Archives: August 2005
This page lists all reports and commentary from August, 2005
June, 2005 >>
May, 2005 >>
April, 2005 >>
Our coverage of the 2004 General
Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages,
comments on the Theological Task Force report
president of the Witherspoon Society, adds his thoughts on ways in which
the Task Force report has fulfilled some of his hopes, but has badly
|The Executive Committee of the
Covenant Network has
issued a statement in which they express appreciation for the report’s
affirmation of the unity of the church, along with concern that it does
not address the steps needed for a more just and inclusive church.
Hal Porter writes to commend the statements by More Light
Presbyterians and by their staff person, Michael Adee.|
Presbyterian Church appealing for $10 million in
Hurricane Katrina relief
Disaster specialists traveling to affected areas to help survivors
For situation updates, and a variety of ways to help,
go to the PDA page
There you’ll also find bulletin inserts that you can download and copy for
use on Sunday.
Did the Iraq
War lose US New Orleans?
Editor&Publisher carries an article by Will Bunch, showing how the
terrible flooding in New Orleans has been caused partly by reductions in the
budget for the Army Corps of Engineers on the Southeast Louisiana Urban
Flood Control Project.
Sojourners reminds us –
Act to protect
our children from military recruiters
within the No Child Left Behind Act is a provision that requires public high
schools to hand over students' private contact information to military
recruiters. If a school does not comply, it risks losing vital federal
education funds. As if that weren't bad enough, the Pentagon has now built
an illegal database of 30 million 16 to 25-year-olds as another recruitment
Rita Brock reports on Camp Casey
The Rev. Dr. Rita Brock, who has been deeply involved in
Faith Voices and other groups working for the end of the war against
Iraq, reported recently about her visit to Camp Casey and Cindy Sheehan.
She now tells of
visit there for an interfaith rally and prayers for peace.
Two Witherspoon comments on the
Theological Task Force report
offers a careful analysis of the paper, particularly its recommendations.|
considers some of the value issues involved in the recommendations.|
And let’s hear the voice of one gay person responding to
the Task Force report:
We are the object of Debate? How odd. How embarrassing
Is that possible?
....are we like funding for highways or "entitlements"
or lunch programs?
We are somehow Less Than.....is this it?
Raise your hand if you think all people are equal.
Correct me if I'm wrong.....
I feel very differently. There is no force that can stop
I am not a big fan of intimidation. Yes, let that
"intimidation thing" go away....by all means.
But a "cease-fire" doesn't mean a Whole Lot when all the
volleys come from one side.
Peace (without justice) is the hallmark of every abusive
relationship. Everyone knows that.
History and the Spirit will show us the way. We will
survive and we will thrive.
PS: The recent TTF report does not make me feel
Discouraged in general.....I only feel Discouraged for the institution.
Posted here with thanks to the author,
who feels it necessary to remain anonymous.
"Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but
according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage --- torture,
imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians ---which
does not change its moral color when it is committed by 'our' side. The
nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own
side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
- George Orwell
Thanks to the e-list No2Torture
More on the final
report of the Theological Task Force:
MLP expresses concern
about ban on any further actions on ordination
The board of More Light Presbyterians has issued a
statement on the final report of the Theological Task Force, saying they
appreciate much of the material in the report, but are "dismayed" at the
proposal that the next General Assembly take no further action on the issue
of ordination. Further, while appreciating the process of discernment, they
see the call for more talk as "deeply insulting" to lgbt persons and their
families and friends.
They add: "More than a season of discernment, we call again for a season
of illumination where openness and honesty are encouraged. We urge the
Presbyterian Church (USA) to delete G-6.0106b from the book of order and we
encourage Presbyteries to continue to send delete-B overtures to the 217th
More on the final
report of the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity of the
text of the report >>
Please send a note,
to be shared here!
The Executive Committee of the Witherspoon
Society is preparing a response to the report.
Presbyterians is doing likewise.
Board will meet in September to consider its response to the final report.
The Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church has
released its final report and recommendations.
|Download the full text of the report, as a 38-page PDF
file, from the
PC(USA) web site.
|Outlook reporter Leslie Scanlon opens her
The Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) should enter a “season of discernment,” in which its ordination
standards should not change, but local governing bodies should determine
whether candidates for ordination have departed from those ordination
standards – and whether a departure in a particular case “constitutes a
failure to adhere to the essentials of Reformed faith and polity.”
|The Washington Post interprets the report as
urging change, and allowing exceptions in matters of ordination. The
After four years of work on the most contentious
issues facing the church, a task force of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) recommended yesterday that the 2.4 million-member denomination
keep all its national standards for ordination but give local bodies the
option of making individual exceptions for some gay ministers.
|The Layman says the report "comes close to local
We will bring you an analysis of the report by Gene
TeSelle, and a brief statement by our Executive Committee, within a day or
two. We hope.
Please send a note,
to be shared here!
Drifting toward catastrophe
Ex-missionary says A-bomb memorials reinforce grim lesson
world still has not learned
In June we posted a note
from James Atwood, seeking signatures for the petition he was going to
present as part of a Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation marking the
60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The
petition called on the government of Japan to maintain the rejection of war
which is part of their constitution.
He writes now reporting and reflecting on the visit: "If
the planet is to survive, the world must accept the fact that using nuclear
weapons on human beings is unconscionable."
The New Face of the Global Justice Movement:
Taco Bell Boycott Victory - A Model of Strategic Organizing
An interview with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a
community-based worker organization. Their members are largely Latino,
Haitian, and Mayan Indian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the
state of Florida. They recently won a landmark victory in their national
boycott of Taco Bell this March 2005, when amidst growing pressure from
students, churches and communities throughout the country, Taco Bell agreed
to meet all their demands to improve wages and working conditions for
Florida tomato pickers in its supply chain.
David Solnit is a direct action organizer, puppeteer, and
the editor of "Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a
Better World." He is currently involved in organizing and popularizing
people power strategies to end the Iraq war and occupation, and has worked
for the past four years as an ally of CIW.
He interviewed CIW workers, and reports their responses to
his questions about some of the major elements in their victory, including
creating consciousness of their situation, building alliances [in which the
PC(USA) was one partner] and networks, framing and telling their story,
developing leadership skills among their farm-worker members, and planning
campaigns with a series of clear, short-term goals that could be met and
Read the rest of
the story >>
Visit the Coalition
Des Moines presbytery passes ordination
Thanks both to the Rev. Bill LeMosy and to More Light
Presbyterians, we can report that
the Presbytery of Des Moines Presbytery an overture to permit the ordination
of lgbt Presbyterians, during its meeting this past Saturday, August 20,
2005. With 78 persons eligible to vote, the overture passed with 42 in
favor, 34 opposed and 2 abstentions. In 2004, it was Des Moines Presbytery
to pass the first ordination overture. This is the second time that the Des
Moines Presbytery has passed an ordination overture.
Michael Adee, National Field Organizer
for More Light Presbyterians, notes that "The groundswell
of ordination overtures being considered and passed continues all across the
country. What happened in Des Moines Presbytery this past week illustrates
once again that now is the time for change, now is the time for the
Presbyterian Church (USA) to remove the anti-gay barriers within its church
law and relationship with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and
our families. It gives evidence once again that people are ready for change,
and for the PCUSA to reclaim its moral voice as a ‘reformed and always
reforming’ faith tradition."
For more information, text and resources on ordination overtures,
visit the MLP
comments on Theological Task Force release of first sections of report
We have earlier posted comments from the
Witherspoon Society and
More Light Presbyterians,
responding to the draft first sections of the report on the Peace, Unity and
Purity of the Church. We apologize for losing track of the letter from
the Co-Moderators of the Covenant Network, offering their views of the
Among other things, they note that while the members of
the Task Force affirm their respect for one another, they also says none of
them has compromised on basic beliefs. They comment, "It, therefore,
remains unclear how the Task Force’s recommendations will help Presbyterians
move from the same 'basic commitments' that they currently hold to a new
circumstance in which we can live with less conflict and more 'patience,
mutual forbearance, and dedicated communal discernment.' ”
California court affirms gay couples' parental status
The California Supreme Court on Monday became the first in
the nation to grant full parenting rights and obligations to gays and
lesbians who have children. In three closely watched cases, the justices set
rules in an area where changes in family structure and advances in
technology have outpaced the evolution of legal principles.
Read the story >>
Presbyterians say No to Torture
A grassroots group of Presbyterians, concerned about the
treatment of prisoners captured and held by the US and our allies since the
9/11 attacks, has established a Yahoo Group to facilitate communication and
information sharing. Learn more at
In introducing this Yahoo group "No2Torture," the
"This Yahoo group is the result of a grassroots
groundswell that began at the 2005 Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference at
Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Over 50 people came together to begin to organize
as advocates for humane treatment of prisoners captured and held by the
United States and our allies since the 9/11 attacks. We are motivated by
love of God and our country, and by concern for captive and captors alike.
To this end, we have decided to work, study and pray together and to take
such action as we deem necessary to promote peace, justice and compassion.
All who wish to join us are welcome. It is important to note that, while
those who initiate this conversation are Presbyterian, motivated by the
traditions and statements of our church, including the
2005 General Assembly Statement Against Torture and Abuse, we do not
speak for the church."
More on the problem
of torture >>
The SwiftBoating of Cindy Sheehan
The Bush Administration has moved as usual to smear a critic
– this time the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq. That has worked in the
past against such Vietnam veterans as John McCain, Max Cleland, and John
Kerry. This time, says Frank Rich, it may not work as well. Even if the
media continue to parrot the White House line, the people are catching on.
Read it on
>> OR in the
More on Cindy
Sheehan and growing protests against the war >>
In the be-careful-what-you-pray-for department:
Don’t give Bush an exit strategy
Norman Solomon, author of the new book War Made Easy:
How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, warns that much of
the growing opposition to the war is based on concern that the war is
failing. The Administration’s easy response to that may well be to escalate
rather than "lose the war." If opponents of the war are serious, he says,
they must make clear it’s the war they oppose, not just the possibility of
losing. And getting out must be presented as the only way to deal with that.
Nuclear bunker busters
Senate has included money for the nuclear bunker buster (designed to be used
against deeply buried targets and underground bunkers) in the Energy and
Water Appropriations bill. The House version does not include this funding.
A conference committee will meet in September to resolve the difference.
Senators Domenici (NM), Cochran (MS), McConnell (KY), Bennett (UT), Burns
(MT), Craig (ID), Bond (MO), Sen. Hutchison (TX), and Allard (CO) need to
hear from their constituents on this issue.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation provides
way to send email.
Learn about nuclear bunker busters at
From the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Update, 20
Thanks to the Rev. W. Mark Koenig, Associate for Resources
and Publications, Presbyterian
You may want to join in ...
Three Days of Actions
for Peace & Justice in D.C.
Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Fair
Gather 11 AM at the Washington Monument
|Sat., Sept. 24 - Operation Ceasefire Concert|
|Sun., Sept. 25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training|
|Mon., Sept. 26 - Congressional Education Day and Mass Nonviolent
Direct Action and Civil Disobedience, Linking Anti-war and Global Justice
Within the three days of actions in D.C.
there will be a special series of events dedicated to ...
Ideas for observing September 11
Pueblo Presbytery is sponsoring an
for Peace Service."
Grace Presbytery has invited a Palestinian Christian, a
Palestinian Muslim, and an Israeli Jew involved in peacemaking to spend
September 8-15 in the presbytery.
Other ideas?? Please share yours!
Just send a note.
A late report from Crawford and Camp Casey
Jake Young, pastor and Witherspoon Vice President, is on
his way home to South Carolina after visiting Crawford, Texas, and "Camp
Casey," with a group from his congregation. He sends this quick report:
When we arrived we were saddened to learn that Cindy
Sheehan was preparing to leave because her mother had suffered a stroke. We
were concerned for her mother and family. And, obviously, there was much
disappointment that the leader of the vigil would have to leave. What would
happen now? Will this energy just dissipate? Will the media attention ebb?
The answer to the last question is, "Of course!"
But what we saw emerge over the brief time we were there,
was a renewed sense of energy and commitment to support our troops by
advocating for peace. Just two or three hours after she left, people were no
longer saying, "Will Cindy be back? When?" Instead, they began saying,
"Cindy does not need to come back. She has been the catalyst. She can't be
here holding our hands." And we began to look around and discover others
right there at Camp Casey who could speak with the same moral authority as
Cindy because they had lost sons and other family members in this immoral
war. It was no longer a "cult of Cindy" but the emergence of a sharper focus
on the topic that united all these people on a Texas roadside in the first
The numbers visiting the Peace House in Crawford and Camp
Casey out near the Western White House never diminished. They were actually
burgeoning on Friday afternoon as we left following the formal noon Peace
Vigil led by approximately 30 clergy. Not only is the energy and commitment
alive and well in the peace movement at Crawford, it now embodies a sense of
responsibility by all parties. This is not only about one grieving mother
from California. It is about all of us who call this empire home.
More on Cindy
Sheehan and growing protests against the war >>
"We know the bomb
Dr. Earl Tilford responds to
Dr. Gordon Shull note from yesterday,
outlining an argument that the use of atomic bombs over Japan really did not
hasten the end of the war. Dr. Tilford says that the war ended, so
that proves the bomb worked.
We didn’t need
to use the Bomb on Japan
Shull, who taught US foreign policy throughout the cold war, and paid close
attention to the Hiroshima issue, sent a comment a few days ago, in response
to a note from Earl Tilford in support
of the use of the bombs.
Dr. Shull sets forth his understanding of the
circumstances surrounding the use of the atomic bombs over Japan, which lead
him to view that action as unnecessary, or at the least rather unplanned.
More on Hiroshima & Nagasaki
A thoughtful and informed Jew praises
Presbyterian commitment to dialogue, and laments present policies of
Eric Geller refers to the PC(USA) study paper
approved in 1987, called, "A Theological
Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews." He is
apparently responding to the
latest Presbyterian steps
The latest news of the
accompaniment program in Colombia -- with a report from accompaniers
Marilyn White and Jane Wood, and a request for help in maintaining this
Vigils support Cindy Sheehan's
action, saying No to the war
Religious leaders rally in Nashville to present an
alternative to the religious right’s "Justice Sunday II"
Conservative Christians press for confirmation of John
Roberts to Supreme Court
The 90-year-old founder of the French-based
Taizé Christian ecumenical community has
been stabbed to death at a prayer service.
Police detained a woman after the assault on Swiss-born
Roger Schutz, who was known as Brother Roger. Around 2,500 young
people were at the Reconciliation church in Burgundy at the time of the
The BBC reports >>
If you've been involved in the Taizé
and have reflections to share here,
please send a note.
Cindy Sheehan’s vigil for peace
If you’re following the many reports of one mother’s act
of conscience on behalf of her son, killed in Iraq,
here’s one great collection of
articles and photos, including Ms. Sheehan’s own comments.
And William Pitt reports on the creation of the "Arlington
West cemetery" by the activists who are accompanying Cindy Sheehan in
Crawford, TX – and the harassment of the group, expanding finally to the
deliberate desecration of the grave markers by one Larry Northern of Waco,
Join a vigil tonight!
Tonight, Wednesday August 17, vigils are being held across
the nation in support of Cindy Sheehan's witness for peace.
An interfaith prayer service will be held at the Camp Casey Memorial
in Crawford, TX, Friday August 19, 2005, at Noon - U.S. Central Daylight
A suggested prayer
for use in the vigils is offered by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the
Shalom Center in Philadelphia
Cindy Sheehan’s vigil is of course being attacked from
If you have more to add --
news of activities, opinions of your own --
please send a note
to be shared here.
Presbyterians continue to pursue possible divestment from companies
supporting Israeli occupation of Palestine
Presbyterian Church’s Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI)
committee , meeting last week in Seattle, chose five multinational
corporations — Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and
United Technologies — for "progressive engagement" about business
practices believed to contribute to violence in Israel and Palestine.
After several hours of discussion on Aug. 5, the MRTI
committee unanimously selected the five companies and agreed to begin
discussions with them about their involvement in the conflict.
the Presbyterian News Service report >>
this story, including critical responses and criticism of those
NOTE: The Witherspoon Society board has been and continues
to be supportive of the action of the General Assembly and the continuing
efforts of MRTI to seek effective ways of resisting the violence in
Israel/Palestine. The possible divestment of certain stock holdings is
a way of opening dialogue with corporations about their actions that appear
to perpetuate the violence. Will it solve all the problems of the
Middle East? Not likely. But it does offer one small step toward
peace, and away from violence. Can we do less?
Got comments on the MRTI action and/or the continuing
Please send a note!
More on Hiroshima & Nagasaki
|"My God! What Have
We Done?" Sixty years ago this week, Father George
Zabelka, a chaplain with the U.S. Air Force, met with the airmen who
dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and gave them his
blessing. Years later he said, "War
is now, always has been, and always will be
bad, bad news. I was there. I saw real war. Those who have seen real war
will bear me out. I assure you, it is not of Christ. It is not Christ’s
way. There is no way to conduct real war in conformity with the teachings
of Jesus. There is no way to train people for real war in conformity with
the teachings of Jesus."|
|Bush and the
Bomb -- While many still defend the
nuclear attacks on Japan as "for their own good" – shortening the war and
avoiding a greater loss of both Japanese and American lives – many
scholars are now arguing that the use of the bomb neither hastened the end
of the war nor saved lives.|
Earl Tilford offers unreserved praise for the nuclear bombing of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki |
More on the vigil of Cindy Sheehan
War Mothers, Bush Are Worlds Apart
They were just a few miles away from each other Thursday,
standing under a hot midday sun to express their concern about US troops
dying in Iraq. But President Bush and the grieving mother outside his ranch
were worlds apart on how best to honor the dead.
Bush said the United States must finish the job of
bringing a stable democracy to Iraq. Cindy Sheehan and a growing group of
war protesters who have joined her say the soldiers should come home
Our earlier note
on Cindy Sheehan >>
Pork-laden energy bill concerns environmentalists
As analysts continue to pore over the details of the new omnibus energy bill
Congress approved and President Bush signed last week, many are questioning
the wisdom of providing numerous fossil fuel subsidies to industries that
are making windfall profits. Indeed, Congress has asked for tens of billions
of dollars to help nuclear, oil and coal companies that are hardly ailing as
surging fuel prices throughout the U.S. and abroad generate record earnings.
Read a short
report on emagazine >>
And see a longer article in the Washington Post >>
Colombia: Our Other War
Oliphant reported recently in the Boston Globe about the wide disparity
between two different ways to visiting the war-torn land of Colombia. US
legislators who serve as cheerleaders for the US war, and get the
Administration’s well-designed tour see all the "progress" that is being
made in pacification, development, and the "war on drugs." Rep. Jim McGovern
takes his own style of tour, visiting with human rights workers, NGOs, and
"According to McGovern ... the fruits of American policy
through two administrations over the last half-decade have been death,
drugs, and oppression. ‘The fact is there is no light at the end of the
tunnel as long as we are merely feeding the status quo,’ he said last week."
Read the full article >>
Thanks to Anne Barstow and Tom Driver,
and activists in the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Reflections on the conference on spiritual activism:
progressive voice for the culture war?
by Doug King
reported earlier on the conference on spiritual activism that was held
in July in Berkeley, CA, as a kick-off for a Network of Spiritual
Progressives. More than 1200 people came together for four days for a
first-time, remarkable gathering. Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus,
theological liberals and evangelicals, and lots more – all were drawn by an
invitation to shape a positive progressive response to the conservatives’
success in making faith and values something on which they seem to claim a
The main themes of the conference were clear, and were
consistently asserted through the whole event: (1) America is in a crisis –
the Right is right about that, and the Left has largely (and disastrously)
ignored it. But the Right misunderstands the nature and roots of the crisis.
(2) The real nature of the crisis is alienation: people are lonely –
isolated from one another and from the natural human capacity to live in
relationships, in community.
A couple more helpful items:
Questions and Answers on the Network of Spiritual Progressives >>
Another look at the Christian right
For another incisive statement of the challenge of
right-wing Christianity in the US, you might look at "The Christian
Paradox: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong," by William McKibben,
published in the August 2005 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
find a substantial excerpt on the Harper’s website.
Support Cindy Sheehan
MoveOn is taking out an ad in President Bush's local newspaper in support of
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is camped outside
Bush's ranch in Texas asking for a meeting with the president. They'll
publish the number of signers and the best comments in a full two-page
spread in the newspaper nearest to Crawford (The Waco Tribune Herald)
while Cindy holds her vigil. Can you sign and spread the word before the
3:00 PM Friday print deadline?
Sign the ad and send
your comment >>
More on Ms. Sheehan’s witness to the real costs of this war:
Rage Against the Killing of the Light
Mid-August 2005 may be remembered as a moment in US
history when the president could no longer get away with the media trick
of solemnly patting death on its head. Unreality is a hallmark of media
coverage for war. Yet - most of all - war is about death and suffering.
War makers thrive on abstractions. Their media successes depend on
President Bush has tried to keep the loved ones of
America's war dead at middle distance, bathed in soft fuzzy light: close
enough to exploit for media purposes, distant enough to insulate the
commander in chief's persona from the intrusion of wartime mourning in
What's going on this week, outside the perimeter of the
ranch-style White House in Crawford, is some reclamation of reality in
public life. Cindy Sheehan has disrupted the media-scripted shadow play of
The full article >>
Maureen Dowd asks, "Why No Tea and Sympathy?"
She notes: "It's amazing that the White House does not
have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the
driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But
W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is
burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may
be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't."
Read the whole column >>
Looking again at Hiroshima
Arch Taylor, who served for many years as a mission co-worker
teaching in Japan, reminds us that the justifications given by the US
governments for the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are seen by
some analysts today as much less convincing than they appeared at the time.
Parents and teens are taking more action to opt out of
military efforts to gather information for recruiting
previously noted the efforts by parents and others to stop schools from
providing personal information on their students to military recruiters. The
LA Times reports on the growth of these efforts in the Los Angeles area.
Currently, the Army is
having the most difficult time meeting its recruitment goals, falling more
than 7,800 soldiers short of the nearly 55,000 enlistees it needed between
Oct. 1 and June 30. The Army National Guard and reserves also fell short of
their targets, as did the Navy reserves, and the Air National Guard.
full article >>
Pres. Bush urges the teaching of "intelligent design" –
and maybe you want to offer a faith-based response!
It’s not too late to affirm the complementary relationship
between religion and science, rather than a pseudo-scientific version of
In February we posted a letter being circulated with the
goal of gaining 10,000 signatures of clergy. Michael Zimmerman of the
College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, who
initiated the letter, has received nearly 6,000 signatures so far and is now
making a further appeal for support.
We encourage you to take a look at the letter, and
consider adding your name to the list.
Read the letter here
Go to Dr. Zimmerman’s site to add your signature >>
Toward a Network of
Spiritual Progressives (continued)
We're still trying to catch up with the conference in
Berkeley of spiritual progressives.
Lerner offered the basic vision that brought the conference into being:
a vision that would response to the real spiritual crisis in America by
offering an alternative to a market-driven society which makes humans into
tools for maximizing profit, and by calling forth basic human gifts of trust
the Rev. Jim Wallis responded to questions from conference participants
and from the press -- dealing with matters such as what it means to be truly
evangelical, how they find spiritual nourishment, and how the proposed
network might deal with practical questions of supporting presidential
More from Jim Wallis: The Message Thing
Jim Wallis offers, in an op-ed piece in the August 4th New
York Times, a brief response to the current talk about the need for
progressives to do a better job of "framing" the issues, an idea articulated
most clearly by George Lakoff. He says that language is indeed important,
but that "the message remains more important than the messaging."
So he names "five areas in which the Democrats should
change their message and then their messaging." These are poverty,
stewardship of the environment, abortion (where he seeks to offer positive
alternatives to the unending "right to live" vs. "choice" debate), "family
values," and national security.
Bush endorses 'intelligent design,' contending the theory
should be taught with evolution.
The Boston Globe reports
Also on TruthOut
Americans United calls Bush endorsement of 'intelligent design' in
public schools "irresponsible"
Moving toward a
Ken Smith, president of
the Witherspoon Society, recently attended the Churchwide Transformation and
Multicultural Connection, along with over 1100 others, in New York City.
He reports on the conference as part of a movement toward becoming a
multicultural church -- partly in response to "our denominational commitment
to increase our racial/ethnic membership and given urgency by the
demographic shifts in our communities." But it also, he says, grows
out of a mandate "as old as our faith and deeply rooted in it; 'for my house
shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples' (Isaiah 56:7b) being just
one of many examples."
and more >>
CAFTA passes by 1 vote
The Administration’s strong-arming carried the day in the
House of Representatives by a one-vote margin, against those who are working
for peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas. As Witness for
Peace comments, today "more people than ever are questioning the model of
‘free trade’ and looking for more positive alternatives."
Here are brief reflections from two groups that have been
deeply engaged in this issue:
Witness for Peace
urges continued work with members of Congress as they return to their
districts in August – "thank those who voted right and let those who voted
wrong know that you're still paying attention. This next step in holding
members accountable for their votes is a key part in making progress for
Lori Wallach, director of
Public Citizen's Global Trade
Watch division, says "the CAFTA debate makes clear that a dramatic
shift in U.S. trade politics has occurred, and the NAFTA trade model is
Witherspooners and justice-seekers Tammy Lindahl and Martha
Juillerat celebrate marriage in Vancouver
announcement from More Light Presbyterians
On July 30, 2005, Tammy Lindahl and Martha Juillerat were
married at Trinity United Church, Vancouver, British Columbia. More Light
Presbyterians [and Witherspoon!] celebrate the love, commitment and marriage
of Tammy and Martha. Both former Presbyterian clergywomen, graduates of
McCormick Theological Seminary who served God in parish ministry, Tammy also
served on the National MLP Board and Martha is the National Program Director
of the Shower of Stoles Project. Tammy and Martha live in Minneapolis, MN.
June, 2005 >>
May, 2005 >>
April, 2005 >>
Our coverage of the 2004 General
Assembly is indexed on a special page.
For links to earlier archive pages,
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
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove 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
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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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!