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Sojourners Magazine: June 2011

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"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed ..." Decades ago, President Eisenhower issued his famous warning about the excesses of what he called the "military-industrial complex." Since then, military spending has spiraled out of control, with dire consequences for our national budget, our ailing economy, and for "those who hunger," at home and abroad.

The military currently consumes around 58 percent of the discretionary budget -- and yet it continues to be the elephant in the budget-cutting room. Any effort to address our soaring deficit that does not start with the enormous Pentagon budget is doomed to fail.

For Ben Cohen, this wasn't too hard to comprehend. As co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream company, he understood a thing or two about running a balance sheet, and thanks to Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, and the rest, grew the company until it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But, as Cohen explains to Sojourners' Jim Wallis in this month’s interview, he still couldn’t fathom the concept of spending hundreds of billions on the military. He has spent much of the last decade helping people get a handle on the sheer enormity of the military budget -- and why such exorbitant overspending not only undermines our security but also is paving the way to financial ruin. It is simply unsustainable.

Many people of faith have long decried the militarism that drives such spending. But two factors have made it starkly clear that we must finally rein in this beast, and soon: the national deficit and the budget-related efforts to drastically slash programs for the poor and vulnerable, while spending billions more on the military. What would Jesus cut? He'd probably start with the Pentagon.

Cover Story

Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen talks with Jim Wallis about ice cream, Oreos -- and how the bloated military budget is destroying our economy and making us all less secure. 

Feature

A little Methodist church has a big heart for the left out and the lonley in the shadow of the nation's capital.
With lower-cost heath care, would I be dead?
The secretive, elitist Capitol Hill organization has cozied up to the despots -- and, in my case, done genuine good.

Commentary

Renewable energy sources aren't just safer than nuclear power -- they're also cheaper.
The Utah Compact has good immigration principles -- but there's still a more excellent way.
Wisconsin was just the first salvo of an all-out war on working people.

Columns

A club owner in Chicago can pick up the phone and "mail-order" three girls from Eastern Europe.
Our nation expects bold and innovative leadership. (Kidding.)
Though the fast ended on Easter, it helped to spark a broad and united movement for a moral budget.
Mainstream Muslims detest the infection of radicalization far more than do other people.

Culture Watch

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Bloomsbury Press.
Bio: Founded Empowering and Strengthing Ohio's People (ESOP) to stop predatory lending and home foreclosures. Website: www.esop-cleveland.org.
Gareth Higgins reviews Batle: Los Angeles, Saving Private Ryan, and Chinatown.
"A white man's country" became the multiracial, multicultural democracy we now inhabit.
Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness across Millennia, by Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow adn Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman. Jewish Lights Publishing. 
Julie Polter reviews current books and films.
The Better Angels, by John Francis. Horse and Rider/Dualtone.
Poets resist anti-immigration laws with defiance, beauty, and social media.

Departments

In Danny Duncan Collum's reflection on the attempted assassination of Rep.
Jesus says, receive the Holy Spirit, whom you cannot control. Diversity is an essential attribute of a Spirit-filled church.
"Taking the Bible Seriously" by Charles E. Gutenson (April 2011) was right on the mark. I often see issue groups take the word of God and twist it to serve their purposes.
<p>I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Ed Spivey Jr.'s article in the March 2011 <i>Sojourners</i> (&quot;Grandfathers Are Our Future&quot;) on being a grandfather
In our city we see them sometimes.
Fracking ("Meet the Frackers," by Tyler Edgar, March 2011) is well-known to people in Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Texas, and other states for its disastrous use in natural gas extrac
Every gun that is made is, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed.
Reading Joel Hunter's "Civility Is Only a Beginning" (March 2011), I was struck by the contrast between his beautifully stated intention -- "Let's listen so well that we can state others' cases in

Web Extra

Download the song 'Who?'
Download the song 'Who?'
Gerard Anderson on Overpaying, Overeating, and Out-of-Control U.S. Medical Costs
“Jesus Christ transcends all religions! Judaism – Islam – Buddhism – Hinduism… He is greater than all these – including Christianity. Religions are the inventions of men.
Interview with John Francis by Betsy Shirley