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Election 2004


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 money.

By the way, the other version was headed "Not One Damn Dime Day." Take your pick.    [12-21-04]


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 .

There is 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 openness."

You can read the article in The Nation, or at TruthOut or AlterNet.

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.

'Evangelical Christianity has been hijacked,' says Tony Campolo   [12-3-04] 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 personal

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"
bullet"Where is our national conscience?"

Todd Huffman, M.D., a pediatrician living in Eugene, Oregon, sends a note probing this question. He wonders how it is in this great and wealthy nation "we are giving unwitting consent to allowing more and more of our fellow citizens, disproportionately children, to fall into vulnerability, and into poverty? We profess to pollsters a high regard for 'moral values,' and yet why isn't poverty immoral? Why isn't lack of medical care immoral?"  [11-22-04]

bulletJohn Preston argues that progressives failed to impact the election effectively because "we haven't been explicit enough in connecting faith to our morality and politics."    [11-22-04]
bulletKaren Kiser appreciates Gene TeSelle's analysis of the election, but adds that Kerry lost for some other reasons as well.   [11-22-04]

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!

To the Democrats:  "Act like Christians"

Barbara 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 souls."

Hmm. Talk about your radicals!   [11-17-04]

This essay appears in The Nation, and can be found also on AlterNet.

Also .... some Democrats believe the party should get religion

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 stance
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    [11-15-04]

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.

JP Thornton
Augusta, VA

Faith and values and the election -- continuing reflections   [11-12-04]
bulletAnother 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.

He writes:

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.

bulletWitherspooner Amy Ukena urges people to support demands for an investigation of voting irregularities.

Dear Friends,

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 again.

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 from the site.

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, at:


bulletOn the passage of anti-gay state marriage amendments, the Session of First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, California, calls these actions "mean-spirited, materially harmful, and incompatible with the God of love revealed in Jesus of Nazareth."
bulletIn response to Gene TeSelle's survey of the presidential election, one visitor expresses disappointment about "all these terrible things that you are saying about our wonderful President."

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 wonderful President.

President 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 about us.

The Red 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 West Coasts!!!

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!

Wilma Wilt
Claremont, Ca.

Faith, values, religion -- and the election   [11-10-04]

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:

bulletGene 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.
bullet 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.

bullet God-talk and moral values

David Batstone, 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 God."

bullet A Stolen Election?  Maybe not!

Kerry hadn't 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 something changes.

bullet... but then again ...
There was "voter suppression and fraud" in Ohio, says Ohio reporter

The Columbus (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 similar problems in Florida.

bullet 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.

bullet 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      [11-5-04]
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.
bulletThe 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."
bullet Democrats 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.

bulletA leader of Soulforce calls for continued struggle as the country moves deeper into crisis

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 happening!"


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 them."

Lerner is author of Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul

bullet "Kerry won," 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.

bullet Progressives are "pathetically out of touch," says Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of History at Grove City College


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.


GA actions 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:

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

bullet Amendment 10-2, 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 receive that.

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

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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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© 2011 by Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  All material on this site is the responsibility of the WebWeaver unless other sources are acknowledged.  Unless otherwise noted, material on this site may be copied for personal use and sharing in small groups.  For permission to reproduce material for wider publication, please contact the WebWeaver, Doug King.  Any material reached by links on this site is outside the control and responsibility of the WebWeaver and Presbyterian Voices for Justice.  Questions or comments?  Please send a note!