>Order today! QUOTE OF THE WEEK ^top "The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr. You've got to enjoy it." - I.F. Stone, now-deceased muckraker who exposed corruption at the highest levels of government during his lifetime. Source: Daily Dig BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED ^top Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays by David Batstone advertisementLast Sunday Christian evangelist Jimmy Swaggart shared a shocking confession to his congregation during a worship service that is broadcast to a global audience. In the middle of his sermon, Swaggart proclaimed that he would "kill" a man that looked at him with romantic intent. Swaggart's sermon is so outrageous that I want to give you his exact words: "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry." (shouts, applause) "And I'm gonna be blunt and plain, if one ever looks at me like that I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." (laughter, applause) "In case anybody doesn't know God calls it an abomination. It's an abomination! It's an abomination!" (applause) ..."I'm not knocking the poor homosexual. I'm not. They need salvation just like anybody else.... I'm knocking our pitiful, pathetic lawmakers. And I thank God that President Bush has stated we need a constitutional amendment that states that marriage is between a man and a woman." (applause) No matter how reassuring it is that Swaggart subsequently admits that gays - "like anyone else" - are worthy of divine redemption, the overall tenor of his sermon drives home the message that violence against gays is justified. It's a very simple, but thoroughly un-Christian logic: Your life is not worth much if God deems you an abomination. In the same sermon, Swaggart praises Bush for his support for an amendment banning gay marriage - further cementing the perception that Christians can only vote Republican come November. (For some reason, Swaggart doesn't mention that John Kerry also opposes gay marriage, but Kerry simply doesn't think a constitutional amendment is wise or necessary). How has it become so possible today for Christian leaders to twist Jesus' teaching about loving all of God's children? The pattern is transparent in many sectors of the church. Too many Christians have turned Jesus into a warmaker, not a peacemaker, and justify their position by the same logic. Our enemies in the Middle East are an "abomination." On a more personal note, I recently received a note from a SojoMail reader full of profanity and insults. My attacker closed his note wondering how I could call myself a Christian, taking the position I do of waging peace in the Middle East at the expense of partisan support for "freedom fighters" in Iraq and uncritical support for the state of Israel. I usually do not take the time to respond to such letters (believe it or not, I get a few hate letters...:-), but this time I did write back a short note asking how he, in turn, could call himself a Christian and use such profane, violent words toward another human being. His e-mail back to me was revealing, albeit shocking: "I can write to you as I like, for you are not a human being. You have forfeited that right; you are nothing but pond scum." That's the theological loophole for what passes as Christian morality these days. Simply demonstrate why the other person, or race of people, has forfeited their status as a human being, and you can do with them what you will. By the way, that is the same theological loophole used by the church in Latin America to justify the massacre of millions of native Americans during the Conquest; they were not deemed human beings. Back to Jimmy Swaggart, it brings me to tears that a preacher can evoke a Christian congregation to applause and laughter with such a message. I am even more appalled that millions of people around the globe over television hear this "word of the Christian gospel." Swaggart has since offered the kind of remorseless non-apology common to public figures these days: "I was unwise in making the statement. All of us have made statements we wish we hadn't made. That was one for me." What's missing is any indication that he believes that there was anything actually wrong with his original remark, which he claims was "a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid." Well, I for one am not going to let this pass unnoticed. I invite you to join me in holding this Christian leader accountable. Let's flood his e-mail with letters that witness to the truth - not hate letters - that God does not forfeit any individual from the human flock. All individuals are God's children and should be treated with the same dignity and love that God shows to each of us. Sojourners will be running our "God is Not a Republican...or a Democrat" ad in this Sunday's Baton-Rouge Advocate, Swaggart's hometown paper. Send a message to Rev. Swaggart reminding him that, "What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart" (Matthew 15:18), and encourage him to read his Sunday paper! + Click here to send a letter to Jimmy Swaggart + Download the video and see for yourself. [Requires Windows Media Player] + Read more commentary by David Batstone God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat. If you have not already done so, please give a gift to the Sojourners Petition Fund. This donor-supported fund enables us to match contributions raised by local groups - dollar for dollar while funds last - to place the petition in local newspapers across America! >>Please give a gift of $10, $25, $50, $100, or more today! ON THE GROUND ^top Many make the burden lighter by Jennifer Coulter Stapleton advertisementTraveling as an election-year field organizer working on Sojourners' Seminar Project, "Lift Every Voice in Election 2004," is an amazing, trying, and awe-inspiring undertaking. It has given me the opportunity to work with many Christians across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all with incredible stories to share. I spent time with an Episcopal priest in Columbus struggling to lead her mostly Appalachian congregation in a very poor neighborhood. She told me about the social justice and community service programs they run that are making the gospel real to those in the surrounding community. My group of hosts also included a United Methodist minister in Toledo whose congregation has been working to bring about social justice in various forms for more than 100 years. I was able to worship with them on "Homecoming Sunday" and hear a 58-year church member share some history of their work, including the peace activities they undertook during World War I. In Philadelphia, I met a young woman who has recently provided support to refugees in Germany. In North Canton I talked with a Catholic graduate student serving as campus minister. He is fighting the uphill battle of trying to get his students to embrace all aspects of a consistent ethic of life, and not simply focus on abortion as the only Christian issue at stake in the upcoming election. This journey has provided me too many stories to share here and so many examples of Christians following God's call to work for justice and peace. In an age where the name "Christian" has largely been co-opted by those who hold a narrow set of political and theological beliefs, these "saints" of my journey are truly taking back our faith and reclaiming our name. + Read the full article The Sojourners election seminar series continues! If you live in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, Sojourners is coming to a town near you! Learn how to effectively express your passion for peace and justice between now and November 2. >>See the seminar schedule If you don't see a seminar close to your home listed, you can help organize one. We're adding seminars on a daily basis, so e-mail us at seminars@sojo.net or call (800) 714-7474 x259. Seminars will be held in September and October, so time is of the essence. ADVERTISEMENT Back to School Book Sale - Free Shipping! Peace Quest More than 100 meaningful, interactive, peacemaking lessons. Perfect for teachers, social workers, anyone who works with children and their families. Order now, limited time offer: http://www.celebratingpeace.com MEDIA WATCH ^top Sojourners in the news Sojourners continues to garner major media coverage of our petition campaign and the role of religion in this election season (including in some unlikely places): Bush leaves the specifics of his faith to speculation + Washington Post Christian conservatives a key bloc for Bush + Reuters Smaller groups airing political ads + Associated Press (via The Guardian) Faith groups turn out the vote for both candidates + Religion News Service (via Christianity Today) Religious political advocates refute partisanship charge + National Catholic Reporter Group decries mixing religion and politics + Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via The Miami Herald) A place for politics in the pulpit + Forward Activist's battle cry: 'God is not a Republican' + Rocky Mountain News 'God is not a Republican' + Focus on the Family ADVERTISEMENT Meet 3,500 progressive Catholics at Call to Action's National Conference Sex, Science, and the Sacred: Embracing Divine Mystery November 5-7, 2004, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Learn about the alternative! Receive a discount if you mention this ad. http://www.cta-usa.org/conference BUILDING A MOVEMENT ^top One thousand Christians Lift Every Voice! brought together 1,000 Christians online to write, in two days, a consensus declaration to change the direction of American political life. "A Declaration on Christianity and the Future of America" was written by renowned theologians Ada-Maria Isasi Diaz, Jung Ha Kim, Elaine Pagels, Rita Nakashima Brock, and hundreds of other church leaders, clergy, and activists. Using a privately released new Internet system, called Synanim, 1,000 people joined together online to produce this unique statement from American Christians. + Read the finished document ADVERTISEMENT Clergy Leadership Institute Appreciative Inquiry Based Training Plan now for a winter cruise and professional development Jan. 22-29, 2005. Our Appreciative Inquiry Cruise is designed for those in ministry to escape the winter cold and share in 20 hours of professional development all in the relaxed atmosphere of a Caribbean cruise. Families and friends are welcome. Appreciative Inquiry is a development process of discovering and building on the strengths of a church rather than endlessly focusing on solving problems. For registration and information about all our training programs and locations, please visit us on the Web at: http://www.clergyleadership.com or phone (503) 647-2382. HEALTH TALK ^top Buying the pharma Last year's Medicare drug benefit bill was a pork-filled giveaway for pharmaceutical companies and for insurers unable to compete with Medicare on a level playing field. (Not so coincidentally, seniors were recently hit with the largest Medicare premium increase ever). Now, investigators have found that, before the drug bill passed, then-Medicare head Tom Scully - who already had one foot in the revolving door to become a big-bucks health care lobbyist - threatened to fire Medicare's chief actuary if he told Congress how much the bill would really cost. + Learn more ADVERTISEMENT H. Freeman Associates: Fundraising Consultants Areas of Expertise *Capital Campaign Planning and Implementation *Development Program Audits and Evaluation *Charitable Gift (Deferred Gift) Planning *Major Gift Identification, Cultivation, and Solicitation Clients range from schools, colleges, and international relief agencies to retirement communities, faith-based organizations, and institutions (large and small) responding to the needs of the poor, children, youth, and families. Recent clients include Sojourners (a client since 1993), Upper Room Ministries, SERRV International, Pendle Hill, and the American Friends Service Committee. Contact us at: (765) 939-6910 or visit us on the Web at http://Hfreemanassociates.com POLITICALLY CONNECT ^top (Dis)ownership society advertisementRedlining - in which banks refuse to make home and other loans to folks in poor neighborhoods, no matter how credit-worthy the applicant is - might just make a comeback if the FDIC gets its way. A quietly introduced proposal would exempt most banks from the Community Reinvestment Act, which The New York Times calls "the most successful community revitalization program in the nation's history." "The Community Reinvestment Act has expanded the American dream to millions of hardworking rural people, and it hasn't cost taxpayers one dime," said Dee Davis, president of the Rural Strategies advocacy group. "It's regulation that works, but now just a few weeks before the election, these folks at the FDIC seem to have made a deal to kill it." + Find out more, and tell the FDIC how you feel ADVERTISEMENT Having a Nonprofit Web Site Just Got Easier....and it's FREE! Try CharityAdvantage FREE for the next three months and you'll receive: *Professional Web site design *Unlimited pages *Unlimited updates *Webmaster technical support *Hosting CLICK HERE to get your FREE Web site now! Finally there's an easy and effective way for churches and faith-based organizations to create an Internet presence. CharityAdvantage has just added a special series of designs for Christian-based Web sites. Get a FREE Web site and see your church or organization expand its vision and its mission. Get your Web site FREE and connect your church or organization to the world! SOUL WORKS ^top Appalachian gothic (2) by Ron Houchin They were what a family looked like on the bench seat of their sand-coloured pickup. He drove, looking only ahead, under a heavy cotton hardhat liner. She on the passenger's side folded her gold-orange scarf into a kerchief and knotted it under her chin. Between them sat a gray lump of hooded parka. A tool carrier on either side of the truck's bed framed them, and the Shriners' children's hospital bumper sticker was their afterthought. They all belonged together there making a left turn into Wal-Mart. They belonged like soft coal sleeping out of easy reach of trees and machines. They belonged like beige wallpaper and lace tablecloths in a damp house, like mildew on stucco walls or squinting eyes and thick lenses. When they turned into the Salvation Army Christmas tree lot, instead of the discount store, I knew I'd never belonged anywhere. + Learn more about Ron Houchin and his poetry Source: Salmon Poetry ADVERTISEMENT THE DIALECTICAL DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE: A Methodological Proposal by Charles Dickinson If Christianity - without losing its soul - is yet to avoid losing touch with the world, it must constantly update itself by dialogue with all the intellectual currents of today. To this end, the author proposes a necessary two-way dialectic between theology and the world, an ongoing dialectic ultimately essential to both church and world. $25 hardcover. To order call (313) 624-9784. Dove Booksellers, 13904 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan, 48126. http://www.dovebook.com WEB SITINGS ^top Messages of peace Tuesday, Sept. 21, was the International Day of Prayer for Peace, part of the World Council of Church's Decade to Overcome Violence. Their Web site has a series of world Christian leaders and peacemakers - including Desmond Tutu, Hanan Ashrawi, and Hildegard Goss Mayr - offering video messages about the power and promise of peace. + Give peace a chance Mega-Lego church Fans of Web Siting favorite Brick Testament may also enjoy the Abston Church of Christ, by Amy Hughes. It's a massive and ornate Lego masterpiece complete with congregation, pastor, and a dedication sermon. + If you build it, they will come The other "CultureWatch" Not to be confused with Sojourners magazine's review section by the same name, Damaris' CultureWatch site features articles and study guides with a Christian slant, but it's intended for "people of all faiths and people of no faith at all who want to explore the message behind the media." + Watch what you watch ADVERTISEMENT From Beliefnet.com comes Soulmatch, a unique values-based dating service that will match you based on what matters to you. Beliefnet's mission is to help people meet their spiritual needs - and perhaps no need is greater than the need for companionship, connection, and love. That's why, for both the spiritual dabbler and the devout, we have created Soulmatch - so join the community and create your Free profile today! + Click here to learn more BOOMERANG ^top Readers write Pieter and Megan Verhoeven write from Geelong, Victoria, Australia: We really appreciate receiving SojoMail. We have been uncomfortable reading and listening to the Religious Right in the U.S. via the media and other means and were beginning to think that being a Christian was being a Republican! Although some Christians in Australia have similar thinking it doesn't come across as so pervasive as many are also of the opposite ilk. It is so wonderful to read articles from Christians who think and respond to God's kingdom purposes. I appreciated Lincoln's thoughts in Jim Wallis' speech ["Communicating religiously," SojoMail 9/15/2004]: "Our task should not be to invoke religion and the name of God by claiming God's blessing and endorsement for all our national policies and practices - saying, in effect, that God is on our side. Rather, we should worry earnestly whether we are on God's side." It's great to know of Christians in the U.S. who take a different view, those who are trying to be on God's side. ---------- Leslie Diane Kaye writes from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Rich Avery says "the reason 1,000 soldiers are dead is because more than 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001" [Boomerang 9/15/2004]. This is simply not true. If America were going after persons involved in the attack on the World Trade Centre, Bush would have invaded Saudi Arabia with a side trip to Yemen. It is tiresome, after all the reporting on this, to hear this worn-out and false refrain still being uttered. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and the sly implications of a connection by the Bush league were purposely and simply misleading. Al Qaeda had little or nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's secular state, although in the chaotic power vacuum created by the invasion, there are signs that they have now moved in. Those 1,000 soldiers and God knows how many Iraqis have died for a lie. It must hurt terribly to recognize how sleazily Americans have been manipulated, but if you don't wake up soon, it's just going to get worse. ---------- Stephen Hale writes from Norwalk, California: I am not electing a president to govern our country through the last four years; I am voting for a president for the next four years. Too often a candidate's platform rests solely on complaining about the incumbent's past decisions. John Kerry speaks of nothing else: his entire platform seems to be, "I'm not George W. Bush. Whatever he did, I'm against." Instead of discussing whether or not the United States should have invaded Iraq, we should be discussing what to do now that we are there. I believe that, as Christians, we should be concerned with the reconstruction of Iraq. Certainly we have a responsibility to take part in the democratic process of our republic, but we should, as always, observe the example of the Messiah. When confronted with issues of governance, he accepts the current situation. He does not complain about the job the Romans were doing, rather, he tries to teach his followers to focus on what was important: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." We should have the same attitude and be concerned with the things of God in this case: life and safety for the 25 million people in Iraq. When you visit the polls Nov. 2, keep them in mind. ---------- Brian Conery writes from Richmond, California: I understand people's concerns for Kerry and the question, "Will he be much different?" When people go down this path I always want them to pull back and look at the big picture. We are not voting for one person, we are voting for a whole cabinet and countless advisors that make up an administration. By stopping Bush we would be stopping Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and his entire cabinet, which has been busy dismantling environmental laws, wreaking havoc economically and in other areas including civil rights. Yes, there are similarities between some members of the two parties and there are many other problems with the way we fund and elect our politicians. This is such a critical time and the stakes are very, very high and the current cadre needs to be put in check and replaced - not a complete solution to everything but I hate to think what things will be like with four more years of President Bush and his group. ---------- Becky Bodnarchuk writes from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: God is so above politics! The petition is thoughtful as well as thought-provoking ["God is not a Republican...or a Democrat." http://www.takebackourfaith.org ]. Thanks for preparing it. I believe Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson need to think before they speak. I hadn't heard their most recent foot-in-mouth quotes. Before I read the petition, I knew I'd vote for Mr. Bush again. I'd do a write-in vote for Daffy Duck before I vote for Mr. Kerry. I hate Mr. Bush's treatment of the environment, and some of his cabinet and "higher-ups" need to be fired for allowing the devilry with those prisoners in our care in Iraq. I was outraged that he didn't welcome the other countries who wanted to join in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. I wrote to say so on some issues, too, but prayed "the Lord forgive him" on most. Your last section of the petition affirmed my vote, though, for the sanctity of human life. I pray your petition provokes us all to pray God show us His good way. Thanks for letting this voice be heard. ---------- Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views that do not necessarily represent those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Include your name, hometown, and state/province/country in a concise e-mail to: boomerang@sojo.net. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Election Year Gear 2004 provides you with the tools you need to discuss important election issues from a faith perspective. Perfect for church organizing and small group discussions. >>Get yours today! GIVE TO SOJOURNERS Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace. CONTACT US Letters to the editor: boomerang@sojo.netGeneral inquiries: sojourners@sojo.netAdvertising: advertising@sojo.net PRIVACY NOTICE Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy. OPTIONS Subscribe | Browse Archives | Search Archives | About Us "/>
The Common Good

Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays

Sojomail - September 22, 2004


09.22.2004 www.sojo.net
Quote of the Week I.F. Stone on the joy of losing
Batteries Not Included David Batstone: Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays
On the Ground Many make the burden lighter
Media Watch Sojourners in the news
Building a Movement 1,000 Christians
Health Talk Buying the pharma
Politically Connect (Dis)ownership society
Soul Works Poetry: Appalachian gothic (2)
Web Sitings Messages of peace | Mega-Lego church | The other "CultureWatch"
Boomerang Readers write
Get a free trial issue of Sojourners
Get a free issue of Sojourners


"God is Not a Republican...or a Democrat" bumper stickers are available now for only $2 (discounts apply for volume orders). >>Order today!


QUOTE OF THE WEEK ^top

"The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight 100 years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing - for the sheer fun and joy of it - to go right ahead and fight, knowing you're going to lose. You mustn't feel like a martyr. You've got to enjoy it."

- I.F. Stone, now-deceased muckraker who exposed corruption at the highest levels of government during his lifetime.

Source: Daily Dig



BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED ^top

Jimmy Swaggart tells congregation he'd kill gays
by David Batstone

advertisement
Last Sunday Christian evangelist Jimmy Swaggart shared a shocking confession to his congregation during a worship service that is broadcast to a global audience. In the middle of his sermon, Swaggart proclaimed that he would "kill" a man that looked at him with romantic intent.

Swaggart's sermon is so outrageous that I want to give you his exact words:

"I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

(shouts, applause)

"And I'm gonna be blunt and plain, if one ever looks at me like that I'm going to kill him and tell God he died."

(laughter, applause)

"In case anybody doesn't know God calls it an abomination. It's an abomination! It's an abomination!"

(applause)

..."I'm not knocking the poor homosexual. I'm not. They need salvation just like anybody else.... I'm knocking our pitiful, pathetic lawmakers. And I thank God that President Bush has stated we need a constitutional amendment that states that marriage is between a man and a woman."

(applause)

No matter how reassuring it is that Swaggart subsequently admits that gays - "like anyone else" - are worthy of divine redemption, the overall tenor of his sermon drives home the message that violence against gays is justified. It's a very simple, but thoroughly un-Christian logic: Your life is not worth much if God deems you an abomination. In the same sermon, Swaggart praises Bush for his support for an amendment banning gay marriage - further cementing the perception that Christians can only vote Republican come November. (For some reason, Swaggart doesn't mention that John Kerry also opposes gay marriage, but Kerry simply doesn't think a constitutional amendment is wise or necessary).

How has it become so possible today for Christian leaders to twist Jesus' teaching about loving all of God's children? The pattern is transparent in many sectors of the church. Too many Christians have turned Jesus into a warmaker, not a peacemaker, and justify their position by the same logic. Our enemies in the Middle East are an "abomination."

On a more personal note, I recently received a note from a SojoMail reader full of profanity and insults. My attacker closed his note wondering how I could call myself a Christian, taking the position I do of waging peace in the Middle East at the expense of partisan support for "freedom fighters" in Iraq and uncritical support for the state of Israel. I usually do not take the time to respond to such letters (believe it or not, I get a few hate letters...:-), but this time I did write back a short note asking how he, in turn, could call himself a Christian and use such profane, violent words toward another human being. His e-mail back to me was revealing, albeit shocking: "I can write to you as I like, for you are not a human being. You have forfeited that right; you are nothing but pond scum."

That's the theological loophole for what passes as Christian morality these days. Simply demonstrate why the other person, or race of people, has forfeited their status as a human being, and you can do with them what you will. By the way, that is the same theological loophole used by the church in Latin America to justify the massacre of millions of native Americans during the Conquest; they were not deemed human beings.

Back to Jimmy Swaggart, it brings me to tears that a preacher can evoke a Christian congregation to applause and laughter with such a message. I am even more appalled that millions of people around the globe over television hear this "word of the Christian gospel."

Swaggart has since offered the kind of remorseless non-apology common to public figures these days: "I was unwise in making the statement. All of us have made statements we wish we hadn't made. That was one for me." What's missing is any indication that he believes that there was anything actually wrong with his original remark, which he claims was "a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid."

Well, I for one am not going to let this pass unnoticed. I invite you to join me in holding this Christian leader accountable. Let's flood his e-mail with letters that witness to the truth - not hate letters - that God does not forfeit any individual from the human flock. All individuals are God's children and should be treated with the same dignity and love that God shows to each of us.


Sojourners will be running our "God is Not a Republican...or a Democrat" ad in this Sunday's Baton-Rouge Advocate, Swaggart's hometown paper. Send a message to Rev. Swaggart reminding him that, "What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart" (Matthew 15:18), and encourage him to read his Sunday paper!

+ Click here to send a letter to Jimmy Swaggart

+ Download the video and see for yourself. [Requires Windows Media Player]

+ Read more commentary by David Batstone

Tell a friend about SojoMail



God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat.

If you have not already done so, please give a gift to the Sojourners Petition Fund. This donor-supported fund enables us to match contributions raised by local groups - dollar for dollar while funds last - to place the petition in local newspapers across America!

>>Please give a gift of $10, $25, $50, $100, or more today!


ON THE GROUND ^top

Many make the burden lighter
by Jennifer Coulter Stapleton

advertisement
Traveling as an election-year field organizer working on Sojourners' Seminar Project, "Lift Every Voice in Election 2004," is an amazing, trying, and awe-inspiring undertaking. It has given me the opportunity to work with many Christians across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, all with incredible stories to share.

I spent time with an Episcopal priest in Columbus struggling to lead her mostly Appalachian congregation in a very poor neighborhood. She told me about the social justice and community service programs they run that are making the gospel real to those in the surrounding community. My group of hosts also included a United Methodist minister in Toledo whose congregation has been working to bring about social justice in various forms for more than 100 years. I was able to worship with them on "Homecoming Sunday" and hear a 58-year church member share some history of their work, including the peace activities they undertook during World War I. In Philadelphia, I met a young woman who has recently provided support to refugees in Germany. In North Canton I talked with a Catholic graduate student serving as campus minister. He is fighting the uphill battle of trying to get his students to embrace all aspects of a consistent ethic of life, and not simply focus on abortion as the only Christian issue at stake in the upcoming election.

This journey has provided me too many stories to share here and so many examples of Christians following God's call to work for justice and peace. In an age where the name "Christian" has largely been co-opted by those who hold a narrow set of political and theological beliefs, these "saints" of my journey are truly taking back our faith and reclaiming our name.

+ Read the full article


The Sojourners election seminar series continues! If you live in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin, Sojourners is coming to a town near you! Learn how to effectively express your passion for peace and justice between now and November 2. >>See the seminar schedule

If you don't see a seminar close to your home listed, you can help organize one. We're adding seminars on a daily basis, so e-mail us at seminars@sojo.net or call (800) 714-7474 x259. Seminars will be held in September and October, so time is of the essence.


ADVERTISEMENT


Back to School Book Sale - Free Shipping!

Peace Quest
More than 100 meaningful, interactive, peacemaking lessons.
Perfect for teachers, social workers, anyone who works with children and their families.
Order now, limited time offer: http://www.celebratingpeace.com


MEDIA WATCH ^top

Sojourners in the news

Sojourners continues to garner major media coverage of our petition campaign and the role of religion in this election season (including in some unlikely places):

Bush leaves the specifics of his faith to speculation
+ Washington Post

Christian conservatives a key bloc for Bush
+ Reuters

Smaller groups airing political ads
+ Associated Press (via The Guardian)

Faith groups turn out the vote for both candidates
+ Religion News Service (via Christianity Today)

Religious political advocates refute partisanship charge
+ National Catholic Reporter

Group decries mixing religion and politics
+ Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via The Miami Herald)

A place for politics in the pulpit
+ Forward

Activist's battle cry: 'God is not a Republican'
+ Rocky Mountain News

'God is not a Republican'
+ Focus on the Family


ADVERTISEMENT

Meet 3,500 progressive Catholics at Call to Action's National Conference
Sex, Science, and the Sacred: Embracing Divine Mystery
November 5-7, 2004, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Learn about the alternative!
Receive a discount if you mention this ad.
http://www.cta-usa.org/conference


BUILDING A MOVEMENT ^top

One thousand Christians

Lift Every Voice! brought together 1,000 Christians online to write, in two days, a consensus declaration to change the direction of American political life. "A Declaration on Christianity and the Future of America" was written by renowned theologians Ada-Maria Isasi Diaz, Jung Ha Kim, Elaine Pagels, Rita Nakashima Brock, and hundreds of other church leaders, clergy, and activists. Using a privately released new Internet system, called Synanim, 1,000 people joined together online to produce this unique statement from American Christians.

+ Read the finished document


ADVERTISEMENT

Clergy Leadership Institute Appreciative Inquiry Based Training

Plan now for a winter cruise and professional development Jan. 22-29, 2005. Our Appreciative Inquiry Cruise is designed for those in ministry to escape the winter cold and share in 20 hours of professional development all in the relaxed atmosphere of a Caribbean cruise. Families and friends are welcome.

Appreciative Inquiry is a development process of discovering and building on the strengths of a church rather than endlessly focusing on solving problems. For registration and information about all our training programs and locations, please visit us on the Web at: http://www.clergyleadership.com or phone (503) 647-2382.


HEALTH TALK ^top

Buying the pharma

Last year's Medicare drug benefit bill was a pork-filled giveaway for pharmaceutical companies and for insurers unable to compete with Medicare on a level playing field. (Not so coincidentally, seniors were recently hit with the largest Medicare premium increase ever). Now, investigators have found that, before the drug bill passed, then-Medicare head Tom Scully - who already had one foot in the revolving door to become a big-bucks health care lobbyist - threatened to fire Medicare's chief actuary if he told Congress how much the bill would really cost.

+ Learn more


ADVERTISEMENT

H. Freeman Associates: Fundraising Consultants

Areas of Expertise
*Capital Campaign Planning and Implementation
*Development Program Audits and Evaluation
*Charitable Gift (Deferred Gift) Planning
*Major Gift Identification, Cultivation, and Solicitation

Clients range from schools, colleges, and international relief agencies to retirement communities, faith-based organizations, and institutions (large and small) responding to the needs of the poor, children, youth, and families. Recent clients include Sojourners (a client since 1993), Upper Room Ministries, SERRV International, Pendle Hill, and the American Friends Service Committee.

Contact us at: (765) 939-6910 or visit us on the Web at http://Hfreemanassociates.com


POLITICALLY CONNECT ^top

(Dis)ownership society

advertisement
Redlining - in which banks refuse to make home and other loans to folks in poor neighborhoods, no matter how credit-worthy the applicant is - might just make a comeback if the FDIC gets its way. A quietly introduced proposal would exempt most banks from the Community Reinvestment Act, which The New York Times calls "the most successful community revitalization program in the nation's history."

"The Community Reinvestment Act has expanded the American dream to millions of hardworking rural people, and it hasn't cost taxpayers one dime," said Dee Davis, president of the Rural Strategies advocacy group. "It's regulation that works, but now just a few weeks before the election, these folks at the FDIC seem to have made a deal to kill it."

+ Find out more, and tell the FDIC how you feel


ADVERTISEMENT

Having a Nonprofit Web Site Just Got Easier....and it's FREE!

Try CharityAdvantage FREE for the next three months and you'll receive:
*Professional Web site design
*Unlimited pages
*Unlimited updates
*Webmaster technical support
*Hosting

CLICK HERE to get your FREE Web site now!

Finally there's an easy and effective way for churches and faith-based organizations to create an Internet presence. CharityAdvantage has just added a special series of designs for Christian-based Web sites.

Get a FREE Web site and see your church or organization expand its vision and its mission.

Get your Web site FREE and connect your church or organization to the world!


SOUL WORKS ^top

Appalachian gothic (2)
by Ron Houchin

They were what a family looked like
on the bench seat of their sand-coloured pickup.
He drove, looking only ahead,
under a heavy cotton hardhat liner.
She on the passenger's side
folded her gold-orange scarf into a kerchief
and knotted it under her chin.
Between them sat a gray lump of hooded parka.
A tool carrier on either side
of the truck's bed framed them,
and the Shriners' children's hospital
bumper sticker was their afterthought.
They all belonged together there
making a left turn into Wal-Mart.
They belonged like soft coal sleeping
out of easy reach of trees and machines.
They belonged like beige wallpaper
and lace tablecloths in a damp house,
like mildew on stucco walls or
squinting eyes and thick lenses.
When they turned into the Salvation Army
Christmas tree lot, instead of the discount
store, I knew I'd never belonged anywhere.

+ Learn more about Ron Houchin and his poetry

Source: Salmon Poetry


ADVERTISEMENT

THE DIALECTICAL DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE: A Methodological Proposal
by Charles Dickinson

If Christianity - without losing its soul - is yet to avoid losing touch with the world, it must constantly update itself by dialogue with all the intellectual currents of today. To this end, the author proposes a necessary two-way dialectic between theology and the world, an ongoing dialectic ultimately essential to both church and world. $25 hardcover. To order call (313) 624-9784. Dove Booksellers, 13904 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan, 48126. http://www.dovebook.com


WEB SITINGS ^top

Messages of peace

Tuesday, Sept. 21, was the International Day of Prayer for Peace, part of the World Council of Church's Decade to Overcome Violence. Their Web site has a series of world Christian leaders and peacemakers - including Desmond Tutu, Hanan Ashrawi, and Hildegard Goss Mayr - offering video messages about the power and promise of peace.

+ Give peace a chance



Mega-Lego church

Fans of Web Siting favorite Brick Testament may also enjoy the Abston Church of Christ, by Amy Hughes. It's a massive and ornate Lego masterpiece complete with congregation, pastor, and a dedication sermon.

+ If you build it, they will come



The other "CultureWatch"

Not to be confused with Sojourners magazine's review section by the same name, Damaris' CultureWatch site features articles and study guides with a Christian slant, but it's intended for "people of all faiths and people of no faith at all who want to explore the message behind the media."

+ Watch what you watch


ADVERTISEMENT
From Beliefnet.com comes Soulmatch, a unique values-based dating service that will match you based on what matters to you. Beliefnet's mission is to help people meet their spiritual needs - and perhaps no need is greater than the need for companionship, connection, and love. That's why, for both the spiritual dabbler and the devout, we have created Soulmatch - so join the community and create your Free profile today! + Click here to learn more

BOOMERANG ^top

Readers write

Pieter and Megan Verhoeven write from Geelong, Victoria, Australia:

We really appreciate receiving SojoMail. We have been uncomfortable reading and listening to the Religious Right in the U.S. via the media and other means and were beginning to think that being a Christian was being a Republican! Although some Christians in Australia have similar thinking it doesn't come across as so pervasive as many are also of the opposite ilk. It is so wonderful to read articles from Christians who think and respond to God's kingdom purposes.

I appreciated Lincoln's thoughts in Jim Wallis' speech ["Communicating religiously," SojoMail 9/15/2004]: "Our task should not be to invoke religion and the name of God by claiming God's blessing and endorsement for all our national policies and practices - saying, in effect, that God is on our side. Rather, we should worry earnestly whether we are on God's side."

It's great to know of Christians in the U.S. who take a different view, those who are trying to be on God's side.

----------

Leslie Diane Kaye writes from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada:

Rich Avery says "the reason 1,000 soldiers are dead is because more than 3,000 innocent Americans were killed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001" [Boomerang 9/15/2004]. This is simply not true. If America were going after persons involved in the attack on the World Trade Centre, Bush would have invaded Saudi Arabia with a side trip to Yemen. It is tiresome, after all the reporting on this, to hear this worn-out and false refrain still being uttered. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and the sly implications of a connection by the Bush league were purposely and simply misleading. Al Qaeda had little or nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's secular state, although in the chaotic power vacuum created by the invasion, there are signs that they have now moved in. Those 1,000 soldiers and God knows how many Iraqis have died for a lie. It must hurt terribly to recognize how sleazily Americans have been manipulated, but if you don't wake up soon, it's just going to get worse.

----------

Stephen Hale writes from Norwalk, California:

I am not electing a president to govern our country through the last four years; I am voting for a president for the next four years. Too often a candidate's platform rests solely on complaining about the incumbent's past decisions. John Kerry speaks of nothing else: his entire platform seems to be, "I'm not George W. Bush. Whatever he did, I'm against."

Instead of discussing whether or not the United States should have invaded Iraq, we should be discussing what to do now that we are there. I believe that, as Christians, we should be concerned with the reconstruction of Iraq. Certainly we have a responsibility to take part in the democratic process of our republic, but we should, as always, observe the example of the Messiah. When confronted with issues of governance, he accepts the current situation. He does not complain about the job the Romans were doing, rather, he tries to teach his followers to focus on what was important: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." We should have the same attitude and be concerned with the things of God in this case: life and safety for the 25 million people in Iraq. When you visit the polls Nov. 2, keep them in mind.

----------

Brian Conery writes from Richmond, California:

I understand people's concerns for Kerry and the question, "Will he be much different?" When people go down this path I always want them to pull back and look at the big picture. We are not voting for one person, we are voting for a whole cabinet and countless advisors that make up an administration. By stopping Bush we would be stopping Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and his entire cabinet, which has been busy dismantling environmental laws, wreaking havoc economically and in other areas including civil rights. Yes, there are similarities between some members of the two parties and there are many other problems with the way we fund and elect our politicians. This is such a critical time and the stakes are very, very high and the current cadre needs to be put in check and replaced - not a complete solution to everything but I hate to think what things will be like with four more years of President Bush and his group.

----------

Becky Bodnarchuk writes from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:

God is so above politics! The petition is thoughtful as well as thought-provoking ["God is not a Republican...or a Democrat." http://www.takebackourfaith.org ]. Thanks for preparing it. I believe Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson need to think before they speak. I hadn't heard their most recent foot-in-mouth quotes. Before I read the petition, I knew I'd vote for Mr. Bush again. I'd do a write-in vote for Daffy Duck before I vote for Mr. Kerry. I hate Mr. Bush's treatment of the environment, and some of his cabinet and "higher-ups" need to be fired for allowing the devilry with those prisoners in our care in Iraq. I was outraged that he didn't welcome the other countries who wanted to join in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. I wrote to say so on some issues, too, but prayed "the Lord forgive him" on most. Your last section of the petition affirmed my vote, though, for the sanctity of human life. I pray your petition provokes us all to pray God show us His good way. Thanks for letting this voice be heard.

----------

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of views that do not necessarily represent those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice heard? Include your name, hometown, and state/province/country in a concise e-mail to: boomerang@sojo.net. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.



Election Year Gear 2004 provides you with the tools you need to discuss important election issues from a faith perspective. Perfect for church organizing and small group discussions. >>Get yours today!


GIVE TO SOJOURNERS
Donate now to support this voice for justice and peace.

CONTACT US
Letters to the editor: boomerang@sojo.net
General inquiries: sojourners@sojo.net
Advertising: advertising@sojo.net

PRIVACY NOTICE
Sojourners won't trade, sell, or give away your e-mail address. Read our privacy policy.

OPTIONS
Subscribe | Browse Archives | Search Archives | About Us