What’s new in the neighborhood? Prayer time!

July 26, 2007, 4:09 am | Posted by

With the SCHIP doom — Bush chooses big tobacco over children’s health — and Gonzalez’s false testimony, there’s not much else to do this week but pray. . .which is precisely what PastorDan is doing all over the blogosphere. Now he’s making me almost believe the old culture war meme about these fervent faith-types barnstorming the left. . .what’s going to happen next, actual metanoia?

Over at kos, he witnesses:

Mr. O’Reilly, I take the Bible seriously. I am a Christian disciple committed to growth in love of the Lord and my neighbor. I am even committed, God help me, to learning to love my enemy. I don’t represent everyone at Daily Kos, let alone the entire liberal blogosphere: that little asterisk after “pray” signifies that not all of us believe in God, but we can all meditate or hold someone in our thoughts. In that sense, if you were to take the time to get to know us, you’d find that I’m a lot closer to representative than not.

And then apparently he enjoyed it so much (and the 300 plus comments!) that he offered up another supplication over at Street Prophets.

Now here’s Starwoman offering up hymnic prayer.

Speaking of the hail Mary. . .Diana Bulter Bass faces Michael Vick off against Gregory of Nyssa. She writes:

In her recent book, The Frontiers of Justice, philosopher Martha Nussbaum points out that Jews and Christians practice ethics of compassion for animals, but that these ethics are incomplete–that “cruel and oppressive treatment of animals raises issues of justice.” Nussbaum insists, “not only that it is wrong of us to treat them that way, but also that they have a right, a moral entitlement, not to be treated in that way. It is unfair to them.” (Emphasis hers.)

And finally, rounding out the prayer theme Unitarian-Universalist blogger Philocrites points to a Rob Hardies quote:

We need a spirituality that moves us beyond fight and flight, one that sees complexity not as an enemy but as a friend. We need a spirituality that views paradox as a creative opportunity and contradiction as a stimulant

Okay, I’ll pray for more of that. . .and while you’re at it, send some o’ that for BillO too, dear God!

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The Rev. Deb Haffner speaks biological truth to Bill O’Reilly

July 25, 2007, 4:56 am | Posted by

Rev. Deb writes:

I actually enjoyed myself. Mr. O’Reilly was surprisingly pleasant to me (must have been the collar and not wanting to yell at a minister), and I was able to make my points, even as he was talking over me. I wanted listeners to know that sex education in the younger years was about such sexuality topics as bodies, family roles, gender roles, sex abuse prevention — and that it set a foundation for education in upper school. I wanted people to know that parents, schools, and religious institutions all have a role to play in sexuality education, and that religious denominations support public school sex education.

Here’s her Voicing Faith Speakers Bureau page.

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Minimum wage jumps 70 cents

July 24, 2007, 11:40 pm | Posted by

The minimum wage jumped 70 cents today, to $5.85 per hour. After two more hikes, it’ll reach $7.25 in 2009. Let Justice Roll, a coalition of faith, labor and community groups, fought hard for the increase, the first in a decade. The group has also organized efforts to pass minimum wage increases or living wage laws in 21 states, from New Hampshire to California. Their work is indispensable to the movement to end poverty in America.

Progress is always worth rejoicing over, but we need to keep in mind that $7.25, let alone $5.85, isn’t a living wage for even a small family. The minimum wage hike will put money directly into the pockets of the working poor, but not enough to lift them out of poverty (see table 1.1 in the linked report). Until we ensure that every job provides a living wage, we’re effectively legislating poverty.

I’ve seen the effects of an inadequate minimum wage. When I was a teacher, one of my colleagues and I bought a winter coat for an 8th grade student after I saw him wearing a t shirt and no jacket on a 35-degree November day. His mother had a full-time job cleaning a hospital, but she could not afford to keep her rapidly growing son warm through the winter. It is sad and outrageous that we tolerate such deprivation in a nation as wealthy as ours. We can’t relent in the effort to end poverty, even on a day of good news.

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Faith questions loom large in CNN/Youtube debate

July 24, 2007, 10:48 am | Posted by

At last night’s CNN/Youtube presidential debate, Youtube-savvy Americans from around the world took over asking the questions, and proved to be edgier and more straight-forward than your typical media host. Candidates responded to questions about Darfur from American relief workers on the ground, health care from a cancer patient, the Iraq war from the father of a fallen soldier. Faith was a hot topic, too. A North Carolina minister asked John Edwards about the morality of using religious justification for opposition to same sex marriage, and the debate closed with questions about religion’s place in public life.

See Edwards’ explanation, the NC pastor’s response, and Barack Obama’s thoughts on the issue:

See answers from Joe Biden, Barack Obama and John Edwards’ statements on the influence of faith on politics and politicians:

What do you think of how they answered the faith questions? What do you think of the faith questions CNN chose to air?

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A fast to end causeless hatred

July 24, 2007, 9:14 am | Posted by

Today, in the Jewish calendar, Jews marks the 9th day of the month of Av (Tisha B’Av). Tisha B’Av memorializes the destruction of both the First and the Second temple (among other catastrophic tragedies of Jewish history including the Spanish Inquisition and so forth). Traditional Jews will read from the book of Lamentations and remember the destruction that separated the Jewish people hundreds of years ago.

Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook declared: “The Temple was destroyed because of causeless hatred; it can be rebuilt only by causeless love.” Many contemporary progressive Jews use Tisha B’Av as a 25 hour hunger strike for justice, to end the meaningless hatred that divides and conquers us — to reunite all people in a spirit of peace and social justice.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center notes that “other traditions affirm a similar pattern of despair and hope. — Christians believe that the Crucifixion’s despair on Good Friday is followed by Resurrection three days later. Shia Muslims believe that the appearance and hiding-away and someday reappearance of the Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, is deeply connected with extreme persecution of the Shia.”

There are numerous actions that people of faith can take on Tisha B’Av to work towards an end of causeless hatred, including:

-Ending the Genocide in the Darfur Region of Sudan

-Passing the Mathew Shepard “Hate Crimes” legislation to help combat violent bigotry against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity

-Working towards an end to racism against immigrants.

In the words of Arthur Waskow – “TOGETHER we will TAKE ACTION to calm the bitter weather. ”

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