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.
Many journalists are confronted with a choice in their careers: pursue a difficult truth by taking on powerful interests or protect their livelihoods by going with the flow. While readers may think the choice is obvious – pursue the truth – it often comes with a high price, as journalist Alan Hart learned.
The Boston Marathon bombings have brought forth a frenzy of right-wing hate speech against Muslims who are depicted as mindlessly violent. But many of history’s worst atrocities – including the Holocaust, the Vietnam War and even today’s “war on terror” — have been carried out primarily by Christians, as Gary G. Kohls recalls.
In the 1980s, the Reagan administration decried “liberation theology” as Marxist and quietly approved when right-wing regimes murdered priests and nuns. But new scholarship reveals that “liberation theology” was carrying forward the real-life demands of Jesus for social justice, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.
Biblical miracles about Jesus – the virgin birth, walking on water, the resurrection – have caused rationalists to dismiss his very existence as just an ancient myth. But there is another possibility, that a real historical figure emerged as a doomed but popular leader and his followers then padded the story, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.
If journalistic objectivity is applied honestly, it means that all people must have equal standing whether they’re “on our side” or not; outrage over human rights crimes can’t be selective. But Israeli journalist Amira Hass faced fierce attack when she said Palestinians had a right to resist, as Lawrence Davidson notes.
Christianity has two conflicting views of Jesus’s Crucifixion, that God sacrificed his Son to atone for mankind’s sins, or that Jesus demanded economic and political justice for the poor and was killed by Jerusalem’s power structure. The two interpretations lead in very different directions, as Rev. Howard Bess explains.
Rather than making serious efforts at peace settlements, President Obama is skating toward possible U.S. involvement in two more Middle Eastern wars, with Syria and Iran. And ex-Vice President Cheney has no regrets about the Iraq War. Such attitudes ignore a core principle of all major religions, writes Winslow Myers.
Liberation theology holds that Jesus was committed to making society address the needs of the poor, not just giving them charity. But traditional Church leaders condemn it as Marxism in Christian trappings and have sat back as rightist regimes tortured and killed priests and nuns, a history that now haunts Pope Francis.
Exclusive: In the 1970s, Father Jorge Bergoglio faced a moment of truth: Would he stand up to Argentina’s military neo-Nazis “disappearing” thousands including priests, or keep his mouth shut and his career on track? Like many other Church leaders, Pope Francis took the safe route, Robert Parry reports.