From the gospel accounts, Jesus was a fierce critic of the economic injustices of his day, demanding – within his Jewish tradition – a radical redistribution of wealth and a recommitment to Israelite teachings about caring for one another. That was his point about God’s kingdom “on earth,” writes Rev. Howard Bess.
The turning point of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was his protest at the Temple, which the Jewish priests saw as a challenge to their authority and which led to his trial and execution. But was this disruption violent or non-violent, a question posed by Reza Aslan in Zealot, a book reviewed by Rev. Howard Bess.
Though based on the pacifist teachings of Jesus, Christianity has been an accomplice to more wars and genocides than any other religion, a paradox reflected in the contradictory views of 16th Century protestant reformer Martin Luther and 20th Century civil rights martyr Martin Luther King Jr., as Gary G. Kohls explains.
Exclusive: Today’s crises – endless war, environmental catastrophe, desperate poverty and more – can seem so daunting that they paralyze action rather than inspire activism. But the imperative to do something in the face of injustice defines one’s moral place in the universe, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains.
The second – and hopefully last – nuclear bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945. Among the bitter ironies of that day, the U.S. plane was flown by an all-Christian crew that picked for its target the landmark of a Christian church that had survived Japanese persecution, writes Gary G. Kohls.
Secretary of State John Kerry got an agreement for renewed Israeli-Palestinian talks, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence that Israel not only keep much of the Occupied Territories but be formally recognized as a Jewish state precludes a just resolution for the Arab people of Palestine and promises continued resistance, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
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.