The E-Newsletter of

Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2007
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

Newsletter Home Page


Violence is the main obstacle to human development. There is an intrinsic link between violence and religion, patriarchal gender violence being the most pervasive expression of religious violence. Mitigating violence therefore requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset, especially in religious institutions. The mission of this independent newsletter is to provide a digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and religious non-violence. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are used as a point of reference.

The mission statement for the newsletter has been reconsidered. Henceforth, the revised mission statement (above) will be normative in developing the content for each issue. The name of the newsletter has been revised to become "Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence". This title accentuates the positive and removes any negative connotation on religion. However, the religious ingredient in violence, and the role to be played by the reformation of religious institutions, will continue to be a focal point for research and reflection.

Theme of this Issue:
Revisiting the U.N. MDGs, with focus on
MGD1: Eradication of poverty and hunger


The newsletter has a new title: Solidarity, Sustainability, and Non-Violence. There is also a more succinct mission statement, focused on serving as a digest of new resources and emerging issues in the three areas, specifically in the context of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This issue revisits the background and basic reference materials of the MDGs, with focus on MGD1: ERADICATION OF POVERTY AND HUNGER. An analysis is provided of recent news and emerging issues. The fact that Christian institutions are mostly absent from collective MDG projects is noted. The same is true about institutional participation from other religious traditions.

A number of worldwide poverty maps and trends are also reviewed and analyzed. The maps show inequalities in the world distributions of income and related variables such as life expentancy and human development. But one correlation is pervasive, and yet seldom recognized: the prevalence of poverty in areas where religious fundamentalism prevails.

The "website of the month" is Map of Human Knowledge, by Professor Chaim Zins, University of Haifa, Israel. This website provides excellent guidance for the design of Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS). I am grateful to Dr. Zins for bringing his work to my attention. The subject matter of the website is knowledge organization, and researching this website has been instrumental in formulating our own knowledge organization model for this research project, also reported (as "work in progress") in this issue.

The "artist of the month" is sculptor Jens Galschiot of Copenhagen, Denmark. His specialty is art in defense of humanism. His recent work, In the Name of God, depicts a pregnant teenager in natural size crucified on a big cross. It is a harsh comment to the impact of the fundamentalist branches of the Christian church that indulge on moralizing about contraception and fail to provide competent sexual education that includes both Christian ideals and scientic advances in human sexuality.

Editor's Note: There is no invited article this month. The last invited article is The Theology of Sacrifice and the Non-Ordination of Women, by Mary T. Condren. The article focuses on Matthew 9:13 .... "I Desire Mercy Not Sacrifice".


1. News and Emerging Issues
2. Millennium Development Goals
3. Analysis: Poverty Maps and Trends
4. Reading Suggestions for 2007
5. Website of the Month
6. New Online Resources
7. Knowledge Organization Model
8. Prayer, Study, and Action
9. Links to Archived Newsletters
10. Link to the Last Invited Article

1. News and Emerging Issues

Solidarity, Sustainability, Non-Violence,
and the Millennium Development Goals

The following is a sampling of recent news related to solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence, some specifically in the context of the millennium development goals:
Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon, David Hambling, Wired News, 5 December 2006.
Churches Blamed for Gender-Based Violence, D. Sonpon Weah II, The Analyst (Monrovia), 8 December 2006.
Economic development and ecological environment are closely related, G.S. Bhalla and Hema Khanna, Punjab Newsline, 9 December 2006.
Thailand fears Buddhist exodus from Muslim insurgency in south, International Herald Tribune Asia-Pacific, 10 December 2006.
Portland Diocese Settles 150 Sex Abuse Suits, Feminist Daily News Wire, 12 December 2006.
Nepali Women Imprisoned by Patriarchy, Krishna Ghimire, Ohmy News, 12 December 2006.
Gender equality helps children, Hindustan Times, India, 13 December 2006.
SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN's FAREWELL: Five lessons for the world, Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY, 13 December 2006.
Gender equality 'pivotal to human progress': UNICEF, The News International, Pakistan, 14 December 2006.
European Institute for Gender Equality to be set up in Vilnius, European Parliament, 14 December 2006.
Yangtze dolphin extinct, experts say, Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times, 14 December 2006.
Solidarity Urged to Tackle Human Trafficking, MENAFN Arab News, 14 December 2006.
India has killed 10 million girls in 20 years, Renuka Chowdhury, Yahoo News, 15 December 2006.
Grand Challenges and Great Opportunities in Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Gilbert S. Omenn, Science, 15 December 2006.
Zainah Anwar on Friday: Women wise up to their rights, New Straits Times - Malaysia News Online, 15 December 2006.
Egypt Bahais lose battle for recognition, Jailan Zayan, Middle East Online, 16 December 2006.
The Filipina shines in two world reports, The Manila Times, 16 December 2006.
Marking human solidarity day, UN officials stress collective responsibility to help poor, UN News Centre, 16 December 2006.
Female imams aid faith in China, Alexa Olesen, Associated Press, 16 December 2006.
Competition vs. Sustainability, Daniel Lobo, World Changing, 18 December 2006.
Swedish women to overtake stupid men, Paul O'Mahony, The Local, Sewden's News in English, 20 December 2006.
Human rights and gender justice in India, Amitoj Singh, Punjab Newsline, 20 December 2006.
Fear, Impunity, and Ignorance: The Statistics of Gender Based Violence in El Salvador, Oxfam America, 21 December 2006.
Outrage over Muhammad cartoons is top 2006 US religion news story, ENI, 22 December 2006.
Human capabilities approach to development is the best option, Suresh Nambath and Mukund Padmanabhan, OneWorld South Asia, 22 December 2006.
Millions of women, girls suffer disempowerment — UNICEF, The Tide Online, 22 December 2006.
Gender Equality and Dialogue Among Civilizations to Be Highlighted, Judyth Piazza, News Blaze, 20 December 2006.
Father Cantalamessa on the Peacemakers, The New Beginning, 24 December 2006.
Economy and environment: Blueprint for a green economy, U. Sankar, The Hindu, 26 December 2006.
Equality is more than cosmetic in a society divided by gender, Ashling O'Connor in Bombay and Shivani Khanna in Delhi, Times Online, 26 December 2006.
Hussein to Be Hanged in 30 Days After Losing Appeal, Kim Chipman, Bloomberg, 26 December 2006.
Is Liberalism Dead in Central Europe? The disturbing return of socialism and authoritarianism in the former Soviet bloc, Marian Tupy, Reason Magazine Online, January 2007.
Sustainable growth is unsustainable, by Frosty Wooldridge, American Voice Radio, 28 December, 2006.
Jesuit priest among Newsweek's people to watch in 2007, Catholic News Service, 28 December 2006.
It’s the energy and the economy, stupid: An open letter to US policymakers, by William Clark, Energy Bulletin, 28 December 2006.
Gender equality in a new democracy , Lily Zakiyah Munir, Jakarta Post, 30 December 2006.
The roots of sustainability science: a tribute to Gilbert F. White, Maurie Cohen, Editor, Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 2(2):1-3, 31 December 2006.
A clearer understanding of gender violence, by Karma Choden, Kuensel Online, Bhutan, 1 January 2007.
Episcopal Primate makes global poverty her New Year target, Ekklesia, 1 January 2007.
Violence against Moroccan women - mostly husbands, Observations from the old Medina of Fez in Morocco, 1 January 2007.
A Past That Makes Us Squirm, Craig Childs, The New York Times, 2 January 2007.
Sustainability Predicted As Most Prevalent Trend For 2007, Mike Catherall, American Chronicle, 5 January 2007.
Resource Wars, by William K. Tabb, Monthly Review, Volume 58, Number 7, January 2007.
The War on Terror is an oxymoron, war is terror, Michael Gilkes, Stabroek News, Guyana, 9 January 2007.
EU unveils energy policy for the 21st century: towards a 'low carbon economy' with renewables, Biopact, 10 January 2007.
PITTSBURGH: Parish to host local kickoff for MDGs effort , Episcopal News Service, 12 January 2007.
Taiwanese Christians Propose Gender Partnership Declaration, Worldwide Faith News, 12 January 2007.
Queen Rania promotes women's empowerment during high level gender forum, Amman, Jordan News Agency, 14 January 2007.


As we go from 2006 to 2007, the news and issues related to our subject matter appear to be "business as usual." A few positive initiatives, but many negative events that reflect lack of commitment to human solidarity, environmental sustainability, and a non-violent mentality in settling human affairs. In particular, it is hard to find news about concrete positive actions regarding the MDGs: a lot of "talking," to be sure, but very little when it comes to "walking the talk."

Especially saddening is the almost total absence of MDG support by the Christian churches. One shining exception is the Episcopal Church USA. Click here, here, and here for further information. The recently elected Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, is making the MDGs her top priority for the social apostolate of the church. Good for her! The MDGs may not be perfect in defining the solution to every human problem, but they provide the best working model available for those who really want to do something.

Not that many other churches are doing nothing. Most of them are doing something, some of them are doing a lot. But they are doing it under the safety of their own bank accounts and (usually patriarchal) structures of governance, unwilling to be part of a global community that will rightfully demand transparency and accountability. Brings to mind the following thought, good for meditation: "Only by living for the world can the Church live for its Lord; only when it is ready to risk its life as an institution can it find abundant life" (quoted from The Ambiguity of Religion, by David Baily Harned, 1968, page 149). Harned's statement applies not only to Christian churches but to all religious institutions.

2. Millennium Development Goals

Let us reconsider the U.N. Millennium Development Goals:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

All the MDGs are important, but there is increasing consensus that the third one, "Promote gender equality and empower women," is the most fundamental and a necessary (even sufficient?) condition for all the others to be attained. On the other hand, they all assume non-violence as the prevailing social order. None of the MDGs can be attained when violence prevails.

Figure 1. The numbered circles stand for the MDGs, 1 to 8; V stands for violence.
The most fundamental MDG is gender equality;
the most fundamental obstacle is violence.

In addition to U.N. Millennium Development Goals, the reader may want to take note of the following online resources about the MDGs:

Core MDG Documents
Other MDG-Related Sites
MDG Indicators Database
United Nations CyberSchoolBus
MDG Slideshows (Earth Institute, Columbia University)
The GEO (Global Environment Outlook) Year Book 2006
Millennium Development Goals 2006
Trends in Sustainable Development 2006
Human Development Report 2006
The State of the World's Children 2007 <--- NEW AND VERY IMPORTANT

3. Analysis: Poverty Maps and Trends

While reviewing the following world maps, the reader should keep in mind the changes in color codes from one map to another. Clicking on the map will show the full size Wikipedia version of the map.

% of population living on less than $1/day
Source: Wikipedia

Map of world poverty by country, showing percentage of population living on less than 1 dollar per day. Unfortunately, information is missing for some countries, but it is reasonable to assume that North America has a very small percentage of population living on less than 1 dollar per day.

Life expectancy
Source: Wikipedia

World map showing life expectancy. Not surprisingly, life expectancy increases as poverty decreases.

Human Development Index (HDI)
Source: Wikipedia

World map showing the Human Development Index. Not surprisingly, HDI increases as poverty decreases.

Gini coefficient of income inequality
Source: Wikipedia

World map showing the Gini coefficient of income inequality. Not surprisingly, inequality increases as poverty increases.

Color codes for gini coefficient
Source: Wikipedia

The Gini coefficient is a measure of the inequality of a distribution. It is often used as a measure of income inequality. The scale if from zero to one, where zero is perfect equality (income equally distributed to all persons) and one is perfect inequality (one person gets all the income).

% of population living on less than $1/day, 1981-2001
Source: Wikipedia

The percentage of the world's population living on less than $1 per day has halved in twenty years. However, most of this improvement has occurred in East and South Asia.

Life expectacy 1950-2005
Source: Wikipedia

Life expectancy has been increasing and converging for most of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has recently seen a decline, partly related to the AIDS epidemic.

The maps show inequalities in the world distributions of income and related variables such as life expectancy and human development. But one correlation is pervasive, and yet seldom recognized: the prevalence of poverty in areas where religious fundamentalism prevails. The cycle of poverty is actually reinforced in countries and regions where fundamentalist religious institutions have strong influence on culture and secular affairs. According to the model in Figure 1, the explanation is that those religious institutions tend to perpetuate gender inequality and gender violence, with nefarious repercussions in families and social institutions. One of these is the well documented feminization of poverty, which has a double effect on women and children, and at the same time cancels the double dividend which is possible by improving gender equality. It is hard to see how this vicious cycle can be broken as long as fundamentalist religious institutions retain their social influence.

4. Reading Suggestions for 2007

Highly recommended:

5. Website of the Month

The January 2007 "website of the month" is Map of Human Knowledge , by Professor Chaim Zins, University of Haifa, Israel. This website provides excellent guidance for the design of Knowledge Organization Systems (KOS). I am grateful to Dr. Zins for bringing his work to my attention. The subject matter of the website is knowledge organization, and researching this website has been instrumental in formulating our own knowledge organization model for this research project, as reported in section 7 of this issue.

Zins' model focuses on organizing knowledge to support research. In a web-based KOS, the bibliographic elements to be organized are URL links. This requires that links to websites with related content be located in close proximity is the links directory. While reviewing information in a given website, the researcher is thereby reminded of other websites that provide "knowledge context." The value of context is augmented by adding hyperlinks to all the websites, so that the reader is invited to navigate back and forth between the websites in a given knowledge neighborhood after the researcher is in the neighborhood. The value of a KOS is in guiding the researcher to the right neighborhood.

Adding hyperlinks is mechanical. The real challenge is to design a taxonomy of knowledge neighborhoods that separates unrelated knowledge domains and nests together knowledge that is closely related. This is easier said than done, and there is no such thing as taxonomy of knowledge that is adequate for the needs of all researchers all the time. The knowledge architecture proposed by Zins is among the best I have seen. His Portal to Human Knowledge is structured around ten pillars of knowledge pertaining to four phenomena amenable to exploration and gathering of human knowledge. The scope of knowledge under each of the ten pillars is explained here.

This map of knowledge is a breakthrough in knowledge organization. The correspondence between phenomena that can be known and the ten pillars is impeccable. The color codes are helpful, and the pillar definitions on the right hand column are simple, precise, and accurate. The images, on the other hand, are expendable (in my opinion). Granted that "a picture is worth a thousand words," no picture can capture all the angles of knowledge contained in any given pillar (or subdivision thereof), and for some they may be an unnecessary distraction. For instance, the image for pillar [1] represents the Inquisition tribunal challenging Galileo's contribution to knowledge, a contribution that certainly went against "the philosophical, historical, sociological, methodological, and the mediating perspectives of human knowledge" of his time. When you click on the image, a bigger image is shown without further explanation. The value of the images might be enhanced if the enlarged images were to provide a concise explanation of how the art represents the textual definition, albeit without exhausting the possibilities.

A number of knowledge mapping techniques have been proposed for knowledge management and/or knowledge organization. The following are mostly focused on knowledge management:

Visual Exploration of Knowledge Networks, by Visual Complexity
Knowledge Connections, by David Skyrme Associates
A map of all human knowledge, by José Sánchez-Cerezo de la Fuente
Knowledge Structure Mapping, by AKRI Ltd
The following are specifically targeted at knowledge organization:
Knowledge Organization for Digital Libraries, by Gail Hodge, April 2000
Knowledge Organization with Topic Maps, by Alexander Sigel, Informationszentrum Sozialwissenschaften, Bonn, Germany, 2000
Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS), Alistair Miles and Dan Brickley eds., W3C, November 2005
Documents relating to Knowledge Organization and Classification, by Anthony Judge, Laetus in Praesens, 2006
An important issue in knowledge organization is how to deal with interdisciplinary knowledge. See the paper, The Potential of Transdisciplinarity, Helga Nowotny, Rethinking Interdisciplinarity, 1 May 2003. In the context of Zins' model, links to interdisciplinary knowledge would be included in all the contributing pillars. But, unless the link title explicitly identifies the link content as interdisciplinary, the researcher may not find it. When the researcher specifically needs knowledge that conflates two or more disciplines, and there are links that do so, it may be best to "park" them in an "interdisciplinary" pillar. This might seem the obscure the transparency of Zins' model but, in the ultimate analysis, knowledge organization is not about transparency but about helping people find the disciplinary or interdisciplinary knowledge they need.

In summary, Zins' Knowledge Map 2006 gets an A+ as one of the best models available to guide the design of a KOS. In addition, it combines aesthetical beauty with knowledge organization at the highest level. Therefore it combines system beauty with system efficiency and effectiveness for the knowledge worker. This is a combination that knowledge workers rarely find.

6. New Online Resources


THE STATE OF THE WORLD'S CHILDREN 2007, UNICEF, 2006, 160 pages. "The State of the World’s Children 2007 examines the discrimination and disempowerment women face throughout their lives – and outlines what must be done to eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls. It looks at the status of women today, discusses how gender equality will move all the Millennium Development Goals forward, and shows how investment in women’s rights will ultimately produce a double dividend: advancing the rights of both women and children."

STATE OF THE WORLD 2007: OUR URBAN FUTURE, WorldWatch Institute, 2007. "In 2008, half of the Earth’s population will live in urban areas, marking the first time in history that humans are an urban species. State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future will explore the myriad ways urbanization is affecting our lives and the global environment—with a special focus on the ideas that can make our cities environmentally sustainable and healthier places to live. Table of contents:"

Chapter 1. An Urbanizing World
Chapter 2. Providing Clean Water and Sanitation
Chapter 3. Farming the Cities
Chapter 4. Greening Urban Transportation
Chapter 5. Energizing Cities
Chapter 6. Reducing Natural Disaster Risk in Cities
Chapter 7. Charting a New Course for Urban Public Health
Chapter 8. Strengthening Local Economies
Chapter 9. Fighting Poverty and Environmental Injustice in Cities

MUSLIMS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION: DISCRIMINATION AND ISLAMOPHOBIA, EUMC 2006, 118 pages, and PERCEPTIONS OF DISCRIMINATION AND ISLAMOPHOBIA, EUMC 2006, 68 pages. "The disadvantaged position of Muslim minorities, evidence of a rise in Islamophobia and concern over processes of alienation and radicalisation have triggered an intense debate in the European Union regarding the need for re-examining community cohesion and integration policies. A series of events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks against the US, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, the Madrid and London bombings and the debate on the Prophet Mohammed cartoons have given further prominence to the situation of Muslim communities. The central question is how to avoid stereotypical generalisations, how to reduce fear and how to strengthen cohesion in our diverse European societies while countering marginalisation and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or belief."

TEACHING AND LEARNING FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, UNESCO, 2006. This is a multimedia teacher education program. "Running from 2005 to 2014, the aim of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is promote and improve the integration of Education for Sustainable Development into the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries. Visit the official site official site for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development to learn more about projects and events in your region." Links are provided to a large number of key resources.


GLOBAL GENDER GAP REPORT 2006, World Economic Forum (WEF), 2006, 156 pages.

See the summary analysis by WEF economists:

"The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 covers all current and candidate European Union countries, 20 from Latin America and the Caribbean, over 20 from sub-Saharan Africa and 10 from the Arab world. Together, the 115 economies cover over 90% of the world’s population. The index mainly uses publicly available "hard data" indicators drawn from international organizations and some qualitative information from the Forum’s own Executive Opinion Survey. The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 includes an innovative new methodology including detailed profiles of each economy that provide insight into the economic, legal and social aspects of the gender gap. The Report measures the size of the gender gap in four critical areas of inequality between men and women:

1. Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
2. Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
3. Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
4. Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

LIVING PLANET REPORT 2006, WWF, 2006, 44 pages. "The Living Planet Report is WWF's periodic update on the state of the world's ecosystems. It describes the changing state of global biodiversity and the pressure on the biosphere arising from human consumption of natural resources. It is built around two indicators: the Living Planet Index, which reflects the health of the planet’s ecosystems; and the Ecological Footprint, which shows the extent of human demand on these ecosystems. These measures are tracked over several decades to reveal past trends, and then three scenarios explore what might lie ahead. The scenarios show how the choices we make might lead to a sustainable society living in harmony with robust ecosystems, or to the collapse of these same ecosystems, resulting in a permanent loss of biodiversity and erosion of the planet’s ability to support people."

STERN REVIEW ON THE ECONOMICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, HM Treasury, UK, 30 October 2006, 700 pages. "The most comprehensive review ever carried out on the economics of climate change.... It has been carried out by Sir Nicholas Stern, Head of the Government Economic Service and former World Bank Chief Economist. Sir Nicholas said today: "The conclusion of the Review is essentially optimistic. There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we act now and act internationally. Governments, businesses and individuals all need to work together to respond to the challenge. Strong, deliberate policy choices by governments are essential to motivate change. But the task is urgent. Delaying action, even by a decade or two, will take us into dangerous territory. We must not let this window of opportunity close." The Executive Summary, and the entire report, can be downloaded from the Index Page.


For more information, click HERE.

7. Knowledge Organization Model

The newsletter home page now includes links to a growing number of resource directories:

The "knowledge organization" required for this project is itself a complex project. The following knowledge organization models have been considered:

The model chosen as a prototype to support SSNV research is a hybrid of DDC/UDC and the Knowledge 2006 Map. The chosen model includes three main branches: the "KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION" branch (a modified version of Knowledge 2006), the "KNOWLEDGE ACCESS" branch (a simplified version of DDC/UDC/LCC), and a "TO BE CLASSIFIED" unstructured list of links yet to be reviewed and classified.

A high level summary of the model is shown in Table 1 and Table 2 below. This will be the basis for reconstructing the Knowledge Organization and Classified Links Directory. This upgrade is now in progress and will take some time, but take a look.

Vertically, there is no limit as to the number of line items or number of links to be included. Horizontally, the model allows for seven levels of indentation (columns 1 to 7). Column 8 is blank; it is simply a separator between classification line items and links to either knowledge content or knowledge access websites. Column nine contains one or more live links for each line item at any level of knowledge decomposition.

Table 1. Knowledge Organization Part 1

Table 2. Knowledge Organization Part 2

Note: I am indebted to Douglas Black, Reference Librarian at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, provided valuable advice on online classification systems. In particular, he contributed significant guidance on the difference between knowledge organization for access (as in libraries) versus knowledge classification for context. Both are needed to support research. I am also indebted to Chaim Zins, University of Haifa, Israel, for bringing to my attention his work on knowledge mapping as well as pointers to relevant knowledge science literature. Needless to say, any shortcomings or errors are mine.

What do you think? Please let us know if you have any recommendation to improve our knowledge organization framework. Readers are also invited to submit URLs for website where they have found significant knowledge content for any given line item.

8. Prayer, Study, and Action

Prayer, study, and action are not separate activities that unfold during a period of time in some random order. By "prayer, study, and action" we mean the life long, feedback loop learning process required for human development. A simple representation of this process is as follows:

Table 3. Prayer-Study-Action Process for Human Development

Life long learning is already required to function in many societies, and the requirement for life long learning will become even more pervasive in the future. The prayer-study-action cycle, which may have originated in the Cursillo Movement for training lay leaders in the Roman Catholic Church, is both very practical and very general. If anyone of the three pillars is missing, the process of praying, studying, and taking action cannot continue.


How baffling are you, O Church,
and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed,
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world
more devoted to obscurity,
more compromised, more false,
and I have touched nothing more pure,
more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted
to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
and how often I have prayed
to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you,
because I am you, though not completely.
And where would I go?

"The God Who Comes"
Carlo Carretto, 1910-1988

9. Links to Archived Newsletters

The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability
V2 N2 February 2006: Sustainable Human Development
V2 N3 March 2006: Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
V2 N4 April 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions
V2 N5 May 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 2
V2 N6 June 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 3
V2 N7 July 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 4
V2 N8 August 2006: Mimetic Violence in Patriarchal Religions 5
V2 N9 September 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ September 2006
V2 N10 October 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ October 2006
V2 N11 November 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ November 2006
V2 N12 December 2006: Sabbatical Activity ~ December 2006

|Back to SUMMARY| |Back to OUTLINE|
|Back to SECTION 1| |Back to SECTION 2| |Back to SECTION 3|
|Back to SECTION 4| |Back to SECTION 5| |Back to SECTION 6|
|Back to SECTION 7| |Back to SECTION 8| |Back to SECTION 9|
|Link to Last Invited Article|
|Link to Newsletter Home Page|

The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to the service of others, especially those who are weak and most vulnerable to physical and/or psychological violence. See The Physiologus.

Gender violence is usually rooted in religious violence. It is the most pervasive form of violence, and the main obstacle to both solidarity and sustainability. See sermon by Rev. Sylvia Roberts.

Call for Papers

This newsletter is now seeking scholars willing to write (pro-bono) short articles about the impacts of religious violence on human solidarity and ecological sustainability, as well as critical reviews of this work from the perspective of various religious traditions, i.e., Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc.

Articles should be 1000 words minimum and 3000 words maximum, with no images. Please submit only material that has not been already published elsewhere. The author's CV should be submitted with the paper. The newsletter is published monthly, but there are no specific deadlines. Papers approved by the editor will be included as an "invited paper" when time and space allows.

Please share this invitation with your friends and associates. Send all correspondence to the editor, Luis T. Gutierrez.


Millennium Development Goals:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

Interested in more information and data? Click the map below:


For the latest environmental facts and figures:


For the latest human development data:


For the latest MDG data and trends:


UNICEF World's Children 2007


UNICEF World's Children 2006


UNICEF World's Children 2005


UNICEF World's Children 2004


UNICEF World's Children 2003


UNICEF World's Children 2002


UNICEF World's Children 2001


UNICEF World's Children 2000


UNICEF World's Children 1999


UNICEF World's Children 1998


UNICEF World's Children 1997


UNICEF World's Children 1996


40 Years Ago

The encyclical Humanae vitae was published for the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Paul VI in 1967 - 40 years ago. It was a catastrophic mistake: rather than simply reiterating the beautiful Christian truth about the gift of love and the gift of life, the beauty of virginity when freely chosen for love of God, the ideal of chastity outside of marriage in imitation of Christ, and the "less than ideal" practice of systematically sharing the gift of love without sharing the gift of life, the encyclical was used to reassert papal authority on matters of faith and morals.

The encyclical thus became an authoritarian, moralistic pontification about when to use (and when not to use) the "pill" and other methods of artificial birth control. It invaded the sacred space of personal conscience for single and married people alike. Forty years later the results are well known, and confirm that young people today are more open to welcome the challenge of high morals than threats of eternal damnation. It would have been so much better to just reiterate the plain and simple truth: "follow your conscience, you can abstain with God's grace, don't follow the easy path of irresponsible pleasure, follow Christ in chastity, cherish the gift of life."

The repercussions are impossible to calculate. There were the zealots who insisted that the encyclical was normative under pain of mortal sin. Those were the ones who did most damage, either by seeding scruples in the minds of good people or by alienating many more from the church. Outside the Roman Catholic Church nobody paid any attention, since this was an edict for Roman Catholics and not a biblically based ideal for the exercise of human sexuality. For many, the gift of love and the gift of life became the curse of love and the curse of life, and this in many different forms: lack of cross-gender solidarity, irresponsible sex within and outside marriage, unwanted pregnancies, abortion .... for violence begets violence, and religious violence begets extreme forms of religious violence.

The encyclical Humanae vitae was an expression of religious violence, albeit probably not intentionally so. It was the first signal of retrenchment following the Second Vatican Council (1961-1964). The massive rejection of the encyclical as moral guidance - outside as well as inside the Roman Catholic Church - should have been a signal for the Vatican to receive the "sense of the faithful" lovingly and pray for understanding. Instead, The Vatican proceeded to publish documents (such as "Inter Insegnores," 1976) and impose oaths of loyalty (starting in 1989) to effectively silence any complaints about their next planned exercise in abusing religious authority: the sudden, unilateral termination of the process of discernment pursuant to the ordination of women ("Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," 1994).

It is a saddening sequence of events, and one that certainly obscures both the gift of love and the gift of life. But God keeps calling us to share these gifts, sometimes in the most unexpected ways -- see below, "Art & Artist of the Month."

Art & Artist
of the Month

In the Name of God
a crucifix for the right to sexual education and the responsible use of contraception. The copper sculpture depicts a pregnant teenager in natural size crucified on a big cross. It is a harsh comment to the impact of the fundamentalist branches of the Christian church that indulge on moralizing about contraception and fail to provide competent sexual education that includes both solid Christian ideals and tested scientific advances in human sexuality. Women, including teenage girls, bear the brunt of the disastrous consequences of unprotected love based on "Christian" morality, while boys and men are happy to get laid and disappear to evade responsibility. I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25,40)

Sculptor Jens Galschiot

Art In Defense of Humanism (AIDOH)
Copenhagen, Denmark


From January 25th to 27th, 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya. Agenda: 1. Building a world of peace, justice, ethics and respect for diverse spiritualities;
2. Liberating the world from the domination of multinational and financial capital;
3. Ensuring universal and sustainable access to the common goods of humanity and nature;
4. Democratization of knowledge and information;
5. Ensuring dignity, defending diversity, guaranteeing gender equality and eliminating all forms of discrimination;
6. Guaranteeing economic, social, human and cultural rights especially the right to food, healthcare, education, housing, employment and decent work;
7. Building a world order based on sovereignty, self-determination and rights of peoples;
8. Constructing a people-centered and sustainable economy;
9. Building real democratic political structures and institutions with full people’s participation on decisions and control of public affairs and resources.

January 22-23, 2007, 9 am - 9 pm, Mennonite Central Committee's Welcoming Place, Akron, PA. From the conference flyer: "How shall we understand the death of Jesus? Is it necessary to speak of the wrath of God when discussing atonement? These questions have been asked and answered many times throughout the history of the church. In today's world with our growing awareness of the dangers of violence, sacrifice, and militant religion, the death of Jesus need no longer be construed with divine violence. For more information contact Michael Hardin.

The World Future Society will hold its annual conference, "World Future 2007: Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hilton Minneapolis, July 29-31, 2007. This 2-1/2-day conference will focus on ideas, insights, and strategies for coping with, adapting to, and taking advantage of the tremendous changes occurring on our planet. The deadline for papers is February 28, 2007. If additional information is needed, please let me know: Timothy C. Mack.

Blaise Pascal Instituut, Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit July, 4-8, 2007. This is the annual meeting of the Colloquium on Violence and Religion, an scholarly society focused on the exploration, criticism, and development of René Girard's Mimetic Theory. See the conference website for subthemes, deadlines for abstracts, etc. For more information, contact Thérèse Onderdenwijngaard.

11 Nov 2007 - 15 Nov 2007, Rome, Italy. The World Energy Congress is the most authoritative international energy meeting held by the World Energy Council (WEC) every three years. Papers and posters are accepted in either of the WEC official languages: English or French. Deadlines: Submission of papers and posters: from 1st June 2006 to 31st December 2006. Notification of acceptance: by 31st May 2007. Contact: Organising Secretariat

IADIS International Conference, Salamanca, Spain, 18-20 February 2007. The mission of this conference is to publish and integrate scientific results and act catalytically to the fast developing culture of web communities. The conference invites original papers, review papers, technical reports and case studies on the web, in particular the emerging role of so-called Web-Based Communities. Conference contact:

Call for papers for an edited volume on The Politics of Populations. Abstracts due January 15th, 2007. Prospective chapters should be no more than 25-30 pages. Submit abstracts of 300 words or less with contact information to: David Karjanen .

2nd-4th February 2007, The Centre for Religion and Popular Culture, University of Chester, St Deiniol’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales. For details, or to propose a paper, please email a title and brief abstract (no more than 150 words) to Eric Christianson, Senior Lecturer, Biblical Studies Co-Director, Centre for Religion and Popular Culture Dept of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester.

Conference of the National Council for Science and the Environment, February 1-2, 2007, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC. The conference will address the many essential roles the environment plays on our well-being today, as well as the multi-dimensional relationships between human health and environmental components, which may have far-reaching consequences for society. For more info: NCSE2007.

February 28–March 3, 2007, Baton Rouge, LA. This conference is sponsored by the American Society for Environmental History. To submit a poster proposal, please use the proposal submission form. For more info, please contact ASEH Program Committee.

April 11 - 14, 2007 in Toronto ON Canada. Call for proposals due October 6. Convened by the Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH). For information about being a conference cosponsor, exhibitor, advertiser or supporter, contact Shelly Tolo, CCPH Conference Manager by phone: (206) 962-0012 or e-mail:


Conference on Faith, Spirituality and Social Change, University of Winchester, UK, 14 April 2007. A conference bringing together people whose action for social change is informed by their faith, organisations working with faith communities for social change, and academics exploring faith-based social change issues. Proposals - in the form of a title, a short abstract (300 words max) and a brief biographical statement (100 words plus affiliation) should be sent by 1 Dec 2006 to Dr. Christina Welch or Adrian Harris at For any additional information contact Christina or Adrian or please visit the conference website.

March 14–16, 2007, Le Majestic Centre De Congres, Chamonix, France. The International Association of Science and Technology for Development (IASTED), is a non-profit organization founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1977. The purpose of IASTED is to promote economic development through science and technology. For more information:

Call for papers. AAG Conference, San Francisco, April 17-21, 2007. The goal of this session is to (1) identify existing social science and ecological theories that offer the strongest potential, if joined, to deepen and broaden our understanding of linked social-ecological systems, and (2) evaluate the potential and challenges of such theoretical bridging. Points of contact: Rinku Roy Chowdhury or Eric Keys


The Jean Piaget Society invites program submissions for the 37th Annual Meeting to take place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, May 31-June 2, 2007. Organizers: Phil Zelazo, Michael Chandler, and Eveline Crone. Please use the Proposal Submission Forms. Submission deadline is November 15, 2006. Point of contact: Chris Lalonde.


June 17-21, 2007, Park City, Utah. This is the 13th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. The theme for the 2007 symposium is "Landscape Continuity and Change - Social Science Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Conversations." Abstracts for posters and papers due January 31, 2007. For more information about the symposium, contact Dr. Douglas Jackson-Smith.

NWSA 2007
The National Women’s Studies Association, 28th Annual Conference, Pheasant Run, St. Charles, Illinois. June 28-July 1, 2007. Theme: PAST DEBATES, PRESENT POSSIBILITIES, FUTURE FEMINISMS. Featured Conference Speaker: SANDRA CISNEROS. For more info:

World Future 2007
The World Future Society will hold its annual conference, "World Future 2007: Fostering Hope and Vision for the 21st Century" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the Hilton Minneapolis, July 29-31, 2007. This 2-1/2-day conference will focus on ideas, insights, and strategies for coping with, adapting to, and taking advantage of the tremendous changes occurring on our planet. The deadline for papers is February 28, 2007. If additional information is needed, please let me know: Timothy C. Mack.

Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, Charleston, South Carolina, July 8-11, 2007. The 2007 conference will be focused on the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by the multidimensional phenomenon of globalization. Proposals should be made electronically to Joseph Pitt, Program Committee Chair. The deadline for submissions is January 1, 2007.


Havana, Cuba, in 9-12 July 2007. The theme is: "The religious movements in the face of the conflicts and challenges of a world in crisis." Sponsored by the Department of Socio-religious Studies of the Center for Psychological and Sociological Research (CIPS) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment of Cuba. Abstracts due 20 April 2007. The head of the promotion committee is Sonia Jiménez. Phone: (537) 831-3610 and 833-5366. Fax: (537) 833-4327. Email:


University of Granada, Spain, 10-13 July 2007. The conference will examine the nature of disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices across the social sciences, as well as the relation of the social to the natural sciences, applied sciences and the professions. The focus of papers will range from the finely grained and empirical (research practices and results exemplifying one or more disciplines), to wide-ranging multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary practices, to perspectives on knowledge and method. The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 22 October 2006. See the conference website for other details.


The XV International Meeting of the Society for Human Ecology, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 4-7, 2007. Some preliminary proposals for sessions include themes such as: Biodiversity, Coastal Management, Cultural Diversity, Education, Philosophy, and Traditional Populations, among others. This is an invitation to submit proposals for sessions, symposia, and roundtables that we can incorporate into the early stages of meeting planning even before we issue the formal call for papers. If you have ideas, please contact Alpina Begossi, President, Society for Human Ecology, or

Planned for November 2007. This event will be a major milestone in bringing corporate redesign to the public agenda, profiling Corporation 20/20 design concepts and charting a pathway forward. For more info:


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