A soldier’s confession

March 19, 2007, 2:02 am | Posted by

The words of Joshua Casteel, an Iraq War veteran and conscientious objector, who served as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. Footage from the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq service at the National Cathedral.

When I traveled outside the prison walls on convoys, terror surged through

my heart. I was not afraid of being killed. If you live by the sword, by the sword

shall you die. If I died with a loaded rifle, I could not be angry with God. The

terror that filled me … was the possibility of becoming one who kills. Once while

driving outside, I pointed my rifle as I always did, out the window of our armored

humvee. Through the sites of my rifle I saw the faces of three young shepherd

boys — probably eight years old, each. I realized in that moment that I had just

pointed a loaded weapon at three eight year old boys.

How was I, an ambassador of the love of Jesus Christ, supposed to recall that


How can I talk of the freedom of Christ, while playing the role of captor?

How can I talk of faith when I only move from place to place by means of guns

pointed in all directions – even at eight year old shepherd boys?

(source: Joshua Casteel, Catholic Peace Fellowship, West Coast Tour, 2005)

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What’s new in the neighborhood?

March 16, 2007, 3:20 pm | Posted by

Lots of bloggers posted Faith in Public Life’s action alert about the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq at the National Cathedral.

JSpot notes Sen. Obama’s gay problem. And Sen. Clinton’s stutter step.

Noting these candidates’ slow stand against Gen. Pace’s bigotry, the Rev. Chuck Currie shares some reader responses.

Boy in the Bands titles his take, “Not Pace, but a Sword.”

At the Shalom Center, Rabbi Waskow and his posse are putting full-page adds in The Forward & The Nation. Why? Because though 77% of American Jews oppose the Iraq war, ‘”official Jewish organizations are silent.”

Faithful Progressive says: get thee to a protest in order to support the troops.

If you’re in California on Earth Day, Interfaith Power & Light has lots of information on events.

The Beatitudes Society is sending seminary students to the Gulf Coast on a service learning trip.

Who would Jesus deport? Faith leaders from CLUE, Sojourners, and the National Hispanic Leadership Conference held a panel discussion on immigration reform at the Center for American Progress.

“We in the religious community have a tradition of being the voice for people who have no voice,” said Rev. Alexis Salvatierra, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “There are congregations across the country that see this as a moral issue.”

Johnny’s Cache introduces 15-year-old abolitionist Zach Hunter, he’s “freeing slaves and changing the world.”

Baptized Pagan writes about liberation theologian Jon Sobrino.

America’s Young Theologian, on sickness and death, reads back issues of Poetry Magazine.

Faithfully Liberal explores “Literal and Figurative Neighbors.”

Over at Street Prophets, waitingforvizzini takes down “Prosperity Theology Down One Verse at a Time.” And also at SP, its simple IF you ignore the complexity offers a mediation on science and religion. And Pastor Dan adds analysis to an interesting poll on character and presidential elections.

Mainstream Baptist covers the coverage of Mohler’s “gay baby” remarks.

Quaker blogger Gathering in Light explores “Transitioning in A Global Information Age: Questions For Church Traditions.”

And finally, Islamicate takes on an interesting idea: “My God Hates More Than Your God.”

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VIDEO: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on Churches Failing America’s Faithful

March 13, 2007, 6:05 am | Posted by

“Two-term Maryland lieutenant governor Townsend makes a valid point: in America, faith is no longer about community. She longs for the Catholic Church of her youth, that ‘dealt with issues at the core of the Gospel–suffering, injustice, sickness, and poverty’ rather than a Christianity influenced by a crop of preachers who seem to believe that ‘Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry and cared for the poor just so we don’t have to.’ Addressing a broad range of issues including women, the religious right (and left), the GOP and her own political party, the Democrats, Townsend hopes to appeal to a wide audience, not just a Christian one.”

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American Islam: The Struggle For The Soul of a Religion

March 12, 2007, 6:18 am | Posted by

Who represents Islam in the United States, a country with 6 million Muslims? Is it the radical imam, the webmaster, the mystic, the feminist? Barrett traveled the country to discover what life is like for American Muslims in different regions of the nation. He finds that Muslims, like the rest of the population, are varied and diverse in look, thought, belief and behavior.

Paul Barrett is the Director of the Investigative Reporting Team for BusinessWeek and the author of American Islam.

I found this to be very provocative and worth my time. If you want to skip around, click on the FORA Tools icon and click through the channels. Update: I read this article, “The The Halal Melting Pot: Why Dearborn isn’t Paris” in the current issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and it also adds to the mosaic picture of American Islam.

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What’s new in the neighborhood?

March 9, 2007, 2:09 pm | Posted by

Faithful Progressive doesn’t feel bad about Scooter Libby:

I don’t feel one bit sorry

for Libby’s crimes against the FBI–

if you think about it, that State of the Union

alone could make you cry.


And I feel sorry for my own kids,

who will be paying for this

unnecessary, trumped-up war

that has made things

so much worse than before.

At Faithful Democrats, Jesse Lava nails the terrible danger of Ann Coulter.

On Jspot, Aaron Hahn Tapper writes, “The Golden Calf of the Biblical Hebrews continues to plague the Jewish community, my community. Everytime I see my community place ourselves up on a pedestal, privileging our tragedies or successes above others, I am reminded of the ancient golden heifer. For me, idolatry is not only about raising something above others. It also manifests in the lowering of an ‘other’ beneath oneself.”

The Rev. Chuck Currie sheds some light on the so-called lost tomb of Jesus.

Can you write Newt Gingrich’s smarmy hypocrisy? At Street Prophets, Pastor Dan does.

CrossLeft posts about Bill Moyers receiving the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s first Frank E. Taplin, Jr. Public Intellectual Award. Here’s his speech “Discovering What Democracy Means.”

At God’s Politics, Lyndsay Moseley, Associate Representative for Faith Partnerships for the Sierra Club notes hope, along with Brian McLaren, in the recent letter to the NAE regarding the Rev. Cizik.

City of Brass posts on the St. Petersburg declaration from the Secular Islam Summit.

“‘Bush Doctrine’ of pre-emptive war will be George W. Bush’s most enduring legacy.” What? Mainstream Baptist draws attention to this terrifying but ironically true analysis by Karl Rove.

Talk to Action covers the new book about James Dobson’s faith-based political machine.

With a great urban graphic, Faithfully Liberal wonders: How do you help the homeless?

American Buddhist chaplain Danny Fischer posts another vlog about global dialog.

And more media, Provoke Radio asks: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

And Philocrates notes the Berkeley UU congregation great video casting on YouTube.

And the Beatitudes Society blog posts Marcus Borg giving a great address at the annual Progressive Christians Uniting banquet.

Jesus Politics points to a great interview with Chicago Theological Seminary president Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite who says: Learn About Other Faiths? Yes. Mandatory? NO!

And DoC pastor and church historian Bob Cornwell ponders the New York Review of Books discussion of Jimmy Carter and apartheid.

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