Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival


World’s Religious Leaders Mourn the Obama Escalation in Afghanistan

posted by Michael Lerner

Many of the world’s religious leaders in attendance at the
Parliament of World Religions taking place in Melbourne, Australia, 
are in partial mourning for the dream of a new world that President
Obama promised, and decisively torpedoed in his announcement of major
escalation of military forces in Afghanistan.
 
For political
activists, the issue is often framed in terms of Obama’s failure to
learn the lessons of Vietnam: one cannot win a war against a
population that has been fighting for many decades for its own
independence. No matter what America’s stated war aims, the people of
Afghanistan perceive the American  military presence as generating far
more violence and destruction than they faced before the U.S. got
involved.
 
For feminists anxious to protect the rights of
women, the capitulation to Islamic fundamentalism in its treatment and
denial of rights to women by  the current Afghani government which
America is pledged to support undermines any picture of the US actually
providing a long-term strategy that would defend women’s rights.
 
And
for working and poor people in the US who are told that serious health
care reform would not only hurt the interests of the health insurance
corporations and the medical profiteers (poor dears!) but also increase
the deficit at a time when it must be reduced, the willingness to put
hundreds of billions of dollars into war making with the deficit
suddenly forgotten makes many wonder about distorted priorities once
again.
 
For the religious leaders of the world assembled in
Melbourne Australia for the Parliament, all these issues are quite
salient. Yet what comes most directly to mind for many is the
fundamental warp in the Obama Administration’s understanding of what
could actually succeed in  providing homeland security.
 
One
reason many global religious leaders celebrated the outcome of the 2008
election was the perception fostered by the Obama campaign that the new
President really understood that militarism and the use of force to
achieve American objectives should be relegated to the dustbin of
history, at least until every non-violent strategy has been
exhaustively tried. We believed we had heard a clear message that Obama
recognized the need to end global poverty and the suffering it has
generated as the first step that must be given time to work before
military options are embraced.
 
That approach was given teeth by
the vice chair of the Progressive Caucus of the House of
Representatives, Keith Ellison,  who has worked with the Network of
Spiritual Progressives to develop a Domestic and Global Marshall Plan
(DGMP). The  DGMP would have the US take the leadership in bringing the
advanced industrial societies of the world to commit 1-2% of their
Gross Domestic Product each year for the next twenty to once and for
all end global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education
inadequate health care, and to repair the global environment.
 
It
seemed obvious to religious leaders that the meltdown of the global
economy and the obvious role played by the ethos of selfishness and
materialism presented the new President with a once in a lifetime
opportunity to remake the global economy in ways that would
redistribute wealth to the poor, thereby generating the very consumer
demands that could rebuild the global marketplace by taking the monies
that were not being spent and putting it in the hands of those whose
immediate needs for food, clothing, housing and basic material needs
would generate a global economic revival and end unemployment.
 
But
the only way that could happen would be for the Obama Administration to
have put its full energy behind a new approach to homeland security.
Obama would have had to teach Americans that lasting security could
come from generosity, whereas the strategy of domination of others had
proved futile and a guaranteed loser.
 
Even when Obama started
pouring trillions into the hands of Wall Street banks and investment
firms there was still a hope in the religious world that he would
remain faithful to the peace-oriented insights he had articulated
during his campaign.
 
No wonder then that the global religious
leaders convening in Melbourne are expressing dismay to each other.
They have long known what Obama seems not yet to have absorbed in a
serious way: that the path to peace must be a path of peace, and that
you cannot bomb and kill your way to security. This simple insight is
the one thing shared by most of the world’s religious traditions, and
it is to testify to the path of peace that thousands of religious
leaders are assembled here to affirm  a truth that Obama and the world
must take seriously,.
 
Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun
Magazine www.tikkun.org, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives
www.spiritualprogressives.org, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in
San Francisco, California. He is the author of 11 books, most recently
The Left Hand of God (Harper San Francisco, 2006) a national best
seller in the U.S.
 
If you agree with this perspective:

1. Send this to everyone you know

2. Attend the Tikkun Conference to “Support Obama to BE the Obama
Americans Voted For”  *in San Francisco, University of San Francisco,
mini-conference, President’s  Day, Monday, February 15, 2010  *in
Washington D.C.  Full conference  June 11-14, 2010.  Put aside the
dates now. More info: 
http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php?story=june2010conference

3.  Join the Network of Spiritual Progressives  www.spiritualprogressives.org
 



Advertisement
Comments read comments(3)
post a comment
Brian Griffith

posted December 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm


These days we don’t have much state vs state warfare. Instead, we have armies and air forces trying to act as police forces to catch criminal gangs. There’s at least four problems with this.
First, the firepower of modern armies and air forces is as great a danger to civilian populations as it is to the criminals.
Second, criminal gangs are social networks. They don’t need territorial bases to operate, so the efforts of conventional armies to take and hold territory is largely irrelevant.
Third, military action against criminals throws out the principles of due process in a criminal justice system. If we make criminal justice into warfare, it’s kill first and ask questions later.
Fourth, we would never tolerate armies in our streets to wage war on the criminals in our own cities. It’s hypocrisy to feel we should support that in other countries.



report abuse
 

Mere_Me

posted December 7, 2009 at 10:18 am


There is propbably no greater hypocrites on earth than these so-called religious leaders.
Why are they not going TO the Taliban and Al Queada membership and demanding that they stop all of the religious murder and war on people that oppose and denounce the Islam they peddle?
It’s sickening how apathetic these so-called religious leaders really are.
Where’s a whip when you need one? These “leaders” need to be driven out of their places of nice dinners and chatty conversations.



report abuse
 

Brian Griffith

posted December 8, 2009 at 9:59 am


Dear Mere,
I suppose you are free to launch your own beating and whipping initiative, if you feel it will help inspire greater compassion.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Progressive Revival. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Faith, Media and Culture Prayer, Plain and Simple Happy Blogging!!!  

posted 2:50:10pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Jews Around the World are Praying for the Victory of the Egyptian Uprising
Originally appeared on Tikkun Daily BlogEver since the victory over the dictator of Tunisia and the subsequent uprising in Egypt, my email has been flooded with messages from Jews around the world hoping and praying for the victory of the Egyptian people over their cruel Mubarak regime.&nb

posted 1:48:39pm Feb. 01, 2011 | read full post »

When Generosity, Love, and Kindness are Public Policy, the Violence We Saw in Arizona will Dramatically Diminish
The attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords and the murder of so many others in Arizona has elicited a number of policy suggestions, from gun control to private protection for elected officials, to banning incitement to violence on websites either directly or more subtly (e.g., Sarah Palin

posted 2:44:04pm Jan. 19, 2011 | read full post »

The Spiritual Messages of Chanukah and Christmas -- and Their Downsides
Christmas and Chanukah share a spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope in a world of darkness, oppression and despair. But whereas Christmas focuses on the birth of a single individual whose life and mission was itself supposed to bring liberation, Chanukah is about a national

posted 12:59:53pm Dec. 02, 2010 | read full post »

Obama (and Biden) Have No Clue About What's Bothering Their Political Base
Shortly before the California Democratic primary in 2008, the San Fransisco Chronicle invited me to write a short article explaining why I, chair of the interfaithNetwork of Spiritual Progressives, was supporting Barack Obama. Like most other progressive activists, I understood that a pres

posted 1:44:11pm Sep. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.