With the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, a question before Americans is how the late civil rights leader would have responded to the nation’s recent decades of greed, war and decline. Rev. Howard Bess poses the same question as to how ancient Israelites reacted to hostile empires and to their own.
The longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict engenders strong feelings on both sides, with the Palestinians citing decades of oppression and the Israelis recalling a long history of abuse and genocide. But Winslow Myers suggests that the principles of Gandhi offer hope.
Curiously, it has often fallen to the U.S. military to take the lead in changing the society’s patterns of discrimination, even as churches sometimes lag. After World War II, the military took up the fight against racial bias. Today, the target is bigotry against gays, as Rev. Howard Bess notes.
Israel’s right-wing leaders feel they can count on U.S. politicians to rubber-stamp pretty much whatever Israel does to the Palestinians, with some extremist rabbis even glorifying the racist mass murderer Baruch Goldstein. Which leaves Lawrence Davidson wondering what it will take to change behavior in Washington and Tel Aviv.
Exclusive: Israeli leaders continue to pound the drum about taking out Iran’s nuclear program – and some hardliners may want to strike soon, fearing the window of opportunity will close if President Barack Obama wins reelection and is less susceptible to political pressures, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern observes.
For several decades, the American Right has been fanning the flames of animosity among white men angered over what they see as their reduced status and other threats from modernity. Now that brush fire is threatening to sweep across the nation engulfing whatever decency remains in U.S. politics, Lawrence Davidson notes.
Some neoconservatives, Christian fundamentalists and right-wing Jews insist that a “clash of civilizations” is underway with Islam – and that peaceful coexistence is not an option. But Rev. Howard Bess, a Baptist, sees hope from fair-minded scholarship about the Bible and the Qu’ran.
Pulitzer-winning author Alice Walker sees a reflection of the injustice done to African-Americans in today’s treatment of the Palestinians, leading her to object when the artwork of Palestinian children is barred from U.S. museums and to join a flotilla that challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza, as Dennis Bernstein reports.
Friction between Christians and Muslims is growing, as the world’s two largest religions – with a long history of conflict and animosity – collide in a shrinking world. The Rev. Howard Bess sees some of that friction as unavoidable but urges dialogue and understanding to avert the worst.
Some of our special stories in August explored stubborn conflicts raging from Libya to Afghanistan, reported on social upheavals within Western societies, reflected on the hypocrisy of Christian violence, and more.