Values, Religion, Faith, Spirituality

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 Institutionreligious voices will remain indispensable to movements on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and middle-class AmericansThere 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…

Real Christianity vs. Whatever The Heck It Is Conservatives Actually Follow By Allen Clifton, Forward Progressive, August 31, 2014

Chris Hedges on Christian Heretics, Truthdig.com, Nov 2, 2013 – … what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics…what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, and violence and bigotry into the Christian religion… I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it.

Wasn’t Jesus A Liberal? by Gary Vance, The Christian Left, August 4, 2014 Liberalism has been under assault for years now. The battering of this grand political philosophy has altered the contemporary definition of liberal to the point that Conservatives use it as a profane word…Liberalism as defined by Webster’s Third New International Dictionary: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for tolerance and freedom for the individual from arbitrary authority in all spheres of life…Jesus was the ultimate liberal progressive revolutionary of all history…It is time for Christians of conscience to stand up to religious and political hypocrisy. Christians should proudly proclaim progressive values today and should advocate for the Christian Liberalism that is our heritage and our legacy.

What Do We Mean By ‘Judeo-Christian’?  By Shalom Goldman, Religion Dispatches, January 21, 2011 Religious conservatives have, to varying degrees of controversy, been issuing online voting guides for “concerned Christians” for a while now, but this past election saw something new: a national “Judeo-Christian Voter Guide.” …although the use of “Judeo-Christian” seemed to signal a message of cooperation and ecumenicism, it was really a cover for an attack on the values of the Enlightenment, the very values that enabled Jews to enter Western societies…

The Stunning Resurgence of Progressive Christianity by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor, The Huffington Post, 06/04/2014  Anyone born within the last 50 years would be justified in thinking that Jesus’ teachings and Christian preachings were the exclusive domain of social and fiscal conservatives. The ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s were dominated by Christians with names like Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson who leveraged television and radio to make theirs the default religious voice in America….There has been a largely unnoticed but radical movement over the last decade during which the spiritual fire has shifted to more progressive Christians and that has the potential to change both the political and spiritual landscape of America…progressive Christian leaders are speaking out and being heard in their effort to impact the public square. Pastors and priests have spoken out on blocked Medicaid expansions, gun control, and climate change…immigration reform…religious right to perform gay marriagesNet Neutralitychange drug sentencing laws. Groups like Nuns on a Bus, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, The Cana Initiative, Moral Mondays, Faithful America and many others are consistently witnessing to injustice in visible — and reportable — ways. Now, when the mainstream media is looking for a Christian to comment on a story, they have a powerful progressive set of voices to chose from…The way forward is for people of good will of all faiths and no faith to work together on matters that promote the common dignity, respect and well-being of all Americans.

Obama Is the Antichrist By Jack Schwartz, The Daily Beast, July 14, 2014 …we have a new faith growing from this nation’s soil: the Tea Party…This religiosity explains the Tea Party’s political zealotry… Religion here doesn’t mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live one’s life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should notThese people are true believers who turn out faithfully at the primaries, giving them political clout in great excess to their actual numbers….It is now a commonplace for Tea Party candidates to vow they won’t sacrifice an iota of their principles…They see themselves engaged in nothing less than a project of national salvation. The refusal to compromise is a watchword of their candidates who wear it as a badge of pride. This would seem disastrous in the give-and-take of politics but it is in keeping with sectarian religious doctrine. Like all revealed religions this one has its own Devil in the form of Barack Obama. This Antichrist in the White House is an illegitimate ruler who must be opposed at every turn…

The Tea Party As A Religion By Andrew Sullivan, The Dish, Oct 16 2013

For the Bible Tells Me So? By Mark Sandlin, patheos.com, June 18, 2014

Liberal Christianity — 10 things to know about this ‘middle way’ By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2014

Idealism, Conscience And The Spiritual Left by William Horden, Huffington Post, March 1, 2010  …Spiritual Left did not, of course, originate with the 60s.…it dates back at least to 1838, when Emerson and other Transcendentalists began their quest for a path “away from the old ‘religions of authority’ into a new ‘religion of the spirit.’”…sought a first-hand experience of the divine grounded in nature and community rather than institutionalized dogma. Rooted deep in the grain of American culture, the Spiritual Left has long acted as the progressive conscience of the nation, championing as it did from its very beginning unpopular causes like abolition and women’s rights…
While many in the Spiritual Left are politically active, many others eschew direct participation in the Political Left because it remains locked in a destructive cycle of conflict with the Political Right…
Amorphous and anti-authoritarian, the Spiritual Left is perhaps best defined as a borderless association of leaders. Free thinkers and independent seekers of spirituality beyond dogma, its members engage in–and disengage from–political activism as a matter of personal conviction, not ordained groupthink…The Political Left will need to return to the moral high ground of progressive American thought and give voice to the American conscience of compassion if it is to recapture the imagination and heart of its spiritual counterpart. It has to want to change the world for the better, not just get elected…

The Right-Wing Is Filled with Biblical Illiterates — They’d Be Shocked by the Teachings of Jesus if They Ever Bothered to Study Them By CJ Werleman, AlterNet, December 23, 2013

Holy Book Learning — Americans are shockingly illiterate when it comes to religions — including their own by Christoper Shea, Boston Globe, March 4, 2007

A New Religious America — How a “Christian Country” Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation by Diana L. Eck Understanding America’s religious landscape is the most important challenge facing us today…

Pope Francis called right-wing Christian fundamentalism a sickness. Stephen D. Foster Jr. October 21, 2013 Pope Francis [has] been particularly critical of right-wing Christian fundamentalism. Pope Francis has shifted the focus of the Catholic Church to issues facing the poor and the sick. He has railed against economic inequality and has criticized the anti-gay and anti-abortion strains that have come to dominate the Christian Right here in America. Such ideological extremism is dangerous, not only to Christianity, but to the world. And Pope Francis said as much last Thursday.

The Bible is a Good Book, But God Didn’t Write It, Interview with Bishop John Shelby Spong By Candace Chellew-Hodge, Religion Dispatches, January 8, 2012 — Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong’s new book is Reclaiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World…Spong has been taking religious literalists to task for over 40 years…“I do not think for one moment that Bible is any literal sense the ‘Word of God.’
…the Bible [is] more than a manual for morality, but a living document.…We’ve encouraged people to think about the Bible as this kind of book, a source of authority, the final word, not to be debated.…
I think the Bible is a great book and I think if we can get people to look at it properly and not use it as a weapon to enforce their prejudices we’d be making a major step forward.
In this strange political climate we’re in, the Bible seems to be getting tossed around an awful lot… I think it’s sick.…
Christianity is not about saving people from their sins. It’s about expanding the sense of what it means to be human…What Christianity does is lift us beyond the survival mentality into a kind of humanity that can give itself away in love. That’s what the Jesus story is all about.

Why We Must Reclaim The Bible From Fundamentalists by Bishop John Shelby Spong, HuffingtonPost.com, October 13, 2011

The Tragic Story of Christianity: How a Pacifist Religion Was Hijacked by Rabid Warmongering Elites By Gary G. Kohls, Consortium News, posted on Alternet.org, January 30, 2012 — From time to time, I read about condemnations of religion coming from non-religious groups, especially concerning the all-too-common violence perpetrated in the name of religious gods. Indeed there is plenty to condemn…Obvious examples include those portions of the three major war-justifying religions of the world: fundamentalist Islam, fundamentalist Judaism and fundamentalist Christianity. I use the term fundamentalist in the sense that the religious person, who ascribes to a fundamentalist point of view, believes, among other dogmatic belief, that their scriptures are inerrant and thus they can find passages in their holy books that justify homicidal violence against their perceived or fingered enemies, while simultaneously ignoring the numerous contradictory passages that forbid violence and homicide and instead prescribe love, hospitality, mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation. Behind the scenes, of course, there are hidden elites — amoral, politically and financially motivated operatives who are embedded in these religious organizations — who, through the strength of their political power, can easily manipulate the followers into clamoring for war, not against their enemies, but rather against the enemies of the ruling elites: the politicians, the financiers and the other exploiters of natural resources… critics of Christianity should start challenging the churches to go back to their roots where evil was not allowed to run rampant, but rather was aggressively and courageously resisted using the nonviolent methods of Jesus and his inspired disciples like Tolstoy, Gandhi, Dorothy Day, A. J. Muste, Martin Luther King, the Berrigan brothers, John Dear, Kathy Kelly and a multitude of other courageous prophetic voices…Jesus was definitely NOT a punitive, pro-death penalty, pro-militarism conservative. His power came not from the sword but from the power of love…That brand of Christianity definitely deserves condemnation… Church leaders need to repent of their support for (or their silence about) their nation’s state-sponsored terrorism and start acting ethically, as if the Sermon on the Mount mattered…

The New Religious Right in America By Dennis E. Owen and Samuel S. Hill 1982 Abingdon ISBN 0-687-27867-8 ‘The reader will see we’ve reached the conclusion that its impact on our common life will be limited. A movement to be taken seriously, yes. A movement that is likely to alter the basic course of American life, probably not…”

Holy Terror: The Fundamentalist War on America’s Freedoms in Religion, Politics, and Our Private Lives by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman 1982 StillPoint Press, Dell Publishing 0-385-29286-4  http://holyterror.stillpointpress.net/

Global economic crisis also values crisis - Davos poll — by Tom Henegan, Religion Editor, New Frontiers  |  Davos — PARIS, Reuters, January 27, 2010 –Two-thirds of people around the world think the global economic crisis is also a crisis of ethical values that calls for more honesty, transparency and respect for others, according to a World Economic Forum poll. Almost as many name business as the sector that should stress values more to foster a better world, said the poll for the Forum’s annual Davos summit that opened on Wednesday

 

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