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Gold Rush It’s an old story. A wealthy foreigner arrives in town, spins a pretty tale about what’s to be gained from hooking up with him, and shops around for a girl who will be an easy sell. But the girl he sets his sights on is not as simple-minded (or desperate) as he assumes she is, and she refuses his advances. Not used to being rebuffed and having no intention of taking no for an answer, he presses on until he has taken what she has not given. It’s called rape, and it’s against the law. It’s wrong — everyone can agree — even if the girl’s father is only too happy to get her off his hands while getting a taste of the foreigner’s money. This is exactly what you’ll read in our cover story, the tale of a Canadian mining company that has raped — and continues to ravage — a land that was never given over to them by the people who actually own it, people who said and continue to say “No!” but who are ignored by the powerful players. It’s wrong — everyone can agree — even if the Guatemalan government has turned a blind eye because it fancies the cash that comes with it, even if some shareholders are ignorant (or would like to be) of the human cost their gold investment carries. Harry Brod teaches philosophy at the University of Northern Iowa. He remembers something his driver’s ed teacher told him over 40 years ago: “The right of way is not something you have. The right of way is something the other driver gives you, and if the other driver doesn’t give it to you, you don’t have it, no matter what you think the rules of the road are supposed to be or what you think you’re entitled to. If people really understood that, there would be a lot fewer tragic collisions on the roads.” In his ethics class, Brod compares right

In the delightful film Heaven Can Wait, a decent fellow finds himself bodiless when he’s taken up to heaven prematurely by an overeager angel. He’s now in limbo, and in order to go back to earth he must borrow a just-deceased person’s body.The only body available at the moment belongs to a Goldcorp-type mogul. When confronted with the injustices executed by the former owner of the body, this good soul is horrified and immediately starts to rectify things, using the mogul’s tools, which are now at his disposal. He builds instead of tearing down, he protects rather than attacks, he listens to the weak and ignores the powerful.The best part is that he has the time of his life doing it! Everywhere he goes, he stuns folks with his generosity, his simple logic (do good, not bad), and his winsome lust for life. Whenever I watch that film I wonder why more of us don’t Why don’t more of us use use whatever ounce of earthly power every ounce of our earthly we’ve been given — our health, wealth, time, education, skills — to spend every power to spend every minute minute of every day spinning joy into of every day spinning joy into motion all around us. Surely that’s the motion all around us? irresistible life, the real gold rush we’re all looking for. The writer of Proverbs tells us that Let’s you and I do more than just read “Oppressing the poor in order to this story and shake our heads. Let’s go enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, to the Dig Deeper section on page 14, will lead only to loss” (22:16).The execu- access one of the resources there, and tive leadership at Goldcorp may profit begin to make a difference right away — now, in other words, but gold is all they’ll by telling Goldcorp execs what we think get. As Jesus would say, “Verily they have of them and how we’re praying for their reward.” May God be merciful to them, by writing letters of encouragethem; they are in his hands, as are we. ment to the Guatemalan villagers so And while God asks us to show love they know they’re not forgotten, by and mercy to others, he also asks us to supporting the groups that are on the join with him in the work of justice. Even ground fighting the corporate rapists, as the most loving thing we can do for and by planting and nurturing joy in an abuser is to stop him and hold him our own small spot on the planet every accountable and accompany him on the day. Heaven can wait, but why should road to healing, the most loving thing it? n we can do for the human beings that make up Goldcorp (executives, employStudy questions for this issue ees, investors) is to stop them and hold can be found at them accountable and show them a PRISMDiscussionQ better way. of way to sexual consent.“Consent is not something you have. Consent is something the other person has to give you, and if the other person doesn’t give it to you, you don’t have it, no matter what you think the rules are supposed to be or what you think you’re entitled to.” He says that without this standard, we would have “a world in which other people have right of access to your body without expressly asking you for permission to have that access.” Brod says that “no one is really willing to live in a world like that.” And yet, that is the world we often do live in, because it is a world marred by sin. While Jesus says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you,” sin demands the right of way, and then insists that it only go one way.

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Gold Rush  

Reflections from the Editor November 2010

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