Editorials & Actions

US Politics

How the Market Economy Undermines Ethics

The author of this article ignores the environmental threat to the survival of the human race that global capitalism has become, but his thinking about its destructive impact on the ethical climate is significant (and in part it is the …
Read more >>

Israel/Palestine

Why the Russian Jews in Israel Vote Reactionary

The Russians Came Uri Avnery http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Russians-Came-by-Uri-Avnery-130428-758.html April 27, 2013                                                WHEN THE huge immigration wave from the Soviet Union arrived in 1990, we were glad. First of all, because we believe that all immigration is a good thing …
Read more >>

Global Capitalism

Drones Over there, total surveillance over here–by Saskia Sassen

Drones Over there, total surveillance over here by Saskia Sassen 19 Feb 2013 http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/02/2013210114231346318.html The massive surveillance system built up over the last 10 years is the domestic companion of overseas drone killings. There are at least 10,000 buildings across …
Read more >>

Israel/Palestine

Israeli doctors who betray their training

Gideon Levy’s article, Israeli Doctors Who Betray Their Training, http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israeli-doctors-who-betray-their-training.premium-1.513345 in Ha’aretz, no longer shocks because of the way the US has gotten used to torture by American intelligence agencies and the collaboration of psychologists in the American Psychological Association. Israeli …
Read more >>

Editorial

Rabbis Get Boxed In: Criticism of Israel at a High Price

The New York Times ran a major story when the rabbis of B’nai Jeshurun synagogue in New York City sent a note to thousands of congregants applauding the UN resolution of November 29, 2012, which admitted Palestine to the UN …
Read more >>

Editorial

More Wars for the Middle East?

I pray that voices of sanity will prevail and that, instead of trying to take out Iranian nukes, Israel will concentrate on outstretching its hands in generosity toward the Palestinian people, thereby neutralizing the one card Arab and Muslim extremists have continually used in the past decades to show that the real enemy is not poverty and ignorance, but Israel and the United States.
Read more >>

Editorial

Faulty Wisdom in Spielberg’s Lincoln

I deeply appreciated how the movie brought to life a moment of American history that recalls the deep racism that permeated the Congress during the Civil War, and the courageous role Lincoln played in fighting for an end to slavery. Yet something very deep was missing, and that became clearer to me after reading the misguided response to the movie by David Brooks, a former editor at the right-wing Daily Standard who now makes inroads with some liberals by spouting pro–status quo wisdom from his perch at the New York Times.
Read more >>

Editorial

The Jewish Vote 2012

Jewish Republicans predicted that Obama’s disagreements with Israeli policies would cost him heavily, but in fact most Jews did not cast their vote primarily on Israel-related issues: most Jews identified the economy and health care as their primary concerns in exit polls.
Read more >>

Israel/Palestine

Obama’s Speech to Israelis–the text and my commentary

An editorial preface from Rabbi Michael Lerner: If only Obama could go beyond the brilliant principles he articulated today to Israelis in Jerusalem—to follow through with action based on those principles!!! Obama had an amazing opportunity to paint a detailed …
Read more >>

Judaism

Support Women of the Wall in Jerusalem

Tikkun and our interfaith  (and atheist-welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives unequivocally support the right of women in Israel to pray in any way they choose at the Wall (site of what is believed to be the ancient Temple), despite the attacks …
Read more >>

Israel/Palestine

Israel’s Occupation is not Zionism

This oped from Ha’aretz newspaper in Israel shows how much people with a moral conscience in Israel are trying to reconcile Israel’s actual reality with the ideals that once animated the Zionist movement. It’s actually quite sad to witness that …
Read more >>

Judaism

Purim Wisdom: Explaining the Deeper Meaning of this Jewish Holiday which begins Saturday night, Feb. 23

Purim Wisdom: Explaining the Deeper Meaning of this Jewish Holiday which begins Saturday night, Feb. 23 February 22, 2013 Purim Wisdom Explaining the deeper meaning of this holiday! «Blame, Responsibility, and Care Weekly Sermon – Breaking Ground: Endless Desire» Torah …
Read more >>

Israel/Palestine

Obama’s Visit to Israel–Why Is He Going (an analysis by Carl Boice)

Bloice’s analysis raises very important questions. The worst possible outcome: Netanyahu agrees to some cosmetic step toward negotiations or even suspends all construction of settlements on the West Bank, though he intends in the actual negotiations that ensue to offer …
Read more >>

Christianity

Ratzinger/Pope Benedict’s Destructive Legacy: Two Catholic Theologians Speak Out and Call Christians to Action to Save Christianity

In saying that the two pieces below are from Catholic theologians, we in the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives are insisting that Catholicism is more than what the Vatican says it is. The Church is what the Vatican II said it is: “the community of the people of God.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy

by Matthew Fox

It was a breath of fresh air to hear that the pope has chosen to step down, the first pope in 7 centuries to do so. What he and his predecessor wrought to the Catholic Church as we know it is nothing short of devastation. But as a Christian I see their 42 year reign as so destroying the church we know that now the Holy Spirit can give birth to a community far more attuned to the revolutionary Gospel of Jesus than the current and dying structures ever could be. Those structures are as passe as the Berlin Wall.

Thinking of Benedict the man, I think this was a very wise decision indeed for before he “meets his Maker” he surely has a lot of soul work to accomplish. Below is a short list of some of the issues history will hold him accountable for both as cardinal and as pope. Were I his confessor, I would start work on them very soon. (Since this is a list, I offer page numbers of my study on his life and papacy to see the back up evidence.)

His silence for years about the notorious pedophile priest Father Maciel who was so close to Pope John Paul II that he was invited on his plane often and was feted to a mass ordination of his seminarians by the pope in St Peter’s Square. This man, who sexually abused dozens of his seminarians and had two wives on the side and sexually abused his own children (though a priest with vows of celibacy), was not fully investigated until 2005 even though a New York bishop wrote Ratzinger’s office in 1995. (125-130)

His and the previous pope’s unwillingness to divorce themselves from the politics of Father Maciel who was a great admirers of the blood-soaked dictator Pinochet in Chile.

His attacks when head of the CDF (formerly “Office of the Holy Inquisition”) on theologians the world over who dared to do their job which is to think. He denounced, fired, hounded, at least 105 theologians not only from his chair of CDF but also as pope (they are listed on page 238-241 of my book The Pope’s War ).

He and his predecessor brought back the Inquisition and in fact killed theology, reducing it to 1) a catechism and 2) Saying Yes to whatever the pope (or his curia) said.

His unrelenting attacks on base communities and Liberation Theology (thus fulfilling Ronald Reagan’s plans to “split the church” in Latin America) even though this movement, like the civil rights movement of the U.S., was the most Christ-like movement for democracy and justice and freedom in centuries. One side light of these attacks has been a void of genuine Christianity in Latin America, a void being filled by Pentecostal (and right wing political) churches there. (pp. 41-62)
His (and the previous pope’s) complete pushing of neo-fascist sects as the new “religious order” and shock troops of the pope beginning with the secret “Opus Dei” which is embedded in places of great power including cardinals and bishops all over the world and also financial headquarters of EU, the US Supreme Court, the CIA (especially under George Bush the first), FBI, and the US mainstream media. (pp. 106-124)
His and the previous pope’s rushing the founder of Opus Dei, Fr. Escriva, a card-carrying fascist who actually praised Hitler, into canonization faster than any saint in history (and destroying the age-old process of canonization in the process by eliminating the “devil’s advocate’s” role which is to bring up the shadow side of the candidate). Books by former Opus Dei members include his personal secretary of 7 years were completely ignored and their testimony was never asked for.
The cover-up of pedophile clergy in the US, in Ireland and elsewhere. The recent HBO film tells the facts about some of these horrors and how the buck stopped with Ratzinger. All the cover up put an Institution ahead of the rights of young children (see Jesus on this in ). (pp. 134-174)
His and the previous pope’s putting wind in the sails of extreme right wing groups from Maciel’s Legion of Christ to Communion and Liberation to Opus Dei and their support of zealots such as neo con and theo con George Weigel. (pp. 130-144)
The end of religious ecumenism. Ratzinger as pope managed to insult Islam; Judaism; all Protestant churches (he says they are not churches); also as cardinal Thich Naht Hahn (whom the Vatican called “the anti-Christ”) and yoga—wrote Ratzinger—Christians should not do it because it “puts you too much in touch with your body.”
The dumbing down of the church not only by condemning thinkers but by appointing Bishops and cardinals world-wide whose only qualification for the job is to be a loyal Yes man, thus the loading down of church decision makers for generations who don’t have a conscience, an intellect or a clue about the spiritual needs of people.
A complete reaffirmation of a “morality” of Sexism (no women priests ever; Catholic sisters in America are now subject to investigations like theologians have been); and of Homophobia—Ratzinger composed not one but two documents as head of CDF that were mean-spirited and spiteful about gay persons and ignored scientific research even as pope that has created another Galileo moment in church history. He stuck by his “no condoms even in an age of AIDS” position that is all about St Augustine’s silly sexual ethic and not anything Jesus ever taught. Even birth control in a time of excessive human population on a crowded planet remains, in his rigid world view, the law of the church and any theologian (or bishop) who questions such matters is suspect.
[A side note from Fox]: A. The translator of my book “The Pope’s War” into German wrote me that she cried many times translating the book because her generation was promised “no more fascism.” Yet, she said, my book proved that fascism was back in the church and “especially the German and Polish wings of the church. Susan Sontag defines fascism as “institutionalized violence”–there has been tons of that in the past two papacies from condemnation of theologians to support of pedophile priests to hounding of Catholic sisters living norms of Gospel peace and justice. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as “the marriage of corporations and government.” The United Citizens decision happened in the Supreme Court by votes of five Roman Catholic judges, four of them very conservative Catholics (and probably three Opus Dei Catholics). Declaring corporations “persons”–is anything more fascist than that? Fascism is a commitment to obedience ahead of all other virtues (including justice). It is always patriarchal and anti-women. Yes, sad to say, it has returned. And Ratzinger was its drum major.

12. The interference in the presidential election of 2004 wherein Ratzinger instructed American bishops to read his declaration that any “catholic politician” (i.e. Kerry) who did not denounce gays and abortion could not receive communion. The result was three states had very unusual Republican votes from Catholics—if just one of them had had more normal Catholic vote, Kerry, not Bush, would have been president.

With such a trail of devastation as this, Father Ratzinger, ex-pope and ex-Inquisitor, is right to retire. Hopefully, beginning in this time of Lent, he will do some soul searching and asking for forgiveness. Unfortunately, because he and his predecessor appointed only Yes Men as cardinals, one should not expect any improvement in the next pope. Instead we should recognize that history has passed the papacy by and that now is the time for the Holy Spirit to push the restart button on Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant versions, so as to strip down to the essence of Jesus’ teaching and the Cosmic Christ tradition.

Toward this end, Andrew Harvey and myself are starting up a series of “Christ Path” seminars available on line or in person (see info@christpathseminar.org) This restart of Christianity can be done without basilicas on our backs but mere backpacks. Travel lightly. Walk humbly. Do justice. And peace will follow.

Ratzinger’s retirement and his fifty years of reactionary religion shed the spotlight on the need for a profound re-start of Christianity–not only its Catholic wing but its Protestant wings as well. I [ Matthew Fox] have written about that in my recent books, A New Reformation and The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved.

Now Andrew Harvey and I are teaming up (with another thinker who will join us at each event) for a series of “Initiations” that we call the “Christ Path Seminars.”

They are weekends, four per year; the first meets March 8 to 10; you can attend in person or on line. We are offering the whole thing as a ‘gift economy,’ that is you can join us for only $50 for the entire weekend (though we will ask for donations afterwards to help pay expenses). For more info see: info@christpathseminar.org.

Following is a rationale for our project from Andrew Harvey.

In a sane world – which of course this isn’t – Ratzinger would be hauled before a World Court and arraigned as a criminal whose whole life has been an attack on fundamental human rights. This is a time in which the masks have been stripped from the face of all forms of patriarchal power to reveal the nasty and cruel face beneath.

If we miss the meaning of this stripping away in our desperate need for false certainties and in our addiction to learned helplessness and blind reverence for dying and lethal forms of authority, we will miss the central challenge of our time as Christians. That is, to reinvent a Christianity that blazes with the sacred passion of Jesus for the realization of the truth of justice and universal compassion on every level and in every realm of the world.

Jesus is the supreme revolutionary of love in human history, and his message continues to call us all to the sacrifice of our personal interests to the dangerous creation of radical new forms and ways of protest and social and political transformation.

The adventure that Matthew Fox and I are co-creating in the Christ Path Seminar is not some kind of theological luxury but an absolute necessity. As a series of initiatory workshops, building a beloved community, its vision is to restore the truth of the Christian message and the rousing of…to rouse millions to start acting from sacred love and sacred outrage….and ultimately to change all the existing political, economic, social, sexual and psychological systems that keep us addicted to greed and narcissistically paralyzed before the growing devastation of this planet.

The fall of Ratzinger should make it clear now that the time for this adventure has arrived and that speaking truth to power of all kinds, while it may not work immediately, over time has an extraordinary effect.

I hope as many of you as are awakening to the danger and possibility of our times can join us – because the reinvention of Christianity cannot be done by just a few people. , but It has to be a co-creation in with the Holy Spirit of by all those agonized, inspired and brave enough to follow the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 25, and the great mystics of the Cosmic Christ into a vision of the glory of the creation, and the sanctity of all life…a co-creation spurred by and the necessity of creating systems that honor and protect that glory and sanctity with the full force of justice and compassion and radical action.

Every day we do not undertake this great alchemical transformation is a day that takes us closer to potential extinction of the human race and a great deal of nature. Let us realize this without illusion, and let us together reconsecrate ourselves to the dangerous life of love in action and prophetic passion and compassion that costs everything and gives everything.
Read more >>

US Politics

Chris Hedges: The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State By Chris Hedges (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages) OpEdNews Op Eds 2/11/2013 at 12:38:14 Become a Fan (266 fans) Related Topic(s): America; Citizens; Decline; Democracy; Justice; Ndaa National Defense Authorization Act; State Terrorism, Add Tags Add to My Group(s) opednews.com   Cross-posted from Truthdig …
Read more >>