Moral Politics

“All politics is moral.” George Lakoff

“All of the various fields of human inquiry — theology and philosophy and morality and psychology meet rather beautifully in politics. And sometimes I wonder if politics isn’t exactly that, it’s the taking of all the sort of great ineffable and trying to make them have some meaning in the actually historical moment on earth in which we live.” Tony Kushner – writer of “Lincoln” interview with Bill Moyers

We live in an anti-political moment, when many people — young people especially — think politics is a low, nasty, corrupt and usually fruitless business. It’s much nobler to do community service or just avoid all that putrid noise…. you can do more good in politics than in any other sphere…Politics is noble because it involves personal compromise for the public good…politics is the best place to develop the highest virtuesWhy We Love Politics By DAVID BROOKS, New York Times, November 22, 2012

The Spiritual Crisis Underlying American Politics By John Amodeo, PsychCentral.com, October 14, 2013

The Bible Paradox by Big Think Editors, October 20, 2013 – Excerpt – Nearly 80 percent of all Americans think the Bible is either literally true or is the inspired word of God. And yet, most Americans have no idea what is actually in the Bible…so we have the paradoxical situation in which we as a culture “have invested the words of this book with amazing authority even when we don’t know what these words are and what they mean.” So says Joel Baden, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School…“The Bible has effectively ceased to become a text,” Baden argues, but instead has become a symbol of power and authority “that is undergirded by the relatively uninformed faith commitments of the majority of the American public. To speak in the name of the Bible is to claim a piece of that authority.” And this is a power that can be abused, and often is…Our religious traditions have taught us to read the Bible this way. Since we are conditioned to search the Bible for one meaning, we have lost the ability to be careful readers…if we are to continue to invest as much authority in the Bible as we do, Baden says, we — as serious readers of the text — cannot pretend that the Bible is a single, clear statement of belief. Rather, “it is a jumble of beliefs…This text that our culture holds most sacred is a living reminder that human interaction is founded on dialogue and not monologue — the inclusion of differences, not their exclusion.

Why the Government Shutdown Is Unbiblical by Jim Wallis, Sojourners, posted on Huffingtonpost.com, Oct 3, 2013 — the poorest and most vulnerable who are always hurt the most in a crisis like this…that is our job in politics — to talk about what happens to themThe biblical purpose of government is to protect from evil and to promote the good.That vision of “common good” is what we have lost, and there is nothing more important in our public life than to find it again…To be opposed to government per se, especially when that opposition serves the ultimate power of other wealthy and powerful interests, is simply not a biblical position. Transparency, accountability, and service are the ethics of good government. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people” is still a good measure and goal of civil authority…

America Is Not a Christian Nation and Never Has Been: Why Is the Right Obsessed With Pushing a Revisionist History? By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, October 16, 2013 

A Religious Legacy, With Its Leftward Tilt, Is Reconsidered By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER, New York Times, July 23, 2013

Religion challenges left and right By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, August 4 

Religious progressives hold stronger appeal among Millennials By Robby Jones, Washington Post, July 18, 2013 The Washington Post Company

Six challenges for organizing a progressive religious movement By Robert P. Jones, Washington Post, August 2, 2013

Why Progressives Can’t Ignore Religion by Mike Lux, Alter­Net, Febru­ary 27, 2012  ..Wall or no wall, politics and religion have always been inextricably intertwined, and we won’t win until we recognize and deal with that fact…

LGBT Advocates Need Public Progressive Faith

Why Few Americans View Climate Change as a Moral Problemby Ezra Markowitz, BigThink.com, June 15, 2012 – . The moral judgment system—the set of cognitive, emotional, social and motivational mechanisms responsible for producing our perceptions of right and wrong—has been receiving a lot of attention recently, only some of it good. A slew of best-selling books, dozens of exciting new research findings, and a host of current events have converged to produce a rapidly growing interest in the role that moral judgment and intuition play in shaping everything from the effects of “green” products on ethical decision-making to growing political polarization…If climate advocates and communicators want people to perceive climate change as a moral imperative—and they should given that our moral intuitions are powerful motivators of action—then they’ll need to develop creative, evidence-based ways of confronting the challenges discussed above.…

Another Word on “God and the Twenty-First Century” by Michael Benedikt, Tikkun, March 5, 2011 – It is no longer necessary to invoke the name of God to explain or promote compassionate action. Today we understand we have evolved that capacity…what are commandments? Ways of bringing goodness to life through actions, through deeds…These are the words of three champions of monotheism [Judaism, Christianity, Islam]…But what should followers of these theist traditions think of the good practiced by nonbelievers — people who would say it’s quite unnecessary, and even counterproductive, to bring “God” into ordinary morality, who would offer that morality can and should be understood from an entirely scientific, evolutionary, and historical point of view thus: the capacity for empathy, fairness, and altruism is wired into human beings and even other higher mammals from birth, thanks to millions of generations of reproduction-with-variation under the constraints of natural selection. Similarly, the laws of civility — from the Eightfold Way and the Ten Commandments to the Magna Carta, the Geneva Convention, and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights — are the culturally transmitted legacy of thousands of years of human social evolution overlaid upon older, natural reproductive-selective processes. Whereas laws of civility may once have needed the rhetorical force of God-talk to establish themselves, today they can be embraced rationally in the service of peace and prosperity.

The Faithful Budget 

Why the Great Religious Realignment is a Great Secular Opportunity 

Seven Deadly American Sins

The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication by George Lakoff, Truthout.org, September 2, 2010  - ..Morality is behind everything in politics – and progressives and conservatives have different moral systems….America is, and has always been, fundamentally about Americans caring about each other and acting responsibly on that care. Empathy…is the basis of our form of government. Responsibility is both personal and social…Argue for your values. Frame all issues in terms of your value…

Obama’s ‘God talk’ was highlight of his convention acceptance speech

Do We Need Faith to Believe in Progress? by Andrew Cohen, 21st Century Living, April 20, 2012

Prophetic Politics: Charting A Healthy Role For Religion In Public Life By Robert Jensen, Countercurrents.org, February 3, 2012 – A review of Walter Brueggemann, The Practice of Prophetic Imagination: Preaching an Emancipatory Word (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012).

We need a new Social Gospel: the moral imperative of collective bargaining by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Washington Post – On Faith, February 23, 2011

What Does the Morality of Americans Have to Do With Immigration in America? by Katherine Fennelly, Professor, University of Minnesota. HuffingtonPost.com, July 9, 2010

Philosophy of Religion by Richard Taylor, Philosophy Now, 2004

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