In the Republican race, the hottest “religious issue” is the Mormonism of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, which many commentators have ruled out of bounds. But there are broader issues of religion and politics that should be part of the presidential debate, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Patriotism was once famously called “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” but it’s also used to discredit citizens who dare question their own country’s wrongheaded policies, as is now the case for Israelis who advocate for a fair peace with the Palestinians, writes Ted Lieverman.
America’s decade-long hysteria since 9/11 has taken on some characteristics of the European witch hunts of 500 years ago, with incineration of targets after a sham “due process,” albeit now with Hellfire missiles from the air not stake-burnings on the ground, as Mary Beaudoin explains.
Special Report: The fake “debunking” of the 1980 October Surprise case in the early 1990s was driven by a few “journalists,” including Steven Emerson, who has been identified in a recent report as a “misinformation expert” spreading anti-Muslim propaganda, reports Robert Parry.
The core crisis of Christianity is how could a religion based on the teachings of Jesus, who called for peace through love and generosity to the poor – and who disdained the rich – have grown so tolerant of war, greed and inequality. The Rev. Howard Bess traces this conundrum to the Church’s early days.
The Christian Right talks about applying Biblical tenets to political issues, but ignores the most central of Jesus’s teachings – standing with the poor, opposing financial elites and abhoring violence. The Vatican has now issued a reminder of those principles, as Daniel C. Maguire notes.
Like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, the French Revolution began as a rejection of an unjust system where the few were obscenely rich and the many had little money or power. Where it went off-track was in its embrace of violence, a lesson today’s revolutionaries must heed, says Gary G. Kohls.
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.