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Archives:  September 2006

This page lists reports and commentary from September, 2006

All postings from
February, 2007
January, 2007

December, 2006
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
July, 2006
June, 2006
May, 2006

April, 2006
March, 2006
February, 2006
 January, 2006

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

We must still resist

House Republicans pass legislation to allow torture – by whatever name  

Yesterday the House passed a bill that would allow the Bush administration to use interrogation methods that certainly look a lot like torture, even though the President has been careful to call them something a little less than torture. The bill also would allow the President to prosecute detainees accused of terrorism, with little regard for the niceties of basic and constitutional rights.

The Senate is likely to act soon on a similar bill, which has been allowed to move forward because some of the leading Republican "moderates" reached a compromise with Bush.

It seems unlikely that any mere citizens can resist this legitimizing of torture and abandonment of basic human rights, but just in case you want to try – or at least do informed grumbling about it – here are some helpful resources >>

Got suggestions??  Please let us know of other helpful reports or resources.  Just send a note!

New mixes in faith and politics

As the election draws near and the Religious Right raises voices again in favor of the values it holds dear, it’s clear that other people of faith are speaking out as well.  Various faith-based groups -- often inter-faith -- are holding conferences to focus on the relevance of progressive perspectives to current political issues.

Two conferences we mention are planned for Tennessee and Minnesota.

And we link to a report of the growing numbers of "moderate evangelicals" who are more concerned about poverty and AIDS and global warming than about "protecting the family" and all that.

On the other side, a new Christian camp is training children to be soldiers for Christ, ready to bring in Christian control of the government.    For links to all of these >>

Former moderator Rick Ufford-Chase and four PC(USA) ministers arrested protesting Iraq war

Antiwar protest part of national 'Declaration of Peace'

A former Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly moderator and four Presbyterian ministers were among 71 people arrested in Washington, DC, during a series of peaceful protests against the Iraq war on Tuesday (Sept. 26).

Rick Ufford-Chase, 42, moderator of the PC(USA)'s 216th General Assembly in 2004, confirmed by cell phone that he was taken into custody while leading an interfaith anti-war procession on Capitol Hill.

"This one is really personal," said Ufford-Chase, an elder at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, AZ and currently executive director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. "It just feels like I've spent three years trying to find proactive ways to insist on our (Christian) values about war and the situation in Iraq is getting worse. I finally decided it's time I have to do something to say no."   

Also arrested were the Rev. Roger Scott Powers, 47, associate pastor of First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, MD; and the Revs. Gwin E. Pratt, 57, and Tim F. Simpson, 43, both pastors at Lake Shore Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL.  The Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, pastor at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, was also arrested.

For the full report from Presbyterian News Service >>

MLP announces No Turning Back declaration and strategy statement   

The Board of Directors of More Light Presbyterians has just released a declaration that they will continue to work "to delete the anti-LGBT G-6.0106b from the Book of Order."  They lay out the reasons for this intention, and some of the strategies they will pursue.

What are the true "markers" of the Christian life?    

The Rev. Aurelia Fule, who served for many years on the staff of the Office for Theology and Worship in Louisville, explored this vital question in a recent sermon.  Our debates about ordination and sexuality are distorted, she suggests, when we fail to recognize that Jesus and the early church shifted radically from the "markers" that were used by the ancient Hebrews to distinguish the "real people of God" from all others.  It's no longer circumcision or ritual purity that serve as markers, she says, but baptism as a mark of God's grace, and the gift of the Spirit.

Single-payer healthcare is gaining support -- and needs more support 

Healthcare Now is urging people to support genuine health care reform, even as the healthcare insurance industry presses harder to keep things as they are or make the system even more profitable for them.  They are encouraging people to bring suit for "insurance company malpractice" for denial of needed medical service, and to tell their stories for a new film being planned by Michael Moore.    More >>

Ex-GOP senator John Danforth says ‘good Christians’ can be liberals, too   

Berry Craig lives in western Kentucky, where being Christian and being conservative Republican are pretty much the same thing.  So he appreciates a book by John Danforth, a retired U.S. Senator who says that ain't necessarily so.  Danforth is both Christian and Republican, but says you can be both without being narrowly conservative.

Danforth's book is titled Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together.   Read Craig's review >>   (You can order the book from that page, too.)

Interfaith Alliance plans seminar-by-phone on elections and houses of worship

This announcement comes from the Interfaith Alliance

Please Join The IRS, Rev. Welton Gaddy of The Interfaith Alliance & Colleagues

Legal & Ethical Guidance for Houses of Worship In An Election Year

OCTOBER 11th, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM EST
TOLL FREE 1-866-818-1393

The Interfaith Alliance Foundation has developed a campaign season resource to help you understand that a partnership between religion and government can and should preserve the autonomy of houses of worship and ensure that religious institutions are not held hostage to the priorities and interests of federal, state, or local governments. Download at or email us your address to receive a copy via mail.

The IRS has published Fact Sheet 2006-17, which outlines how houses of worship, and all 501(c)(3) organizations, can stay within the law regarding the ban on political activity. To get timely, helpful information for tax-exempt organizations (including houses of worship), subscribe to the IRS e-newsletter, EO Update Subscribers get direct links to latest IRS updates, including guidance items, tax law changes, training materials.

To ensure we address as many issues as time allows, please email specific questions or areas of concern
BY OCTOBER 10th to:

The Call Will End With A Brief Question & Answer Session
Participation is first come, first serve


1. From 6:00pm EST, October 11th until Midnight, October 13th, listen to a replay
Dial 888-266-2081, Access Code: 974280

2. On October 16th, the audio of the call will be placed on

WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY for Sept. 25, 2006, issued by the Presbyterian Washington Office, suggests good resources on ways churches can appropriately deal with political issues and candidates in this election season -- and ways that are not so appropriate.

They also provide brief comments (and links to other material) on these issues and events:

bulletPublic Expression of Religion Act (H.R. 2679)
bulletUrgent Alert: Take Action for the Congo (S 2125)
bulletLet Justice Roll Living Wage Days –October 7-8 or 14-15
bulletDays of Prayer and Action for Colombia – October 1-2
bulletCAIR To Release Report On U.S. Muslim Civil Rights
bulletElection Season: "…provide useful non-partisan information for voters."

Theological Task Force member releases new book supporting committed same-gender relationships

Stacy Johnson, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, and a former member of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church, has just released a book entitled A Time to Embrace: Same-Gender Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics, in which he analyzes seven different ways that churches have dealt with same-sex unions.  His analysis leads him to offer support of same-sex committed relationships. You can look at the book, published by Eerdmans, on the publisher's website.

You can pre-order it on Amazon and save 34% from the Eerdmans price.

For a brief version of Johnson's analysis >>


New Presbyterian executive director starts work by dealing with staff cutbacks

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Sunday, Sept. 24, that Linda Valentine, having recently moved into her new job as Executive Director of the General Assembly Council, is spending most of her time reorganizing the newly reduced staff. The report quotes Moderator Joan Grey as commenting that "She has a great deal of fortitude and a very cheerful spirit. ... She doesn't seem to let all this get her down."     The full report >>

'Values Voter Summit' supports GOP, Americans United charges

Dobson, Religious Right seek to 'lead evangelical flock into Republican fold in November,' says AU's Lynn

[From an Americans United press release dated Sept. 22, 2006]

A Religious Right-sponsored "Values Voter Summit" this week is nothing but an attempt to drum up evangelical support for Republican candidates before the November elections, charges Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The supposedly non-partisan event, which takes place in Washington Sept. 22-24, is sponsored jointly by political affiliates of Focus on the Family (FOF), the Family Research Council (FRC) and other Religious Right groups. It features a line-up of GOP officeholders and presidential aspirants.

No Democrats appear among the announced speakers, and organizers such as FOF Chairman James Dobson and FRC President Tony Perkins don't seem to have spent much time getting any to come.

The full statement >>

Urge Congress to stand firm against Administration pressure to permit torture

Both, which is related to the National Council of Churches, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation, have issued calls for people of faith to raise their voices, encouraging members of Congress to resist the pressures from the President to legitimize the use of torture (which he may be moderating slightly in response to the many Senators and Representatives, even from his own party, who are refusing to support his efforts).

They both provide helpful information to use in writing to Congress.

Go to  .... and/or to Friends Committee on National Legislation

Added action against torture

Religious coalition calls for ban on use of torture
Presbyterian-founded group publishes anti-torture newspaper ad

As Congress debates legislation this week on the treatment of military detainees, a group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in the United States has called on the U.S. government to forswear the use of torture "without exceptions" and in all cases.

"Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear," the leaders say in a statement published as a paid advertisement in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

Originally published in the New York Times on June 13, the full-page ad is part of a new initiative by the Presbyterian-founded National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), which says it is working "for the immediate cessation of torture by the United States, whether direct or by proxy, within our territory or abroad."

The group was founded by the Rev. George Hunsinger, a Presbyterian minister and theology professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, in response to allegations of human rights abuses at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

See the full story from Presbyterian News Service >>


The Washington Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
September 19, 2006  

Many localities had mid-term elections on September 12. We are beginning to get a sense of some of the issues the candidates view as important. We have several weeks before the November 7, 2006 Mid-term elections. If your issue is not one that seems to be on the agenda of the candidates, you might want to go to a candidate’s forum in your area and ask why. Call the candidate’s office to find out were the speaking engagements are.

This week’s issue items for this publication are—
* Call the White House to Save Darfur
* Immigration: The Stalemate Continues
* Election Season- ‘The Principle of Church and State’

A peaceful response to Dr.Tilford  

Cynthia Adams, whose recent comments drew a strongly critical response from Dr. Earl Tilford, responds to him by reaffirming (as a "pacifist grandmother") her own commitment to peace, and her appreciation of Dr.Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 as she continues studying it.

Near the end of her note she says: "The answer to all of this is faith in God. All the armaments, all the wars, will never bring true freedom or justice. They have tried this before, many times. Someone always loses the war, so suffers injustice, so there you are right back where you started with people plotting revenge, which is how we got here today. The answer is to break the violence/more violence cycle. Supposedly the Church should lead the way of peace here, but they are the ones leading the war."

Dwelling together

Two comments on the Witherspoon statement 

We posted on Sept. 15 a statement by Witherspoon’s board, expressing dismay at the words and actions of some Presbyterian looking toward some kind of separation, and affirming the call to discernment and unity from the 217th General Assembly.

We invited comments on the statement, and have received three responses so far. One affirms the Witherspoon statement, while another points to the distrust among Presbyterians as a reason for the talk of separation. The writer of the third note asked that it not be posted here.

Witherspoon Board reaffirms unity of the church, laments divisive moves

The Board of the Witherspoon Society, meeting from September 13 through 16 at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, today adopted a statement expressing dismay at the actions and statements by some Presbyterians, congregations and presbyteries that seem to violate the spirit of "harmony and covenanted partnership" that were fostered by the Theological Task Force and experienced by many at the 217th General Assembly in Birmingham. 

The statement concludes:  "We pledge to join with all Presbyterians in carrying out the letter and the spirit of both the AI and our broader Presbyterian tradition: to defend our Constitution against anarchy and misinterpretation, to seek more thorough discernment, and to assist candidates and committees as we all try to live our way into the new opportunities brought to us by the Theological Task Force, the actions of the 217th General Assembly, and the Reformed heritage upon which the Presbyterian Church (USA) stands."

The full statement >>

On 9/11, Christian leaders call for an end of fear-based religion, and welcome of all people

On September 9-11, 2006, Christian leaders whose organizations touch the lives of 98 million Americans gathered in Dallas, Texas, for the Bishops and Elders Council to end the homophobia and heterosexism in churches and to reaffirm Jesus' message of love, welcome, and acceptance of all people.

More Light Presbyterians was represented in the gathering by Dr. Michael Adee, and That All May Freely Serve by the Rev. Janie Spahr, and there was a special display from the Shower of Stoles Project.    The story, and the leaders' statement >>

On ending torture -- and calling for CIA accountability

Witherspooner Rev. Betty Hale writes:

I would think the Center [for Victims of Torture] would be one of the best sources of perspective we can find....   It's still hard to believe that America is having a debate about this.

shalom, salaam, peace

As the Administration presses for more freedom to use torture, it’s time to speak out together:

The Center is urging people to contact their representatives in Congress, calling them to hold the CIA accountable for the torture methods they have used.

And based on their own years of experience in helping people recover from experiences of torture, the Center describes what's really at stake in the US use of torture, and what are realities involved.

War and Peace in Israel/Palestine

Former Israeli and Palestinian warriors find a new cause to fight for: peace 

The recent violence between Hezbollah and Israel seems like another mile marker on the path to hopelessness, but as Dragonfire’s Sara Toth reports, some have seized the debacle as a chance to stand up for peace. When former Israeli soldier Itamar Shapira was jailed in August for refusing to fight in Lebanon, a rally outside the prison revealed a subculture in support of his decision. Among the pacifist protesters were members of Combatants for Peace, a new anti-war group made up of former warriors. Shapira is a member of the 60-strong organization of peace converts from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Though they once fought in the frontlines of a decades-long conflict, each "combatant" has concluded that violence cannot resolve the Israeli-Palestinian clash over land and power. The group's mission statement reflects its transcendent attitude: "After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapons' sights, we have decided to put down our guns and to fight for peace."    More >>

Check out what’s new at this week!

Preorder these items today!
Pausing on the Road to Bethlehem: A Spiritual Journey through Advent
Biblical Accounts of the Crucifixion

New in Contemporary Issues
Christian Mission Impossible? The Global Role of U.S. Denominations

Other studies of interest (among many!)
Katrina: Flood Lines and Fault Lines
Where Is God When Disaster Strikes?
Hezbollah, Israel, and Lebanon: Why Should Christians Care?
Introduction to Spiritual Disciplines

Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 – the debate continues

Prof. Earl Tilford says to Cynthia Adams, "I am angry and here is why."    

Cynthia Adams asks, "Why is he (that would be me) so angry?" Then wishes someone would tell "the imperial, dominion-oriented bunch" that Jesus did not tell us to take over the world. Wow! I have just the demonstrably sloppy scholarship of one process theologian in my intellectual cross-hairs and she accuses an entire "imperial, dominion-oriented bunch" of wanting to take over the world! And I'm the one guilty of "personal attacks"? Well, yes, I am attacking the scholarship, motivations and conclusions of David Ray Griffin. ...  More from Dr. Tilford >>

NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar appearing on two important talk shows today

Media Alert from FaithfulAmerica

Today:   Don't miss former Congressman and fellow FaithfulAmerican Dr. Bob Edgar today on these two important (and politically conservative) broadcasts:

4-5PM (ED):   The Michael Medved Show (Salem Radio)

8-9PM (ED):   The O'Reilly Factor (Fox News Television Channel)   (repeated 11-12PM (ED) )

Dr. Edgar will go head to head with two of the nation's most conservative hosts to talk about reclaiming the moral values of the faithful majority from the religious right - which is the subtitle of his new book, "Middle Church."  


Authoritarian, Benevolent, Critical or Distant – Americans hold four different images of God

A study done by a team from Baylor University, published recently, has been widely reported as revealing that Americans are a little more religious than other studies have been claiming. But perhaps a more interesting and helpful point revealed by the study is that Americans can been seen as having four quite different "images of God" – as authoritarian, benevolent, critical, or distant.

Which God one believes in shapes a person’s social and political views, and personal religious life, more than the usual categories of Protestant, Catholic and Jew, or even conservative and liberal.

Sociologist Paul Froese is quoted as saying that the survey denies the usual assumptions that conservatives are more religious and liberals more secular. "Political liberals and conservatives are both religious," he says. "They just have different religious views."

For the whole article >>

Another reflection on 9/11:

This Hole in the Ground

Sometimes a lament is the most fitting (and healing) response to terrible evil and suffering. This moving meditation, very different from Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s, may be touching some of the same deep feelings, and deep truths.

Keith Olbermann presented this on the MSNBC program Countdown.

The full essay >>

Commenting on Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s 9/11 essay: One writer asks, 'Isn’t force necessary?'

The Rev. John Erthein, pastor of Elderton Presbyterian Church in Elderton, PA, sent this thoughtful comment on Rabbi Art Waskow’s Meditation on 9/11.   We invite your comments, too!

Charges filed against Rev. Janet Edwards in Pittsburgh Presbytery for performing marriage for two women

Michael Adee, National Field Organizer for More Light Presbyterians, has issued a call for prayers for her, her witness, her family and her presbytery.

Read his statement, along with an AP report >>    And see the Presbyterian News Service report >>

A quick glimpse of Christian life in Palestine:

The Voice of Christ in the Birthplace of Christ  

Matt Middleton, a Presbyterian Mission Volunteer International serving in Bethlehem, offers a glimpse of hope in the midst of the conflict in Palestine, through the gathering of a community choir in Bethlehem.

One response to Dr. Earl Tilford's criticism of Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 – "Why is he so angry?"

We received a note from Cynthia Adams in which she asks "why is he so angry? ... Why the personal attacks? People usually use personal attacks when they can't figure out how else to gain the upper hand."

She adds:  "I am thankful for any Christian who will simply tell the imperial, dominion-oriented bunch that Jesus' message was not to take over the world. His kingdom is not of this world. His followers should not be seeking world domination."

Her complete note >>

'No gay clergy' is the message from Sacramento Presbytery

Witherspoon member Jill Sherrill has shared two news stories from the Sacramento Bee, reporting on successful efforts by conservative church leaders to pass four resolutions in the Presbytery of Sacramento. All four were passed during the 4-hour meeting, although (Jill reports) proponents of the resolutions were "warned repeatedly during the meeting ... that their actions are unconstitutional and will not pass muster in the PCUSA judicial system, nor the California courts."

The resolutions, as reported by the Bee, institute these rules for the Presbytery:

  1. Candidates for ordination must comply with traditional ordination standards.
  2. The Presbytery must not recognize candidates who fail to do so.
  3. Any congregation may withhold money from the national church in protest, and the Presbytery will not make up the difference.
  4. The Presbytery must allow individual congregations to withdraw from it with their property in protest.

The first news report deals with church discussions leading up to the Presbytery meeting.

The second story reports on the Presbytery meeting and its actions.

Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Response

Commenting on Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action by David Ray Griffin. John Shuck says that the real "truth behind 9/11," and behind the new American empire-building, is our need for oil and the impending decline in the world’s supply of that precious stuff.

Another critique from the left:

The Nation magazine has published a short article by Alexander Cockburn, dismissing Griffin and other proponents of this view as "conspiracy nuts."   The essay >>   [Sorry, if you're not a subscriber to The Nation, you can only read the first two paragraphs.]

9/10/06 -- In observance of September 11, 2001
A meditation for 9/11

Countless words have been spoken and tears shed in the past five years, and we’ve been searching for appropriate words to share here in observance of the fifth anniversary of a day that changed some many things.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, co-author, The Tent of Abraham; director, The Shalom Center, which voices a new prophetic agenda in Jewish, multireligious, and American life, wrote the first version of this essay wither in a week after the attack. It has been published since then in such diverse places as the AARP magazine and The Nation.

As he shares it again with friends, Rabbi Waskow says, "As I listen to the endless arguments over what to build at Ground Zero, sometimes I think: Forget the grandiose designs. Put up a leafy, leaky, shaky, vulnerable hut . It will fall apart in every rainstorm, and we will put it up again. And again. And again. It will teach all of us the truth about the world we live in. No more Towers."

Read "The Sukkah of Shalom" >>

Presbyterian minister – and Witherspooner – runs for Congress in California

The Rev. Jill Martinez, who was nominated for Moderator of the 212th General Assembly in 2000, and who joined the Witherspoon Society in the same year, is running for Congress in California's 24th congressional district. That district covers Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and, she says, appears to offer a "winnable race" for a Democrat in what has been a Republican district.

If anyone is interested in learning more about her campaign, there’s information on her website – including a brief bio sketch and policy papers on issues such as education, health care, housing, the need to "change course in Iraq, immigration policy ... and more.

She can be contacted at  or by phone at (805) 446-3000. Her Ventura office is located at 89 California Street in Ventura, and her Santa Barbara county office is at 1301 East Clark Rd, in Orcutt.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Hawaii, a Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Martinez’ post graduate work at SFTS emphasized research in examining the "Mestizaje process" where people of differing cultures come together and form new cultural identities.

WITNESS IN WASHINGTON WEEKLY issued for Sept. 5, 2006, by the Presbyterian Washington Office

Summer breaks have come to an end. Washington political leaders and advocates have begun their work. In this mid-term election year, the end of this session will come quickly so that all members of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senators can spend time seeking your vote in the November elections. They have fewer than 19 session days scheduled before Election Day.

It would appear that the war in Iraq, stem cell research, tax cuts and immigration are among the hot topics of the electorate. A study guide with excerpts from General Assembly policy on these and others issues can be found at . This is the Christian and Citizen Election Year guide on the web page of the Washington Office

This week’s issues are:

bulletTake Action for Trade Justice for Peru
bullet Immigration Reform?
bullet Election Session- General Assembly On Contemporary Partisanship
bullet Staffing Changes-Carolynn Race is Leaving

The Torturer's Apprentice  

This week, with just two months to go before the national elections for Congress and many other offices, the President has focused a number of speeches on the issue of torture and the detainment – in some cases at secret locations outside the US – of alleged terrorists.

There have been many reports and comments on Mr. Bush’s speeches, including one wide-ranging essay by Ray McGovern. McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer, then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

He notes the interesting emphasis in Bush’s statements that "military necessity" justifies less-than-humane treatment of prisoners, and points to the President’s apparent concern that Americans, including himself, could well be open to charges of war crimes on the basis of the treatment of prisoners.

The article >>

One minister says the argument of Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 is "nuts."  

Dear Friends, Why would the administration want to rebut such an argument as is made here. It's nuts. Check out the excellent PBS special (Nova, Frontline?) which is out on DVD from PBS on "Why the Towers Fell". They fell because of the unique construction of the Towers being struck by two fully loaded and occupied jets. Let's get real.

Rev. Richard Craig

Webweaver's note:  The PBS special was on Nova.  I took the trouble to check.

For another view, see one article summarizing the analysis by BYU physics professor Steven Jones. Who argues that the collapse the the WTC building could only have been caused by ‘pre-positioned explosives.’

Rick Ufford-Chase will join witness against the Iraq war in Washington, Sept. 26

The former Moderator of the PC(USA), now Director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, says " I will risk arrest to make it clear that I believe the War in Iraq is a violation of my most fundamental beliefs as a Christian."  And he invites other Presbyterians to join in.

His blog explaining his intended action >>

Criticism of Israel equated with anti-Semitism ... again

Presbyterians may remember rather clearly the accusations of anti-Semitism that were leveled against the PC(USA) after the action of the 2004 General Assembly calling for a study of possible divestment from certain US corporations involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and supporters of Arab terrorist groups.

The accusations continue, though the apologies tendered by the 2006 General Assembly seem to have had some effect in easing them. But the church is in good company, at least.

Rosa Brooks writes in the L. A. Times about the fierce criticisms of Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. That highly respected group sent observers to Lebanon during the Israeli invasion, as it does during most such conflicts.

More >>

An up-close look at "Justice in a Global Economy" -- and what to do about it      

Globalization isn’t just "out there" far away from us, but it certainly does seem to be an overwhelming constellation of issues and problems, far beyond out reach. This book offers a variety of materials dealing with globalization as it impacts us in our daily lives, along with strategies for dealing with it in our homes and communities, as well as in the public policy arena.

This should be a great resource for study and action in the congregation.

Gene TeSelle provides a review of the book >>

A sharp rejection of Griffin's book on "the truth behind 9/11"

Earl Tilford, now Coordinator of Terrorism and Middle Eastern Study Group at Grove City College, sets out his arguments against Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11.   

Tilford's criticism >>                     The review of the book itself >>

Praying for the Middle East?


Here's a good ecumenical listing of prayers for peace.


All postings from
February, 2007
January, 2007

December, 2006
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
July, 2006
June, 2006
May, 2006

April, 2006
March, 2006
February, 2006
 January, 2006

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!

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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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