I wish Bill McKibben’s “‘And God Created ... Corporations’” (April 2012) could magically appear in the inbox of each state and federal senator and representative. A corporation is a soulless, incorporeal, supranational, immortal legal device for assembling, managing, and deploying wealth. We should be thankful that corporations do good things. They feed, clothe, house, and entertain us pretty well. However, a corporation cannot be expected to deliver the values that a human, God-fearing society needs.
I am reading the March issue of Sojourners and want to correct a small error in “‘Do Not Grow Weary or Lose Heart,’” by Vincent Harding. The quote “Don’t mourn. Organize,” attributed to Mother Jones in the article, was actually an admonition from Wobbly songwriter Joe Hill—born Joseph Hillstrom—shortly before his execution in Utah on trumped-up murder charges that were designed to cripple the labor movement. Mother Jones’ most famous admonition was “Raise more hell, and less corn,” given to the miners in West Virginia, urging them to demonstrate more and drink less.
Thank you for printing Michelle Alexander’s commentary “When the Spirit Says Go” in your March issue. Due in large part to Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, more and more people are coming to understand—and resist—how mass incarceration devastates communities of color, locking up millions and relegating those branded as criminals to a lifetime of legalized discrimination.
Thank you for your articles on human trafficking (“Ending ‘The World’s Most Savage Cruelty,’” February 2012). They played an essential role in shaping my sermon last Sunday; Jesus’ work of freeing those who are possessed makes a powerful connection with the work of rescue and restoration you highlighted.
The fact that the February 2012 issue contained three articles about human trafficking (“Humankind’s Most Savage Cruelty,” by Stewart Burns; “Here?” by Abayea Pelt; “Works of Mercy” by Sylvia Yu) is encouraging. However, none of them mentioned the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Nothing will completely stop the evil of trafficking, since it is so profitable, but the Convention has potential for reducing it more than any other device or activity. The Convention was developed in 1989, and 194 U.N. countries have ratified it.
Harry Potter is no Gandhi. Though Bill Wylie-Kellermann (“Harry and the Principalities,” November 2011) believes that Harry “never kills anyone,” the whole mission of book seven was to find and destroy Horcruxes, parts of Tom Riddle’s (Voldemort’s) soul. Harry is not opposed to the use of force, even if it reluctantly leads to his enemy’s demise.
In “Critical Mass” (January 2012), Karen Sue Smith’s summary of changes in the U.S. Catholic Church since Vatican II, I was dismayed not to see any mention of the profound influence of the sections on peace in “The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.”
I was delighted to see the article on forgiveness by Brittany Shoot (“Forgive and Forget?”) in your January 2012 issue. Since she mentioned Archbishop Tutu in her article, I thought your readers would appreciate seeing an original quote from one of his 2007 speeches. The archbishop said, “Forgiveness does not mean ‘forgive and forget.’ It stares the beast in the eye, names the hurt, and refuses to return it, seeking not to punish but to heal.” There could be no better description of the amazing and Christlike response of the Amish community in the face of tragedy.
Re: Elizabeth Palmberg's "The Safety Net Frays" (July 2011): I don't believe that we, as citizens, have any voice in these issues any more. According to an article published last October, "more than half of the [Senate's] membership, 54 lawmakers, reported a minimum net worth of more than $1 million." I don't think a millionaire has any inkling of what happens on Main Street and those who live on it. With the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to contribute to political parties without limit, it became apparent that they are setting the agenda.
"The Safety Net Frays" is a nice piece, but we've seen this movie before. The American chattering classes chatter marvelously, but stopped believing in anything of value some 40 years ago. This constant repetition of the same moral-budget complaints, while LGBT rights claimants are left out of our circle of protection, is just one more sign of this.
Jennifer A. Nolan
Please continue to address the importance of promoting and building peace ("The Things that Make for Peace," by Jim Wallis, July 2011), whether in Afghanistan, Palestine-Israel, Libya, or right here at home, rather than simply opposing our nation's current wars.