Moral politics

“All politics is moral.” George Lakoff

The Supreme Court Just Gave American Evangelicals a Gift, by Ed Cyzewski, June 26, 2015 / Evangelicals are tenacious, persistent, and driven when they want to fight for a cause. The problem is that American evangelicals have been swept up in fighting for the wrong cause for a long time…. I see Jesus pointing us toward the issues that pertain to the most basic aspects of human dignity: food, shelter, clothing, justice, and sickness:… we [Evangelicals] have always had financial resources, competent charities, and passionate workers who are more than willing to travel to the ends of the earth to fulfill the very words of Jesus. If we collectively gave these most basic causes just a fraction of the time and energy that we had devoted to fighting same sex marriage, who knows how many thousands or millions of lives could have been saved….We aren’t called to fight against someone. We aren’t called to litigation. We are called to fight for everyone—especially those suffering in the most basic ways. The longer we engage in legal fights against same sex marriage, the more apparent it becomes that we’d rather throw ourselves into any losing cause than obey the most basic commands of Jesus. Let’s take our tenacity, energy, and resources and throw them into serving the people who are suffering the most in this world.

Pope Francis Gets the Moral Framing Right: Global Warming Is Where the Practical and the Moral Meet By George Lakoff, Huffington Post, 06/25/2015 3:40 pm EDT environmental issues are moral issues.

Obama Condemns ‘Distorted’ Faith at National Prayer Breakfast by Adelle M. Banks, God’s Politics Blog, Sojourners, 02-05-2015 President Obama on Feb. 5 called for an emphasis on what is just about the world’s religions as a way to counter the ways faith has been distorted across the globe. “We see faith driving us to do right,” he said to more than 3,500 people attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or worse, sometimes used as a weapon.” He urged believers of all faiths to practice humility, support church-state separation and adhere to the Golden Rule as ways to keep religion in its proper context. “As people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends,” Obama said. “Here at home and around the world we will constantly reaffirm that fundamental freedom: freedom of religion, the right to practice our faith how we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution and fear and discrimination.”

Pope Francis And Other Religious Leaders Sign Declaration Against Modern Slavery By Guilia Belardelli, L’Huffington Post,  12/02/2014,  Empathy, love, respect, equality: these are the common denominators which caused the leaders of the world’s major religions to sign a declaration committed to the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020 today at the Vatican..For the first time in history, major Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian authorities, along with leaders of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religions, met to sign a shared commitment against modern slavery, which is considered a crime against humanity. “We consider any action which does not treat others as equals to be an abhorrent crime,” Pope Francis said. “God is a love that is manifested in every human being; everyone is equal and ought to be afforded the same liberty and dignity.”

Why Millions of Christian Evangelicals Oppose Obamacare and Civil Rights By Daniel Silliman, Religion Dispatches, December 8, 2014 

The Real Origins of the Religious Right By RANDALL BALMER, Politico.com, May 27, 2014  They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation. Posted on Facebook by the Christian Left, 12–9-14 with commentary: We’ve been aware of this for some time but we were recently reminded of it. The “Christian” Right was originally brewed up to defend racism parading as “Religious Freedom.” When the founders realized they couldn’t flaunt racism in the open they threw up abortion instead. They would use whatever issue was handy, and they had tried most of them before. Abortion was their golden egg and they ran with it.

Why the American church can’t talk about war (and why that needs to change) by Alan Bean, Friends of Justice, March 11, 2015

“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

The Inner Life of Rebellion, On Being with Krista Tippett, 1/10/15  podcast — excerpt The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. It’s a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change.

Pope Francis And Other Religious Leaders Sign Declaration Against Modern Slavery By Guilia Belardelli, L’Huffington Post,  12/02/2014, l Empathy, love, respect, equality: these are the common denominators which caused the leaders of the world’s major religions to sign a declaration committed to the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020 today at the Vatican..For the first time in history, major Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox Christian authorities, along with leaders of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religions, met to sign a shared commitment against modern slavery, which is considered a crime against humanity. “We consider any action which does not treat others as equals to be an abhorrent crime,” Pope Francis said. “God is a love that is manifested in every human being; everyone is equal and ought to be afforded the same liberty and dignity.”

The Ever-Growing Religious Movement That Doesn’t Get Enough Attention By Antonia Blumberg, The Huffington Post, 11/07/2014 Along with politics, poverty and culture, religion is often cited as a source of conflict throughout the world. However, the last 100 years reveal a growing interfaith movement in America — one that promotes peaceful and productive interactions between religious traditions… In 1962 the Catholic Church took a giant step forward in interfaith relations by convening of the Second Vatican Council. Before Vatican II, Catholics were discouraged from visiting other faiths’ houses of worship — but this all changed with the Nostra Aetate. This document, which officially took effect October 28, 1965, acknowledged the divine origin of all human beings and the truths present in other religions…With the growth of interfaith dialogue came increased academic and sociological interest in the ways pluralism affects religious life. Harvard University’s Diana Eck launched the Pluralism Project in 1991 to chart the development of interfaith efforts throughout the United States. And in 2001 the Pew Research Center initiated its Religion & Public Life Project to explore the intersection of religion and public life…Despite the long history of interfaith dialogue, religious intolerance is still a concern that threatens to undermine the hard work of devoted activists over the decades. Religious literacy is dangerously low in the United States, even among the faithful… Interfaith dialogue can change this.

Triumph of the Wrong by Paul Krugman, New York Times, NOV. 6, 2014 …politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday…Republican policy proposals deserve more critical scrutiny, not less, now that the party has more ability to impose its agenda. So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything…the story of conservative economics these past six years and more has been one of intellectual debacle — made worse by the striking inability of many on the right to admit error under any circumstances… if Republicans have been so completely wrong about everything, why did voters give them such a big victory? Part of the answer is that leading Republicans managed to mask their true positions… the biggest secret of the Republican triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy…This was, it turned out, bad for America but good for Republicans. Most voters don’t know much about policy details, nor do they understand the legislative process. So all they saw was that the man in the White House wasn’t delivering prosperity — and they punished his party. 

The Delu­sional Is No Longer Mar­ginal by Bill Moy­ers, pub­lished as “There Is No Tomorrow” By Bill Moy­ers in the Jan­u­ary 30, 2005 Star­Tri­bune, Min­neapo­lis  -What has hap­pened to our moral imag­i­na­tion?  The news is not good these days. I can tell you that as a jour­nal­ist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free — free to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the anti­dote to despair, the cure for cyn­i­cism… the capac­ity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.

The Problem With Pragmatism By David Brooks, New York Times,   OCT. 2, 2014 …The New Republic, which turns 100 this year, made a series of superficially contradictory demands on its readers. To be a well-rounded person, the magazine implied, it is necessary to be both practical and philosophical, both politically engaged and artistically cultivated…In 1940, the magazine published a stunning critique of those who refuse to embrace both kinds of knowledge. The essay, called “The Corruption of Liberalism,” was written by the unjustly forgotten writer Lewis Mumford. It’s been revived by the magazine’s current editor, Franklin Foer, in “Insurrections of the Mind,” a collection of essays from the magazine’s first century…A core problem with pragmatists, [Lewis] Mumford argues, is that they attach themselves so closely to science and social science that they have forgotten the modes of insight offered by theology and literature…minimized the role of instinct, tradition, history; it was unaware of the dark forces of the unconscious…in making themselves passionless, they always make themselves tepid and anesthetized…Mumford concludes that only people with an aroused moral sense will be properly mobilized to stand up for humanity….Mumford makes the case for leaders who understand evil down to its depths, who have literary sensibilities and who react with a heart brimming with moral emotion.

Faith in social justice by Paul Massari, Harvard Gazette. HDS Communications, May 2, 2014 …a new report from the Brookings Institution that contends that “religious voices will remain indispensable to movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and middle-class Americans.”

Moral Mondays: ‘Democratic tool’ or Great Awakening? By Jonathan Wilson-hartgrove, Commentary, Religion News Service, Washington Post, June 6, 2014 

Fomenting a Revolution: Extreme Acts of Greed Against the American People by Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, June 16, 2014

Christians: It’s Time to Break Our Silence on Faith-Based Terrorism By Rev. Brian McLaren, TIME, May 29, 2014 — Six reasons why faith communities should refuse to be enemies.

Moral Monday Sit-In Equates People’s Health with Eco Health by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 3, 2014

Faith in social justice By Paul Massari, HDS Communications, May 2, 2014- interview with Dan McKanan, Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), on a new report from the Brookings Institution:religious voices will remain indispensable to movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and middle-class Americans…There is a lot of potential for religiously unaffiliated progressives — especially millennials — to partner with religious institutions and organizations in working for economic justice…The Civil Rights Movement is still a good model for partnership between religious organizations and religiously unaffiliated individuals. Though the report characterizes the movement as an alliance of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, its religious diversity was actually quite a bit broader than that. Religious humanists, secular humanists, Unitarian Universalists, and Muslims also played very important roles in the movement

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

Why We Love Politics By DAVID BROOKS, New York Times, November 22, 2012 – 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 virtues

The Bible Paradox by Big Think Editors, October 20, 2013  — 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…

Faith and Politics: Rules of the Game by Ira Chernus, December 24, 2007  …Religion has always been deeply embedded in U.S. politics, for better and for worse. How could it be otherwise? You can’t ask people to leave their personal values out of their political choices. And in a country so massively saturated with religion, you can’t ask people to leave their faith out of their personal values. So religion will be in politics whether we like it or not.

 

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