God's Politics

God's Politics


Turn the Other Cheek (by Diana Butler Bass)

posted by God's Politics

About a decade ago, I wrote a newspaper column offering a theological critique of Promise Keepers, the then-massive Christian men’s movement. Within a few days, negative mail (remember letters?) swamped my office. One missive proved especially memorable: “Dear Diana, Promise Keepers is all about love, you b—-!”


When I became a writer, perhaps nothing surprised me as much as such attacks. Public figures—reporters, writers, politicians, pastors, and yes, military generals—are on the receiving end of negative criticism on an almost daily basis. Although it isn’t fun, it is part of the job. Some of my friends say I have tough skin. Not really. I’ve learned that Jesus has something important to say about the rough-and-tumble of public exchange: Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.


Nobody ever suggested that the city council pass a resolution condemning the letter-writers—including the less-than-flattering letters that appeared in the local newspaper. No, I was left with my own spiritual resources to forgive those who attacked me.


I imagine that General Petraeus is a nice Christian gentleman, as are most of the military officers I know. And I also suspect that he has survived public and private criticism worse than the recent MoveOn.org ad. He did not need a Senate resolution to defend his honor or his achievements, as such things speak for themselves. And, if he is anything like other Christians who are leaders, he has long since learned the wisdom of Jesus’ dictum to turn the other cheek. Maybe he even prays for his enemies. I bet he can spiritually and morally stand up for himself.


This week’s Senate resolution was raw politics, as raw as the MoveOn ad itself, as they deftly moved the issue away from the war to a political ad sponsored by private citizens. Coming from the Senate, a body that depicts itself as above the fray, it proved particularly tasteless—and more than a little shocking—that the senators took time away from important issues to criticize the free speech rights of a political organization, no matter how unseemly the fashion by which those rights were exercised.


During the same week that the Senate passed a resolution to condemn an ad attacking a man who is clearly capable of defending himself, they failed to pass three separate resolutions with plans to end the war in Iraq. The Senate needs to stop playing politics and get the job done for which we elected them: to work on issues of health care, poverty, environmentalism, and to end the war. Senators, let us turn our own cheeks. As for you, it is time for you to move on with America’s business.


Diana Butler Bass (www.dianabutlerbass.com) is a regular God’s Politics blogger and the author of Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (HarperOne, 2006).



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 3:47 pm


It is ironic that a woman of God would pivot from discussing a “theological critique” of Promise Keepers, to criticizing the Senate for distracting from their God-given task. At least Promise Keepers was at least trying to do the work of equipping men to be husbands and fathers (though obviously in a manner that was an affront to whatever is left of the Episcopalian Church).
Moveon was simply, well, making themselves look like imbeciles as usual. The Senate resolution was excessive, but how else would you get the issue mentioned on the Sojo blog?



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My, my

posted September 21, 2007 at 3:50 pm


Kevin seems in an extraordinarily dark mood today.
What did you have to eat for lunch today, Kevin



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 5:02 pm


I enjoyed my lunch, but Sojo would care less if the Senate were in gridlock over, for example, a conservative judicial nominee. It is only because they took a liberal group to task for their stupid ad that they feel the need to write.



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Don

posted September 21, 2007 at 5:37 pm


“t is only because they took a liberal group to task for their stupid ad that they feel the need to write.”
I haven’t seen the ad, though I know it’s just a click away. But Kevin, you sort of argued in support of Diana’s point here. If the ad is stupid, as you say it is, why indeed should the Senate have bothered to take the time out to criticize it?
D



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm


I’m not defending the Senate’s actions (has the Senate passed anything since Nov. of 2006 that hasn’t been purely symbolic?) The ad is worthy of criticism, however, moreso than the Senate’s actions.
I would also add that turning the other cheek does not refer to ignoring insult to other people.



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Bob Cornwall

posted September 21, 2007 at 7:01 pm


That the Senate, which is completely stymied these days and is unable to do much at all considering its nearly 50-50 split deserves criticism for taking a pot shot at an ad, that even if silly or inappropriate or whatever is protected speech. By taking this step those who voted for it and those coerced into voting for it forgot one thing — MoveOn.com has a 1st Amendment right to say what it wants. And I expect the general is able to defend himself just fine! By the way, most liberals including Hillary and Joe and Barack and all — have all spoke of his honor!



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 7:46 pm


Don
They should not have, I guess that’s the point. I realize the right have their whole leave the messenger alone thing. But quite honestly (even though i don’t like the tone of ad) I find Moveon point a little strange. One cannot use a military guy to create policy or challenge it. If only Bush were smart enough to realize that himself we would not be wasting time talking about this either.
p



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jesse

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:22 pm


I’m sure the Moveon folks are quaking in fear about their free-speech rights being attacked on the senate floor!
The reason they offered up this resolution was so certain Democrats could go on record in support of their anti-American backers with whom they are so closely tied. Of course it was political, as is often the case with politics, and discussion of the Moveon ad allowed Republicans to help further support for Pertraus’ strategy in Iraq.



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Tom

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:37 pm


Thank you for pressing this overbearing faction of the current Republican mindset. These people will get what is due to them and some are even paying for it, RIGHT NOW. Tough love.



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Moderatelad

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:57 pm


You’re good DBB
First – allow me to appologize for the insensitive person that used the ‘B’ word on you. I would never use that word on you or others for that matter – but it would be interesting to see what you wrote about PK. If it is anything like this article or others you have written for Sojo – it could insite any number of emotions. (you article on Kennedy was a classic – I framed it and hung it in my home office) That any of the Dem’s would support MO.org and their attack ads in shameful. Before you blow a gasket about the Rep. It was during the Clarance Thomas hearings that FOTF and others were ‘exposing’ Dems for their actions and attacks on Thomas. The Dems were all up in arms about this saying how ‘wrong’ it was. (right???) But – they (FOTF etc) were just republishing what the Dem’s had said or done in the past on issues they were attacking Thomas on in the hearings. Not making up stories of ‘play on words’ like MO.org. Bush 1 went public and asked FOTF and the others to ‘stop’ and let the hearings do their work. They stopped – period – not another word on the subject from these organizations.
Too bad the Dem’s will not do the same at this time – but then again – I never have expected them to do so because they rarely – never have.
‘…Senate needs to stop playing politics and get the job done for which we elected…’
I can agree with this – but with a rating of 11% with the public – what are the going to do to get back in the good graces of the general public. More importantly – will MO.org allow them to???
Blessings -
.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 21, 2007 at 10:28 pm


I agree with with you Ms. Bass. What a waste of time for the Senate to condemn the Moveon ad.
The complaints from the Conservative crowd about this ad are ludicrous at best. America is bombarded on a daily basis with the bilge that comes out of the mouths of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and any number of other tasteless conservative talking heads.
I recently heard that Limbaugh has played a song on his show titled “Obama the magic negro” (to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”) poking fun at Barak Obama. I wonder how outraged the conservatives are about that. Not very much, I suspect.



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 11:21 pm


“I wonder how outraged the conservatives are about that. Not very much, I suspect.”
I hadn’t heard about it, but Limbaugh did not invent the term Magic Negro, nor was he the first to apply it to Obama. Sounds like a groan-inducingly lame bit, typical of his general contribution to the political dialogue (though the same certainly goes for the moveon bit).



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Tom

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:19 am


Who is the smarter person, Bush or Obama, one? Two, who is wiser, Limbaugh or Stern? Enough said. Good morning.
TOM



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TheOtherJames

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:22 am


“I hadn’t heard about it, but Limbaugh did not invent the term Magic Negro, nor was he the first to apply it to Obama.”
So I guess that that makes it okay.



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Blake

posted September 22, 2007 at 10:51 am


Limbaugh’s “Magic Negro” parity came after an LA Times editorial was published explicity saying that Obama is playing that part. And, you prove his point…that liberals are never called to the carpet on that type of rhetoric, but conservatives are (even when it’s a reference to a liberal editorial).
I guess you just proved his point, TheOtherJames.



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James

posted September 22, 2007 at 11:22 am


Wow–all this furor over ads which attack a military hero! I bet you all felt the same when the Swiftboat Veterans attacked a decorated Vietnam veteran, John Kerry. Right? Right?



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kevin s.

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:13 pm


“So I guess that that makes it okay.”
The song in question referred to an LA Times offer referring to Obama as such, and was in response to that op-ed. So, yes, I think that makes it okay. Good or insightful? No.
“Wow–all this furor over ads which attack a military hero! I bet you all felt the same when the Swiftboat Veterans attacked a decorated Vietnam veteran, John Kerry. Right? Right?”
I’m not seeing any furor here. Kerry was dishonest about his war record, inventing stories and anecdotes that never happened. The ads played into Kerry’s weakness, which was his tendency to play both sides of both the Iraq war and his participation in Vietnam.
One could easily turn the same question back to you. There was plenty of furor over the swiftboat ads, so you are rightly upset over this, right? Right?



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Don

posted September 22, 2007 at 4:28 pm


“…but it would be interesting to see what you wrote about PK.”
“At least Promise Keepers was at least trying to do the work of equipping men to be husbands and fathers…”
I would be interested in Diana’s critique of Promise Keepers, too.
I never attended a PK event. Back in my independent church days, we made a big deal out of it. I never understood why. To me it just sounded like a big Christian pep rally, and I had no interest whatever in ever attending one. That despite the sometimes not-so-subtle pressure to attend (including trying to get my wife to encourage me to go).
Our pastor came back from one rally in a large sports stadium and proceeded to dedicate the entire worship service the following Sunday to a detailed discussion about it, extolling how wonderful it was, how emotionally uplifting as well as instructive.
A couple years later he admitted to an adulterous affair. So much for equipping men to be faithful husbands…
Peace,



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TheOtherJames

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:30 pm


“The song in question referred to an LA Times offer referring to Obama as such, and was in response to that op-ed. So, yes, I think that makes it okay. Good or insightful? No.”
No it doesn’t and it proves my original point beautifully, i.e. that conservatives engage in this type of nastiness and for them that is okay but when a liberal group does it, they raise a ruckus.
“Wow–all this furor over ads which attack a military hero! I bet you all felt the same when the Swiftboat Veterans attacked a decorated Vietnam veteran, John Kerry. Right? Right?”
James, you have erred in not stating the full rule. In the neo-Conservative hypocritical mindset, one musn’t disparage military personnel who support our present policies. As for military or intelligence service personnel who do not support our policies, well they’re fair game for character assasination. Just look at the outing of Valerie Plame.



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Tom

posted September 22, 2007 at 8:05 pm


As a white guy in 2007 America I say down with all conservative policy lines. These people are ineffective and they do not want progress. God Bless America.
TOM



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jonabark

posted September 23, 2007 at 1:33 am


The Petraus report was a betrayal of the truth about the the disastrous occupation of Iraq. It was a betrayal of the courage to admit his quest to perform a military miracle had failed and cost many lives. It was a betrayal of the Iraqi people who have suffered far more destruction and loss of life from our invasion and occupation than under Saddam.Mostly it was a betrayal of an army asked to impose a humane order when everything the US leadership has done has imposed economic and social devastation. War crimes do not beget justice and the invasion of Iraq was an unprovoked war of aggression clearly forbidden by the Geneva accords and the UN charter. If Russia or Iran or India had invaded Iraq as we have we would condemn it . We have been betrayed by hypocrisy and lies and and a rejection of the rule of law. Those who have profited most and stand to gain yet more are top level Bush cronies: Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, Oil companies, the Carlyle group and many similar corporate and private entities.
Fortunately we can all rest easy because Move-On’s ad has been “condemned” by the US Senate. The ad is now roasting in hell where it will not cast aspersions on our glorious generals.



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kevin s.

posted September 23, 2007 at 2:07 am


“A couple years later he admitted to an adulterous affair. So much for equipping men to be faithful husbands…”
Right, so if one of the millions in attendance had an affair, the whole enterprise must not have been worthwhile. But yes, in order to be equipped you have to obey the scripture.
“No it doesn’t and it proves my original point beautifully, i.e. that conservatives engage in this type of nastiness and for them that is okay but when a liberal group does it, they raise a ruckus.”
Was the LA Times writer wrong in using the term as well? What does the answer to that question say or not say about your point?
“In the neo-Conservative hypocritical mindset, one musn’t disparage military personnel who support our present policies.”
You may disparage whomever you like. The ad was tasteless and insipid. Do you think it was anything but?
“As for military or intelligence service personnel who do not support our policies, well they’re fair game for character assasination. Just look at the outing of Valerie Plame.”
Can you explain to me why Richard Armitage outed Plame, and why this constituted character assassination?



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TheOtherJames

posted September 23, 2007 at 8:17 am


“You may disparage whomever you like. The ad was tasteless and insipid. Do you think it was anything but?”
Be it right or wrong, the ad was commensurate with this tasteless and insipid administration and its war. Do you think that the war is anything but? The problem with the neo-conservative reactionaries is that they can dish it out but they cannot take it. Too bad.



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kevin s.

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:23 am


“Be it right or wrong, the ad was commensurate with this tasteless and insipid administration and its war.”
So you concede that the ad (which was about Gen. Petraeus, not Bush) was tasteless and insipid.
You didn’t answer me about Plame.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:59 am


The folks in the senate, the folks on the airwaves, the folks on the blogs, all play the endless game of chat-chat tit-for-tat.
When the anger gets outsized, people exchange gunfire and bombs, trying to shut the other side up for good.
If the other person or side does it first, that makes it all right?
All of it is besides the point of the real issues, whatever our excuses.
People hating one another instead of taking on the nature of Jesus shows the depth of our alienation from God and ourselves.
How can any of us ever accomplish anything together when we’re always fragmenting?
We ought to be looking for commonalities, not differences to diss.
By our inane actions, we also give the world no hope that there is anything real to look for in Christianity other than more of the same, but God-flavored.



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justintime

posted September 23, 2007 at 1:02 pm


I don’t think Harry Reid is properly exercising his role as Senate majority leader.
That he even allowed the MoveOn ad to be debated on the Senate floor and go on to a vote, is pathetic leadership.
The Senate should be debating the Iraq occupation and how America can leave instead of wasting time on an advertisement.
There are two other recent examples of Reid’s weak leadership: the restoration of habeas corpus and Jim Webb’s bill to ensure that troops returning from Iraq have a reasonable period of rest before they are redeployed.
Both of these bills had clear majority support in the Senate.
Republicans threatened to filibuster and Reid allowed a vote in both cases.
They both failed for lack of a supermajority.
Reid should have said to the Republicans, “you want to filibuster? Go right ahead and filibuster, we’ll watch.”
Had he done this, Republicans would have made even bigger fools of themselves in front of the American public.



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Don

posted September 23, 2007 at 2:07 pm


“Right, so if one of the millions in attendance had an affair, the whole enterprise must not have been worthwhile. But yes, in order to be equipped you have to obey the scripture.”
True enough. But wouldn’t you agree that the whole PK movement was a bit shallow? I mean, you go to the rally and get pumped up emotionally. You have a feel-good experience. Hear a few things about being a faithful husband/father and about racial reconciliation. But very little follow-up occurred. There was no ongoing accountability mechanism set up. And after a few days or weeks, the emotional high wears off. So those who attended didn’t really change their behavior or their attitudes in the long run.
This kind of shallowness is typical of American revivalist Christianity in general and wasnt’ limited to Promise Keepers. The real solution is accountability in the local churches. But we individualistic Americans (and I include myself here!) have trouble being accountable to others, so often the churches can’t or won’t provide it in any real way. So people continue to “do what is right in their own eyes.”
Peace,



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VIkesFan

posted September 23, 2007 at 2:48 pm


Don said: “But very little follow-up occurred. There was no ongoing accountability mechanism set up. And after a few days or weeks, the emotional high wears off. So those who attended didn’t really change their behavior or their attitudes in the long run.”
What a ridiculous unsubstantiated statement. Local churches provide the follow up. Our church plugged men into small groups, and offered other educational and spiritual opportunities throughout the year.
Promise Keepers functioned just like when Billy Graham when he would come to a town to do a crusade. They would only come if a certain number of churches (a large number) would commit to providing follow up and follow through.
To place that responsibility on a ministry that travels and presents a weekend (or more) event really makes no sense…



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N.M. Rod

posted September 23, 2007 at 3:19 pm


There was a mass-sports mentality shallowness to some degree (both which gave it attraction for people as well as the inherent limitation) but anything which led men at all to a proper view of their responsibility and importance of their first task, as well as reconciliation, has to be something that was and is still greatly needed.



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kevin s.

posted September 23, 2007 at 3:51 pm


“True enough. But wouldn’t you agree that the whole PK movement was a bit shallow? I mean, you go to the rally and get pumped up emotionally. You have a feel-good experience. Hear a few things about being a faithful husband/father and about racial reconciliation. But very little follow-up occurred. There was no ongoing accountability mechanism set up.”
Isn’t that what the church is for? If rallies and conference aren’t your thing, so be it, but I disagree that they are never useful.
If your church isn’t providing accountability, leave. Many people are uninterested in accountability (particularly as it relates to sexual behavior, finances, or church participation), but that is not the fault of Promise Keepers, which never billed itself as an alternative to participation in a church.
Either way, I highly doubt this was the nature of Bass’ “theological critique”.



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Don

posted September 23, 2007 at 4:16 pm


“What a ridiculous unsubstantiated statement. Local churches provide the follow up.”
“Isn’t that what the church is for? If rallies and conference aren’t your thing, so be it, but I disagree that they are never useful.”
VikesFan (another Minnesoatan?), NMRod, and Kevin:
Please re-read my post, cocentrating on the final paragraph. You might do well to read someone’s entire post before commenting on it.
D



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don

posted September 23, 2007 at 4:21 pm


“Either way, I highly doubt this was the nature of Bass’ ‘theological critique’.”
We’d have to hear from Diana to know for sure of course, but my guess is that theological shallowness was at least part of her critique.
D



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Don

posted September 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm


“…but anything which led men at all to a proper view of their responsibility and importance of their first task, as well as reconciliation, has to be something that was and is still greatly needed.”
N. M. Rod, you are correct. However, I am not convinced that the pep rally format of PK ever could provide these things on a continuing, long-term basis.
And I didn’t mean to include your name in my 4:16 PM post. Sorry.
Peace,



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 23, 2007 at 5:21 pm


True enough. But wouldn’t you agree that the whole PK movement was a bit shallow? I mean, you go to the rally and get pumped up emotionally.
Why would you sat that Don ? The Gospel was preached , the word of God shared . Would you say that about Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount ?
How many of us , how many of those people who listened to Christ came home all pumped up , only to find out how hard it was to live this teaching .
I understand your point , but why would you condemn the Gospel being preached , its the follow up right , so why not help instead of condemn with the follow up . Your contradicting yourself , here we are brothers and sisters , realizing we are being effected by a very humanistic culture , the church is coping the world , our divorce rates are the same .
The secularist left ridiculed the PK movement , I would think a little more support would be the thing Christ would want .



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Don

posted September 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm


Mick, is saying that the movement was theologically shallow the same thing as condemning the preaching of the Gospel? Yes the word of God was shared and I believe that was a good thing. That doesn’t mean, however, that the movement had long-term results, or that I think it was the best way to bring the word of God to the people. (In fact, I’m reminded of the seed that was sown in the rocky ground.)
Further, comparing experiential and emotion-based rallies in a twentieth-century American sports stadium with Jesus’ profound teachings to a first-century Jewish crowd strikes me as a false analogy (in other words, comparing apples with oranges). I’m not sure the phrase ‘pumped up’ would have had any meaning to those who heard Jesus that day.
Yes, the secularists made fun of Promise Keepers. But I don’t think their criticisms were much deeper than the movement itself. More thoughtful critiques came from other Christians, including, I would think from the other things I have read from her, Diana Butler Bass.
Finally, read again what I wrote about follow-up (2:07 PM). I believe that it is the local church that God has made to be the place where these things should be taught, and not just followed-up on when some rally takes place.
Peace,



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jonabark

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:32 am


James, you have erred in not stating the full rule. In the neo-Conservative hypocritical mindset, one musn’t disparage military personnel who support our present policies. As for military or intelligence service personnel who do not support our policies, well they’re fair game for character assasination. Just look at the outing of Valerie Plame.
Can you explain to me why Richard Armitage outed Plame, and why this constituted character assassination? Kevin S
First she was outed by Libby, Armitage, and Rove at least and clearly with Cheney’s participation. The intent of the original leaks was to say that J. Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of his wife. This turned out to be false. The intent was to say she was helping Wilson’s career. So the intent was dual character damage. It is impossible to show motive but it was illegal and immoral for them to out her and it also ruined her clandestine carreer service. It seems they were willing to do anything to detract from the fact that the falsity of the NIger Uranium claims was clearly known and established by Wilson’s research. Not a very manly thing for these macho neo cons to do but the prez kinda gave them a get out of jail free card. Joe Wilson revealed a plot to lie to the American people about a nuclear threat from Iraq. He provided proof that the lie was known to be a lie. The people who went after him and his wife were the perpetrators of the lie. These are the roots of the betrayal which is the Iraq War.
So Kevin, what is your brave history in VietNam? You who are so willing to restate the attacks on Kerry without evidence. When is the last time you steered toward enemy fire? Not metaphoric fire . Real bullets.



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canucklehead

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:00 am


Ha, DBB. I can relate to some of your “fan” mail.
Ten or so years ago I did an assessment of a huge PK rally (Denver or Seattle, as I recall) for CBC television. After indicating that I welcomed all efforts to promote stability and decency in North American society, I noted the most memorable aspects of the PK show for me were:
1) boldly Americana pop-culture in presentation
2) proudly macho-man-sports-guy in orientation
3) upheld the ’50s & the Ozzie & Harriet era as the template for domestic life
4) Jesus might have felt oddly out of place as a single man in attendance
5) Accordingly, in what sense it was a uniquely Christian men’s movement wasn’t very clear to me.
Some of the accusations I garnered in the mail I rec’vd from those Canadians for whom American fundagelicalism is synonymous with Christianity made Harry Emerson Fosdick sound like a fundamentalist compared to me. Fortunately, I only lost my feet in the subsequent burning-at-the-stake before radicals from dispensationalists in the Front de Libre Quebec were able to libre moi.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 24, 2007 at 5:42 am


Ok Don , but It appears that no one complains about Football stadiums filled with crazed out fans I just don’t get the concern by the religious left about a non political organization that was based in scripture , non denominational promoting what I would have thought at least would be considered worth a try ? . I mean I hear about Christians lighting candles for peace and other symbolic jestures , Days of Rememberance , Healing days for our past sins , etc out here in the NW from liberal religious groups . I just don’t get why I would want to critize that .
I just myself would not ridicule or judge that . Conservatives see our culture changing drastically to the point where our families are becoming so dysfunctional that it is hurting our children , our marriages and our ability to help others . Its why my denomination , the Assembly of God partnered with the PK . They saw it as a ministry .
Who knows how many people have seen healing in their life , or had their faith strengtened and moved on to other things That the Lord had in store with them from PK .
My analogy with time of Christ is because the things he preached were sometimes preached to those on rocky ground who ignored His teaching , does not mean he did not Preach .
God Bless you Don , we are just very different in what we see as the major probloems of the day facing the church and our neighbors .



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 24, 2007 at 5:45 am


James ,
John Kerry made a pretty strong statement against MoveonOrg , because of his experience with the Swift Boat advertisements . Your use of him to defend anothers character misrepresentation based on politics fall the two wrongs don’t make a right my Mother always taught me , I guess we could share scripture but it sounds like your more concerned with political gotcha lasts .
I have been there in the gotcha last political wars , they never end . Kerry was right in condemning Moveon Org , and a better man for doing it .



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TheOtherJames

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:10 am


So you concede that the ad (which was about Gen. Petraeus, not Bush) was tasteless and insipid. You didn’t answer me about Plame”
I have conceded nothing to you. Your way of acting on this blog- by accusing and never conceding anything to anybody means that you are to be treated the same.
“Can you explain to me why Richard Armitage outed Plame, and why this constituted character assassination?”
As for Plame, there is evidence that Rove and the VP were at least complicitous in outing her. I guess that putting a CIA agent in harm’s way (i.e. danger of death) isn’t character assassination in the the strictest meaning of the term but your dismissive attitude about the incident is both insipid and tasteless (regardless of whether you concede it or not),which is consistent with the way you act here.
“So Kevin, what is your brave history in VietNam? You who are so willing to restate the attacks on Kerry without evidence. When is the last time you steered toward enemy fire? Not metaphoric fire . Real bullets. Posted by: jonabark ”
You don’t know, jona? Kevin is a chickenhawk twit.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:43 am


“John Kerry made a pretty strong statement against MoveonOrg , because of his experience with the Swift Boat advertisements . Your use of him to defend anothers character misrepresentation based on politics fall the two wrongs don’t make a right my Mother always taught me , I guess we could share scripture but it sounds like your more concerned with political gotcha lasts.”
When the hardline neo-conservatives acknowledge that a wrong was done to John Kerry in the Swiftboat ads, then we can start a more reasoned dialog about this matter. So far, I have not seen Kevin S., Moderatelad or Wolverine denounce the Swiftboad ads. Until they do, they should be expect to be met with similar countermeasures. But don’t worry, Mick, we’re all brothers and Jesus will work it out in heaven. Hallelujah, praise you Jesus!



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Don

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:29 am


“It appears that no one complains about Football stadiums filled with crazed out fans”
>i>No one complains? No one sees sports as a kind of idolatry in the US (and elsewhere)? No one sees a problem with the kinds of earnings sports figures make? No one is concerned that the NFL plays on Sunday afternoons and that even Christians support this misuse of the Christian sabbath?
Okay, Promise Keepers was a legitimate ministry, at least to an extent. And surely some people were helped by it. But that doesn’t take away from the possiblity that the effort extended could have been more effective if done on a localized basis. And another point: is Promise Keepers still functioning? It seemed to have its moment in the sun and then faded. Sort of like a fad, wouldn’t you say?
I just found it hard to take this movement, with its sports metaphors, stadium rallies, and emphasis on emotion, very seriously. I think the Church can do better with its resources.
Peace,



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 8:26 am


Posted by: Don | September 23, 2007 2:07 PM
Don – With PK the accountability is with the local churches that continued the mission of PK by starting Men’s groups and accountability groups. I was a part of one for almost 4 years after the last PK gathering in MN.
To hear world class speakers like PK had and to be motivated to do Kingdom work in our communities – I know that our church and I as a flawed individual are better for being there.
The MN State Coordinator for NOW stated publically that she had no problem with PK and their mission.
To me the base line was finding out the will of God and becoming the best ‘servant leader’ I can be at home, church, family and community.
Blessings -
.



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Ray

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:30 am


People like Ms Bass running the Episcopal church is the reason that entire parishes are pulling out of this denomination. Such hypocrisy.



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:46 am


Posted by: TheOtherJames | September 24, 2007 6:43 AM
wrong was done to John Kerry in the Swiftboat ads
Why should what I say make a difference? I never supported the SB ads nor denounced them. The group is from what I was able to find out 65 to 70% card carrying democrates. I believe they were extreamly disappointed with Kerry for calling them ‘rapists – murderers’ etc. I do not remember them endorsing Bush over Kerry. Some may have as individuals but as a group – they did not.
Wasn’t ‘campain finance reform’ supose to take care of this??? (yup – even Helen Keller could have seen the loop holes in that legislation)
So – are you saying that ones past should not be brought up in a campain for elected office? (that could be a whole weeks blogging on that topic)
Kerry is the only cannidate in the last 30 years that has made an issues of his military record. Had he left it on the shelf – I believe it would have been a ‘non-issue’.
Politics of distruction has been going on since the Dems smelled bllod in the water during the Nixon years. They showed all of us that it works and now – look what we have. This next Pres. Election I believe will be great fodder for the Leno – Letterman crowd and I take no pleasure in saying that.
Later -
.



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Don

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:02 am


“People like Ms Bass running the Episcopal church…”
Ummmm, Ray, what position of authority does DBB hold within the Episcopal church?
D



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:14 am


Dear site monitor,
Did you lose my post from yesterday?
Or haven’t you showed up for work yet?



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:15 am


The Senate vote on the MoveOn ad demonstrates yet again why Congress has such poor approval ratings.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid should never have allowed this silly bill to reach the floor for a vote.
The Senate has far more pressing problems to debate, such as; “How will America ever escape from the quagmire in Iraq?”
More evidence of Harry Reid’s weak leadership is how he handled the bill to restore habeas corpus and Jim Webb’s bill to ensure that troops returning from Iraq have a reasonable period of rest before they are redeployed. Both of these bills have clear majority support in the Senate.
Republicans threatened to filibuster these bills so Reid caved in and allowed them to go to a vote.
What Reid should have said is, “So you want to filibuster these bills? Go right ahead and filibuster, we’ll watch you do it.”
Americans would have been treated to the spectacle of Republican hypocrites making fools of themselves on CSpan.



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:19 am


Does anyone actually read the posts that have been:
“held for approval by the site owner”?
If so, how about a little feedback?



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TheOtherJames

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:00 pm


“Why should what I say make a difference? I never supported the SB ads nor denounced them.”
Nor should we denounce any ads,however unfair, toward those to whom you are sympathetic.



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:14 pm


“First she was outed by Libby, Armitage, and Rove at least and clearly with Cheney’s participation.”
Only in the hyperactive imagination of the left-wing blogosphere is this true. She was outed by Armitage, and accidentally at that. Nobody thinks that Armitage outed Plame to execute a political vendetta, so the remainder of the narrative is pure fiction.
“So Kevin, what is your brave history in VietNam?”
Wasn’t born yet, and again, the chickenhawk argument has no merit.
“You who are so willing to restate the attacks on Kerry without evidence.”
There was no evidence for anything that you posted about Libby. But Kerry empirically fabricated anecdotes about his military service. Were the Swift Boat ads unfair? Sure, but Kerry is the one who made them stick.



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Don

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:35 pm


“Kerry is the only cannidate in the last 30 years that has made an issues of his military record. Had he left it on the shelf – I believe it would have been a ‘non-issue’.”
Gotta agree with Mod-lad on this one. Kerry’s acceptance speech at the 2004 Dem convention gave the swift-boaters their opening. If Kerry had done what he should have done–focused his campaign not on his own military record but on Bush’s rather dismal record–we probably never would have heard of the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.” And Kerry would probably be president right now.
D



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Moderatelad

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:48 pm


Posted by: TheOtherJames | September 24, 2007 12:00 PM
Nor should we denounce any ads,however unfair, toward those to whom you are sympathetic.
One was on a Canidate for Pres and it was an election. The other was against a General testifing to the Congress. Not an ‘apples to apples’ compairson.
The better example in my book is what some conservative publications and radio personalities were doing to Dem’s during the Clarence Thomas hearings. Then Bush #1 asked them to stop and they did. And they were just reposting what Dem’s had said and done in the past that they were faulting Thomas on. They were not making up large ‘opinion’ ads and putting them in print.
Blessings -
.



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justintime

posted September 24, 2007 at 1:39 pm


Thanks to the site monitor for finally putting up my Sunday PM post – see above.
Now what do you think was the reason this post was held back?
Maybe it was an automatic spam filter deployed over the weekend?
If so what were the settings?



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:33 pm


I’m curious… had the Senate supported a resolution denouncing SB Vets for Truth in support of Kerry, would Sojo have posted a similar article condemning the Senate for “playing politics”?
Perhaps, but I have my doubts.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm


Other james said
When the hardline neo-conservatives acknowledge that a wrong was done to John Kerry in the Swiftboat ads, then we can start a more reasoned dialog about this matter.
Me
I doubt that “Other James” . Because you are relying on what others say about John Kerry or what others say about a General in order for yourself to be fair to either . Your ability for a rational debate with me relys on others ?
The General was also picked unanimously by a democratic controled Senate . Served in Bosnia with Honor under another Administration. The General is doing what the President is asking him to do , the beef is with the President .
James Said
So far, I have not seen Kevin S., Moderatelad or Wolverine denounce the Swiftboad ads. Until they do, they should be expect to be met with similar countermeasures.
Me
Well I always thought the Swift Boat ads were unfair
Kerry was not a good candidate , and his testimony before Congress about Vietnam and throwing away his medals were Passionate Youth discretion in my opinion . I think he goofed making out to be the war hero . But yikes , he served honorably and served his nation .
Other Jame s
But don’t worry, Mick, we’re all brothers and Jesus will work it out in heaven. Hallelujah, praise you Jesus!
Me
Ahh , I guess my thing is I am praying that it will be on Earth as it is in Heaven . but it is interesting that you confess that your fairness to other people rely on strangers . Kind of stange that you are making fun of someone who trys to base all his actions on a God in the Bible , while you base your actions on people you disagree with aqnd do not even know .



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snooky325

posted September 24, 2007 at 5:01 pm


“You will know them by the fruit they bear, a good tree will bring forth good fruit and evil tree that which is evil,” “Out of the abundance of the heart speaks the mouth,” as Christ lambasted the so called “elite” the “movers” and “shakers” of his day so we are warned to be circumspect in what is said to whom? “Fear not him that can kill the body, but fear him that can kill the body and destroy the soul in Hell.”
snooky325



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TheOtherJames

posted September 25, 2007 at 6:04 am


“I guess my thing is I am praying that it will be on Earth as it is in Heaven . but it is interesting that you confess that your fairness to other people rely on strangers . Kind of stange that you are making fun of someone who trys to base all his actions on a God in the Bible , while you base your actions on people you disagree with aqnd do not even know.”
You are not unreasonable in interpreting it that way. At the end of the day, some of us get really tired of people who profess to be Christians and will not dialog in good faith. It makes one want to leave the title of “Chrisitian” (and probably the faith too) to them and go find another group of people who acts in good faith.



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sally

posted September 25, 2007 at 11:10 am


I wonder if Rush Limbaugh no longer takes credit for using that term “betrayus”. Personally I think Moveon.org was a bit in your face on this ad. I think also the meat of the article was correct. However, the bruhaha in Congress over this ad is way beyond the pale. I wonder why they couldn’t vote in the positive to censor the swift boat ads of Kerry and McClellend. Brings up hypocrisy, paranoia and the first amendment I guess. No, James, Kerry is not the only one who has brought up his military service and no he should not have. It is rage number one everytime we have a candidate. You either did or didn’t or sat it out somewhere. Let me see, Dole mentioned it alot, McCain mentions it and actually rode in on his service time, Webb, etc. It is more telling that Bush took 4 days to respond to Katrina but about one hour to respond to this ad. I like DBB’s style and philosophy and her books, but the tone on these posts seems to be that the conservatives are very afraid of the progressives and maybe the progressives are really tired of the conservatives. Beats me!



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Conrad Steinhoff

posted September 25, 2007 at 12:25 pm


Can some of you PLEASE stop using the “comments” to engage in taking pot shots at one another? It is extremely tedious and irrelevant. It undermines the value of the comments column. I urge you to keep your comments focused on the essay to which you are invited to respond, in this case Ms. Bass’s “Turn the Other Cheek.” If some of you start in on me, I promise to turn the other cheek and ignore you.
Conrad Steinhoff



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carl copas

posted September 25, 2007 at 1:45 pm


Still waiting for the Republican Party to apologize for the shameful hatchet job it did on Max Cleland, a Vietnam veteran who lost 3 limbs in combat. When that happens, then I’ll get exercised over the Petraeus/Betrayus issue.



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bren

posted September 25, 2007 at 4:33 pm


In all the to-do about the MoveOn.org ad, people seem to be forgetting that the first wrong was committed by the President. Gen. Petraeus is a military man; he should never have been asked to make a political statement. Ask him to comment on military readiness or military goals? Fine. Ask him to comment on the (non-military) readiness of Iraqi leadership? Wrong Wrong Wrong.
As for the Republicans jumping on the MoveOn ad, I think they were jumping for joy. After having suffered so much reduction of popularity in recent months, they just salivated at the prospect of attacking a group that is known to support the Democrats. Condemn the Democrats because of the company they keep! Of course, they would never condemn the Republicans because of the lobby groups and Wall Street donors company that they keep!



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 25, 2007 at 7:40 pm


“Condemn the Democrats because of the company they keep! Of course”
Bren that is exactly what the republicans did .
Sort of guilty by association . Evangelicals are mostly racist , liberals support special rights and you get talking points about Pelosi in a parade with a known child molester advocate , or you get Newt cheating on his wife and the left condemining his ideas on that basis , tap danicing in bathrooms , all as away to make your view point to become stronger .
The democrats lost on this one , common sense says the advertisement was out of line .
Don’t you see it here all the time ?
Paris Hilton as an excuse to tax those with higher incomes , whats wrong with admiting some people with higher incomes worked very hard for it ? Why should it matter that some rich people are sleaze bags ?
Thats politics , and from my own experience when I was very involved , it is hard to live for Christ and be involved . Which I guess is why I wish better qualified people who know the Lord would get involved . Sorry but Jim Wallis disappointed me , and I for one wish he did not . We have a leadership drought in my opinion .



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:01 pm


As for rich people working very hard, religiously dedicated to their task of making money, we envision the deathbed scene of the rich man with his waiting relatives gathered around, to hear him gasp his last, “Should… have spent… more time… at the… office…”
Not!
Seriously, although Bill Gates once said he had better things to do than attend church on Sunday – it was of more benefit for him to count his investments then instead – is it really the height of the Protestant ethic to become a workaholic?
Are we a nation with the soul of a church – to quote Chesterton – but the around the clock work hours of a whore?
The truth of work and wealth is this: it’s possible to work really hard and remain poor, to work little and become rich, or to work little and become poor or even work hard and become rich. Or anything in between. The certainty is this: regardless of the effort put forth, the majority doing so will not become wealthy.
Wisdom as well as health and luck are as important as anything else, and even then, you might find you were blessed not to become wealthy, or wish you had not.
As Pink Floyd didn’t quite put it, “the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Isn’t that America’s particular weakness?
Jesus had an infinite amount of love to give, yet his wealth wasn’t that of money stored up, which can so quickly be lost.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 25, 2007 at 9:30 pm


N.M
But what about the person who does not work hard and does not spend his time with his family . Gates is quite popular around here where I live , he also gives more money to the poor then some countries spen on their poor . And some people may actually feel like their work is God’s work , I know my wife feels that way in her ministry of DayCare/Preschool . Far from getting rich from that though , but heck if their was money in that would be OK with God I am sure .
But I do get your point , but not the stereotype . Edison was a worker bee, so was many people who have contributed to us as a people . The older I get the more I value my time with my family , especially my wife . But I guess I just don’t feel the need to promote a negative view of someone who does not share that view , kind of feel bad for them really .



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted September 25, 2007 at 11:40 pm


I think we clamor too much for “Christian politicians.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Christian politicians and I certainly tend to support the Christian over the non-believer in politics.
However. That’s not particularly important in the long run.
To wit, a little TS Eliot from “The Idea of a Christian Society.”
“…even if, in the present conditions, all persons in positions of highest authority were devout and orthodox Christians, we should not expect to see very much difference in the conduct of affairs. The Christian and the unbeliever do not, and cannot, behave very differently in the exercise of office; for it is the general ethos of the people they have to govern, not their own piety, that determines the behavior of politicians.”
“It is not primarily the Christianity of the statesman that matters, but their being confined, by the temper and traditions of the people which they rule, to a Christian framework within which to realise their ambitions and advance the prosperity and prestige of their country. They may frequently perform un-Christian acts; they must never attempt to defend their actions on un-Christian principles.”



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N.M. Rod

posted September 25, 2007 at 11:46 pm


A lot of Gates’ charity is an investment and confers substantive tax advantages as well as good publicity rather than unheralded giving of the sort that Jesus said was the only worthwhile kind.
You might remember that during the anti-trust trials emails were publicized from him that were the most abysmal expressions of greed, as well as chair-throwing episodes over the increasing amounts of money he wanted to charge for Windows by pressuring suppliers with hardball tactics.
Right after that, he strategically withdrew from being CEO to Chairman, and then set up his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Microsoft’s employee relations have been none too good, either. Although it touted its generosity to employees in the language of “millions of Microsoft millionaires,” the reality was it used mostly subcontractors and temporary employees who got no benefits, although they worked permanently for years at the same positions. This was finally decided after years of legal appeals in favor of the de facto employees.
Additionally Microsoft is one of the biggest users and promoters of both offhoring and the H1B worker visa, which is really a kind of indentured employment which substitutes low-cost temprorary foreign workers for more expensive US residents.
Mr. Gates, after decades of fighting his original partners, some into bankruptcy, was finally forced to settle with them by paying a huge but undisclosed amount to them. The issue was his essential dishonesty in wresting control of the operating system away from them by misrepresenting its value in the five figure range immediately before contracting it for millions with IBM.
I will note that through personal experience as an IT executive with a major United Way agency, Microsoft’s programs for charities practically end up creating more expensive paid business for Microsoft, since your charity must purchase additional resources to make full use of those obtained at the reduced rate. Additionally, Microsoft’s egregious licensing policies forbid transferring software licenses along with donated used computers, making them useless to the recipient.
Anyhow, at this point, I do not think the purpose of the charities is to help Mr. Gates “die poor,” as another successful entrepreneur mentioned by Sojourners had as her aim.



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TheOtherJames

posted September 26, 2007 at 6:45 am


“Sorry but Jim Wallis disappointed me , and I for one wish he did not . We have a leadership drought in my opinion . ”
I see just the opposite. What has nearly caused me to lose my faith is the blind support of the war that so many religious leaders lent. At least we have one voice stating that there is an alternative. Thank God for Jim Wallis and Sojourners. I don’t know where we would be without them.



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canucklehead

posted September 26, 2007 at 6:08 pm


>>>Thank God for Jim Wallis and Sojourners. I don’t know where we would be without them.
Posted by: TheOtherJames | September 26, 2007 6:45 AM
In Iran, North Korea, Greenland…



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