As 2011 draws to a close, the year has seen clear progress for gay rights, with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and New York State’s acceptance of same-sex marriages, changes that Rev. Howard Bess regrets some organized religions have opposed.
In the holiday season, many Christians take pride in helping the poor – by donating food and toys – but U.S. religious leaders have stayed in the background of challenges to an inequitable economic system, leaving that Jesus work to mostly secular young people of the Occupy movement, the Rev. Howard Bess observes.
From the Archive: On Thanksgiving Day, the United States celebrates the tradition of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down together in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621 to celebrate each other as friendly neighbors. But the reality was not so pleasant, as historian William Loren Katz recalled.
America’s Founders understood that creating a nation that favored one religion over others was a recipe for repression. Israel’s founders rejected that wisdom and sought a Jewish state with democratic ideals. But it is turning out that America’s Founders were right, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
In the Republican race, the hottest “religious issue” is the Mormonism of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, which many commentators have ruled out of bounds. But there are broader issues of religion and politics that should be part of the presidential debate, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Patriotism was once famously called “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” but it’s also used to discredit citizens who dare question their own country’s wrongheaded policies, as is now the case for Israelis who advocate for a fair peace with the Palestinians, writes Ted Lieverman.
America’s decade-long hysteria since 9/11 has taken on some characteristics of the European witch hunts of 500 years ago, with incineration of targets after a sham “due process,” albeit now with Hellfire missiles from the air not stake-burnings on the ground, as Mary Beaudoin explains.
Special Report: The fake “debunking” of the 1980 October Surprise case in the early 1990s was driven by a few “journalists,” including Steven Emerson, who has been identified in a recent report as a “misinformation expert” spreading anti-Muslim propaganda, reports Robert Parry.
The core crisis of Christianity is how could a religion based on the teachings of Jesus, who called for peace through love and generosity to the poor – and who disdained the rich – have grown so tolerant of war, greed and inequality. The Rev. Howard Bess traces this conundrum to the Church’s early days.
The Christian Right talks about applying Biblical tenets to political issues, but ignores the most central of Jesus’s teachings – standing with the poor, opposing financial elites and abhoring violence. The Vatican has now issued a reminder of those principles, as Daniel C. Maguire notes.