A key founding principle of the United States was that a secular government would protect the religious freedoms of all groups. But Israel’s insistence on a Jewish state that systematically discriminates against Arabs has drawn America down a different path, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Many on the American Right say they’re strong Christians, but have bought into Ayn Rand economics which disdains government help for the poor and needy. Other Christians, like Sojourners’ Jim Wallis, see Jesus’s teachings enshrined in the Constitution’s commitment to the common good, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Christian churches have convinced many believers that “salvation” only exists in the afterlife. But a truer understanding of the word – and its synonym “shalom” – reveals them to be messages calling for the present world to become a place of human fulfillment, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Terrorism once had an objective meaning: an act of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal. But it’s since been transformed into a bigoted curse word aimed broadly at Muslims, while rarely applied to politically motivated violence by other groups, as Nima Shirazi notes.
Exclusive: Official Washington still glorifies George W. Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq while ignoring the wanton slaughter inflicted on Iraqis. So, there remains a high-level desire to harshly punish Pvt. Bradley Manning for exposing the horrific truth about that and other war crimes, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Since ancient times, mankind has struggled against chaos, often seeking to control differences and manage conflicts though violence and war. The Bible has played an insidious role in this history, though an alternate interpretation of its opening chapter would recognize an appeal to do good, not to harshly impose order, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Exclusive: Hiding and near death, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev reportedly scrawled on the inside of a boat that he did what he did to avenge innocent Muslims killed by U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a rare look at the why behind “terrorism,” writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Jesus’s social teachings and America’s founding ideals had common threads, particularly rejection of tyrannical rulers and promotion of the general welfare. But the Israelite society of Jesus’s day, like America today, had lost connection to its ethical roots, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Over the past two years of Arab unrest, only in Bahrain did a neighboring country (Saudi Arabia) invade militarily to put down a popular uprising – and did so without U.S. outrage because Bahrain is home to the Fifth Fleet. But the political injustice of Bahrain remains a regional sore point, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul…
Exclusive: A half-century ago, religious clashes in Vietnam — leading to a dramatic photo of a Buddhist priest burning himself alive — shocked the U.S. government and drove it deeper into the morass of the Vietnam War, a confluence of religion and politics that remains relevant today, as war correspondent Beverly Deepe Keever explains.