Democrats, the War,
and faith-based judgments
Democrats, the War, and moral judgments
The recent Congressional
votes, allowing continued funding for the US war in Iraq (etc.,
etc.) have raised many concerns and complaints. Here are
four varied responses for your consideration:
Pat Buchanan says the
Democrats "caved" because the didn't have the courage to risk
their political fortunes.
Rabbi Michael Lerner
says they gave in because they can't offer a morally grounded
responses to Bush's push for the war. And more war.
And more war ....
The Network of Spiritual Progressives (of
which Lerner is a founder and major leader) offers what we might
call faith-based "talking points"
on some of the major social-political issues today:
foreign policy, health,
Finally, Gary Dorrien, the new Reinhold
Niebuhr professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary
in New York City, discusses the apparent tension between
Niebuhr’s "Christian realism" and
current value-centered approaches to social issues.
What do you think?
How do you balance political "realism" and moral values?
This is certainly something worth talking about, so
send a note and your voice to the conversation.
Caved to Bush
The antiwar Democrats are crying betrayal –
and justifiably so.
Patrick J. Buchanan, of all people,
goes after the Democrats in Congress for letting George W. Bush
continue his war in Iraq. He asks "Why did the Democrats
And he answers: "Because they lack the courage of their convictions.
Because they fear the consequences if they put their antiwar beliefs
into practice. Because they are afraid if they defund the war and
force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops, the calamity he
predicts will come to pass and they will be held accountable for
losing Iraq and the strategic disaster that might well ensue."
In case you’re
wondering, this is the Patrick J. Buchanan who has served as a
senior advisor to three American presidents: Richard Nixon,
Gerald Ford, and (as White House Communications Director) Ronald
Crying: Why the Dems Capitulated
Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of
the Network of Spiritual Progressives, sees the failure of the
Democrats in Congress to stand up against Pres. Bush’s pressure to
let his war continue unhindered not as a failure of nerve, but as
(in a way) a failure of faith.
They gave in, he says, because "the Dems lack a
coherent vision and ideology from which they could derive strength
of purpose that would provide the foundation on which they could
easily develop a moral backbone to fight for what they believe in.
Thus, for example in relationship to the war in Iraq, they talk
about the inability to win, rather than about the moral failure of
the paradigm of trying to bring about safety and security by
military or political domination of other countries."
His article >>
Faith-based perspectives on today’s issues
Network of Spiritual Progressives has posted a number of
one-page flyers of talking points on issues of current interest.
The topics (with links to the flier for each
[Note: Clicking on this link will take you to
a page listing that paper; then click on the title of the
document to download it. Don’t ask me why!]
These are also all listed on the NSP website under
the Guiding Ideas page >>
[You’ll have to scroll down a bit, but they’re there!]
Do you have comments? You might share them with
Nichola Torbett, Director of National Programs for the Network of
Spiritual values today? What would Reinhold Niebuhr say??
Gary Dorrien, the new Reinhold Niebuhr professor
of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, was
interviewed by Peter Steinfels of the New York Times about
the apparent tension between Niebuhr’s "Christian realism" and
current value-centered approaches to social issues.
Dorrien does an interesting job of taking the
"realistic" approach seriously, while also affirming the importance
of the values affirmed by Social Gospel liberalism and by more
recent liberation theologies. He might help us, too, in balancing
the valuable insights of all three traditions, especially as he
comments on the Iraq war.
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!