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News ::
In search of the "religious left" (english)
01 Jul 2003
Modified: 07 Jul 2003
Uniting to promote the politics of compassion
In the 2004 Presidential Election, George W. Bush can count on the Religious Right to put a great deal of time, effort, and money into his campaign. Is there a "Religious Left" that can counter them? Recently,
there was an article in the Washington Monthly entitled "Do the Democrats have a prayer?"
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0306.sullivan.html

The article says, in part, that to win re-election, Bush " will need to hold onto the votes of another group which supported him in 2000: religious moderates--one of the least-appreciated swing constituencies in the country, and one whose allegiance is more up for grabs than most people realize. They include Muslims, most Catholics, and a growing number of suburban evangelicals, all of whom are devout, but many of whom are uncomfortable with Bush's ties to the religious right, whose agenda--from banning abortion to converting Muslims--is deeply disconcerting to them. Many of these "swing faithful" have also begun to wonder if Bush's rhetoric of compassion and justice will be matched by policy substance.

They could be courted by the right kind of Democrat--one who, like Bush, can speak the language of faith sincerely."

The article goes on to describe liberals who have been able to do this, such as Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

I do not wish to see any candidate use religion to win, or make insincere religion-tinged speeches simply to "push the right buttons" and win over this segment of the population. But maybe it is the right time to start a dialog among those whose religious or spiritual principles motivate us to work for the “politics of compassion”.

Many of us feel that the “right” has stolen and corrupted religion as an issue the way they have stolen and corrupted the flag. Yet we know that our spiritual lives inspire us to work for peace and justice, which includes working to undo much of the damage the Bush administration has done. Many of us (myself included) do not wear our beliefs on our sleeves, but they motivate our actions and the policies we seek to support.

Most, if not all major religions have at their core some variation on the "golden rule"--treating others the way we wish to be treated. None of us can live up to that all of the time, but it is still a worthy ideal to keep in mind in both foreign and domestic policy.

If you are interested in taking part in this dialog, visit http://religiousleft.blogspot.com, check out some of the links, and consider joining the Yahoo group discussion.
See also:
http://religiousleft.blogspot.com
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The PROBLEM with everything. (english)
02 Jul 2003
Religion is the PROBLEM on this planet. It kills. It discriminates. It doesn't care about you or me. And it is utter bullshit. Left to Right...all the same. My as well believe in a unicorn. Mythology or Theology. Same shit. It's shit. You may not like what I'm writing. Too bad. I loathe religion. IRA, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, Jews, you name it...anyone connected with the "blind eyes", of religion, is "brain dead".
I'll probably get hate mail, death threats and stupid comments from this feeling I have. Oh well! I'll post them on the Web Page I'm making!
Wake up! The only one who has the power to help you? Is you! You are responsible for YOUR actions. No one but YOU.
Miracles? Your mind has the power to heal. Remember...WE use 10% of our brain. What about the 90% that's not used? I'm sure WE have the power!
A sane person would say..."Peace to the world"...And where's the WMD?
Faith vs Religion (english)
02 Jul 2003
Kris, I agree that people often use religion as a tool of manipulation and coercion against one another. I think it also a convienient excuse to oppress and vilify people who are different from you.

That being said, I think there is a world of difference between "faith" and "religion." To me, "faith" is my intimate relationship with God, while "religion" is the framework within which I choose to express and deepen that relationship. I think that it's entirely possible to be a person of tremendous faith while choosing not to practice one particular religion.

On the other hand, religion without faith takes us back to the first paragraph of this comment. Religion in a "faith-vacuum" is a very dangerous thing. It's fanaticism waiting to happen, and the outcome is never good.

But, to speak to the original posting: Please take a moment and go to www.kucinich.us and read Dennis Kucinich's speech entitled, "A Prayer for America." He is a man of faith, both in God and in people. Seriously, check it out!

(You too Kris! You might actually like this guy!) : )
Religion and the Left (english)
03 Jul 2003
Although I now live in Long Beach, California and naturally follow the Los Angeles IMC, I grew up in Boston and curiosity led me to this site. Reading about religion here naturally led me to thinking about my childhood in Jamaica Plain and attending a large parochial school there named Blessed Sacrament. I can't say that everything about it was negative - you were somewhat less likely to be jumped and robbed by your schoolmates on your way home than you would be at the nearby public schools, you got more holidays (holy days) off, and a longer summer vacation than you would get in public school. And I must admit that I can still remember the singing of hymns like Holy God We Praise Thy Name and religious ceremonies at Lent and Advent as pleasurable and moving.
That being said, I still must acknowledge that the place was straight out of the Middle Ages. This was slightly before and during Vatican II, so I suppose things improved a little later on, but I wager not by much. What I remember is the relentless pounding into our heads of the idea that human beings are naturally bad and that only harsh authoritarianism (physical punishment, fear of purgatory and hell, verbal abuse, etc.) can keep this evil in check. The nuns were neurotic, superstitions, inclined to emotional outbursts over the most minor irritations of everyday life, inclined to use violence as a solution to every problem (and of course teaching this lesson by example to the students), and despite belonging to an order called the Sisters of Charity quite inclined to be nasty, vindictive, and mean-spirited. Their behavior, combined with the fact that my mother was a religious fanatic and my father an abusive lout, combined to give me a very negative view of religion early in life. I've never forgotten it.
I realize that great progressive thinkers and leaders (Tolstoy, M.L. King, Jr., the Berrigans, the sisters murdered in El Salvador, and many others) have fought on the right side and that quite a few athiests and agnostics (Stalin, Hitler, anti-clerical but pro-capitalist reactionaries in France and Italy) have fought for evil or reaction. And I certainly cannot prove that some spiritual force did not set the Big Bang or whatever created the universe in motion; you can't prove a negative, anyway. But I truly believe that religions, with their stress on obedience, pessimism concerning human nature, sexual repression, guilt, and defense of property rights, have stood almost entirely on the side of social and political reaction throughout history. If people disagree with me, I'll be glad to read your views.
The *real* problem (english)
03 Jul 2003
To the person who said that religion is the PROBLEM in the world, I disagree. The PROBLEM is black or white, either/or, with-us-or-against-us type thinking. It scares me when I hear it from religious people, but it doesn't scare me any less when it comes from you.
See also:
http://religiousleft.blogspot.com
Truth is a terrible thing! (english)
07 Jul 2003
Okay...I have someone who is trying to understand my belief. And someone who thinks I'm dangerous because of my belief.
Look...religion is a problem. Throughout history, it's been a problem.
I don't care what you or anybody else wants to worship.
I DO care if your religion is going to cause death and destruction of anybody or anything.
Why should you care how I feel? Or think? Isn't that my opinion? My mind? Isn't that what OUR forefathers wanted in OUR Constitution?
Just so religion STAYS OUT of OUR government? I'll be mellow...Right now? Religion ISN'T staying out of OUR government. And I WON'T be mellow! FREEDOM OF SPEECH is OUR first amendment. I'll use it freely!
Take a chill pill! I'm sure no one is going to "stray away" from being "conformed"!