Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No More Crusades - By Tom Hayden

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares *

Somehow I missed seeing the following 2007 article until just now - as the war in Iraq launched by the US is purportedly ended and as debris from the Japan Tsunami is said to be potentially landing on the West Coast October 25, 2011

Whether or not we are anymore allowed isolation is an irrelevant question.
What is begging an answer from us each and all is this:

Just what/how/when and in which manner are we Each and All going to make ourselves an instrument of our mutual worldwide suffering?

blogger here, Connie

Tom Hayden was described above the following item , posted at Huff Post: Former state senator and leader of Sixties peace, justice and environmental movements

Excerpts from speech I (Tom Hayden) gave to "Progressive Christians Uniting"

It's good to see 500 progressive Christians becoming organized in response to the highjacking of the faith by right-wing Christian networks. The fact that voters turned away the agenda of social and religious conservatives in the Nov 2006 election is a sign of the times. Those in high places who have been attacking progressive Christians like the All-Saints Church hopefully have heard the voice of the people. If not, we must turn up the volume on the voter mandate. That the voters in November heralded the coming of a progressive agenda on Iraq, on fair trade, on energy independence as well as religious tolerance should make you all exceeding glad that this organization exists in this time and place, and I hope that you will tithe yourselves to make your voices heard more clearly.

I have been instructed by your preachers to make only brief remarks, as their example teaches. So let me make these points in addition to thanking you.

First, I hope that my book the "Lost Gospel of the Earth" will be helpful as you rise to the challenge of environmental justice with your Eighth Day Project.

When I chaired the Natural Resources Committee in the California senate, I noticed that the clergy never testified against the destruction of species, forests, clean air and water, the wellsprings of life itself. Even today, the California Fish and Game Code refers to fish and wildlife as "the property of the people" and says they provide a contribution to the state economy. The forest practices law mandates "maximum sustained production of high quality timber products" while limiting any other values to only being "considered".

The environment thus is valued as a utilitarian resource, a giant storehouse of raw materials for the use of humankind. Right-wing Christians like Reagan's former interior secretary James Watt have argued against preservation of the environment in light of the Second Coming. Liberals have argued for environmental stewardship, often citing the "dominion" reference in Genesis as justification.

Well certainly stewardship is to be preferred to pillage. But I want to challenge the stewardship notion that we were placed here, at some distant time in the past, to suddenly become stewards of nature, as if nature was doing badly on its own. The stewardship concept extracts us from, and places us above, the realm of nature. The scriptures place us in this role to underscore our special, sacred status above the lesser world of living things and ecosystems. As stewards, we become the plant managers for the absentee owner. If this preposterous idea was true, we would have been overthrown or fired from our administrative roles for malfeasance and neglect long ago.

The Rev. Martin Luther King wrote in his 1963 letter from a Birmingham jail, in a rebuke to segregation, that all God's children are sacred. I wait the day when an environmental Martin Luther King writes of dying and disregarded species that all God's creation is sacred.

We will never win the argument against pollution and the decline of species by driving our Priuses. This will take a leap of faith, not just technical fixes.

That day is coming but it will take great soul-searching, in theology and practice, for Christianity - and other faith traditions as well - to make the adjustment. I agree with Al Gore who wrote that "when we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all, it is a moral and spiritual challenge."

I am not sure that the theological and institutional adjustment can be made. We are living on borrowed time. But I believe we can rediscover a Lost Gospel of the Earth, an indigenous and mystical sense of the cosmos buried within all our religious traditions as evidence of past religious wars.

It is there in the rainbow covenant between God and earth itself. It is there when Isaiah speaks of the holy mountain and the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord. It is there in the voice of the Whirlwind lecturing Job. It is there in the Tree of Life in Eden. It comes again in Francis of Assisi praising brother sun, sister moon, and mother earth. It is there in Hildegard of Bingen quoting the Holy Spirit as the breeze that nurtures all things green and makes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.

But our dominant story is upside down, and the challenge is to make it right. Eve is not Adam's rib, but the early goddess made dependent on man; the snake is not the Devil, but the symbol of nature brought low. To truly experience the Lost Gospel, we have to acknowledge those old wars against nature worship and goddess cults, and make a just peace at last with those enemies. We must acknowledge and no longer be threatened by the pagan and goddess spirits within the mystic traditions of Christianity, among those who experienced the Christ as Cosmic, a divine presence in all creation.

Let me say it again. We must ensure that the religious wars of the Old Testament truly are over, and that means recognizing, respecting and reconciling with the visions of former enemies, not perpetuating a triumphalism. Making a just peace with the past may be the only path to a just peace in the future.

All those epic culture wars took place in the deserts and oases between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the place of today's Iraq, the center of the world's mad scramble for oil, and the scene of the greatest environmental injustice, pollution and destruction on earth today. The Christian crusaders in the Pentagon, those like Gen. Jerry Boykin, the under-secretary in charge of intelligence, who boasts of Christianity's superiority over Islam and claims - insanely- to have aerial photographs of Satan himself in the dark clouds above Mogadishu, these are the modern claimants of rada, the Hebrew for "dominion over", ancient Eden, its present Muslim inhabitants and their tempting reservoirs of oil.

An environmentalism that does not speak of Iraq, one that speaks of global warming but not of global suffering, is an environmentalism that seeks only to replace Caesar's chariots with more fuel-efficient models. But if we would follow the path of Jesus today, we must denounce as sinful the Empire being installed in Eden today, a sin that brings us ever closer to the crucifixion not only of Iraq but nature itself.

And so I ask you tonight, in the best spirit of your tradition, to rise up and stop this latest and most lethal chapter of the Crusades.

* a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich, given by the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1959; photo was taken from UN grounds showing sculpture in front of the East River. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (blogger found photo in Wikipedia under "Swords into Ploughshares"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Palestinian Prisoners Are Not “Unpeople”

They Are Children of God

22 Oct 11 by James M. Wall

In a talk at New York City’s Barnard College the night the Hamas-Israeli prisoner exchange was announced, Noam Chomsky anticipated the one-sided media coverage of the exchange.

He charged the media with treating Israeli Jews as people, while dismissing Palestinians as “unpeople”.

Chomsky, who is Jewish, brings credentials to this issue as both an acclaimed linguistic scholar, and a strong advocate of Palestinian human rights.

To illustrate his point at Barnard, Chomsky described a front-page New York Times story, dated October 12, with the headline: “Deal with Hamas Will Free Israeli Held Since 2006

The Israeli, of course, is Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas for five years after he was captured June 25, 2006. Shalit, an Israeli army corporal, was on a patrol along the Israeli-Gaza border when he was captured.

Next to the Times story, Chomsky says, is a picture of four [Israeli] women, who are “kind of agonized over the fate of Gilad Shalit”.

The picture caption reads, he tells his audience, “Friends and supporters of the family of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit received word of the deal at the family’s protest tent in Jerusalem.”

Chomsky adds:

Well, that’s understandable, actually. I think he should have been released a long time ago. But there’s something missing from this whole story. So, like, there’s no pictures of Palestinian women, and no discussion, in fact, in the story of—what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?

We finally have pictures of Palestinian men and women released from Israeli prisons, What we do not have are the names of most of them. And we still do not know where most of them “come from”.

The woman in the picture above, shown with a man we must presume is her father, was taken at the Mukataa (headquarters) close by Yasir Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah and adjacent to what was once the headquarters in which Arafat spent his final months.

The photo caption does not explain the meaning of Mukataa for non-Arabic readers. It also does not provide the name of the woman.. The picture, taken by Ilia Yefimovich for Getty Images, is available worldwide, but so far as I have been able to ascertain, it has not appeared in any American media outlet.

Read on here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christian-Muslim Dialogue reaches out to find mutual respect, understanding

Christian-Muslim Dialogue reaches out to find mutual respect, understanding
20 October 2011 found on Islamophobia 20 October 2011

Lexington, Kentucky

For a dozen years a diverse group of believers has convened monthly to find mutual understanding and respect – for their diverse faiths.

This group, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue, meets monthly to discuss issues between the two faiths. Sometimes the issues revolve around headline news stories, while other times the group simply discusses similarities and differences between the two religions. Though discussions typically focus on relations between Christians and Muslims, the meetings are open to anyone.

“We open it to all faiths. The topics are Christian-Muslim mainly, because we felt that was a needed thing,” said Dr. John Parks, co-founder of the Christian-Muslim Dialogue and member of Masjid Bilal Ibin Rabah mosque on Russell Cave Road.

The group was established more than 12 years ago when Parks and a group of other interested people met casually because they felt a Christian-Muslim dialogue was needed in Lexington. Shortly after their first meeting, they formalized the group, Parks said.

The group began to meet once a month at Hunter Presbyterian Church, where they would listen to both Christian and Muslim guest speakers and hold group discussions.

“We try to identify a topic that is relevant to our traditions that might have interest amongst the participants,” said Ihsan Bagby, participant in the Christian-Muslim dialogue and professor of Islamic Studies at University of Kentucky. “Sometimes we are theological, sometimes we cover headline-news type stuff.”

When it was first established, the group consisted of mainly older Christians and Muslims, Parks said. But in the last few years, the group has tried to reach out more to students.

“Particularly, in the last two years, we’ve put an effort into connecting with the Muslim Student association and UK students,” Parks said. “We’ve encouraged the younger speakers to do the presentations.”

The group also brings in professors, like Bagby, to speak about current issues.

At the group’s meeting on Oct. 22, the discussion is titled “Sharia law: what it is and what it isn’t” in light of current events surrounding Sharia law, which is the legal interpretation of Quran, the Muslim scripture.

“It has become a very contentious issue. In about 20 states there are bills called anti-Sharia bills in the state legislature that would ban Sharia. Usually the rhetoric surrounding these bills are very anti- Muslims,” Bagby said. “From an objective scholarly approach, and from a Muslim approach we want to have a better understanding of Sharia.”

The panel discussion at the meeting will feature Paul Salamanca, a professor at the UK College of Law, Roula Allouch, a Cincinnati attorney and Nabeel Jawahir, a pre-law student who has worked with the Council of American Islamic Relations regarding civil rights.

The goal of the discussion at the group’s meeting is “to put the whole issue of Sharia in perspective, so that people can understand what Sharia is,” Bagby said.

The Christian-Muslim Dialogue will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m at the Unitarian Universalists Church at 3564 Clays Mill Road instead of Hunter Presbyterian Church due to the football game at Commonwealth Stadium. A potluck lunch will be held following the discussion and attendees are invited to bring a dish to share.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Find Our Common Celestial Bond

" Don't look at your form,
however ugly or beautiful.
Look at love and at the aim of your quest. ...
O you whose lips are parched, keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source."

It’s a familiar analogy, but quite accurate, to talk about our relationship with the sacred in the same way we describe a beautiful gemstone. There are many facets to a gem, and depending upon the angle from which we view it, we see light reflected and refracted differently. Several people looking from different angles may report seeing something different, and yet they are all describing the same gem. In the same way, there are many facets to the sacred, and we all see it differently depending upon the “angle” of our culture and experience. And yet there is but one sacred.

There is an old saying that actually comes prior to Walt Whitman (who is often credited with saying it) that “the central urge of every atom is to return to its source.” When you look at the gamut of religions – all of which describe their own versions of the many-faceted gem – the one truth that runs through every one of them is that each of us is called to discover our true essence – our connection with the Divine.

That discovery is the whole of the spiritual journey, no matter what the religious path or discipline may be. And the beauty that is inherent in all of these individual religions is that they each provide an opportunity for individuals to discover the truth of themselves through their particular tradition.

It’s essential for us to realize that in spite of all the differences that seem to exist between us as individuals – color, race, creed, religious background – we all have a need within us that almost never leaves us alone – an almost incessant sense that something vital is missing from our life.

According to each different culture and tradition, that which is vital is named differently. Individuals pursue what has been named, hoping that somehow it will put an end to the sense that something is missing.

But when people get caught up in the particulars of their own religion, they often lose sight of the fact that the vital thing that seems to be missing is already within them, it has always been within them, and the same vital element that is within them lives within every human being on this planet.

To find it in myself is to see it in everyone else. And if I can see it in myself and in everyone else, I can’t be in conflict with others anymore. I can’t judge them. It’s impossible not to be compassionate if I see that I am everyone, and that every one of us is born with the same central need and the longing to fulfill it.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that individuals come to realize this common bond between us. There has probably never been as much conflict in our world, as much individual suffering, and as much global potential for a nightmarish situation, including what is happening to our environment, regardless of its cause. When we look at the planet at this moment, we’re looking at what has come from all that we’ve known, and known to do, from our understanding.

If I can see for a fact that the world that I am in today is not a better place than the one I came into, then inherent in seeing the world as it is, and recognizing that I am the world that I see, comes the understanding that the world cannot possibly change until something in me changes – until I begin seeing in a new way.

And this is where we come back to the unifying principle across religions. All true spiritual writings help individuals see the truth of themselves as they are. When we see the truth, in the very seeing of it an action is mandated. We must stop blaming others and start working to change ourselves so that we can experience personal fulfillment while also making the world a better place.

We must realize that every other human being, regardless of the surface differences, is after the same thing we are. We are all here to find the sacred, and it’s a difficult journey for every one of us. That understanding can lead to compassion, peace, and a world where we work together, instead of tearing ourselves apart.

Excerpted from The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred: Journey to the Greatness Within by Guy Finley. Published by Weiser Books.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

GUANTÁNAMO AT HOME: An evening with the families of US 'terror suspects'

Danny Glover, Gareth Peirce, Kathleen Chalfant, Wallace Shawn, and Deborah Eisenberg host an evening focused on the human rights crisis in the US' federal justice system with firsthand accounts from the families of US terror suspects.

As the tenth anniversary of September 11th is commemorated across the country, most public attention to the civil liberties and human rights abuses of the US ‘War on Terror’ still focuses overseas – to the abuses at Guantánamo, Bagram, and CIA rendition sites.

Renowned human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, along with stage and screen actors Danny Glover, Wallace Shawn, and Kathleen Chalfant, and 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award winner Deborah Eisenberg will co-host an evening focused on the stories of families whose loved ones are suffering rights abuses in terrorism cases being prosecuted within the American federal judicial system.

Family members will tell their own stories of the human and civil rights violations here in US courts and prisons – stories of the inhumane conditions of confinement terror suspects face pre-trial and post-conviction; of over-reaching material support charges often accompanied by flimsy evidence; of years of intrusive and often illegal government surveillance; of FBI informants disrupting mosques and instigating conspiracies.

Featured speakers will include family members of the Newburgh Four, Fahad Hashmi, Lynne Stewart, the Holy Land Five, Tarek Mehanna, the Fort Dix Five, Ahmed Abu-Ali, and Shifa Sadequee among others.

Co-sponsored by The Center for Constitutional Rights; The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, The Graduate Center, CUNY; The Center for Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY; Theaters Against War; and Educators for Civil Liberties, with support from The North Star Fund.

Friday, October 14 · 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Proshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)
New York, New York 10016

or GO to fb (you don't need to be a fb member to just read the info) Facebook page: here

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Go here

Count for Hunger Victims!

Keep in touch with One.org and Sign up to help comfort the hungry GO here and do more...which comes from your own spirit of Love...

Plz Comment and Share your own ideas and Actions...

Peace Groups NOT giving up....recent reports

Reports and Stay connected with recent delegation in Kabul. Non-Violent Peacemakers
Christian Peace-Maker Teacm

10 Years After: Welcome to the Failed State of Americastan
by Johnny Barber
October 4, 2011

As we step off the Turkish Air flight and walk across the dusty tarmac to the terminal, we are greeted by a large billboard. In big bold English it proclaims, “Welcome to the Home of the Brave.” It stops me in my tracks. I shake my head, thinking, “damn weird” and continue in to passport control. After waiting in a short line, I present my American passport to the guard in the booth. He doesn’t acknowledge me. He flips through the shiny new pages until he gets to the visa. He stamps it. He turns to the picture. He gives me a precursory glance and hands the passport back to me. I turn and enter Afghanistan.

I have come here with two friends from Voices for Creative Non-Violence, forming a small delegation interested in developing relationships with ordinary Afghans and gathering stories of everyday life since the American invasion in 2001. After collecting our luggage and taking a short bus ride to the parking area, Hakim, Mohammed Jan, and his brother Noor greet us warmly. Hakim and Mohammed Jan are our hosts and the organizing force of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.

Read the rest of the report

Stop the Machine: Create a New World!

October 2011 will mark the start of the 11th year of the invasion of Afghanistan and the onset of the 2012 US federal budget, which provides unlimited funds for war and corporate welfare, yet withholds essential funds for services that meet human needs.

Starting on October 6, 2011, thousands of concerned Americans will assemble in Freedom Plaza, in Washington DC to take control of our country and our lives. We will occupy the plaza and hold a People's Assembly where we come up with just and sustainable solutions to the crises we face and demand that these solutions be presented and that the people's needs be addressed. We will plan and engage in creative acts of civil resistance and demand that our inherent rights and freedoms be protected, and that our children have a chance to live in peace,to breathe clean air, and to grow edible natural food.

Will you stand with us and denounce the systems and institutions that support endless war and unrestrained corporate greed ?

Connect with a U.S. "Tahrir Square" demonstration at October2011.org.


After a little "catch-up work" you will find newer items here either as updates to older posts or as comments. Plz add your own comments to encourage more international dialogue.

Thanx for coming by.