Saving America’s Soul – e-letter October 25, 2014

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Saving America’s Soul   Progressive Values e-letter October 25, 2014

We should begin by setting the conscience free. When all men of all religions…shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power…we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society. John Adams 2nd U.S. President

I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another. Thomas Jefferson 3rd U.S. President

A progressive moral vision is deeply connected to the exercise of conscience. Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. Reinhold Niebuhr

background information for a national dialogue about America’s values and future: Saving America’s Soul – - overview – articles and excerpts or quick scan

 Democracy Should Be a Brake on Unbridled Greed and Power by Bill Moyers, Democracy Now, June 8, 2011

The False Equation: Religion Equals Morality by Gwynne Dyer,, December 19, 2011 -

Why the Christian Right Believes It Has Once-in-a-Decade Chance to Impose Its Radical Worldview on America By – CJ Werleman,, November 26, 2013

72% of Americans Disapprove of Republican Party…but it’s Set to Take Control of Both Houses of Congress Anyway posted on The Christian Left, Facebook, September 13, 2014 from

False facts and the conservative distortion machine: It’s much more than just Fox News by Paul Rosenberg, Salon.Com, Aug 18, 2014

Dark Ages Redux: American Politics and the End of the Enlightenment by John Atcheson, Common Dreams, June 18, 2012 — We are witnessing an epochal shift in our socio-political world… Much of what has made the modern world in general, and the United States in particular, a free and prosperous society comes directly from insights that arose during the Enlightenment. Too bad we’re chucking it all out and returning to the Dark Ages…Now, we seek to operate by revealed truths, not reality. Decrees from on high – often issued by an unholy alliance of religious fundamentalists, self-interested corporations, and greedy fat cats – are offered up as reality by rightwing politicians…

The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party by Joan Bokaer,, 2008

The Long, Sordid History of the American Right and Racism By Robert Parry,   Consortium News May 20, 2013

Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now By Sara Robinson, AlterNet, February 15, 2012

How Propagandists for the 1% Are Manipulating Christian Teachings to Rob the Middle Class By Michael Meurer, Truthout, posted on, October 17, 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. Why Progressives Can’t Ignore Religion by Mike Lux, AlterNet, February 27, 2012

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soul: a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature; the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.; the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe; the moral and emotional nature of human beings

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…. Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

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From the editor, Phyllis Stenerson: This information is so important you need to learn it from a broad range of reliable sources. In the many times I’ve tried to write a succinct overview about our democracy being seriously threatened by the accelerating extremism of the Republican Party, I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude and tend to go on, and on, and on. When I first became aware of the gravity of this movement, particularly the manipulation of religion, I didn’t want to believe my head and heart (soul) screaming “This is so wrong.” Now the evidence is conclusive. Fueling culture wars using revisionist history, religion , women’s rights -  and race  as emotional wedge issues – is despicable. Thank you independent media for investigative, honest journalism. The impact is already disastrous, especially for children – /generational-justice/ , minorities and the planet and will get worse. It is the civic and moral responsibility of citizens – /citizenship/ who believe in America’s founding vision of religious pluralism and shared opportunity to fight back against extremists. Thank you for your attention. * * * * * -

The Constitution is inherently progressive by John Podesta and John Halpin,, October 10, 2011 – …As progressives, we believe in using the ingenuity of the private sector and the positive power of government to advance common purposes and increase freedom and opportunity…Coupled with basic beliefs in fair play, openness, cooperation and human dignity, it is this progressive vision that in the past century helped build the strongest economy in history and allowed millions to move out of poverty and into the middle class …the story of America has also been the story of a good nation, conceived in liberty and equality, eventually welcoming every American into the arms of democracy, protecting their freedoms and expanding their economic opportunities…

At the heart of The American Soul (by Jacob Needleman) is a call to rediscover the timeless truths hidden within the founding vision of the American nation. Embedded in the ideals of democracy, individual liberty and freedom of conscience is a view of human nature that echoes essential aspects of the wisdom that has guided every great civilization of the world… – The Inward Work of Democracy, On Being with Krista Tippet, June 28, 2012

Crimes Against the Soul of America by Caroline Myss, Huffington Post, September 5, 2009 There is such a thing as a crime against the soul of a nation. A person or a political party can deliberately incite actions that diminish the strength, the integrity, and the overall well-being of a nation’s inner core…A conscious effort to “dumb down” the education of this nation qualifies as a crime against the soul of America.

The Sociopathic 1 Percent: The Driving Force at the Heart of the Tea Party By Paul Rosenberg,, March 8, 2014 ……sociopaths are defined by their lack of empathy, conscience or any form of intuitive social awareness… It’s a mindset devoid of empathy or conscience, for whom other people simply are not real, a mindset that has gripped us collectively, ever more tightly, over the past 30 to 40 years…

Has Neoliberalism Turned Us All Into Psychopaths? By Paul Verhaeghe – The Guardian -  , posted on, October 2, 2014 …economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatization have taken their toll…

The Progressive Conscience in Action by Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Center for American Progress, April 6, 2009 …For progressives, a crucial guiding principle in regard to public policy is to secure the common good while protecting individual liberty to the fullest extent possible. The progressive understanding of the “common good” is based on the conviction that not only is each individual endowed with human dignity, purpose, and worth, but also that human society as a whole should reflect these characteristics. Therefore, human beings together should strive to realize social relations based on these universal values…

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……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.

The Koch Brothers’ 3-Step Plan to Conquer the Next Generation  By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News, September 14, 2014 1. Defund Public Schools 2. Make Schools Dependent on Private Entities for Money 3. Ingrain students with Greed-Based Ideology -

The Spirit That Drove Us to Civil War Is Back by Andy Schmookler, Huffington Post, 9/2/2014 …the force that drove us to Civil War more than a century and a half ago, and the force that has taken over the Republican Party in our times…In both cases, we see an elite insisting on their “liberty,” by which they mean the freedom to dominate…

The Worst Ideas of the Decade — The prosperity gospel by Cathleen Falsani, Washington Post, December 2009 …The “prosperity gospel,” an insipid heresy whose popularity among American Christians has boomed in recent years, teaches that God blesses those God favors most with material wealth….Told that wealth is a sign of God’s grace and favor…

The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government by Chris Hedges -  , -  , posted on, October 7, 2013…This ideology calls on anointed “Christian” leaders to take over the state and make the goals and laws of the nation “biblical.”… The intellectual and moral hollowness of the ideology, its flagrant distortion and misuse of the Bible, the contradictions that abound within it… are impervious to reason and fact. And that is why the movement is dangerous.

America’s War for Reality by Robert Parry , January 15, 2013 by Consortium News -  — The real struggle confronting the United States… is testing whether fact-based people have the same determination to fight for their real-world view as those who operate in a fact-free space do in defending their illusions…..Simply put, the Right fights harder for its fantasy land than the rest of America does for the real world …The country is going to need its conscious inhabitants of the real world to stand up with at least the same determination as the deluded denizens of the made-up world. Of course, this fight will be nasty and unpleasant. It will require resources, patience and toughness. But there is no other answer. Reality must be recovered and protected – if the planet and the children are to be saved.

Idealism, Conscience And The Spiritual Left by William Horden, Huffington Post, March 1, 2010 …Rooted deep in the grain of American culture, the Spiritual Left has long acted as the progressive conscience of the nation…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…

Phyllis Stenerson, Paideia LLC  612.331.1929 –  –

Paideia (pu-di’uh) is an ancient Greek philosophy of educating for citizenship to create an ideal society

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