Religion

MLK and the Curse of ‘Moderation’

A mug shot photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

When Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail to focus national attention on the injustice of segregation, he was stung by criticism from Christian clergy who feared upsetting the status quo and urged “moderation,” prompting his historic rejoinder from the Birmingham jail, as Rev. Howard Bess recalls.

J Street’s Dead End

Vice President Joe Biden addresses a J Street conference in 2013.

The hardline Zionist positions of AIPAC have given rise to a more moderate pro-Israel lobby called J Street, which deviates from some right-wing Israeli policies by favoring negotiations with Iran, for instance. But J Street still makes excuses for Israel’s repression of the Palestinians, write Abba A. Solomon and Norman Solomon.

MLK’s Warning of America’s Spiritual Death

Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, DC.

At the dawn of the last year of his life, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. broke with many political allies by warning that the Vietnam War and the militarism that surrounded it were inflicting a “spiritual death” on America, an impassioned speech that cast King outside mainstream opinion circles which considered his advice naïve if…

The Weapons of the Poor

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

Many on the American Right define themselves as Christians and angrily defend the religion’s symbols and myths, but this Christian Right ignores a core reality about Jesus, that he spoke to and for the poor, decried the rich, and demanded social justice for all, as Rev. Howard Bess recounts.

Israel’s Ethical Challenges

Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (State Department photo)

A bitter irony of modern Israel is that the Jewish people have historically been at the forefront of tolerance, reason and egalitarianism but now have leaders who demand a Jewish religious state accompanied by the repression of Palestinian Muslims, a dilemma addressed by Winslow Myers.

One ‘Silent Night’ in the Trenches

Trench warfare during World War I.

Dehumanizing the enemy is a key part of modern warfare, bolstered by the modern art of propaganda, often with the blessing of religious leaders. That was why the Christmas Truce of 1914 was so seditious, as Gary G. Kohls explains.

Mandela, MLK and Jesus

Nelson Mandela.

The death of Nelson Mandela offers Christians a chance to reflect on the great protest leader at the center of their religion, the historical Jesus, with his anger at ostentatious wealth and his disdain for social inequality, as Rev. Howard Bess reflects.

Does Christmas Obscure Jesus?

Jesus of Nazareth delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted by artist Carl Bloch.

The Christmas season celebrates the regal myth of Jesus – his supposedly miraculous birth and royal lineage as a king of kings – but that loses sight of the historical Jesus and his revolutionary message of justice for the poor and powerless, as Rev. Howard Bess reflects.

Meaning of the War Over Christmas

Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City

From the Archive: The latest Christmas tradition is for Fox News and the Right to work “the base” into a lather over a supposed “War on Christmas,” but there is a larger message in how right-wing propaganda creates “victimhood,” as Robert Parry noted in 2005.

Warring Over the ‘War on Christmas’

The 2012 National Christmas Tree with the White House in the background. (U.S. Government photo)

Despite America’s over-the-top, month-long celebration of baby Jesus – topped off with a government holiday ignoring the Constitution’s separation of church and state – Fox News and the Right have conjured up a “war on Christmas,” now as much a tradition as eggnog, Nat Parry notes.