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 commented digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The U.N. "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as a point of reference.
Theme of this Issue Spiritual Dimension of Sustainable Development
”Cowardice Asks the Question, “Is it Safe?”
Expediency Asks the Question, “Is it Politic?”
Vanity Asks the Question, “Is it Popular?
But Conscience Asks the Question, “Is it Right?”
And there comes a time when one must take
a position that is neither safe, nor politic,
nor popular, but one must take it because
one's conscience tells one that it is right."
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
The reader is invited to explore various definitions of conscience in Merriam-Webster and other references. On freedom of religion and, in particular, freedom of conscience, the following sources are recommended:
Freedom of conscience is the foundation for freedom of ideas, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech. Freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion, are essential human rights and, therefore, essential for democratic governance. Some people think about the U.N. MDGs a something that can be accomplished by democratic manipulation of social, economic, and environmental factors. Political factors are generally recognized to be critical. But religious factors are generally ignored or treated as second order. After 9/11, we should know better. Some of the most formidable barriers to the MDGs are religious in nature. More about this in the next issue.
To say that "religion is a human initiative" and "spirituality is a divine initiative" may be an oversimplification. As we have seen from the definitions, both terms are used in common language in reference to the same reality. That reality is that human beings need to belong to something bigger than themselves. That "something bigger" is called God in various ways and under various names, but the basic reality is the same. The sense of belonging to God is nurtured both ways: people develop rituals and practices to experience the presence of the divine, and God comes to all people in a spectrum of experience that starts with everyday events and culminates in mystical union. The human initiative is required, but God "is never outdone in generosity." This section is about the human initiative and effort in seeking God. The next section will focus on God coming to meet those who open their hearts and minds to "becoming what they already are."
In primitive religions, seeking to please God entailed practices such as human sacrifice. We now understand that this is not what God desires (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13, 12:7). At this point in human history, working for social and environmental justice is where the action is. Working for human solidarity and environmental sustainability, and doing it non-violently: this is what God desires. Nothing human is perfect, and the United Nations certainly needs a reformation of its own, but the MDGs are an excellent example of giving glory to God by working for social and environmental justice. Recommended examples:
Needless to say, secular leaders make decisions, and take action -- at least to some extent -- in response to their conscience, and the conscience of every person is influenced by the cultural and religious environment. There is even a collective unconscious (Carl Jung) that integrates over time the experience of a society as to what is good and what is bad. More about this in the next issue.
Religion is a human initiative. Spirituality is a divine initiative. This means that religion is driven by human needs and desires, the most important being the need to belong and the desire to be confirmed in our belonging. It does not mean that spirituality does not require the cooperation of the person seeking the inner presence of the divine. But this cooperation is not a matter of reciting many long prayers, doing a lot of fasting, or participating in many rituals. Rather, it is a matter of removing obstacles to divine grace by avoiding sin, letting go of inordinate attachments, and having a clear conscience. The spiritual person embraces simplicity and transparency of heart and mind. God never fails to touch those persons as they walk along the "straight and narrow path" of the inner journey.
Spiritual persons know that "God is never outdone in generosity." They also know that "God writes straight with crooked lines." The "straight and narrow path" may seem neither straight nor narrow. The inner traveler may experience pain and suffering (both external and internal), and may deviate and get lost very easily along the journey, for there are both bright days and dark nights. It often happens that when everything is dark, and no sense of direction remains, God comes to meet the pilgrim with assurance of eternal friendship and deeper insight into the life of the spirit. Those encounters are often short, but never forgotten. The "old person" is no more, and a "new person" has been born. The "new person" has the same physical and psychological traits as before, but deep inside there is a new and unbreakable peace that nothing can destroy.
Nobody has a monopoly of God, and there are many paths of spiritual growth. The following is a very limited list of examples that the reader may want to explore:
The list above includes only a few of the many legitimate paths to inner enlightment. But all paths lead to a personal experience of God's presence and a divine gift that thereafter remains constant: the gift of inner peace, a peace that nothing can take away. This inner peace enables a person to face the most dramatic events and transitions without being afraid. Indeed, it is the kind of peace that enables a person to be an instrument of peace in the world:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
~ St. Francis of Assisi - 13th Century CE
This is one of the most beautiful prayers in the Christian tradition. St. Francis is, of course, a model that very few can replicate. But to seek solidarity, sustainability, and non-violence requires, at least to some extent, the divine gift of inner peace. The authenticity of any religious tradition (or religious practice) that corrupts peace is very much in doubt. There must be peace between men and women, between ethnic groups, between nations. Else, working for social and environmental justice is an exercise in futility. What happen is that the lack of inner peace is compensated by outer activity pursuant to wealth accumulation, power consolidation, and ego-enhancing honors. When this mindset prevails, the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, conflicts are "resolved" by violence, and honors are the only way to disguise our inner misery. More about this in the next issue.
The structure and dynamics of patriarchal societies have been discussed at length in previous issues. The reader may wish to check the following references about patriarchy, and "patriarchal spirituality," from the perspective of various religious traditions:
There is no such thing as "patriarchal spirituality." There are patriarchal religious institutions that project their patriarchal governance structure in their spirituality. But authentic spirituality cannot possibly be phallocentric. There is no such thing as a patriarchal God. It follows that the so-called "patriarchal spiritualities" are 90% patriarchy and 10% spirituality. Furthermore, the perpetuation of these "patriarchal spiritualities" does great harm to human development in general, and to the human development of men in particular. Are women more spiritual than men? No, absolutely not. But the imposition of a "patriarchal spirituality" actually helps them (albeit for the wrong reason) to integrate the masculine side of their humanity. In the case of men, the imposition of a "patriarchal spirituality" prevents them (again for the wrong reason) to integrate the feminine side of their humanity. The nefarious repercussions of this patriarchal bias are not difficult to see in both individuals and society.
Symbols are powerful communicators. Consider the following symbols:
The mandala is a symbol of the divine, the inner self, and the outer cosmos. There are many variations of mandalas, the most common having the form of a circle around the center point. The center point is what really matters. The circle serves to focus on the center point. The use of mandalas to foster spiritual growth originated in Hinduism but has now extended to most religious traditions, especially in the East. The Enso mandala is typical of Zen Buddhism. The Trinitarian mandala is a reflection of the Christian West. The Yin-Yang mandala is a Chinese symbol of "unity in diversity," i.e., men and women, black and white (and all the other races), divinity and humanity, inner life and outer life, etc.
Mandalas can be used as tools for religious meditation, and to attain self-knowledge and psychological healing. They can be used to focus attention on divine mysteries. Mandalas make visible the link between humanity and the cosmos, and between individuals and their local environment. Mandalas, however, are generally not intended to be symbols of patriarchy, or matriarchy, or any other form of hierarchy of authority among humans. Surely, the Trinitarian mandala displays the patriarchal Father-Son-Holy Spirit hierarchy, and the triangle is shown over the circle; but it serves to clarify the Trinitarian equation (1+1+1=1) in which any hierarchy between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always relates to communion, not domination.
It is noteworthy that the Nicene definition of the Trinity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was formulated in the context of the patriarchal Roman empire. Actually, Christians believe that the "Father," who abides in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16), transcends gender; and the Son had to be either male or female in order to be like us in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15). Since God is not patriarchal, it follows that any "patriarchal spirituality" is a human invention that has nothing to do with biblical truth. But, again, images are powerful communicators, and it may take centuries to overcome the misconception of a male-only God. In this regard, the last two references listed above are very instructive. For instance, regarding masculine spirituality:
"First, I want to say that a masculine spirituality is not just for men, although it is men who are most likely going to have to rediscover and exemplify it. Strangely, it is an approach that many women are more in touch with today than men. Women have been encouraged and even forced to work on their inner life more than men in our culture.
"In general, they are far ahead of men in integrating the masculine and feminine parts of themselves. Their inner journeys have left many of us men in the dust. Our sisters’ pursuit of the authentic feminine has made the brothers aware that there is also an authentic masculine. But what is it? Quite simply it is the other side of the feminine energy. It is the other pole, the contrary, the balance.
"In the Chinese view of the universe, it is the yang, or active masculine principle, that is always the necessary complement to yin, the passive feminine principle. For the Judeo-Christian tradition it is half of the image of God: “God created humanity as a self-image, male and female God created them” (Genesis 1:27)."
Masculine Spirituality, by Rev. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., National Catholic Reporter, September-October 1988
And, in reference to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, 1994):
"It is hard to laugh when confronted with a calamity, yet I managed a few smiles while reading some passages of the Catechism's patriarchal spirituality which tells us "to be perfect as our Father in heaven" (2013). I already mentioned the text of Ambrose instigating humankind to become "king, governing himself with suitable rigor, refusing to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul" (908). We get more of this patriarchal literature in parts three and four. "The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood," (2214) mothers are apparently not included. Indeed "filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. My son, keep your father's commandments..." (2216) Woman gets a consolation because Mary is the paradigm of such obedience. "God choose those who are considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises." Follows a list of women of the Hebrew Bible, among them Judith who showed "her powerlessness and weakness" by beheading poor Holofernes, the Assyrian general besieged by the many "isms" of our modern times. A regrettable consequence has been the Church's culture-blindness which made her fail in the outreach towards the great cultural and religious tradition of Asia. Vatican II with its ideas of local church, enculturation, dialogue with world religions, and so on is a turning point. This was followed up in some great documents, among them Evangeli Nuntiandi of Paul VI and Catechesi Tradendae of John Paul II. The pope also established the Pontifical Council of Culture. I really wonder what this whole evolution means when we suddenly have to read in a Catechism, presented as "a sure norm for teaching the faith" that enculturation is only an "adaptation" (24). Did the authors not read the statements of John Paul II who sees an "organic and constructive link" between Christianity and culture? " The synthesis between culture and faith is not just a demand of culture, but also of faith. A faith which does not become culture is a faith which has not been fully received, not thoroughly thought through, not fully live out."
The Church: A Pilgrim Community of Disciples, Chapter 7, by Rev. Fumio Sukegawa, Sapporo Diocese, Japan.
It is hard to understand why the Vatican wants to perpetuate images and practices that are harmful to people, both socially and spiritually. What is it that they are conserving? What is it that they are transmitting? What is it that they are afraid of? More about this in the next issue.
The best alternative to patriarchal governance is democracy. This applies to all human institutions, both secular and religious. Nothing human is perfect, but nothing human is worst than absolute power without any checks and balances. Democracy is the only framework that allows the emergence of a new mindset solidarity and sustainability, as we have discussed at length in previous issues. Starting with the American and French revolutions (1776, 1789), the number of nations embracing democracy has been increasing exponentially. The reader may wish to check the following references about democracy, solidarity, sustainability, and related concepts such as subsidiarity:
What should be the first priority for all secular institutions in the world? To examine their structure of governance. If it is not democratic, make it so. If it is democratic, make it more so. Democracy is a dynamic process that must be improved continuously; if it is not improving, it is deteriorating. Again, this applies to all secular institutions, not only governmental institutions. Corporations could benefit from more participation in decision-making by all stakeholders (via, for example, triple bottom-line analyses done jointly by managers and employees). Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities, could benefit from more participation in decision-making (including curriculum and tenure decisions) by all stakeholders.
Likewise, the first priority for all religious institutions (in all religious traditions) should be to reform their structure of governance in order to make it more democratic. Neither bishops nor ayatollahs have internet connections to "heaven," let alone to God. It is time for the Roman Catholic church to cease being an absolute monarchy. It is time for Islamic states to recognize that the separation of religion and state is the practice most conducive to a good balance of faith and freedom, including full gender equality. In brief, it is time for religious leaders to stop playing God. If they persist in doing so, religious bodies will become irrelevant, and the good they do will no longer be done.
There is a need for fresh ideas going forward. Back in the political arena, the "socioeconomic democracy" theory of Robley George deserves careful consideration. Readers are encouraged to take a good look at the Center for the Study of Democratic Societies website (last bullet in the list above). There is something here that may give new energy to both sustainable democratization and sustainable development, including the U.N. MDGs. In fact, sustainable democratization and could be, like the two sides of a coin, one and the same thing. More about this in the next issue.
"Consumerism is a surrogate for God."
"The only thing we have to fear on this planet is man." Carl Jung (1875-1961)
Indeed, "consumerism is a surrogate for God." We might be tempted to say that "economic growth" is another surrogate for God. But the problem with economic growth, or economic development in general, is not in the growing but in the distributing. Economic growth that exacerbates the widening gap between rich and poor is no longer tolerable. Nor is economic growth tolerable when it happens at the expense of ecological health. There is an urgent need for new concepts of economic growth that are compatible with sustainable development and, in particular, human development for all inhabitants of the planet. The following links will take the reader to recent (or not so recent but yet to be tested) advances on modes of economic growth that might be both ecologically sustainable and humanly enriching.
First, become familiar with the following basic U.N. documents:
Second, become familiar with the tight coupling between religion and development:
Correlation between Wealth and Religiosity.
The source is the Pew Global Attitudes Project. It is clear that the chart correlates just the economic dimension of development with religiosity. But let us keep in mind, that few humans can embark on the inner journey before the basic necessities of life are satisfied. It is also clear that few humans get started on the inner journey when their material needs and desires are oversatisfied. For more information, see Pew Global Attitudes Project: Summary of Findings (section on religion and social issues). There is also an excellent article, The coming religious peace, by Alan Wolfe, in the March 2008 issue of The Atlantic, pages 56-63.
Third, become familiar with one or more of the following resources:
Religion, in the sense of spirituality, can provide a powerful motivation to work for sustainable development. It is not so clear that the same can be said about organized religion. According to Carl Jung, "the No. 1 problem with organized religion is that the purpose of organized religion is to prevent people from having a direct experience of God. Religion is organized around the principle that religion will provide the direct experience of God for you as long as you become a member, follow our rules and contribute to us financially." All bureaucracies share the similar dynamics pursuant to self-interest and self-perpetuation. Consumerism, wealth accumulation, and misuse of power are as common in religious bureaucracies as they are in secular institutions.
And yet, religious institutions have resources of divine wisdom and spiritual renewal that would be instrumental to bring people to the point of changing consumer habits and social behavior. Thus concludes Gary Gardner of the Worldwatch Institute: "The goal is to help us all to make an emotional as well as scientific connection to Nature. The great Harvard biologist Stephen Jay Gould reflected this when he wrote: 'We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional and spiritual bond between ourselves and nature as well, for we will not fight to save what we do not love.' Love. Who would have thought that we'd end this talk about sustainability, about the need to preserve forests and rivers and people, with that word? But there it is. You, in the faith community, can help us to infuse our scientific worldview with love, love of one another, and love of God's Creation. Nothing else will suffice. Nothing less will see us through this historic moment."
How do we know if religion is healthy, both humanly and ecologically? According to behavioral health consultant and writer Steven Kalas, it boils down to this: "healthy religion strives for human wholeness". He proposes the following criteria to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy religion:
Healthy religion recognizes the developmental stages of a maturing spirituality, and encourages the movement through those stages. Unhealthy religion impedes that development, and shames or vilifies those who attempt to move from one stage to the next.
Healthy religion is not threatened by passion, be that creative passion, artistic passion, sexual passion or celebration. Unhealthy religion is afraid of such things, and moves subtly or aggressively to constrain, punish or ostracize passionate people.
Healthy religion is not anti-intellectual. Unhealthy religion is afraid of certain questions.
Healthy religion values truth more than it values being right.
Healthy religion respects and values both male and female. Unhealthy religion tends to be marked by the oppressive masculine or the critical, shaming feminine.
The goal of healthy religion is wholeness, and the freedom wholeness invites. The goal of unhealthy religion -- regardless of what they say -- is control and conformity. Its favorite strategy to this end is constantly cultivating in you ambivalence, doubts or even hatred for the self.
Unhealthy religion is a bully. And if I sound a little grouchy sometimes about religion, it's because I hate bullies.
Healthy religion strives for human wholeness, by Steven Kalas, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2 January 2007
What is, then, a healthy spirituality for sustainable development? One that strives to give glory to God by
Striving for human wholeness
Striving for ecological wholeness
So, what else is new? What is new is not the integration of individual and creation spirituality. There is a long tradition of awareness that this is what God desires, starting as early as Genesis 2:15. What is new is the urgency to start doing it. Needless to say, many practical issues remain, especially how to manage sustainable development in a democratic way. More about this in the next issue .....
Updates of the SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database continue as time permits. Links to marginal research resources are being deleted, and links to "best of the web" resources continue to be collected. This is a never ending task, and the reader is cordially invited to take a look at this resource, grab anything of interest, and download it (free) for your own use (two options: HTML Web Page
or EXCEL Spreadsheet).
As you all know, here in the United States we are in the midst of the nomination process for the 4 November 2008 presidential election. It is time to do some prayer, study, and action for this country, now facing some serious problems after the catastrophic eight years of the Bush administration. The USA has been living on borrowed money for a long time, and nobody wants to hear the music.
Something has to change, and this probably includes our mindset about growth and our consumption patterns. Many other things may have to change. The question is, change to what? The complexity and urgency of the issues certainly require prayer, study, and action. Everyone can get involved in the process in one way or another. One simple way is to pray before voting, study the issues, and write letters to members of congress, leaders of the political parties, and other secular and religious leaders.
Erica Jong is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist. She is not a politician. She surely is a busy person. But she found the time to write the letter reprinted below (with her permission) to share her hopes and concerns about some of the candidates who are currently seeking the presidency of this great nation. You don't have to be Erica Jong to write a letter. Anyone can write a letter. Everyone can and must do something to contribute. Sitting back, and doing nothing, is not an option.
Hillary vs. the Patriarchy
By Erica Jong
February 4, 2008
"Look, the only people for Hillary Clinton are the Democratic establishment and white women," said Bill Kristol yesterday on Fox News Sunday, one of the many "news" outlets to expose Kristol's reliable sexism. "The Democratic establishment would be crazy to follow an establishment that led it to defeat year after year," Kristol continued in his woolly, repetitive style. "White women are a problem, you know. We all live with that."
Bill Kristol has been much criticized for his war mongering, arrogance, poor writing and lack of fact checking. But at least the guy is honest. He considers women a problem -- especially white women. And he feels confident enough as an alpha male to be open about it. "I shouldn't have said that," he demurred. But he can say anything he likes and still fall eternally upward. He's a white man, lord of all he surveys -- including Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I, too, have been watching Hillary Clinton with admiration, love, hate, annoyance and empathy since she appeared on the national scene 16 years ago. (Can it be only16 years?) I've had a hard time making up my mind about her. Perhaps that's because I identify with her so strongly.
I'm hardly the only woman who sees my life mirrored in hers. She's always worked twice as hard to get half as far as the men around her. She endured a demanding Republican father she could seldom please and a brilliant, straying husband who played around with bimbos. She was clearly his intellectual soul mate, but the women he chased were dumb and dumber.
Nothing she did was ever enough to stop her detractors. Supporting a politician husband by being a successful lawyer, raising a terrific daughter, saving her marriage when the love of her life publicly humiliated her -- these are things that would be considered enormously admirable in most politicians and public figures. But because she's a white woman, she's been pilloried for them.
She's had to endure nutcrackers made in her image, insults about the shape of her ankles and nasty cracks from mediocrities in the media like Rush Limbaugh, Chris Matthews and Kristol.
When she decided to run for the Senate she was called a carpetbagger. When she won the hearts of her most conservative constituents by supporting their actual needs, the same poisonous pundits who said it couldn't be done attacked her.
Nor are poisonous women pundits any more kind. Maureen Dowd regularly gives her a drubbing. And "progressives" from Susan Brownmiller to Oprah Winfrey sport Obama buttons.
I, too, was a bluestocking from a woman's college, straight-A student, Phi Beta Kappa, who found my voice as a writer while exiled to the boonies with a husband who cheated. With every book I published, I saw more clearly how uneven was the playing field for women. We were let into the literary world on sufferance. Unless we wrote unreadable academic tracts that nobody bought, or mysteries or romances or something called "chick lit" (whatever that is), or biographies of Great Men, we were booed off the stage.
I chanced to get famous for my work. Hillary got famous in the unspeakable role of "First Lady," which Jackie Kennedy Onassis thought sounded like the name of racehorse. If she seemed uncomfortable in her skin, if she kept changing her hair, her image, her style, her way of speaking, how could we blame her? She was trying to be self-protective. Who wouldn't be if constantly attacked by a beastly press?
Little by little, she loosened up. She learned how to dress and speak and smile and relax on the podium. I've watched this whole process with immense admiration.
Fame in America is unforgiving. And she had to grow comfortable in the spotlight -- something very few people can do without having a nervous breakdown or drinking or popping pills.
Hillary made it without self-destructing. She was a tower of strength to her husband, who seems to have little impulse control, and her daughter whom she obviously loves and whom she never exploited even in the worst of times.
She cannot have enjoyed her husband's playing around. She certainly never condoned it. But he was clever enough for her, he supported her dreams, and they both loved their smart and beautiful daughter.
Besides, what does anyone know about anyone else's marriage? As a novelist I understand that I can't even invent the complexities most people live with, the compromises made, the deals negotiated and renegotiated. If it works, let's say hallelujah, rather than pick and quibble. It took me three marriages to find my soul mate. Maybe Hillary was luckier.
In the 1990s, when they became "Billary" as president, she gave her all. When the White House beckoned, she was true blue. When he took the hardest job in the world, she helped. And when he rewarded her by letting some tootsie do whatever it was they did in the Oval Office, she got really mad.
But she was wise enough to know what it did and did not mean. She did what smart European and Asian women have done through the ages: She kept her marriage but changed her focus to her own ambitions.
As a senator she has learned compromise and negotiation. She has gotten to know red America as well as blue. If she could win over the rednecks in upstate New York, she can win over any American. She knows this country is full of "security" moms as well as soccer moms. Since she is a woman, she has to show she's ready to be commander in chief. Hence her "triangulation" on Iraq and her signing the absurd Lieberman-Kyl resolution, which calls on our government to use "military instruments" to "combat, contain and [stop]" Iran's meddling in Iraq.
By the time it came up she must have known the Cheney-Bush war profiteers would never embrace even partial peace. She had to win over her America and theirs.
Who ever got elected in the United States without moving to the center? Not Ralph Nader the narcissist, nor Ross Perot the spoiler, nor certainly Adlai Stevenson the "egghead," nor Ronnie Reagan the red-baiter from Hollywoodland. Dubya presented himself as a "compassionate conservative" and our dopey press bought it. They inflicted him on us because they thought Al Gore was a nerd. The right-wing media barons happily smeared the better man for no good reason. Noam Chomsky predicted all this 25 years ago, when he said that the concentration of the media would rob us of real news.
It certainly has. We can read all we want about Britney, Paris, Heath, Tom Cruise, the Spice Girls and all their buds -- dead or alive -- but we can't read about how many children have been maimed in Iraq, or their dead and legless or armless mothers and fathers who were shocked and awed. But we know its happening. And we feel the great weight of our complicity.
You will point to Hillary's complicity. You will quote crazy-like-a-fox Ann Coulter, who claims to be voting for her.
You will also quote left-wing bloggers who love Barack Obama, and MoveOn.org peaceniks (I am one) who see no evil in him (nor do I). But I see little experience either. Obama is smart and attractive. Maybe he'll be president someday.
He was lucky enough not to be in the Senate when the Iraq war resolution was floated after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell lied about WMDs. That was the true tragedy of race: a black man lying for a corrupt white administration that was using him as a token, much as they use Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now.
Obama is also a token -- of our incomplete progress toward an interracial society. I have nothing against him except his inexperience. Many black voters agree. They understand tokenism and condescension.
I understand my hopeful friends who think an Obama button will change America. But I'm sticking with Hillary. I trust her because all her life, her pro bono work has been for mothers and children. And mothers and children -- of all colors -- are the most oppressed group in our country. I trust her to speak for our children and grandchildren -- and for us. She always has.
Tahmineh Milani A feminist filmmaker forges ahead and fights for freedom in Iran.
Upon the release of Milani’s latest film, "The Hidden Half," the Islamic Revolutionary Court accused her of "supporting those waging war against God" and "misusing the arts in support of counterrevolutionary and armed opposition groups." If she is convicted of these charges, the penalty could be death.
Hillary for President
Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York Next President of the USA
The nomination process is a wide open race; may God help the candidates to be honest, may God help the voters to choose well.
"All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
"Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
"The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them,high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.
"The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset,and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;
"The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
"The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;
"He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Cecil Frances Alexander
SSNV Call for Papers
Short articles about the impacts of all forms of secular and religious violence on social solidarity, ecological sustainability, and human development.
During 2008, articles are especially desired on incentives for solidarity and sustainability and religious dimension of sustainable development. How can people be motivated to collaborate in the transition from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and human development? What is the proper role of religious institutions?
Accepted papers will be published when time and space allows. Email your submission to SSNV.