of mental illness and distress.

Strip people of their humanity, displace them, occupy them, control them physically and spiritually, and they will exhibit all the symptoms of mental and spiritual illness. According to a study by former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, ethnic and racial minorities “face a social and economic environment of inequality that includes greater exposure to racism, discrimination, violence and poverty…. And people in the lowest stratum of income…are two to three times more likely than those in the highest stratum to have a mental disorder.”

We see the same patterns of “possession” among Africans, who were stripped of their humanity, forcibly removed from their ancestral homes and brought to this country to be sold (possessed) as slaves.  Despite being freed 150 years ago, African Americans continue to suffer from the diaspora experience and continued discrimination.  African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and have the highest rates of PTSD.  Forty percent of those experiencing homelessness are African American.

LGBTQ individuals regularly experience discrimination.  In at least 15 states, a person can be still be legally fired from their jobs because of sexual orientation.  This group of people has the highest rates of diagnosed anxiety disorders.

Women are most likely to experience sexual abuse and harassment.  They are also most likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Increasingly, we are watching as our children suffer mental disorders.  1 in 5 children lives in poverty.  Gun-related injuries are the 3rd leading cause of death in children under age 17!  It is estimated that 10% of children are traumatized by sexual abuse before the ages of 18, and 1 in 5 of those children will be abused before the age of 8.

And many of us have personally experienced the ongoing impact of colonial expansion in Puerto Rico.

The bottom line: Our society is toxic to wellbeing.  Poverty is demonic. Racial discrimination is demonic. Environmental destruction is demonic.  Violence is demonic. Abuse of power is demonic.  And the systems that create and maintain wealth inequality, racial superiority, violence and abuse are demonic. “Legion” lives among us and in us.  We need liberation from “Legion’s” death and destruction.

Tomorrow… Part 4.  “From Insanity to a Right Mind”

 

 

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