| QUOTE OF THE WEEK|
"If the only way for a company to conduct business in a particular location is to do so illegally, then the company probably shouldn't be doing business there."
- Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd, discussing payments made by Chiquita International Brands to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) for two years after the U.S. declared the right-wing paramilitary group a terrorist organization in 2001. Chiquita claims that the U.S. government sent them mixed signals on the legality of the payments. (Source: The Washington Post)
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Mitsuyoshi Toge: 'How Could I Ever Forget That Flash'
Mitsuyoshi Toge, born in Hiroshima in 1917, was a Catholic and a poet. He was in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city on August 6, 1945, when he was 24 years old. Toge died at age 36. His firsthand experience of the bomb, his passion for peace, and his realistic insight into the event made him a leading poet in Hiroshima. This poem is from Hiroshima-Nagasaki: A Pictorial Record of the Atomic Destruction (1978).
How could I ever forget that flash of light!
In a moment, thirty thousand people ceased to be,
The cries of fifty thousand killed
At the bottom of crushing darkness;
Through yellow smoke whirling into light,
Buildings split, bridges collapsed,
Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about
Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers.
Soon after, skin dangling like rags;
With hands on breasts;
Treading upon the broken brains;
Wearing shreds of burn cloth round their loins;
There came numberless lines of the naked,
Bodies on the parade ground, scattered like
jumbled stone images of Jizo;
Crowds in piles by the river banks,
loaded upon rafts fastened to the shore,
Turned by and by into corpses
under the scorching sun;
in the midst of flame
tossing against the evening sky,
Round about the street where mother and
brother were trapped alive under the fallen house
The fire-flood shifted on.
On beds of filth along the Armory floor,
Heaps, and God knew who they were?
Heaps of schoolgirls lying in refuse
Pot-bellied, one-eyed, with half their skin peeled
The sun shone, and nothing moved
But the buzzing flies in the metal basins
Reeking with stagnant ordure.
How can I forget that stillness
Prevailing over the city of three hundred thousands?
Amidst that calm,
How can I forget the entreaties
Of departed wife and child
Through their orbs of eyes,
Cutting through our minds and souls?
For Hiroshima-Nagasaki memorial service resources, please go to Faithful Security (National Religious Partnership on the Nuclear Weapons Danger).
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| THIS WEEK IN GOD'S POLITICS|
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Adam Taylor: The Farm Bill and the Common Good
Last Friday the House passed a 741-page Farm Bill, largely keeping intact the existing system of subsidies for commercial farmers while adding billions of dollars for conservation, nutrition, and new agricultural sectors. While Democratic leaders will call this a success, the bill demonstrates the brokenness of our politics in which the common good is so often sacrificed to political expediency and powerful corporate interests.
Joel Hunter: Suspicious of the Green Gospel?
Highly suspicious. That’s what I was. I was invited to a meeting whose participants were considering proposing something along the line of "Green Gospels." After all, I am an evangelical, and being involved in anything that has to do with treating the scriptures with a particular perspective carries with it the danger of perverting the original intent.
Elizabeth Palmberg: Free Market Champion’s Worst Enemy: Free Market
In the wake of today’s news that Rupert Murdoch appears to have won his battle to buy The Wall Street Journal, a former Journal columnist expresses his concern that the paper will lose journalistic integrity: "Standards are the lifeblood of WSJ and its related properties.... I remember being told in a meeting that not only were advertising representatives who sold for WSJ.com on a different floor; we weren't even allowed to know their names. That way, ad reps and their clients could never influence a story. It is hard to imagine that News Corp. — a juggernaut with more than $25 billion in revenue in 2006 — will keep such ideas in place, considered almost relics in a struggling business."
Bob Francis: Bring 'Em On
One of the troops who knows all too well the real security situation in Baghdad is Capt. Jon Powers. As an artillery platoon leader in the Army's 1st Armored Division, and later as the Battalion Commander's Adjutant in Baghdad and Najaf, Capt. Powers led his soldiers through one of Baghdad's most volatile sectors. It was there that he saw four friends die, and it was there that he "witnessed firsthand the devastation and lost opportunities that resulted from the Bush administration's mismanagement and lack of planning for post-invasion Iraq. He saw how his and his fellow soldiers' idealism, dedication, and patriotism were dishonored by a government that sent them to war without proper equipment, training, or forethought." It was also there that he saw, all too closely, the effects of this war on its most vulnerable victims—Iraqi children.
Jim Wallis: Deep in the Heart of Texas
A Baptist church rooted deep in the heart of Red-State, Bible-Belt America might not be the place you’d expect to see people of faith rallying behind a Christian social justice agenda. Last week I spoke at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, just miles from President Bush’s home congregation, Highland Park Methodist Church. More than 1,000 faith-inspired activists filled the pews.... Often my most encouraging moments on the road take place at the book-signing table immediately following my speaking engagements. That’s when I get to meet people who most deeply resonate with the message.
Julie Clawson: My Search for the Justice Bra, Part 2
(Click here to read the first part of this series.) In my search for an ethically made bra, I came face to face with the two distinct worlds of justice issues. There are those who are passionate about caring for the environment and then there are those who seek justice for people, and it appeared that ne’er the twain shall meet. I found the sites where collective groups of women in Africa made clothing for fair wages, but used cloth made with environmentally unfriendly practices. Or I found clay-dyed organic cotton bras, but had no clue as to how they were made. After e-mailing the company, I might hear back that they care about their employees (whatever that means), but there was no concrete certification that fair practices are used.
Gareth Higgins: Ray LaMontagne, Irish Car Bombs, and Business Travelers
Ray LaMontagne’s recent album Till the Sun Turns Black ends with one of the most beautiful songs about peacemaking I’ve ever heard—in which he simply repeats the refrain "War is not the answer, the answer is within you" over the most delicately lilting instrumentation. It’s the kind of sentiment that could be accused of being too vague to have any practical meaning, but warm and positive enough to be popular. But there’s something about it that feels deeper than that.