The Common Good

God's Politics Blog

Court blocks Oklahoma's Islamophobia

Earlier this week, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to halt anti-Sharia initiative from going into effect.

Sharia law, also known as Islamic law, comes from the Qur’an, the Hadith (sayings from the prophet Muhammad), and fatwas (rulings of Islamic scholars). While many people in the West view Sharia as unfair and archaic, many Muslims view it as something that sustains humanity (read more from BBC). In practice, it is therefore not uncommon for Islamic countries to be ruled partially by Sharia law.

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Sojourners Observes Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today people across the nation (and the blogosphere) are taking part in National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which encourages participants to get educated and get active in the fight to end the suffering of the estimated 27 million persons living in slavery today.

In his speech declaring January to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, President Obama intimated a serious commitment to the fight to end modern slavery. This year, Obama and Congress have the opportunity to make historic, bipartisan progress toward this worthy goal.

And it’s not just government that’s getting involved. Just last week, over 42,000 young Christians banded together at Passion 2012 to raise more than $3.1 million dollars to fund organizations fighting to bring prevention, freedom and restoration to those trapped in slavery.

Sojourners has long been committed to the fight to end this abhorrent evil, and the current issue of Sojourners Magazine seeks to engage the topic head-on. 

Inside, we invite you to explore our coverage and involvement in the fight against human trafficking over the past year!

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Soundtrack for the #Occupation Grows

It's always encouraging to see musicians using their unique platform to inspire social change.

When it comes to an indie supergroup such as  New Party Systems — compirsed of members from TV on the Radio, Notekillers, and Liturgy — disparate audiences are drawn together for common purpose: economic justice.

New Party Systems's song "We Are," which dropped on the web yesterday, draws attention back to what the Occupy Movement is: A place of rising consciousness, full of energy and passion to bring about change.

While it may seem that the Occupy Movement is losing its steam, this expression reminds us its the spirit is alive — and growing.

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They're Baaaa-aaack: OWS Protesters Return to Zucotti Park

 The Occupiers have returned to Zucotti Park!

The barricades that have kept them out since the park was cleared November 15 are gone and steady streams of protestors are returning to their adopted home.

It remains to be seen whether the camp will be allowed to return to its former glory, or whether the security guards who have been controlling entry to the plaza will keep the returning protestors on a tight leash. According to The Associated Press

One security guard told a group of protesters: "No sleeping bags allowed, either, OK, folks?"

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Afternoon News Bytes: Jan. 11, 2012

The Politics Of The White Working Class In The 2012 Election; Evangelicals Urge Young Latinos To Vote; Gallup: Jobs And The Economy A Much Bigger Concern Than Deficits; Romney: Evangelicals Know I'm Not Running For 'Pastor-In-Chief'; Guantanamo Bay: A Wound We Won't Let Heal; Undocumented Immigrant Who Helped Police Solve Murder Now Facing Deportation; Elections No Threat To Global Climate Deal: U.N.; Evangelicals’ Last-Ditch Effort to Unite in the GOP Race; Obama: We Don’t Have To ‘Make A Choice Between Having Clean Air And Clean Water And Growing This Economy’; Poverty In America Likely To Get Worse, Report Finds.

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Gary Bauer is Wrong about the Bible

In a recent column for USA Today, Gary Bauer (former GOP presidential candidate and President of a conservative political organization called American Values) makes a big biblical blunder. He addresses the issue of the role of faith in politics and uses Jim Wallis as an example of a Christian with whom he shares religious heritage but not political conviction.

Sojourners Editor Jim Wallis and I are both evangelical Christians. But we come to radically different conclusions about government's role in addressing poverty. Wallis thinks Republican tax cuts are unbiblical, and that more government spending and taxes are the main antidote. But nowhere in the Bible are we told that government should take one man's money by force of law and give it to another man. Jesus' admonition was a personal command to share, not a command for Caesar to "spread the wealth around."

First, Bauer mischaracterizes Wallis’ position. Sojourners and the entire Circle of Protection have called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction. This means that taxes should be on the table. But, the Circle acknowledges that there does need to be spending reductions and explicitly states that some of those reductions will need to come from entitlements.

Now, on to the biblical problem.

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1,000 Photos of the 99 Percent

When you hear the phrase “the 99 percent,” many different images and ideas come to mind. Much of the mainstream media has depicted the Occupy Movement in a negative light and its participants as "dirty hippies," radicals, stoners or losers.

That’s why Brooklyn photographer Vanessa Bahmani decided to let the 99 percent portray themselves.

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New Report: "The Wrong Approach: State Anti-Immigration Laws in 2011"

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization) released a report Tuesday on anti-immigration legislation passed or considered by states. The 41-page report focuses primarily on Arizona’s SB 1070, and similar laws, and the effects these had on issues other than immigration.

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The Top 10 Stories of January 11, 2012

Quote of the day.
"The wheels start moving. It starts picking up speed. It gets bumpy. You have nothing to hold on. But the hunger that you have to get to the United States just to be with your family, that's all that's in your head. I'm going to make it." - Luis Luna, 20, brought to the U.S. as a toddler, describing his attempt to return to the U.S. on the undercarriage of a boxcar after being deported.
(Los Angeles Times)

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Viral: "Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus"

Are you a Christian who spends a lot of time online? Then perhaps you've heard of Jeff Bethke. Bethke, aka bball1989, is a spoken word poet whose rhymes and videos are capturing the attention of thousands of Christians across the web.

His latest video is going viral among online Christian communities. Provocatively titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” the poem is a unique fusion of prophetic criticism, personal testimony, and a call to action.

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