Everything posted here on November 1 - 3
is posted on a new archive page.
Everything from before November, 2004,
is indexed on an archive page.
A way to show your opposition to the war in Iraq:
Not One Red Cent Day on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20th.
We've received two email notes encouraging people to
protest the war on Inauguration Day - not by marching but by not spending
By the way, the other version was headed "Not One Damn
Dime Day." Take your pick. [12-21-04]
NOT ONE RED CENT DAY
Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the
war in Iraq, since our political leaders don't have the moral courage to
oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is "Not One Red
Cent Day" in America.
On "Not One Red Cent Day" those who oppose what is
happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott
of all forms of consumer spending.
During "Not One Red Cent Day" please don't spend money,
and don't use your credit card. Not one red cent for gasoline. Not one red
cent for necessities or for impulse purchases. Nor toll/cab/bus or train
ride money exchanges. Not one red cent for anything for 24 hours.
On "Not One Red Cent Day," please boycott Walmart, KMart
and Target. Please don't go to the mall or the local convenience store.
Please don't buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter).
For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail
economy down. The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war
in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it
and that it is their responsibility to stop it.
"Not One Red Cent Day" is to remind them, too, that they
work for the people of the United States of America, not for the
international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the
corporations and funnel cash into American politics.
"Not One Red Cent Day" is about supporting the troops. The
politicians put the troops in harm's way. Now 1,200 brave young Americans
and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops
a plan -- a way to come home.
There's no rally to attend. No marching to do. No left or
right wing agenda to rant about. On "Not One Red Cent Day" you take action
by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.
For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one red cent, to
remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral
responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.
Please share this as an email with as many people as
possible, and please express your opinion at
a progressive morality - and it's truly American [11-27-04]
George Lakoff, writing in The Nation, argues that if
progressives communicate their values clearly, most people will recognize
them as their own, and as more deeply American than those currently put
forth by conservatives. These values, he says, include "care and
responsibility, fairness and equality, freedom and courage, fulfillment in
life, opportunity and community, cooperation and trust, honesty and
You can read the article in
or at TruthOut
What would you name
as the progressive values
that could enrich and reform our political life today?
Just send a note
and we'll share comments here.
Christianity has been hijacked,' says Tony Campolo [12-3-04]
BeliefNet.com recently posted an interview with evangelical leader and
author Tony Campolo, who says that "there's a difference between evangelical
and being a part of the Religious Right." While he acknowledges that many
evangelicals have joined the "Religious Right," he want s to "communicate
loud and clear that ... that evangelical Christianity [has] been hijacked."
Church-State issues seen up close and
Witherspooner Berry Craig objects to a
fellow Kentuckian's confident linking of George W. Bush's election to the
will of God and the political preferences of Jesus. [11-29-04]
More comments on the election, some in
response to Gene TeSelle's
"reflections on the election"
We're receiving lots of thoughtful comments on the recent
presidential election. We'll post as many as we can, as quickly as
well can -- and we hope you'll contribute your thoughts as well!
Just send a note!
Democrats: "Act like Christians"
Ehrenreich advises the Democrats not to concede "morality" to the
conservatives, but simply to "act like Christians."
That means following the example of the early Christians,
"who stood against imperial Rome with their bodies, their hearts and their
Hmm. Talk about your radicals! [11-17-04]
This essay appears
The Nation, and can be found also
Also .... some Democrats believe the party should get
And David D. Kirkpatrick, writing
in the New York Times, reports that "some Democrats are
scrambling to shake off their secular image, stepping up efforts to organize
the "religious left" and debating changes to how they approach the cultural
flashpoints of same-sex marriage and abortion." He describes a variety of
approaches in this effort.
So what do you think the ethical
of progressive Christians
might offer to the left side of American politics?
Send a note
and we'll share it here!
The politics of victimization
We recently pointed to
an essay by Rabbi Michael Lerner, in
which he criticized liberals, and specifically the Democratic presidential
campaign, for an attitude of arrogance toward Middle America - an attitude
which helped the campaign of George W. Bush to gain support.
For a very different after-election take on the situation,
you might look at
an article by Mel Gilles, who has worked for many years as an advocate
for victims of domestic abuse. He suggests that much of the post-election
hand-wringing is very similar to the attitudes of people who are living
through domestic abuse.
But at least one of our frequent visitors sees the
situation in just the opposite way: the liberals (or whatever you call them)
are so abusive toward the common folks that they will never win any real
support from the people.
One visitor criticizes liberals for
"their arrogant cult of superiority [and] hateful rhetoric."
It would seem that people on the left
simply do not learn life's lessons well. Since the election, I have
heard folks on the left basically label Bush voters as stupid,
fascistic, low-brow, uncreative hillbillies from former slave states
who vote like automatons for an unintelligent, immoral warmonger who
wins only by fraud and deception. Hey, it's alright with me if they
want to indulge their arrogant cult of superiority with such hateful
rhetoric.....but I can guarantee them that it will only further remove
them from even a remote chance of winning an important election (which
is fine by me). Such childish behavior does, however, seem to
challenge the truth of the view that many liberals have of their own
educated, cultured, tolerant, progressive nature. You would think that
"educated" folks would learn from their mistakes....but I guess not!
Perhaps dinosaurs were "progressives" as well.
and values and the election -- continuing reflections
|Another take on values ...|
Witherspooner Bill LeMosy recommends an opinion piece
published in yesterday's
Des Moines Register. Tom Carney, a former Catholic priest and a
former Register reporter, comments that the "moral values"
claimed by so many Christians as motivating them to vote for George W.
Bush seem very different from the ones which he grew up with, and which
are still important to him.
When I read and listen to what the majority of voters
mean by moral values, I see and hear only references to issues such as
same-sex marriage, stem-cell research and abortion. ... But the Bible
and my tradition have much more to say about the treatment of others,
especially foreigners and people different from us, and about honesty,
humility and justice. And I'm supposed to apply those values to my
communal life as a citizen as well as to my personal life.
Amy Ukena urges people to support demands for an investigation of voting
Please consider doing this if you agree
that we need to know what is going on with our precious votes. With
Diebold voting machines (Republican owned) unable to be independently
verified, with literally thousands of votes unaccounted for or given to
the other side, we need to know if we're being led down the garden path
We do not have as many rights as we had
before this administration came into office, so we need to protect the one
act that we all do together as United States citizens. Too many people
have died for this right for us to let it be treated cavalierly.
Check out the following websites for
current voting information:
The following is a letter I downloaded
Dear Friends, Questions are swirling
around whether the election was conducted honestly or not. We need to
know -- was it or wasn't it?
If people were wrongly prevented from
voting, or if legitimate votes were mis-counted or not counted at all,
we need to know so the wrongdoers can be held accountable, and to help
prevent this from happening again.
Members of Congress are demanding an
investigation to answer this question. Join me in supporting their call,
I am a
Presbyterian from Claremont, CA and I can't tell you how disappointed I
am to read all these terrible things that you are saying about our
Bush is a man of faith, and is someone who is finally trying to do
something about the terriorists who want to take over the world. If you
really look at the map of the United States - Red and Blue
counties - you will find
that there are very few Blue counties. President Bush won 2500 of the
3000 counties in the country - 'quoting Tim Russert'.
I think the
'Progressives' need to stop and think about their beliefs - maybe you
are not so clean and pure as you think. There are many, many people who
do not think the same way that you do. I am originally from Southern
Illinois - and I do not feel that I am a 'hick' - as some Liberals think
states may be 'fly-over country' - but they are all good people and have
a right to their votes the same as all of those Elites on the East and
I am praying
for our Troops fighting for our Freedom - and hope that all of you are
doing the same. Sometimes I feel that you are not!
|Faith, values, religion -- and the election
It won't surprise you that we're going to talk about this for
a while. Everybody else is! And we think it may be helpful for a
group like the Witherspoon Society, with its commitment to work for peace
and justice in response to the call of Christ, to provide a place for some
conversation about this.
You'll find other helpful material listed below, but here
are some interesting new items:
|Gene TeSelle provides some general
post-election reflections --
what was surprising, and a lot that wasn't -- and the effect of "the
religion gap" on the whole thing.|
Overcoming liberal arrogance and
contempt for Americans who voted for Bush
Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun proclaims one of
the deepest and most challenging analyses of the election: that in the
recent campaign and its aftermath, liberals have shown "contempt" for the
religious and moral concerns of those who supported Bush. And they have
failed to set forth authentic values of their own - including the
"compassionate attitude toward The Other" that they want, but have not
shown to "those people" who are on the other side.
God-talk and moral values|
executive editor of Sojourners, looks at the "moral values"
analyses of the election and sees that both sides were weighing values in
their choices, but from two very different worldviews. It involves much
more than abortion and gay marriage. Both groups see morality and values
as matters of public concern.
But one view sees God as offering direct moral guidance,
if not commands. (Especially to the President.) The other sees guidance in
the life and teachings of Jesus, out of which Christians must make choices
of their own.
One view sees a moral imperative to leave economic
choices entirely to the individual, and the other sees economics as a
matter of communal responsibility - caring for one another and for the
community, as well as for the individual.
One group sees God as waging an apocalyptic battle again
evil - a battle in which they are fighting on the side of God. The other
see themselves also as engaged in a struggle, but it is not one in which
the outcome is divinely ordained, nor is it a clear contest between forces
of pure good and pure evil.
So it's not simply a clash of values, but a struggle
between very different ways of reading the Bible and understanding how
Christians are called to live out their faith.
Batstone sums it up with the words of Thomas Friedman,
columnist of The New York Times: We are now "two nations under
A Stolen Election?
even conceded yet when the "We were robbed!" messages began to fly over
the Internet. With stories abounding of voting problems and lots of
confirmed cases of error, like the county in Ohio that registered an extra
3,893 votes for Bush, there's reason for concern. The Nation's
David Corn looks at the rhetoric and conspiracy theories and finds that we
probably didn't have a stolen election -- but that we do have an electoral
system with enough flaws that it'll always be a possibility unless
|... but then again ...|
There was "voter suppression and fraud" in Ohio, says Ohio reporter
(Ohio) Free Press reports that "evidence is mounting that the 2004
presidential election was stolen in Ohio. Emerging revelations of voting
irregularities coupled with well-documented Republican efforts at voter
suppression prior to the election suggests that in a fair election Kerry
would have won Ohio."
The article is by Bob Fitrakis, a Professor in the
Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Columbus State Community
College. He has a Ph.D in Political Science and a J.D. from The Ohio State
University Law School. He is the author of seven books, an investigative
reporter, and Editor of the Columbus Free Press.
Thom Hartmann describes the appearance of
Values? How about the values of Jesus?|
Speaking of values in the election, Steve Swearingen, of Anderson, SC,
sent a letter to the editor of his local paper during the campaign, and
shares it with us to add to this conversation.
On gay marriage and laws against it|
Kathleen Eschen-Pipes, a Presbyterian Minister in Santa Cruz, CA, suggests
that we consider a "trial separation" between Church and State.
|More thoughts on the election
Your WebWeaver is gathering a variety of comments and
analyses of the election, with a focus on the moral concerns that seemed to
weigh strongly in favor of George W. Bush -- and on those who urge
progressives to articulate the moral dimension of their convictions as well.
view from Scotland: The Rev. John Mann, an American Presbyterian
pastor serving a church in Glasgow, Scotland, was asked in July 2004, to
preach at the funeral of a teenage Scots soldier killed by a roadside bomb
in Iraq. He now reports on how his parishioners and neighbors are
responding to four more years of what they call "the Bush Regime."|
must reclaim their moral agenda, says Robert Reich|
Lots of commentators have fixed on Bush's use of the
language of personal morality to explain why Kerry lost. Robert Reich
makes the case that Democrats need to get in touch with their inherent
social morality, rather than policy prescriptions, in order to win.
He points at a few possibilities:
Democrats used to talk in moral terms -- about
fighting for civil rights, for example. What could Democrats say now and
in the future? That it's morally wrong to give huge tax cuts to the rich
while cutting social programs for the poor and working class --
especially when the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than
it's been in more than a century. That we have a moral obligation to
give every American child a good education and decent health care. That
it's morally wrong that millions of Americans who work full time don't
earn enough to keep their families out of poverty.
My faith -- and yes, it is a matter of faith, a great
leap of faith -- is that in all these respects, and many more, this
nation can become a more just society.
|A leader of
Soulforce calls for continued struggle as the country moves deeper
Says Jimmy Creech, chairperson of
the Soulforce Board of Directors, "Don't let go of your rage, your anger.
Your rage is a sign you're alive and well, and understand what's
Democrats need a religious left says Michael Lerner
Rabbi Michael Lerner, co-chair of The
Tikkun Community, asserts that values that the Left already holds, like
loving your neighbor and turning the other cheek, need to be embraced
politically. People are voting not for their own economic self-interests,
but for their deeper moral convictions, and progressives must appeal to
that basic moral desire for "a framework of meaning and purpose to their
lives that would transcend the grasping and narcissism that surrounds
Lerner is author of Spirit Matters:
Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul
says one observer (among others)|
Greg Palast, a contributing editor for Harper's magazine, says that
a disproportionate number of votes in Ohio and New Mexico were declared
"spoiled" and thus invalidated.
Progressives are "pathetically out of touch," says
Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of History at Grove City
|What are your thoughts on the election?
And especially, what about the role of religion, faith,
and values -- in the election just past, and as progressives think
about the future?
Please send a note -- or a link to something you find helpful, and
we'll share it here.
And please tell us who you are!
Everything posted here on November 1 - 3
is posted on a new archive page.
Everything from before November, 2004,
is indexed on an archive page.
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries,
confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.
We provided resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest have been:
which removes the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
Confessions. Disapproved, because as an amendment
to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not
10-1, which adopts the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. Approved.|
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Some blogs worth visiting
Mitch Trigger, PVJ's
Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where
Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and
views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both
personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!
You can post your own news and views,
or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.
Voices of Sophia blog
Heather Reichgott, who has created
this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:
After fifteen years of scholarship
and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the
voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy,
students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers
and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God
in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God
through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through
articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and
John Harris’ Summit to
Theological and philosophical
reflections on everything between summit to shore, including
kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology,
politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New
York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive
New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the
Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian
Church in Flushing, NY.
John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive
A Presbyterian minister, currently
serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton,
Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized
and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and
Got more blogs to recommend?
send a note, and we'll see what we can do!