The Huffington Post Press Items
I hear it over and over again both during my conversations on the road, and as I skim the headlines each day, that we are in a battle for the common good.
It could last several weeks, but family members of victims and survivors of gun violence are planning to hold a round-the-clock vigil on Capitol Hill until the Senate passes gun policy reform.
I was very moved by Arianna Huffington's recent piece called "God, Cellphones, Quarterly Earnings and the Search for the Common Good." It's wrapped around the release of Jim Wallis's book, On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good and challenges all of us to give some serious thought as to how we all might live more aware of "our greater common good."
Today, on the National Mall, I stood with fellow faith leaders, including clergy from Newtown, to remember lives lost at Sandy Hook elementary school and the 3,364 gun deaths that have happened since.
In front of 3,300 mock grave markers representing Americans who have died from gun violence since the Newtown tragedy, the Rev. Matt Crebbin will stand on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Thursday to pray for expanded federal gun control legislation.
Sojourners rightly shot back against this part of the campaign, and since then, they have started a photo album on Facebook of girls in various settings, with titles like "Bright Young Scholar," or "Bright Young Athlete." It's a start, but the very fact that we're still having such conversations a dozen-plus years into the 21st century shows just how far we still have to go.
A little over a year ago, during some of the most heated moments of the presidential election, the Rev. Jim Wallis went on a three-month sabbatical.
"Our life together can be better." That's the opening sentence of an important new book by Jim Wallis called On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good. Wallis, in addition to being CEO of the D.C.-based Christian ministry Sojourners, is one of our most compelling thinkers and writers -- not just on religion and spirituality but on American public life as well. He's also, I'm happy to say, a longtime and frequent contributor to HuffPost. And for those of you in the New York area, on Friday I'll be taking part in a conversation with him, moderated by our religion editor Paul Raushenbush, at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
A revealing thing happens when you remove yourself from the daily drum of politics and become a mere observer. I did just that last year, during some of the most divisive moments of the presidential election. Sitting back and watching the deluge of insults and accusations that feeds our political system, I witnessed the worst of us as a nation. And I came to the conclusion that it's time to reframe our priorities.
It's a constant story line involving powerful men in politics, sports, business, and even religion: they behave with utter disregard for the dignity and humanity of women, using and abusing them at will, and somehow believe that -- as men -- they are entitled to do so. These men seem to think that the ordinary rules of decent behavior do not apply to them. We have a never-ending avalanche of disgusting stories about men cheating on their spouses and the mothers of their children, abandoning old wives for new ones, practicing serial philandering as a way of life, sexually harassing and assaulting women, physically abusing them, and even committing rape.