When John Kerry was asked about environmental issues in the second presidential debate leading up to the 2004 election, he initially changed the subject. Kerry has one of the strongest environmental records in the Senate, but instead of highlighting his environmental commitment, he chose to talk about welfare reform, supporting a balanced budget, and his commitment to national security.
Two pieces of religious literature indicate with special clarity the essential connectedness of spiritual maturity and cultural consciousness. The first call comes from Exodus 3:18. God teaches Moses that his holiness depends on finding holiness where he stands and then by taking that energy to other people for their liberation. The second story of culture and spirituality comes from the tales of the Hasidim: Holiness depends on our choosing the pieties proper to the times. Culture and spirituality, in other words, are of a piece.
How can we frame traditional progressive platform issues in a way that gives them the spiritual reverence they deserve?
One of the casualties of this culture of violence, injustice and war is the loss of our imagination. People across the country cannot even imagine a world without conflict, poverty or nuclear weapons. But our job is announcing a new world of nonviolence.