The project is an interesting example of coordinated activity in the blogosphere. Blogging is becoming more widely accepted as a source of news and analysis, but the use of blogging for coordinated political advocacy is less well charted territory. Hopefully this campaign, which united bloggers of various belief systems and faiths, is only the beginning of coordinated action on a range of issues. It would be extremely encouraging if this or a similar group could move to playing defense against religious oppression to other pro-active campaigns.
Throughout the weekend, the BAT folks recorded several hundred posts in support of the separation of church and state. The Neoskeptic writes about Jefferson’s role in shaping religion and American politics (appropriate that he’s a UVA alum). Over at Street Prophets, wiscmass writes about the fruits of theocracy. Here’s all Street Prophet diaries tagged “Blog Against Theocracy.”
In the midst of Passover and Holy Week, interfaith leaders in Connecticut gathered to make a powerful statement against torture and in favor of restoring rights to detainees held as part of anti-terrorism operations. As Rabbi Dr. Herbert Brockman said, ‘The abolition of torture, like that of slavery, is the measure of a free and ethical society.’
These leaders from Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice held a highly successful press conference last week in which they voiced support for legislation sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd (also of Connecticut) that would restore rights of habeaus corpus to detainees. Their work against torture, in conjunction with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, has raised a unique faith perspective on this troubling moral issue. Speakers also expressed disappointment that Sen. Joe Lieberman, the other member of their Senate delegation, had not joined in Dodd’s reform work. Check out the news story below for a number of shots from the press conference!
Feb 19th, 2007 – Progressive Christians Uniting – Pasadena, CA
Tom Hayden has fought for ending the war in Iraq, erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through greater citizen participation. He was the founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1961, made the first trips to Hanoi during the Vietnam War to promote peace talks in 1965, won several large campaigns through the grassroots Campaign for Economic Democracy that he organized, and served 18 years on the California state assembly and California Senate. Described as “the conscience of the Senate,” when Hayden retired in 2000, he received the longest farewell ovation of any legislator in memory, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In the early 1980′s, thousands of Central American refugees poured into the United States, fleeing life-threatening repression and extensive human rights violations by their governments.
At the time, federal immigration policy would have denied the majority political asylum simply because their governments were allies of the U.S. Many of these refugees had actively participated in the liberation theology movement and naturally sought protection from congregations.
I remember as a teenager who became very interested in U.S. invoilvement (sic) in Latin America reading about churches that were acting to “provide sanctuary” to protect people who feared returning to Latin America after the U.S. installed “democratic” governments. With that as my context, I read this story in the Los Angeles Times about a local Catholic church providing sanctuary for a family facing deportation because they are undocumented.
“The new sanctuary plans come as immigration reform legislation has been stalled since last summer, with Congress split over whether to first strengthen border security and immigration laws or extend a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants. They also come as hundreds of illegal immigrants have been detained and deported in immigration raids of recent months.
Local and national religious leaders from a dozen faiths — including Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian — have been meeting and planning for a few months, said Pastor Cesar Arroyo of San Pablo’s Lutheran church in North Hollywood.
The group has been inspired by Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who has taken refuge at a Methodist church in Chicago since mid-August to avoid deportation, Arroyo said.”
Over at Street Prophets, Pastor Dan opines, “This is smart and effective grassroots organizing against an immensely unjust system. It’s also a great match for progressive faith ideals: compassion, solidarity with the poor and powerless, action, witness to religious values – in this case, welcoming the stranger or resident alien, taken straight out of the Bible.”
Rabbi Richard Block, of We Believe Ohio and FPL’s Voicing Faith Media BureauKathleen Kennedy Townsend, author of Failing America’s Faithful, talked religion and politics this morning on Ohio Public Radio. Check out the audio file to the right to hear their stimulating discussion, including updates on future plans from We Believe Ohio.