The Common Good


Sojomail - July 28, 2000

                    ****S O J O   M A I L****

             Promoting values at the crossroads where
             spirituality, politics, and culture meet

                    Brought to you by SojoNet
                 Publisher of Sojourners magazine

+++++++++++++++++++++++++ 28-July-2000 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
    *Mark Twain on human nature

S h a d o w  C o n v e n t i o n s
    *See you in Philly Aug. 2

H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
    *Shadow Conventions spotlight wealth gap

S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e s
    *Our modem, which art in heaven

F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
    *Billionaires for Bush or Gore: It's no choice

C u l t u r e   W a t c h
    *Can Dolly be saved? Religion grapples with bioethics

B o o m e r a n g
    *SojoMail readers hit reply

P. O. V.
    *Out of Africa: a low-cost anti-AIDS tool

H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
    *Mennonite Central Committee joins Call to Renewal

R o a d  S h o w s
    *David Batstone in Southern France


Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k

There is a great deal of human nature in people.

                      - Mark Twain


S h a d o w  C o n v e n t i o n s

Wednesday, August 2. Join us in Philadelphia as
Call to Renewal and others look at "poverty and
the wealth gap." See Hearts & Minds, below, or visit



We are now testing a beta version of our new
SojoNet Web platform. We are not yet inviting
general visitors, but wish to open the doors
to our SojoMail readers.

Go to:

We would love any and all feedback. Let us
know what you think of the look and feel, its
usability, and suggestions for changes or
amendments (and any errors you find). Send
your comments to:


H e a r t s  &  M i n d s

Shadow Conventions: Where the Real Action is
By Jim Wallis

As the Republican Convention begins this
weekend in Philadelphia, presenting the
country with what is known in the public
relations trade as "event marketing," the
Shadow Convention will also get underway,
putting the spotlight on three critical
unaddressed issues. Monday, July 31, will
focus on the need for campaign finance
reform, and Tuesday, August 1, will address
the failed drug war.

Our "Poverty and the Wealth Gap" day is
Wednesday, August 2. From 10 am to 2:15 pm,
we will carry on a real dialogue on the
problem, the solutions, and the national
agenda. Participants in this dialogue include
former government officials (such as former
Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, former
Department of HHS official Peter Edelman);
authors (Jonathan Kozol, Geoff Canada);
grassroots community activists (Skip Long,
Eugene Rivers, Diana Jones Wilson, Melissa
Marquez, Tyletha Samuels); church leaders
(Ron Sider, Tony Campolo); academics
(Dean Trulear); and others.

I will be convening the program, along with
Deepak Bhargava of the National Campaign for
Jobs and Income Support and Chuck Collins of
United for a Fair Economy. Following this
program, there will be four breakout sessions
on "Tapping the Power of Faith Based
Organizations," hosted by Call to Renewal;
"The Growing Economic Divide," and "The
Global Economy for Beginners," hosted by
United for a Fair Economy; and a workshop
on the National Campaign for Jobs and Income

If you live in the Philadelphia area, please
attend. A good turnout for the Shadow
Convention will help send a message to the
media who will be there. The Shadow Convention
is taking place in The Annenberg Center, 3680
Walnut Street. The event is free, but for
space reasons, we are asking participants to
pre-register. You can easily do this on the
Shadow Conventions Web site at You can also
just show up, but registering guarantees you a
seat. The shadow Web site also contains
information on the issues, the schedule of
events, and a discussion forum, and it will
be Webcasting video highlights.

If you are unable to attend, CNN is planning to
broadcast major parts of the program, and
possibly C-SPAN as well. Utne Reader has
launched a Shadow Conventions online discussion
forum. This forum offers the ideal way for people
who can't attend the conventions to engage in
dialogue on the issues. Hosted by Café Utne, the
online conference lets you interact directly with
the featured speakers and conveners. Registration
is easy, just go to

Join us in person if you can. Participate online
if you can't. Together, we can challenge the two
party conventions to genuinely engage on critical
but forgotten issues. The Shadow Conventions are
engaged in the politics of ideas, and we can become
a focal point of political dialogue in America over
the next three weeks.


Jim Wallis' newest book, Faith Works, is available
at your favorite online or local bookstore, including
the Sojourners Resource Center, 1-800-714-7474,

Here's what Marilyn Gardner of The Christian Science
Monitor has to say about Faith Works:

"With an idealism rooted in practicality, Wallis'
book, like his life, serve as an eloquent reminder
of the importance of reaching out."


S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e s
Our modem, which art in heaven

St. Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636) is the proposed
patron saint of the Internet, chosen because of his
attempt to compile an exhaustive encyclopedia (or
shall we say "database") of universal knowledge.

Almighty and Eternal God,
who has created us in Thy image and
bade us to seek all that is good, true,
and beautiful, especially in the divine
person of Thy only begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, we beseech Thee
that, through the intercession of
St. Isidore, bishop and doctor,
during our journeys through the
Internet we will direct our hands and
eyes only to that which is pleasing
to Thee, and treat with charity and
patience all those souls whom we
encounter. Through Christ, our Lord.

This "Prayer Before Logging Onto the Internet and
Before Using the Catholic Online Forum," as well as
other information about Isidore, can be found at:


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Billionaires for Bush or Gore
Campaign Speech

Given by Phil T. Rich at a New York church
service over the July 4 weekend.

Minister. Accompanist. Congregation. Good morning all.
I am Phil T. Rich. Yes, I am. And I am a billionaire
on a mission. And that mission is to elect George W.
Bush OR Al Gore....They understand our concerns.

Look at their records:

Which one of their fathers was a powerful Washington
insider? (audience is confused, someone says "Bush!"
another answers "Gore!"...speaker points at both and
answers "Right!")

Who opposes raising the minimum wage to match the
cost of living...? (audience answers "Both!"...speaker
answers "Right!")

Who supports corporate-managed trade: NAFTA, WTO, & IMF?
(audience answers "Both!"...speaker answers "Right!")

Who favored repeal of federal guarantee of assistance
to poor children? (audience answers "Both!"...speaker
answers "Right!")

Which one got rich in a business subsidized by taxpayers?
(audience answers "Both!"...speaker answers "Right! Bush in
oil & gas and baseball stadiums; Gore in agribusiness.")

Who supports the Federal Reserve policy of keeping
wages low to prop up stock prices... (audience answers
"Both!"...speaker answers "Right!")

Who will continue taxpayer subsidies of generous
CEO salaries? (audience answers "Both!"...speaker
answers "Right!")

Who will continue to tax earnings from stock market
at lower rate than income from actual work?
(audience answers "Both!"...speaker answers "Right!")

Who supports repeal of Depression-era banking
regulations designed to protect small depositors?
(audience answers "Both!"...speaker answers "Right!")

Which one is in the richest 5 percent of population?
(audience answers "Both!"...speaker answers "Right!")

Which one is a Republican? (audience answers "Both!"...
speaker answers "WRONG! Which one?"...audience answers "Bush!")

Which one is a Democrat...? (audience answers "Gore!"...
"Well, we can overlook such small differences.
Granted, Gore might be a Democrat, but he's still a

So what are you going to do? Vote!
And who are you going to vote for?
Bush OR Gore!

And why are you going to vote for Bush OR Gore?
Because inequality is not growing fast enough.

See the whole stirring sermon, with added satire, at



Tell your friends how much you enjoy getting
SojoMail each week...completely FREE.

All they have to do is write us:

Or subscribe online at:


C u l t u r e   W a t c h
Religion Grappling With Tech

by Jordan Lite

Before there was a cloned sheep named Dolly
and a human genome map, 200 theologians signed
a petition urging a moratorium on the patenting
of human life forms.

The petition immediately caused a sensation,
its contents reported in the United States'
leading newspapers. Annoyed biotech industry
leaders declared that these clergy, whose
scientific knowledge they believed extended no
further than that of the average high school
student, seriously misunderstood the goals and
nature of their business.

"We wish they would have come to us first before
this showed up on the front page of The New York
Times," sighed Dan Eramian, a vice president
at the industry group BIO who eventually tracked
down most of the protesters and flew around the
country to meet with them, hoping to allay
their fears.

Five years later, scientists have only raised
the bar higher for religious thinkers like the
300 gathered [in DEERFIELD, Illinois] for a
weekend conference on bioethics in the new

To find out what happened at the Bioethics in
the New Millennium conference, go to:,1282,37483,00.html?tw=wn20000721

See also:
"Where's God in the machine?"
Human Genome Project Director Francis Collins says
he's in awe of what that effort promises for humanity.
But other endeavors would make him squirm.,1282,37692,00.html?tw=wn20000724


B o o m e r a n g
SojoMail readers hit reply

Linda Regensburger of Westminister, Colorado:

Schopenhauer indeed.

Reminds me of the old joke about Descartes
sitting in the coffee bar. The barista asks
him "Sir, would you like more espresso?"
Descartes said "I think not" and disappeared.


Phil Leonard of Atlanta, Georgia:

Just subscribed last week and am enjoying
SojoMail very much.

Can you publish a link to the detailed roll
call vote on debt relief that passed recently
in the House of Representatives. I'll bet many
Sojo readers would like to communicate with
their Representatives who voted "NO" on this
(and also thank the ones who voted "YES")!


Ed. Note: To find out how your member of
Congress voted you can go to the Web site
for the U.S. House of Reps:
click on Roll Call votes, then click on 106th
Congress, second session (2000), then click
on vote # 397, July 13, Waters amendment.
The Yes and No votes follow, with members
listed by party. Or just click here:

Also, you can read the extraordinary, three-hour
debate between supporters and opponents of debt
relief on the floor of the U.S. House -- via the
Congressional Record online. See the July 12
debate on the Pelosi amendment (for full
financing for debt relief on an emergency basis) at:

Then go to page H5904 within the item FOREIGN
Representatives - July 12, 2000). Read
succeeding pages by clicking on This Document


Peter Price, Bishop of Kingston, England:

I was interested to see Clare Short's remark re:
the churches. I stood beside her at the big G7
Jubilee 2000 gathering in Birmingham. She made
a good speech and commended the churches. It
clearly cost her a lot to give the speech, and
I encouraged her both before and after it. Her
heart is in the right place, but the pressure
of politics seems to turn hearts of flesh into
stone all too easily. There is still too much
rhetoric and too little action. Perhaps a day
of intercession now for Jubilee is the task. As
Walter Wink reminds us, "We Christians are not
easily reduced to prayer!"


Bill Shakalis of Cambridge, Mass.:

In this election year, I, as a Sojo subscriber,
hope that you will give coverage online and in
your journal about the Socialist 2000 campaign
for president: David McReynolds for Pres., Mary
Cal Hollis for Vice Pres. Both are activists in
the Socialist Party USA and are a national campaign.

You can see their Web site at:


Paul Tifford from

New SojoNet on Web looks great!

We have 3,000 members for whom we send out
letters to the President, Congress, Heads
of State, CEOs etc. We have sent out almost 6
million letters in the past two years! Look us
up at:

Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang
e-mails to the editor: ""



Help SojoNet build a network.


P. O. V.
Why a low-cost anti-AIDS tool
remains out of Africa's reach

by Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Since the start of the [AIDS] epidemic, an
estimated 34 million Africans have been
infected with HIV/AIDS - a number nearly
equivalent to the size of our own country's
African-American population. Some 11.5
million of these people have died, a quarter
of them children.

There are medicines that could prolong the
lives of Africans, but they are available only
to a small minority - these pharmaceuticals
are reserved for the rich and the developed
world. "Triple therapy," the combination of
antiretroviral drugs that has cut AIDS
mortality by 60 percent in the West, is
virtually unaffordable in Africa....

There is, however, a low-cost measure that
would assist the poor. This measure is a
place where the faith community could provide
an immeasurable assistance and advocacy for the
impoverished and voiceless.

The U.S. government spends billions of dollars
each year to fund health care research. This
taxpayer-funded research has created thousands
of patents and other types of intellectual
property on health-care inventions. Under U.S.
law, our government could give poor countries -
or international organizations such as the World
Health Organization - the right to use patents
funded by the taxpayers to produce low-cost drugs
for use in countries facing health-care emergencies.

Last year, public health groups asked the Clinton
administration to enter into such an agreement
with WHO or UNAIDS and to modify all NIH grant
and contract agreements to reserve rights in
patents for use in developing countries. The
administration refused on the grounds that this
would undercut the profits of the drug companies that
commercialize these inventions.

To read the entire article on the scandal of AIDS
drugs as it appeared in the July/August issue of
Sojourners magazine, go to:



The Utne Reader recently listed Sojourners as
the 20th most-cited magazine in its 16-year

Why does the Utne Reader love Sojourners? Sign
up for a FREE ISSUE and find out for yourself.

Go now to:


H e a r i n g  t h e  C a l l
Mennonite Central Committee joins the Call
to Renewal as a National Partner

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is a relief,
service, community development, and peace agency of
the North American Mennonite and Brethren in
Christ churches. MCC's more than 1,400 workers are
located in 58 countries around the world. Its
Washington Office provides prophetic witness on
matters of U.S. public policy.

Read more about MCC's extensive network of
development and peace activities, from restorative
justice to racism awareness to hunger relief,
and find out how you can participate at:


Add your name to the thousands across the
country who want to make poverty and its
solution a NATIONAL PRIORITY. Sign the Covenant
to Overcome Poverty at:

Already signed the Covenant?  Want to do more?
Help us out by sending the Covenant to 10 of
your friends so they can join you, and us, in
putting poverty on the national agenda!


O n   t h e   W i r e
SojoNet in the national media

"Interview with Jim Wallis," Philadelphia
Inquirer, July 23, 2000

Wallis: "I think American politics turns into
false choices time and time again. We are
often told we have to make a choice between
good jobs or good values - between rebuilding
neighborhoods or rebuilding families,
between fighting cultural corrosion and
violence on television or battling racism.
Why are these the choices that we have to

What is happening on the faith-based side
is a new kind of politics that really defies
the old false choices. It is pro-family,
pro-jobs, in support of a living family income.
It is battling racism and being concerned
about cultural corrosion and the television
that our kids are getting, which hurts poor
kids a lot worse."

See the entire interview at:

B o o k s  o f  t h e  Y e a r

Read any good books lately? What do you think is the
best new book on "faith, politics, and/or culture"?
Nominations are open for Sojourners Books of the Year
for titles published in 2000. Send your pick - and
the reasons you think it's one of the best - to


R o a d  S h o w s
We're sojourning...

Friday, July 28
St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France

David Batstone speaks at the NetCatalyst
global meeting. Title: "New platforms
for education and networking." For more info,


.................... E D I T O R I A L ......................

David Batstone                               T 415.422.6660
Executive Editor                         

Jim Rice                                     T 202.328.8842
Managing Editor              

.................. A D V E R T I S I N G ....................
Larry Bellinger                              T 202.328.8842
Advertising Manager                     

.................... T E C H N I C A L ......................

Bob Sabath                                    T 202.328.8842
Chief Technologist                 

Ryan Beiler                                   T 202.328.8842
Internet Assistant                          

...................... S 0 J O N E T ........................

The Sojourners Network                       T 202.328.8842
2401 15th Street NW                          F 202.328.8757
Washington, DC 20009          

For more information, e-mail us:

.............. L E G A L   N O T I C E S ....................

Copyright (c) 2000 The Sojourners Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SojoNet material may be freely distributed, as long as it bears
the following attribution:
        Source: 2000 SojoNet

................. A R C H I V E S .................................

        View a sortable history of SojoNet letters

............. S U B S C R I P T I O N S .............................

   SojoNet is published weekly. Subscriptions are free.

                   SUBSCRIBE online at:
             or by e-mail:

                  UNSUBSCRIBE online at:
            or by e-mail:

          ---- SOJONET IS A SPAM-FREE ZONE ----
(SojoNet won't trade, sell, or give away your address.)