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Archives:  May 2007

This page lists reports and commentary from May, 2007

For items from earlier in August, 2007
All postings from
July, 2007
June, 2007
April, 2007
March, 2007
February, 2007
January, 2007
December, 2006
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
July, 2006

Our coverage of the 2006 General Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

5/31/07
Getting out of Iraq: not an either/or debate

from Gordon Shull, Wooster, OH (Witherspoon member and former professor of international relations)

As one who has opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, I am frustrated by the tenor of the debate on withdrawal. It is so often presented, even in long stories in the New York Times, as an either-or proposition: either get out or stay in. What we ought to be debating is the strategy of withdrawal, with special attention to the Iraq Study Group's recommendation for involvement of the rest of the world, so that others who have more legitimacy than the United States can lead the way to reconciliation and healing.

For many decades US policy in the Middle East has rendered us illegitimate as a dominant figure in the reconstruction of any Arab country. That alone should have kept us out of the war in the first place – and that alone should prompt the Democrats to focus, not just on getting out, not just on setting dates and benchmarks, but on finding a collective substitute to lead the reconstruction task.

It was a virtue of the Tikkun ad in the NYT that it saw this need, and focused on it.

An early version of the ad >>
Reflections after Memorial Day

A war memorial for all the victims

John Feffer writes for Foreign Policy in Focus a reflection on Memorial Day that sees the wider (or deeper) possibilities in such an occasion. It begins:

On the island of Okinawa is a very unusual war memorial. The Cornerstone of Peace resembles the Vietnam War memorial in certain respects: large black walls inscribed with names. But the Cornerstone of Peace has a different shape: curved, concentric walls rather than an angled slash. More importantly, the Okinawa memorial lists all of those who died in the World War II Battle of Okinawa: Americans, Japanese, Okinawans, Koreans, and others.

The rest of the essay >>

Thanks to Witherspooner Betty Hale

June 10 Rally in Washington, DC:

Calling for an End to Israel's 40-Year Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem

The Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP) and Friends of Sabeel North America invite everyone to meet at 1 p.m. in front of the National Gallery of Art, East Building, on 4th St. just south of Pennsylvania Ave. We'll go together to the West Lawn of the Capital for the 2 p.m. rally. For a complete list of events for June 10-11 and a list of rally speakers, see www.endtheoccupation.org.

Immokalee workers continue progress toward greater justice

Yum! Brands expands deal with tomato pickers to all its restaurants

Taco Bell parent company Yum! Brands Inc. recently announced that it has expanded its agreement with a group of church-backed tomato pickers to cover all of its restaurant chains: Pizza Hut, KFC, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food Restaurants.

The rest of the story, from Presbyterian News Service >>

WHY MEN ARE NEVER DEPRESSED
Men Are Just Happier People –

What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth.     More >>

5/29/07
Synod PJC: presbytery can’t make ordination standards essential

Establishing ‘super standard’ skirts authoritative interpretation

by Evan Silverstein -- Presbyterian News Service

We welcome your comments about this decision!
Just send a note, to be posted here.

LOUISVILLE — May 29, 2007 – A church court has concluded that Pittsburgh Presbytery cannot "elevate" language from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) constitution to make compliance with ordination standards "essential" and that it must apply the guidelines to ministerial candidates on an individual basis.

The May 16 ruling by the Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) of the Synod of the Trinity followed a two-day hearing in Camp Hill, PA, regarding a resolution that Pittsburgh Presbytery adopted on Oct. 12, 2006.

The presbytery’s resolution called compliance with the PC(USA)’s ordination standards from The Book of Order, which require chastity in singleness or fidelity in heterosexual marriage, an "essential of Reformed polity." It stated that no exceptions would be permitted within the jurisdiction of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

The resolution also said that clergy are prohibited from conducting same-sex marriages within the presbytery.

The resolution became the focus of a synod court case after three Presbyterian ministers in Pittsburgh, along with two of their church sessions, complained that the middle governing body exceeded its authority to interpret the church’s constitution by approving a "super standard" that "supplants" the PC(USA)’s ordination standards.

The synod PJC ruled 8-3 that the presbytery could not call the ordination standards "an essential" of Reformed polity.

The rest of the report >>

~~~~~~~~~~~

Analysis:

Learning to live with G-6.0108 and the Authoritative Interpretation

Before this decision was issued, Witherspoon Society Issues Analyst Gene TeSelle prepared an analysis of different strategies being used by those who are opposing the 2006 GA action, which issued a new "Authoritative Interpretation" that would allow candidates for ordination -- and the sessions or presbyteries that make the decisions to ordain them -- to respect the consciences of the candidates.

He says:

Even before the Assembly took this action, and certainly since this action, opponents have attacked it with various actions. All of these measures are versions of the movement for "strict subscription" that divided the Church of Scotland in the early 18th century and was rejected by Presbyterians in the American colonies from 1729 on. And all of them try, in various ways, to offer interpretations of the Constitution that would have the same authority as the Constitution itself — a move that was rejected by the General Assembly of 1927 in approving the report of the Swearingen Commission.

The full article >>

5/28/07
A report from Israel/Palestine

Small steps toward a just peace
from Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon O’Donnell is a Presbyterian Volunteer in Mission, serving in Jerusalem with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.     For her earlier reports >>

In this report, Shannon begins:

This past month I’ve had a number of experiences that continue to shape my thoughts, faith, and point of view. I was able to help rebuild some houses that had been destroyed, serve as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Yanoun, and participate in a protest in Bil’in. Each experience taught me something about what it means to work for peace, how to live out my beliefs, how to put actions behind my words, and when to rest within silence.  The rest of the story >>

Theological musings

Easter Hope in a Good Friday World
by Paul E. Capetz

Dr. Paul E. Capetz is joining Douglas Ottati in the writing of "Theological Musing," a regular column for Network News. He is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

In this personal reflection on the events we recently remembered and celebrated in Holy Week, he suggests that the heart of the story is not the cheering story of Easter, but the painfully real story of Good Friday. He writes:

It is not the doctrine [of atonement], but the story of Jesus’ crucifixion that is essential. The gospel is, after all, a story about a messiah whose victory does not look very messianic. It is the story of a faithful Jew, whose fidelity led him to the cross and who calls us to the same fidelity even if it might also lead us to the cross. To illustrate what such fidelity means for modern people we only need remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Oscar Romero. The story is as timely today as it was in ancient Palestine.

The full essay >>

A Retreat for LGBT Presbyterian Seminarians, Candidates & Inquirers
June 7 - 10, 2007 at a retreat center in rural Michigan*

This announcement comes from More Light Presbyterians

More Light Presbyterians is pleased to serve as a co-sponsor with Presbyterian Welcome; Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Montgomery, Alabama; and other LGBT affirming groups and churches for this special retreat designed for LGBT Presbyterian Seminarians, Candidates and Inquirers.

*For more information, registration or scholarship information please contact the Rev. Mieke Vandersall, Minister Director, Presbyterian Welcome, by phone at (917) 441-8638 or email at mieke@presbyterianwelcome.org

Bear Ride, Co-Moderator, More Light Presbyterians, will be participating in this retreat as a resource person and polity consultant. We are also supplying educational resource packets for all retreat participants. For more information about the retreat, the ordination process, polity consultations, etc. you can reach Bear via email at bear.ride@presbyvoicesforjustice.org

5/27/07
"Speaking of Faith" for Memorial Day

For Memorial Day, you may want to revisit Krista Tippet's 2006 conversation with Chaplain Major John Morris on her respected NPR program "Speaking of Faith." He offers challenging insights into the spiritual aspect of our current conflicts, and the spiritual imprint that war always leaves on soldiers, citizens, and a nation. The War on Terror, he says, presents its own spiritual challenges.

bullet The transcript of the program >>
bullet An index page of all the material related to that program >>
An invitation from Rick Ufford-Chase

Come to a "cowboy camp meeting" for peace, justice and care for creation at Ghost Ranch

The Week of Peace: co-sponsored by all the coolest organizations working in and around the PC(USA) for peace, justice and environmental sustainability, this will be an old-fashioned "cowboy camp meeting." There will be worship every night in the new worship space. Argentine theologian Roberto Jordan (who co-wrote the World Alliance of Reformed Churches Confession from Accra, Ghana) will preach four of the nights, noted environmentalist/theologian Larry Rasmussen will preach one evening. Sign up for one intensive workshop on a variety of peacemaking concerns, which will meet each morning. Afternoons will be free to enjoy the ranch. An intentional camp culture will be created (led by Rick Ufford-Chase) for those who prefer to rough it and share meal preparation together.

For more information, and links to the Ghost Ranch site >>

From SOA Watch

Now's the time to urge your Representative to co-sponsor the bill to investigate the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. , Click here to send a message >>

More from SOA Watch:

As action against the School of the Americas/WHINSEC grows stronger, the School is on alert and taking action against its critics.

For background about SOA/WHINSEC >>

SOA Watch is organizing delegations to Colombia and Venezuela – and you’re invited.

Read more about the SOA Watch delegation to Colombia >>

Sorry -- we can't find any information about the Venezuela delegation right now.

Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy sends new E-MEMO UPDATE

ACSWP is broadening its e-mailing list, and will be sending update notes on its work "several times a year." According to the Rev. Dr. Chris Iosso, Coordinator of the Advisory Committee, "We also welcome suggestions of topics or notice of developments [of] which reflective social justice practitioners should be apprised. We plan to communicate as well with past Church & Society Magazine subscribers on new ways to communicate the ethics work and thinking of the church."

This first memo includes notes on ACSWP’s report to GAC; current work on the new Social Creed; the Ghost Ranch Week for Peace and Justice; globalization; Iraq; the planned fall consultation on Peacemaking, Religion, Violence and Terrorism; environmental concerns; and energy.

To join this e-list, send a blank e-mail message to acswp-subscribe-request@halak.pcusa.org

For more on the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, go to http://www.pcusa.org/acswp/

Click here for the full E-Memo Update >>

Democrats, the War, and moral judgments

The recent Congressional votes, allowing continued funding for the US war in Iraq (etc., etc.) have raised many concerns and complaints.  Here are four varied responses for your consideration:

Pat Buchanan says the Democrats "caved" because the didn't have the courage to risk their political fortunes.

Rabbi Michael Lerner says they gave in because they can't offer a morally grounded responses to Bush's push for the war.  And more war.  And more war ....

The Network of Spiritual Progressives (of which Lerner is a founder and major leader) offers what we might call faith-based "talking points" on some of the major social-political issues today:  foreign policy, health,

Finally, Gary Dorrien, the new Reinhold Niebuhr professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, discusses the apparent tension between Niebuhr’s "Christian realism" and current value-centered approaches to social issues.

What do you think? 
How do you balance political "realism" and moral values?  This is certainly something worth talking about, so please send a note and your voice to the conversation.

More staff cuts in Louisville
Office of the General Assembly announces reorganization

Seven staff positions eliminated to ease 2008 budget shortfall

The Office of the General Assembly (OGA) announced plans today for a reorganization of the agency’s work, effective immediately. Cliff Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, made the announcement, which will involve the elimination of seven staff positions.   More >>

5/24/07
Peace Fellowship reports on SOA protesters serving or just finishing prison terms, and Costa Rica’s ending participation in the school

Phil Gates has been released from MDC Los Angeles; he is on his way to lunch with his son and some local supporters in LA. He left a message on my phone and sounded great. Welcome home, Phil!
Phil's email address is
DrMsG@aol.com

In a related matter, SOA Watch has just announced that Costa Rica will no longer send students to the school. As you know, they have no army but their national police had been going there for training.

Thanks for your continued support of our two Presbyterian prisoners of conscience still in prison. Don Coleman and Julienne Oldfield reported to prison on April 17, so Don has one more month to serve and Julienne will be in for 2 more months.
Joyfully,
Marilyn (White)

ARTHUR D. COLEMAN #92949-020
MCC CHICAGO
METROPOLITAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER
71 WEST VAN BUREN STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60605

JULIENNE OLDFIELD #92954-020
FDC PHILADELPHIA
FEDERAL DETENTION CENTER
P.O. BOX 562
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106

Witness in Washington Weekly

This weekly bulletin, produced by the Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), focuses this week on some issues about which the PC(USA) has stated policies, and which are now wending their way somewhere through the halls of Congress:

• Tell Your Members of Congress to Vote NO on Fast Track Renewal!

• Housing Vouchers: an important support for low-income families

• Stated Clerk's Letter to Congress Opposing Free Trade Agreements

• Clarification of Presbyterian Policy Related to the Supreme Court Ruling on Late Term Abortions

Click here to see the opening paragraphs of each of the items; to read the rest, click here, and scroll down the page to that point.

The Legacy of Jerry Falwell is considered in a new, one-page piece in the Thoughtful Christian series

John Dart, news editor for the Christian Century, looks at Falwell’s influence on American politics as he linked conservative Christians to the Republican Party, though his influence has faded in recent years. He notes that Falwell, unlike many other leaders on the Christian right, managed to relate well with many of his opponents.

The study is produced under the aegis of Westminster John Knox Press, and is available online for $5.   More – and to order >>

See other comments on the life and work of Jerry Falwell >>

5/21/07
Don't forget two important Witherspoon events coming soon:

A WEEK FOR PEACE, GLOBAL JUSTICE AND CREATION
July 30 - August 5, 2007
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico


BECOMING NEIGHBORS:
An Invitation to Global Discipleship

A Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice
September 16 - 19, 2007
Louisville, Kentucky

You can now register online for this conference --
and even pay, too.

We're added new information for both events -- so check 'em out!

5/17/07
Reflecting on the life and work of the Rev. Jerry Falwell

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who died on May 15, was a significant and polarizing figure in American politics and religion during the last 30 years.

For many of us, his death is an occasion for reflecting on the rise of the Religious Right in the United States, and its current role in our society and our political life.

So here’s a survey of some of the commentaries on Jerry Falwell and his significance for us today.

We've included comments from

bulletJonathan Alter of Newsweek: "Don't believe the Falwell hype"
bulletBarry Lynn of Americans United
bulletSoulForce
bulletUS News and World Report:  "Falwell Launched the Modern Christian Right"
bullet"The Next Jerry Falwell," on EthicsDaily, a very good Southern Baptist website
bullet"What he really said," on Slate
bulletThe voice of "Southernist resentment," from Jonathan Justice

We welcome your comments, or suggestions of others that we might include.  Just send a note!

May/June 2007

WASHINGTON REPORT TO PRESBYTERIANS

The 110th Congress has been in session for four months, with little to show for its work in the way of substantive legislative achievements. The budget for fiscal year 2008 has not been adopted, and other major issues await action. This issue of Washington Report to Presbyterians discusses three high priority concerns for the religious community that will be the subject of debate and contention in Congress this year.

bullet Funding for the war in Iraq and efforts to combat the humanitarian crisis facing that country
bullet Immigration reform
bullet Reauthorization of the Farm Bill
5/15/07
I'm back -- after 5 days on a very good silent retreat, and five days of a challenging struggle with computer woes.  Sorry for the long absence!

One result of the computer problems was my loss of some files, including email and such.  So if you have sent me anything over the past month or two that has not been acknowledged, please let me know!  Just send a note.

Your webweaver, Doug King

On God and Empire

We have posted and published discussions over the past few years about the present efforts of the US to wield the power of Empire over the rest of the world. As a reminder of this concern, we suggest you might want to look at a brief summary by John Shuck of John Dominic Crossan’s book on God and Empire.

Crossan sees Jesus as standing over against the majesty of Imperial Rome, and against the strong threads of violence woven through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Jesus confronts us, he says, with a choice between seeking peace through victory, or peace through justice.

For some of our earlier posts on the subject >>

Order Crossan's book from here >>
 

Warfare in orbit is only news when China does it
The Real 'Masters of Space' say so.


Back in January of this year, China was widely reported to have conducted its first test of an anti-satellite missile. Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at SUNY College at Old Westbury, and author of Weapons in Space and other books, has published a very interesting article examining how US news media reported that event. For instance, CNN’s intrepid Lou Dobbs proclaimed, "Communist China tonight refusing to explain its motives for conducting its first-ever anti-satellite missile test. That test, the latest in a series of dangerous new challenges by the Chinese military to this country’s interest."   Read the full article >>

He examines reporting by the New York Times, various journals of the space and nuclear industries, along with a few critical comments (from British publications!).

He cites Bruce Gagnon, who for 15 years has been coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, who provides a summary comment:

While China's ASAT test is troubling, it is also hypocritical of the U.S. to criticize them for doing something that our country has been doing since the 1980s. The Pentagon today is developing a host of ASAT weapons technologies that would give them the ability to knock out other countries’ satellites. Sadly, the American people don't know anything about this because the corporate-dominated media refuse to cover the story.

(Appearing in April 2007 issue of Extra! The Magazine of FAIR--The Media Watch Group)

Rev. Jerry Falwell dies

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died Tuesday shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.   More >>

PJC says ordination standards include ministerial candidates

The highest court of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has affirmed that the standards for ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians extend to those seeking to become candidates for the ministry.

The statement came in a ruling issued last week by the PC(USA)'s General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) in the case of George R. Stewart vs. Mission Presbytery.
The case involved a woman who in October 2005 was accepted as a candidate for ministry by Mission Presbytery, which is based in San Antonio, TX. The presbytery voted to approve her candidacy even though its moderator informed members that the candidate "is a lesbian and lives in a committed (same-sex) relationship."

The full story from Presbyterian News Service >>

Presbyterians for Restoring Creation names Rev. Renee Marie Rico as new national Coordinator

Presbyterians for Restoring Creation – a nationwide network that responds to the call of the Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA) to care for God’s creation – has named The Rev. Renee Marie Rico as its new national Coordinator. She replaces Rebecca Barnes-Davies who was PRCs first Coordinator (September 2001-May 2007), who will be moving on to attend Louisville Seminary in the fall. Rico will begin her duties on June 1, 2007.   More >>

More Light Presbyterians recommends ...

OutFront Arizona Conference
Blessing All Our Families

June 1 - 2, 2007, Phoenix, Arizona

More Light Presbyterians is delighted to be one of the national sponsors of this extraordinary 2-day conference celebrating and offering education about LGBT persons, relationships and families within a faith context in Phoenix, June 1 - 2.

This OutFront Arizona Conference is being offered by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, and No Longer Silent, Clergy for Justice coalition in Arizona. First Congregational UCC Church, Phoenix, is the host church.

For those of you in the Southwest particularly, we encourage you to participate in this conference. The worship, speakers and workshops are a strong program which includes our Marvin Ellison, Professor of Ethics and Presbyterian minister, Bangor Theological Seminary. The conference flyer follows this invitation. Scholarships are available to students and those on limited income.

For more information on the conference and registration, please go to www.clgs.org or contact me at michaeladee@aol.com  or the National MLP Field Office (505) 820-7082.

With hope and grace,
Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., National Field Organizer, More Light Presbyterians michaeladee@aol.com
www.mlp.org

Speaking of coming events --

Don't forget two major events sponsored (or co-sponsored) by the Witherspoon Society:

BECOMING NEIGHBORS:
An Invitation to Global Discipleship
A Witherspoon conference on global mission and justice
September 16 - 19, 2007, in Louisville, Kentucky

and
 

A WEEK FOR PEACE, GLOBAL JUSTICE AND CREATION
July 30 - August 5, 2007
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico

The Witherspoon Society is joining with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Presbyterians for Restoring Creation and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, along with Ghost Ranch, to provide Presbyterians with a rich selection of leaders and topics centering on just what the title says:  peace, global justice, and the creation.   
More >>

5/5/07
We'll be away for a while -- but this website will still be here, and we'll be adding new items in just about a week.  See you then!
Fascist America??

Wolf's heart is in the right place but her head is elsewhere

A comment from Berry Craig, who begins:   

I like Naomi Wolf’s books. But if a story posted elsewhere on the Witherspoon
website is an example of how she writes history, she should stick to other topics.
The headline is a grabber: "Fascist America, in 10 easy steps." The story is half-baked.
Wolf claims history proves it takes "10 steps" to turn a democracy into a dictatorship. "... Each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration," she added.

Baloney.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t vote for the Union-Buster-in-Chief (or his daddy). My candidate in 2000 was Al Gore, whom Wolf worked for.

Wolf’s heart is in the right place. Her head is somewhere else if she thinks "George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society."

Bush is not a big fan of the Bill of Rights (except for the Second Amendment).

But that doesn’t make him a Fascist.    More >>

Time to support the Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Last Thursday, May 3, the House of Representatives passed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by a vote of 237 to 180.

People for the American Way suggests that the more difficult challenge will be passing this bill in the Senate. They encourage people to send a message to their Senators, urging them to pass this vital legislation.

They say:

Petition your senators today. PFAW will gather as many signatures as we can with your help, then well compile the signatures from each state and make sure all U.S. senators know that Americans support hate crimes legislation to help ensure the prosecution of violent crime.

The latest human tragedy illustrating the need for this bill is that of Ryan Skipper, a 25-year-old Florida man who was murdered in March for being gay. His assailants stabbed him 20 times, cut his throat and left his body on the side of the road. This level of brutality is painful even to think about, and not remotely acceptable in the America you, I or any of us want to live in.

Passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act will send the message that anti-gay violence will not be tolerated in the United States.

Please sign PFAWs petition to the Senate today, urging passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

After you sign, help increase the strength and effectiveness of the petition by reaching out to your friends and family and getting them to sign as well. Forward this note or direct them to this link:

http://www.pfaw.org/go/HateCrimesPetition

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that the "only effect [hate crimes legislation] will truly have is to gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda." Although the Far Right was unable to stop the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the House, it will surely be targeting senators with the same misleading line about how the bill threatens free speech and freedom of religion despite the fact that nothing could be further from the truth and that PFAW successfully debunked these claims with members of Congress and the media.

We beat the Right and won a hard-fought victory today in the House. With your help, well do the same in the Senate.

Thank you for all you do for the American Way.

Sincerely,

Ralph G. Neas, President
People For the American Way

Families USA has created a new Faith-Based Resource Center

This announcement comes from Families USA

We are happy to inform you that we have recently created a new Faith-Based Resource Center on our Web site. This new resource center is intended to empower those in the faith community who wish to advocate for high-quality, affordable health care for all and, at the same time, to help advocates seeking to reach out to communities of faith.

To receive e-mails specifically related to faith-based health care access efforts, click here to sign up.

The tools and resources on the site outline specific strategies for the faith community to use in achieving health care equity. In the days to come, we hope to add additional resources to this list. Some of the resources currently on the Web site include:

• Case studies on how specific faith communities have gotten involved in health care advocacy;

• Sample bulletins on different health care issues that can be distributed within the faith community;

• An activity to develop strategies for addressing health policy issues on the local, state, and national level;

• A tip sheet on how advocates can effectively engage the faith community on health care issues.

We would love to hear from you. If you have suggestions for materials we should post or organizations we should link to, please let us know.

For more on the issue of health care >>

Restoring Creation Conference planned for October

The sixth National Eco-Justice Conference of Presbyterians for Restoring Creation is scheduled at Mo-Ranch Presbyterian Conference Center in Hunt, Texas, Oct. 25-28. At the conference, participants will explore the themes of food and energy choices. Speakers and workshop leaders will focus on several subjects including biblical and theological foundations for eco-justice, social justice, and scientific and political issues.

Presbyterians for Restoring Creation is an affiliate, grassroots organization of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)  Details about the conference, "Earth Sabbath, Earth Justice: Protecting God’s Gifts of Food and Fuel," can be found at www.prcweb.org

5/2/07
The killings at Virginia Tech -- 3 perspectives   

The Virginia Tech "massacre" generates different lines of reflection

Witherspoon Issues Analyst Gene TeSelle sorts out some of those lines – as a starting point for more reflection   

"Parent Tears" is a poem in which the Rev. Bobbie McGarey transforms the pain of the Blacksburg killings into a prayer.

Presbyterian pastors in Blacksburg tell of their experience and their roles, and see faith, community and time as vital in the process of healing .  A report from Presbyterian News Service.

5/1/07
Presbyterian Witness in Washington Weekly for April 30, 2007

The Presbyterian Washington Office provides updates on current legislation in Congress dealing with issues of special concern:

This week’s issues are-

bullet Support ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN and Oppose GUN ACCESS Bills
bullet Farm Bill Reform – Reaching for a Just Food Policy
bulletTake Action: Cuba Call in Days May 1 and 2
bulletDays of Prayer and Action for Colombia May 20th - 21st
bulletNew Tribal Justice and Safety Site Announced
Farm workers movement says Thanks

We recently passed along a request from the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO, for support in their campaign to get the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to press the Mexican government to guarantee the safety of farm labor organizers in Mexico, after the murder of one of their staff members.

The campaign has achieved its goal – or at least a significant step toward that goal. More >>

Cuba and terrorism: who’s doing it to whom?

Is the US protecting terrorists like Luis Posada, while imprisoning Cubans who have sought to protect their people against terrorism?

The Nation magazine has released a special issue focusing on the future of Cuba. Guest editor Peter Kornbluh writes in this issue:

Perhaps more than any other nation over the past fifty years, Cuba has consistently faced both threatened and real assassination attempts, sabotage efforts, armed attacks and bombings, infamous among them the midair destruction of a Cubana passenger plane in 1976.

Yet even in the post-9/11 world, US soil continues to be used for such purposes.

In fact, the Five are better understood as counterterrorism agents whose goal was to protect Cubans and other innocent victims from the violence of committed terrorists like Luis Posada. The Bush Administration's handling of these two historically inseparable cases is a reminder that, when it comes to Cuba, US policy-makers refuse to recognize the difference between those who commit acts of terror and those seeking to counter them.

For Kornbluh’s article on "Terror and the Counterterrorists," and more, go to www.thenation.com, and search for "Cuba"

40 Years in the Wilderness: 40 Years of Occupation

Sabeel announces 2nd International Young Adult Conference to be held this summer, traveling through Jerusalem and the West Bank, July 19-29.

Sabeel’s vision for this conference is to gather, network, and further educate young leaders from Palestine and around the world during this 40th year of the Occupation, so that they may be trained, commissioned, and equipped with the tools to act in advocacy to end the Occupation.

More >>

For items from earlier in August, 2007
All postings from
July, 2007
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February, 2007
January, 2007
December, 2006
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
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Our coverage of the 2006 General Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages, click here.

 

GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We're providing resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest are:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which would remove the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.
 

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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

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 thoughtful community.

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

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 lightening up.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!

 

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