A regular Wednesday feature here at Faith Public Life, here’s what’s happening around the neighborhood thus far this week.
On Street Prophets, Pastor Dan gives you all you need to know about our do-nothing Congress. Oh wait, yesterday it did pass a bill that would "cut off financial awards to plaintiffs who bring successful lawsuits against expressions of religion like Christmas displays on government grounds. The aim of the measure, approved 244 to 173, is to discourage
lawsuits against local, state and federal governments over issues of separation of church and state."
If you missed your morning coffee induced heart-pounding visit Talk to Action where court stripping looks evan more exciting than you think. Joan points out that the main Representative (Hostettler R-IN) behind this act said this:
"When the courts make unconstitutional decisions, we should not enforce
them. Federal courts have no army or navy. The court can opine, decide,
talk about, sing, whatever it wants to do. We’re not saying they can’t
do that. At the end of the day, we’re saying the court can’t enforce
JSpot posts Stephen Colbert’s Days of Repentence for Jews clip and also features Nathan Newman on how California taxpayers won’t have to subsidize anti-union campaigns.
Chuck Currie speaks up on torture:
"President Bush is pressuring the Senate to act on the compromise
agreement this week, citing the need for intelligence gathering to
maintain strong national security. As people of faith, we are called
to stand against policies and practices that violate fundamental human
TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE TORTURE COMPROMISE HERE.
Philadelphia-based Leming writes on CrossLeft about the evangelical School for Social Change at Eastern University.
Muslim Wake Up wonders about the reaction within Isreal over the recent war with Hezbollah.
City of Brass writes: "among the reasoned responses to the Pope is Tariq Ramadan’s essay,
which argues that the real context of the Pope’s address was to
emphatically place Islam within the category of Other with which no
true dialog can be undertaken."
Christo Lumen tells the Parable of the Good Homosexual.
Jim, over at Disples from the Left, provides a short ethical reflection on the recent Values Voters Conference.
Mainstream Baptist notes the growing discontent with the Iraq war. Where? Among retired military leadership. Why? Because Iran is looming and they don’t want to go through another Rummy mess.
Answering the Rev. Deb Haffner’s questions about sex on the edges of the public discussion, the Rev. Meg Riley writes about the importance of coalition building within the progressive movement. She states:
"Over the years, in coalitions, I have watched a number of areas of
disagreement–notably about the Middle East, abortion, and gay rights,
take down too many good efforts. I think it is key to leave room for
disagreement on some issues while moving forward on others."
Even the Devils Believe posts "via Lutheran Zephyr, Beliefnet has a story about a Muslim group in Florida
that is sending $5000 in seed money to Palestine to help rebuild
Christian churches that were burned there. The group’s spokesperson
points out that the churches should be protected under the tenets of
Islam. Allahu Akbar, and many prayers that we Christians can return to
our Muslim brothers and sisters the love expressed in this gesture."
Johnny points out: "The enormity of what is happening in Utah cannot be understated. They are embracing the future in a way no other state has – this truly is a progressive policy from one of our most religiously devout states."
Finally, listen to Provoke Radio! This week "don’t miss this fascinating story of one man’s awakening to the social
justice message of the Gospels.
Guest: Mr. Brian McLaren, best selling author of such books as, ‘The
Secret Message of Jesus’ and others. Brian is a leader in the Emergent
community and a man Time Magazine referred to as a ‘paradigm shifter’.
Special guest host: Dr. Steven Miles, Professor of Theology, Loyola
College of Maryland."
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Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director of Faith in Public Life, recently joined radio host Bob Kincaid to discuss her new book, The Christian Right Globalized. Rev. Butler reveals how the Religious Right, after decades of building an infrastructure to impact American politics, is moving to use international institutions to advance their policy agenda on a global scale and threaten gains made for women’s rights, human rights, and public health across the globe.
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The supposedly non-partisan Values Voters Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council this weekend was rife with slurs against Democrats–who had apparently been forgotten when the invitations were sent out.
James Dobson told the values voters that shouldn’t be afraid to admit that their country is at war with Muslims who are out to kill Americans. “We’re in a war and it’s time that we recognized it,” he said.
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana felt certain that “conservative Americans are beginning to awaken to the perils of a Democratic Congress,” but seemed less certain about where his alliances lie in the immigration debate. After invoking the Bible to show that illegal immigrants ought to be treated with respect, he went on to say that they should all be expelled so as not to prove a threat to the American culture.
A certain bias was apparent even in the agenda for the summit. One workshop outlined a Get Out the Vote tactic for churches which instructed people to go through their church directory and to pretend they were pollsters from ABC News in order to find out how the members of the congregation were planning to vote. Also on the schedule was a discussion about health care titled “The Future of Health Care: HillaryCare or Values-Driven Health Care?â€ referring to Senator Clinton’s 1993 plan for national health care–a plan which Republicans rejected for its “socialist” tendencies.
And in an attempt to show up Chavez, Jerry Falwell informed a cheering crowd that for values voters, Hillary Clinton is a foe even greater than the devil: “I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate. She has $300 million so far. But I hope she’s the candidate. Because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton. If Lucifer ran, he wouldn’t.”
Yet Falwell had no worries about Republicans turning out to vote even without Clinton–or the devil–in the race:”I think we’re going to keep the House and the Senate,” he said. “I think the Lord will take care of that.”
Others were less confident. James Dobson feared that Republicans might be swayed by their dissatisfaction with President Bush: “There is disillusionment out there with Republicans. That worries me greatly.â€ Bishop Harry Jackson of College Park, MD echoed Dobson’s concerns saying that “if they [Christian Conservatives] don’t come to the polls, we’re in trouble.â€
Rev. Don Wildmon even went so far as to critique the Republican Party, though it’s apparent he won’t be giving up on them any time soon: “We’re disgusted somewhat with some of the Republicans,â€ he said, “but we’d be in a whole lot worse shape with the Democrats. So, if you can’t get the whole loaf, take a half a loaf.” Talk about a non-partisan event.
This seemingly blatant violation of church-state separation has been called “just plain wrongâ€ by Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who claimed that the summit “violates tax law, it damages the integrity of religion and it harms our democracy.” Yet it seems strange coming on the tails of the IRS investigation of All Saints Church in California for a single sermon against the war in Iraq that this partisan display hasn’t earned more criticism.
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I saw Jesus Camp last night. Stunning!
If you enjoy:
- thoughtful documentary filmmaking
- brilliantly juxtaposed cinematography
- thinking about American religion
- understanding the political concerns of evangelical religion
- knowing how young children mix faith and adult favor
According to a review in Salon:
"Jesus Camp" has now come under attack from the Rev. Ted Haggard, the
powerful pastor of a Colorado megachurch, and head of the National
Association of Evangelicals, who appears in the film. Haggard’s real
problem may be that he comes off like a cynical, showbizzy creep,
especially compared to the profoundly committed and idealistic kids at
the heart of the film. . .
For another review that details some of the diverse responses to the movie from the Christian community, see here.
Here is a calendar for when it releases near you. Interestingly, they have opened the film in the midwest and south first.
A pair of new documentaries looks at injustices and self-defeating strategies incorporated in the reconstruction of Iraq. Both The Ground Truth and Iraq for Sale are worth checking out for unflinching looks at the reality of this ongoing conflict.
The Ground Truth is a personal look at the lives of young men and women who have served their country in Iraq. The story for these soldiers doesn’t end with their return from the battlefield. Filmmaker Patricia Foulkrod’s movie reveals the struggles that these soldiers confront on their return from Iraq.
Who’s getting killed. Who’s making a killing. Opening this weekend, Robert Greenwald’s new film, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers comes out swinging and lands a few right on the biggest GOP strength: the war on terrorism. How? By documenting who really winning in Iraq.
Here’s Greenwald talking about the film. Greenwald also made Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Outfoxed. Read the movie blog here.
On MSNBC, during a recent debate over torture between GOP military men and the corporate Republican administration, catch the film getting plugged. Apparently Halliburton giving tainted water to soldiers doesn’t sit well with men who’ve actually served.
Check out this list of groups hosting screenings, including several churches.
The Great Warming
Finally, get the DVD of The Great Warming, the dramatic film about climate change that the next generation of evangelicals love. Narrated by Alanis Morissette and Keanu Reeves " it includes hard-hitting comments from scientists and opinion-makers as well as new scenes
documenting the emerging voice of the American Evangelical
community urging action on climate change.
Here’s an interview with NAE Governmental Affairs head Richard Cizik about real "creation care."
Especially good for congregations and youth groups, here’s info for bulletin annoucements and posters.
How politically hot is this topic? Here’s Faith in Public LIVE alum Amy Sullivan reporting on its role in the Pennsylvania Senate race.
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