We’ll tell you what to think about female ordination

Lutheran ordinationThe latest issue of Newsweek has a story on the ordination of females. Writers Holly Rossi and Lilit Marcus, who I believe are bloggers at the excellent Beliefnet, wrote the story for the mainstream publication. They ask what the election of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the head of the Episcopal Church means for women seeking a similar path. If they were blogging, the bias of the piece would be just fine. But I’m not sure if they quite have the impartiality necessary for a mainstream news magazine. Let’s see what we think about their tone:

Women make up 61 percent of all Americans who attend religious congregations, but they still struggle for their place in some denominations. A national study led by researchers at Hartford Seminary found that only 12 percent of the clergy in the 15 largest Protestant denominations are women. And some 112 million Americans belong to denominations that don’t ordain women at all, including Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Jews.

Emphasis mine. Now maybe it’s because I’m Lutheran and we follow the historic Christian practice of ordaining only select men after rigorous education and training, but, um, I don’t think there’s any question how the writers want us to feel. We have the words that direct the reader — but, only, at all!

The story also has a chart on various religious groups’ policies on the ordination of women. But the chart, at least in my synod’s case, is wrong. It says we permit females to preach in the church. Actually, we don’t. We believe that preaching is a function of the Office of Holy Ministry, which is not open to females. Sure, our bureaucratic leader may have expressed a desire to the contrary, but we haven’t gone down that road yet.

Anyway, back to the bias in this Newsweek piece:

But there are indications that times are changing. . . .

But according to Adair Lummis, coauthor of the recent Hartford Seminary study, it might be easier in 20 years for women to earn top positions like Jefferts Schori’s than to increase their presence as senior clergy in many local congregations, where congregants’ attitudes might still favor male pastors. The stained-glass ceiling “has certainly been punctured,” said Lummis. But it’s yet to completely shatter.

I mean, the writers didn’t even really try to be fair to the ancient, orthodox view. They didn’t even lightly explore the biblical or traditional basis for why the vast majority of Christians ordain men. Heck, they didn’t even explore the attitudinal sexism they credit to congregations who desire male priests and pastors. Sigh. The reason why some churches ordain women and others don’t is because there’s a doctrinal division. Maybe mainstream media should look into that.

Photo via Flickr.

Print Friendly

Missing Hamas developments?

israeli soldierNews reports on the exploding conflict in the Middle East surround the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by “Palestinian militants.” On the surface there are few religious issues in play here, but a little digging will indicate that the religious convictions of two groups of people are central to the region’s conflict.

There is the obvious fact that one side is Muslim and the other is Jewish, but the tough questions lie in the differing factions in these two groups. For starters, someone might explain the political (theological?) differences between Hamas and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba. Then there are the left-leaning and right-leaning parties (also theological) in the Israeli government. Then there are those shades of grey.

The views of the Israeli political parties are well known. One side wants aggression against the Palestinians, the other wants to work things out. Coverage of the Palestinians is less thorough.

For instance, here is one thing I would like a reporter in the Middle East to explain to me: why do some Palestinians, usually given the bland term “militants,” continue to lob rockets with the intent of hurting people and then get all surprised when the Israeli military punches back? I am sure there are several answers to this question, depending on who you ask, but it deserves at least an attempt at an answer.

Two articles — the first by The New York Times and the other by The Washington Post — do little to explain the all-important differences, but that is OK since there’s little room for background in a fast-developing news story.

palestinian terroristFor help, I want to turn to The New Republic, which (with Martin Peretz at the helm) has been fairly consistent on the Middle East. Here is part of TNR‘s report filed by foreign correspondent Yossi Klein Halevi, who has highlighted a key shift in the Hamas government:

Resuming assassinations against Hamas’s political echelon is, of course, a declaration of war against the Hamas regime. But given its official sanctioning of kidnapping, Hamas has already declared war against Israel. Hamas’s adoption of the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq comes as no surprise. After the killing of Zarqawi, Hamas issued a statement mourning his death and urging continued “resistance,” thereby making the Hamas regime the world’s only openly pro-Al Qaeda government. Unfortunately, the international media missed the significance of that moment.

That lapse in media judgment is worth recalling in the coming days, when much of the media will be presenting the “prisoners’ document” — a set of demands drawn up by Hamas and Fatah members imprisoned in Israel — as a historic Hamas concession, offering “tacit” recognition of Israel. In fact, the document does nothing of the sort. Nowhere does the document recognize the right of Israel to exist. Instead, it calls for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, followed by the “right” of Palestinian refugees to resettle in Israel and demographically overwhelm the Jewish state. The prisoners’ document, in other words, is a plan for the phased destruction of Israel — precisely why Hamas can endorse it.

The article provides a good amount of history and a bit on the theology behind Israel’s seemingly harsh reaction against Hamas for the kidnapping, but the item that caught my attention the most was that Hamas has shifted toward Al Qaeda. Is this merely a political move? Why so little coverage? Where is the theological connection between the two groups that would make this union work? Or is a connection even necessary?

Top photo courtesy of Flickr.

Print Friendly

Muddled millennial musings

millennialismThis is a few days late, but we need to look at that Los Angeles TimesEnd Times” story. I’m not sure if the problem with the story is that it is disorganized or that the reporter just doesn’t get the topic about which he is writing.

Speaking of not knowing about the topic, I’m Lutheran and we think Left Behind is where you get a penicillin shot. Still, I think I’d put any catechumen from my church up against the Times‘ Louis Sahagun. His breathless piece is about how an unspecified number of religious groups of unspecified population — some of which don’t even share the same religion – are using technology to hasten the end times and/or apocalypse and/or the arrival of a Jewish, Christian or Muslim messiah.

I mean, is it me, or is this kind of a big umbrella for one story? Compounding the problem is that some of his examples don’t have anything to do with technology. Maybe it’s a new Times exercise in free-association stories. But since this is GetReligion and not GetOrganized, how about I move on . . .

Sahagun fails to prove his point. If you’re going to claim that people are wacky, it’s important to be specific and substantiate claims with evidence the reader can check:

With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus’ message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades.

In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a far different vision. As mayor of Tehran in 2004, he spent millions on improvements to make the city more welcoming for the return of a Muslim messiah known as the Mahdi, according to a recent report by the American Foreign Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank.

Maybe these unquantified megachurch pastors were trying to bring about Armageddon. Or maybe they were doing what Christians have done since, well, Day 1: evangelism. And mayors improving the infrastructure of their city? Well, that is crazy, isn’t it? Put another way, how hard does a reporter have to work to make Ahmadinejad seem like a sensible bureaucrat? This is the man who spins the Holocaust, for crying out loud. I kid you not when I say Sahagun also acts like it’s news that Jews want to rebuild “a temple on a site now occupied by one of Islam’s holiest shrines.” A temple? You don’t say . . .

Sahagun glosses over different Christian beliefs about Revelation:

Though there are myriad interpretations of how it will play out, the basic Christian apocalyptic countdown — as described by the Book of Revelation in the New Testament — is as follows:

Jews return to Israel after 2,000 years, the Holy Temple is rebuilt, billions of people perish during seven years of natural disasters and plagues, the antichrist arises and rules the world, the battle of Armageddon erupts in the vicinity of Israel, Jesus returns to defeat Satan’s armies and preside over Judgment Day.

Generations of Christians have hoped for the Second Coming of Jesus, said UCLA historian Eugen Weber, author of the 1999 book “Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages.”

“And it’s always been an ultimately bloody hope, a slaughterhouse hope,” he added with a sigh.

armageddon 01Oh, so that’s the “basic Christian apocalyptic countdown”? And we Christians have always had a “slaughterhouse hope” in the end times? That’s good to know. I wonder why my pastor and every other Lutheran pastor and, for that matter, most of Christendom is keeping this from me. I mean, Lutherans, for instance, reject all forms of millennialism. (Happy birthday, Augsburg!) And even among folks who do believe in millennialism, you have your Historical Premillennialists, your Dispensational Premillennialists, Pre-Tribulation Rapture folks, Post-Tribs, Mid-Tribs and Pre-Wrath Rapturites and Partial Rapture folks — all of whom have disparate eschatological views.

Sahagun confuses evangelism with Armageddon (maybe this explains other problems in the newsroom). There are many examples but here’s one:

Apocalyptic movements are nothing new; even Christopher Columbus hoped to assist in the Great Commission by evangelizing New World inhabitants.

Sahagun is unaware that not all Christians are millennialists, part 246:

For Christians, the future of Israel is the key to any end-times scenario, and various groups are reaching out to Jews — or proselytizing among them — to advance the Second Coming.

No. No, no, no. Israel is not the key to any end-times scenario for Christians. There are billions of Christians in the world, all of whom believe in the world to come, as we say. And religious support of Israe? That’s certainly of concern to some Baptists and Pentecostals, for instance. But not everybody.

Complete lack of context. Reporters should use specific words. Avoid the word “some” as much as possible. Sahagun used the word eight times. The article gave the impression that statistical outliers — a farmer in Mississippi trying to breed a herd of red heifers — represent average Christians. And Christian thought is fleshed out much more in the story than Muslim or Jewish thought.

I know I’m not the Times‘ only reader who wants to learn more about millennialism and religious support of Israel. It’s a shame we’re still waiting.

Print Friendly

Religion in comic books

supermanYou have to give makers of comic books credit. They have been able to effectively turn their craft into a big screen wonder lately. With hit after hit, Hollywood box offices are smiling.

I haven’t seen much buzz on the new Superman film, due to hit the screens just before the long Fourth of July weekend, other than it’s supposed to be quite good, but this small item in Newsweek‘s excellent Beliefwatch section made me think that something’s in the making:

Is the Man of Steel a man of faith? The upcoming “Superman” movie has sent fans picking over primary sources. Jews have often claimed the archetypal superhero as their own. Superman sprang from the imaginations of two Jewish cartoonists, and scholars have compared him to golem myth — the supernatural creature who vanquishes the Jews’ enemies (early on, Superman battled the Nazis directly). Most fans believe the man from Krypton is a Methodist, an opinion divined from Clark Kent’s Midwestern upbringing. But there’s another possibility. In the original 1978 movie and the new one, the superhero’s father tells him: “They can be a great people … They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all — their capacity for good — I’ve sent them you, my only son.” Yes, Superman is a Christ figure.

Is the religiosity of a cartoon character going to become part of the culture wars? Of course not. It’s just comic books and they’re open to anyone’s interpretation. But it’s certainly fun to discuss.

The article includes a short snippet of an interview with the founder of Adherents.com, Preston Hunter, who has analyzed comic book characters and found religious denominations for several of them, including Daredevil’s Elektra as Greek Orthodox. I say go figure on that one, I never saw the movie, but placing spiritual attachments in fantasy is nothing new to Christians, particularly the fans of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.

Print Friendly

Semitic speech wars

149100062 4d9ff20623The Los Angeles Times has been covering a story about Muslim activists and their Jewish critics on the Irvine campus of the University of California. The story has been brewing for years but let’s look at the recent events.

In March, Muslim college activists decried the College Republicans plan to hold a discussion about Islamic militancy on campuses and whether some Islamic groups in the United States are apologists for terrorism. That, along with the group’s publication of the infamous Muhammed cartoons, didn’t go over well with the activists.

For the last few years, the Muslim Student Union has put on public programs opposed to the existence of the state of Israel. This year’s program featured a mock Israeli “apartheid” wall set up in the center of campus. The TimesKimi Yoshino wrote about the coming program in mid-May:

Controversial events scheduled at UC Irvine next week with such provocative titles as “Holocaust in the Holy Land” and “Israel: The Fourth Reich” are sparking outrage among Jewish students who are asking administrators to denounce aspects of the event.

Jewish students and community leaders say the program is the latest in a string of offensive incidents at the university. The U.S. Office for Civil Rights is investigating anti-Semitism at UCI, the first probe of its kind at a college.

The post-event story from the Times‘ Ashraf Khalil presents the controversy more in the he-said, she-said manner:

These clashes have been the latest in years of tension, mistrust and back-and-forth accusations between activist Muslim and Jewish students at UC Irvine.

In 2003, a memorial to Holocaust victims was vandalized. The next year, an antiZionism mural erected by the Society of Arab Students was burned down. No arrests were made in either case.

Khalil frames the story in a very interesting way:

At the heart of the UC Irvine issue is a fundamental question: Can one be aggressively opposed to the policies and even the existence of Israel without being anti-Semitic?

I think this is an excellent question that is important but difficult to ask. I also think it helps for Khalil to boil down the complexities of campus clashes. But I’m not sure if he’s right that this fundamental and important question is the one through which this conflict must be viewed.

Khalil makes a bold move by framing the debate in the way he does, but this could also be viewed in other ways: as a free speech issue or a campus speech issue or a trend story about the rise of Muslim activism on campuses or a story about public reaction to Muslim activism. Perhaps in subsequent stories he could look deeper how students react to Muslim activists when they say they oppose the “existence of Israel.” For instance, this quote — from one of the speakers brought in by the activists — could be taken in a variety of ways:

“The apartheid state of Israel is on the way down. They are living in fear . . . and it is about time they live in fear,” said Amir Abdel Malik Ali, an Oakland-based Islamic activist, during a May 15 speech on the campus quad. “The truth of the matter is: Your days are numbered. We will fight you until we are martyred or until we are victorious.”

Khalil goes to great lengths to clarify that Ali is attacking Zionist Jews as opposed to Jews in general. I would be curious to read how various students on campus interpret these remarks. It would also be interesting to readers whether these various groups are taxpayer funded. And I would like a lot more explanation of the religious motivations of the various parties. Still, the Times has been doing a pretty good job covering this local issue.

Photo via Flickr.

Print Friendly

Inside Dan Brown’s Holy of Holies

bonalisa2Just a reminder, gentle readers, that I am still interested in actual news stories about The Da Vinci Code that escape the basic news templates we have seen over and over and over.

Although, I guess, if somebody out there is doing an evangelistic weekend that actually focuses on church history and art, that would be a novelty.

Anyway, the Los Angeles Times did print a feature this week that tries to offer newspaper readers a bit of a trip into a world that they do not see — the life of the screenwriter. In “Breaking ‘Code’ down on the page,” Charles Taylor tried to explain the challenges that Akiva Goldsman faced in taking the novel — that many book reviewers said resembled a bad movie driven by fake cliffhangers — and actually putting it on the screen.

Here’s the key: The book actually is about the ideas in its pages and the action is, for the most part, beside the point. Dan Brown really believes this stuff, and Goldsman tried to honor that. Perhaps director Ron Howard wasn’t up to the challenge? Thus, Taylor writes:

… (It) would be dishonest to pass judgment on Goldsman divorced from any knowledge of what Ron Howard did with his script. Howard is too conventional a director to bring the film the craziness and pace that it needs. (If ever there should be a lapsed Catholic behind the camera, this is the movie.)

But the slow deliberation of Goldsman’s script does provide the pleasant novelty of a summer blockbuster that isn’t punctuated by explosions every two minutes. There’s also no escaping the kick of seeing a big-budget Hollywood movie that qualifies as an honest-to-God blasphemy.

It could be that we are officially entering a new stage of coverage, a kind of “Yes, lots of smart people (click here!) think the movie stinks, but it’s cool that it’s attacking the right people and the ideas in it are worth thinking about even though all of the history and art stuff is bunk.”

It is also clear that many of the ideas that are in the book have been watered down in the movie, almost certainly — as a PR man linked to Sony told me long ago — in an attempt to make the book less offensive to Catholics and other traditional Christians. But the worldview is still there, no matter how hard Tom Hanks tries to say that it is all just a bizarre story.

So what is the heart of the story in the movie? If this is a refreshing blast of blasphemy, what is the key element of its heretical doctrine?

Most journalists have focused on the “Did Jesus get married?” angle, but a few have dug underneath that and hit larger questions. Over at USA Today, veteran religion writer Cathy Lynn Grossman sped past the plot and offered this summary: It’s pro-feminist Gnosticism.

Is there really a feminine aspect to God? A theology that’s been sub rosa, hidden for centuries beneath the feminine symbol of the rose, the flower reminiscent of a blossoming womb? Author Dan Brown says one reason his book is popular with women is because it confirms their sense that Christianity has kept women in secondary roles to downplay or disguise the feminine aspect of God, maintain male religious authority and stamp out rival beliefs, such as goddess cults.

Our world today is based on “outdated male philosophy,” Brown said recently on New Hampshire Public Radio. So he countered with a heroine whose very name, Sophie, means wisdom. It’s a salute to Gnosticism (gnosis is Greek for knowledge), a first-century sect some claim was more feminine-friendly.

model smallLike the Matrix movies, DVC does have a massive dose of gnosis. But, in the novel, Brown goes further than that, further back in time, and ends up in a place that, frankly, I have been stunned has not set off warning sirens in some Jewish sanctuaries.

That was the subject of my Scripps Howard column this week. If you want to read that, click here, but here is a hint: There was more going on inside the Jewish Temple than the sacrifice of lambs. The priests and the priestesses were getting it on in there.

In the beginning, Judaism was a faith built on sacred sex.

At least, that’s what Dan Brown told 60 million readers in “The Da Vinci Code,” speaking though a fictional Harvard scholar named Robert Langdon. And while the characters are fictional, the novelist continues to affirm the statement that opens his book: “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”

One of those “secret rituals” is an eye-opener.

“Langdon’s Jewish students always looked flabbergasted when he told them that the early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the temple, no less,” wrote Brown, in one of many long speeches that explain his iconoclastic plot. “Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah. Men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the Temple to visit priestesses … with whom they made love and experienced the divine through physical union.”

So, journalists, it might not hurt to include a local Orthodox rabbi in your source list — or a tantric sex expert — for the next round of DVC coverage. Brown’s unique Judeo-Christian Gnosticism has a sexy edge to it.

Print Friendly

Covering intolerance in the Middle East

saudi textbookMajor U.S. media outlets are all over a report [PDF] released Tuesday by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, which found that Saudi Arabian schools are teaching their students things the U.S. government told them not to teach after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

After the Washington Post‘s Outlook section ran commentary by Nina Shea, the report’s primary author and director of the CRF, I was worried that The New York Times would take a competitive we-don’-like-to-get-scooped pass on the all-important story.

But the Times came out swinging Wednesday morning with an emotionally charged headline reading “Don’t be Friends with Christians or Jews, Saudi Texts Say.” National Public Radio was a bit more measured, using the headline “Saudi Textbooks Still Teach Hate, Group Says.”

NPR played it straight through the entire story. Once the Times was done playing up the more dramatic claims of the report, it got to the heart of the story: Why in the world is the United States government friendly with another government that teaches its children to not be friends with Jews and Christians?

Saudi reformers note that if the latest textbooks are wanting, they are still a far cry from what they were five years ago. The Saudi public, said Muhammad al-Zulfa, a member of the consultative Shura council, say they are generally in favor of reforming textbooks and curriculum, but religious conservatives have stymied the effort.

“It is an uphill battle to revise the curriculum because the resistance by well-established conservative pockets is so fierce,” Mr. Zulfa said.

One Saudi official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, also cited religious conservatives. “We know what needs to be taken out,” he said. “But it’s not that easy to do it.”

The missing element in both of these stories is why the Saudi texts teach this type of religious extremism. There is obviously a religious context rooted in the country’s Wahhabi teaching, but neither story attempts to explain that theology.

Another question is why the news in this report is news to anyone. How hard is it to grab a few textbooks, translate them and report on what they said? Is the problem gaining access to the textbooks, or the translating?

I would also like to commend NPR for providing a link to the full report, Shea’s Post article, the State Department’s religious freedom report on Saudi Arabai, translated experts of the textbooks, an image of a textbook cover, the Freedom House news release on the report, the official response to the report from the Saudi amabssador, the Saudi government’s statement on its campaign against extremism and a transcript of a Saudi Embassy news conference on extremism. Talk about being exhaustively helpful.

The Times, on the other hand, was meager in its offerings. It merely provided a link to a forum on the Middle East. I guess it’s small peanuts, but why can’t the Times provide these types of links?

Print Friendly

The alleged rise of the religious left

MichaelLernerGood political reporters do their best to cover both ends of the political spectrum. With American politics nicely divided into “liberal” and “conservative” camps — at least on the surface — this is easy. So with the “sudden” emergence of the powerful “religious right” in the 2004 presidential election, articles on the “religious left” in American politics have been on the to-do list for political and religion reporters.

I won’t take the time here to fully challenge the idea that the “religious right” suddenly became influential or even the myth that it is as influential as it is made out to be. To make it brief, the political influence of religious conservatives did not appear overnight, and reporters routinely overestimate their influence on national politics.

With that introduction, I have a few comments on Saturday’s front-page Washington Post piece by Caryle Murphy and Alan Cooperman on the arrival of the religious left, whatever that means, in politics:

Some groups on the religious left are clearly seeking to help the Democratic Party. But the relationship is delicate on both sides. “If I were the Democrats, the last thing I would do is really try to mobilize these folks as a political force . . . because I think some of this is a real unhappiness with the whole business of politicizing religion,” said Mark Silk, director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

The Rev. Joseph W. Daniels Jr., senior pastor of Emory United Methodist Church in Northwest Washington, said a key question for him is whether the religious left will become “the polar opposite to . . . the religious right” or be “a voice in the middle.”

“What this country needs is strong spiritual leadership that is willing to build bridges. We don’t need leaders who are lightning bolts for division and dissension,” he said.

Nonetheless, some observers doubt that the revitalization of the religious left will lessen the divisions over religion in politics. “I do think,” said Hertzke, “that, if in fact this progressive initiative takes off, we will see an even more polarized electoral environment than we did in 2004.”

Religious Left3With that, religion in American just got that much more political.

A few issues with the article. I know Washington is a political town and the Post is a newspaper that thrives covering politics, but how about a little religion in a piece about religious groups? I got all excited when the article suggested that it would explain what “religious liberals” believed, but nada, other than references to abortion, and the cozy categories of mainline Protestants and liberal Catholics. There is no mention of the authority of the Bible, not to mention key theological issues that are at the root of the differences between liberal and conservative denominations.

This is an interesting reversal of roles. The mainline denominations are outside the sphere of influence looking in while conservative, traditional denominations supposedly hold all of the influence and power in Washington.

There was little direct mention of the doctrine of separation of church and state in the article. It does not really fit with the story line, but are there those in the liberal religious left who are concerned about violating that constitutional concept?

While the Post‘s version of the current status of religious liberalism in America is all rosy, the New York Times offered a starker picture a day earlier:

WASHINGTON, May 18 — They had come to All Souls Unitarian Church, 1,200 of them from 39 states, to wrest the mantle of moral authority from conservative Christians, and they were finally planning how to take their message to those in power.

After rousing speeches on Wednesday by liberal religious leaders like Rabbi Michael Lerner (pictured) of the magazine Tikkun and Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun, participants in the new Network of Spiritual Progressives split into small groups to prepare for meetings with members of Congress on Thursday.

Yet at a session on ethical behavior, including sexual behavior, the 50 or so activists talked little about what to tell Congress about abortion or same-sex marriage. Instead, the Rev. Ama Zenya of First Congregational Church in Oakland, Calif., urged them to talk to one another about their spiritual values and “to practice fully our authentic being.”

It is essentially the same story, but the contrast in outlook is amazing. I’ve complained about this before, but I wish NYTimes.com would tell us what page the story was published the way washingtonpost.com does, because I’m curious what kind of play this received.

I know the Post has long practiced the tradition of getting beat by the NYT on stories and then playing it up a day or two later on the front page with a different angle, but I wonder whether this was actually the case in this instance.

Religious LeftLastly, revealing more of the “religious left” movement than the Post or the Times combined, Julia Duin of the Washington Times was also able to scoop both papers in publishing a preview to the event on which both the NYT and the Post stories were centered:

[The conference's spiritual covenant] supports a national health plan, suggests members of Congress “spend part of one day a week feeding hungry people at a shelter or other … hands-on service activity,” the public funding of all state and national elections and many other innovations.

“Have you ever heard a Democrat talk like that?” the rabbi asked. “They have down one dimension of the problem, and we’re behind that. But we’re trying to add a spiritual dimension.”

The guest list for the conference, posted at www.tikkun.org, includes anti-war activists such as Cindy Sheehan, who will help lead a “pray-in for peace” outside the White House on Thursday afternoon. A range of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu speakers are also slated.

There you have it, folks. The political influence of the religious right in America is being met by a coalition of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and Hindus. All you ever wanted to know about the booming religious movement that will rock the nation come November. I have my doubts.

Print Friendly


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X