The Common Good

Sojourners

Bishops Blast Coptic Christians Behind Anti-Muslim Film

Coptic Christian leaders in the United States distanced themselves from an anti-Muslim film that has sparked protests in more than 24 countries, and denounced the Copts who reportedly produced and promoted the film.

"We reject any allegation that the Coptic Orthodox community has contributed to the production of this film," the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of America said in statement on Friday.

"Indeed, the producers of this film have taken these unwise and offensive actions independently and should be held responsible for their own actions."  

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DRONE WATCH: Spies, Marines and Drones

U.S. sending spies, Marines and drones to Libya.
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DRONE WATCH: Shooting at Drones Leads to Airport Closing

Militia shooting at drones leads to airport closing.
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QUIRK: London Theater Employs Ninjas to Silence Cell Phones (No. Seriously.)

No matter how many times we see the little advert (as the English say) before the movie telling us to silence our phones, the temptation to go for our smartphones — to look up, for instance, the name of the other films that one actor (with the butt chin and beady eyes) was in before he became a superhero — is too much to resist.

Or maybe we just can't not text a friend to tell her how the ending of the Dark Knight legend picked up our expectations and pulled a Bane on them (i.e. broke their huge backs, shattering them entirely). 

Whatever the reason for putting down the bucket of popcorn and reaching for the squawk box, the fact remains: cell phones are a nuisance to everybody around us — in a cinema perhaps more than anywhere else.

Which is why a London movie theater recently started employing ninjas to combat rogue cell phone use during screenings.

Yes, ninjas.

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DRONE WATCH: Who Has Drones?

GAO studies drone proliferation.
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DRONE WATCH: Human Rights Violations

Jimmy Carter - killing people with drones a human rights violation.
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Climate Change, Poverty, Distractions, and Denial

Because the scientific evidence surrounding climate change is clear, and the implications for humankind are many, the response to these global challenges needs to be persistent, organized, and significant. As Jesus calls upon humankind to “love thy neighbor," and as the Old Testament prophets remind us to strive for justice, we recognize that within a deeply connected world “neighbor” implies all that God has created, and injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. 

So an implication of Jesus’ words and actions is to share and receive the Good News not only on Sunday mornings, but through daily acts of long-term advocacy that promotes sustainable livelihoods. With COP18 in Qatar on the horizon, the time has come when humanity can no longer afford to fight over our resources, and the moment is upon us to prod our elected officials toward legally binding legislation that values the gifts of creation that God has entrusted us to manage. 

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Members of Destroyed Joplin Mosque Face Uncertain Future

When the mosque in Joplin, Mo., on the outskirts of town burned to the ground on Aug. 6, the imam’s 4-year-old son knew what to do.

He wanted to build another.

After all, that’s what his family had done with their home after it was destroyed by the tornado that tore through the town a little more than a year earlier.

The imam's family has a new home, but the wait for a new mosque is going to take a while.

A little more than a month after the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque was destroyed by fire, the local Muslim community is moving forward with support from the interfaith community.

But progress is slow.

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What Are We Trading Away?

When the U.S. is negotiating a mammoth, powerful international trade agreement, what do negotiators do when faced with tradeoffs between commercial interests in the U.S. and other U.S. values—such as human rights, preserving the planet we all have to live on, and helping the poor?

That’s the question I asked Carol Guthrie, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs, last weekend at the Leesburg, Va., resort where the next big thing in trade negotiations—the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), basically NAFTA for the Pacific Rim—was taking shape in its 14th round of negotiations.

Many parts of civil society, from the Sierra Club to the Columban Fathers, argue the TPP would have profound negative effects on the environment, public health, human rights, internet freedom, and the global poor, among other things. A number of civil society groups showed last Sunday in Leesburg, where they could sign up for a chance to speak to negotiators—but not, unlike around 600 mostly-corporate insiders, to see the actual text being negotiated. (Members of Congress reportedly are allowed to see the text—but, unlike the insiders, not to download a copy, take notes, or bring an expert staffer with them).

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Links of Awesomeness: September 13, 2012

This week's links feature a filmmaking seagull, degrees of Kevin Baconness, 137 origami pigs, and the realization that the iPhone 4S is lighter, faster, and more durable than the iPhone 4S. Wait. What?

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