Religion

The Brutal Failure of Zionism

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu

Israel’s renewed slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza – after failed peace talks and ethnic slayings by both sides – is further proof that the Zionist experiment has failed and that the only reasonable way forward is to recognize the equal rights of all people living in the region, writes John V. Whitbeck.

Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism

Sayyid Qutb, a philosopher of Islamic Fundamentalism.

Islamic Fundamentalism frightens the West and that fear has motivated a fierce retaliation deploying more weapons and inflicting more slaughter. But in not understanding what drives the jihadists the military strategies may be making matters worse, observes ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

Pope Francis Prays at Two Israeli Walls

Pope Francis praying a separation wall in Palestine on May 25, 2014. (Photo credit: Pope Francis's Facebook page.).

Pope Francis tried to bring a moral perspective to Israel’s subjugation of the Palestinians, including scenes of him praying at a separation wall in Palestine as well as at the famous West Wall in Jerusalem, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

Jesus Mandate: Peace and Stewardship

Jesus as portrayed in stained glass as the Good Shepherd.

Modern biblical scholarship has enabled critically thinking Christians to understand what the historical Jesus actually said and what was tacked on later to serve the interests of Rome and early church leaders, but those original messages remain politically inconvenient today, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The Inconvenient Truth about Jesus

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

There is much religiosity in the U.S., with the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority even approving Christian prayers at the start of government business. But there is little appreciation of the radical political and economic message at the center of Jesus’s teachings, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

Kerry Grovels over Israeli ‘Apartheid’

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking to the AIPAC conference on March 3, 2014.

Exclusive: Secretary of State Kerry gets to say whatever half-truth or fiction comes into his head about Syria, Russia or other “designated villains,” but when he cites the inconvenient truth of Israeli “apartheid,” he must scramble as fast as he can to retract and apologize, Robert Parry reports.

Pope Francis Signals Eased Moral Strictures

Pope Francis. (Photo from Casa Rosada)

For decades, the Catholic Church has alienated many followers with its rigid stance on sexual behavior and marriage. But there are indications that Pope Francis is seeking a less judgmental approach toward these issues, as moral theologian Daniel C. Maguire notes.

Telling the Truth about Easter

Depiction of Jesus's Crucifixion by 16th Century artist Mathis Gothart-Nithart.

Jesus, a radical preacher who advocated for the poor, was crucified for turning over money tables at the Temple and other insurrectionary acts. His body was likely left to wild animals, but his chroniclers sought to glorify his ending with myths about a resurrection, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.

Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

From the Archive: Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize its pivotal event, overturning the Temple’s money tables, a challenge to religious and political power, says Rev. Howard Bess.

Israeli-Palestinian Talks Founder, Again

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Obama pondered freeing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to keep Israeli-Palestinian negotiations sputtering along, but Israel’s demand to be called a “Jewish state” and its refusal to free more Palestinian prisoners have pushed the talks to the brink, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.