Sunday, March 16, 2008

Interfaith Respect

I’ll be candid. As regards respect between faiths there is none.

We often and properly put on a face of politeness that is supported by equal measures of compassion and desire to get along, but each of us in our heart of hearts would defend his or her faith as absolutely correct and therefore, by default, all others as inherently faulty. This is quite true even among denominations within the Christian church.

A Baptist was recently quoted at our Lutheran church as having said that “Not one Lutheran is saved.” The founder of the Cornerstone Church, John Hagee, has called the Catholic church “The great whore,” “the anti-Christ,” and a “false cult system.” That’s mainstream trash talking here, we haven’t even gotten to Scientology or the Latter Day Saints. And we won't.

For my Christian brethren of such talk I say look closer, please, at the concept of loving your neighbor. And yes, allowing them to happily accept whatever afterlife they may believe in or you may believe for them but if unkind, let it slide. There’s a story of Jerry Falwell, I think, coming to a draw with a prominent Rabbi and both agreeing that they hoped to see each other on the other side, then they’d know who had it right. Chuckles, handshakes, pats on the back, making nice. That’s how to do it.

World Muslim leaders met for a couple of days last week in Dakar, putting forth a statement yesterday that condemns terrorism. The leaders of The Organization of the Islamic Conference, with 1.5 billion Muslims in 57 nations to speak for, said in the “Dakar Declaration,” “We continue to strongly condemn all forms of extremism and dogmatism which are incompatible with Islam, a religion of moderation and peaceful coexistence.” And “It’s in this vein that we support the dialogue of civilizations, … by organizing a major international gathering on Islamic - Christian dialogue that involves governments, among other players.".

That statement was preceded with several declarations of needs as regards Al Quds, those of the Palestinian people and other territorial disputes.

I wish there were an easy answer to the overlapping lands of importance to faith and it would be easy to preach it from afar, but truth is those people and those lands are really unknown to me and the wars are millennia old. As an American I say it’s not our battle. As a Christian I say it is in God’s hands, with ours unneeded.

While maintaining an acceptance of all faiths vigilance is required against those that are not accepting of others. I’d like to see a bit more of the love of Christ when hearing different Christian denominations berate each other, and I’d sure like to see the Ummah come forth even more aggressively against those of extremist views within their mosques and countries.

Because if they don’t, it’s all just window dressing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Man vs. Woman, Clinton v. Obama

I find it interesting that Barack Obama better expresses the typically female traits of nurturing, hope, pride in the group and belief in a better day while Hillary Clinton often shows the typically male traits of strength, determination, belief in self and desire to engage.

I’m not saying either is bad, just that it’s interesting that the roles seem to be switched in the current campaigns. Quite likely each campaign has had meetings about the respective natures of gender and works consciously to NOT be too much of what they are while trying harder to exemplify their opponent's traits in themselves.

That may be the cynic in me, though. Perhaps it is just who each of them is.

It's going to be a painful couple of months, folks. Let's be kind.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cleaning the House

As important as it is for a Democrat to win the presidency this fall, the House and the Senate need our attention as well.

Work, people, work. Those of us that can maintain productive conversations with people of the Republican persuasion need to actively attempt to sway them to vote for Democratic Party candidates at all levels. Here are a few pointers:
  1. The Economy – The GOP will forever favor big business and leave the small business owner in the dust of donationless requests. Democrats will use inspired programs to chase the worthy dreams of energy independence, environmental concerns and needed infrastructure improvements all of which will create jobs.
  2. Fiscal Responsibility – Democrats don’t run up deficits. Yes, taxes may be higher but the selfishness of leaving a ton of debt to our children’s children is unconscionable. Worse, deficits sell our country out to the rest of the world.
  3. End the War in Iraq – kind of a no-brainer, and truth is we will likely have forces there for some time but both Democratic Party candidates vow to bring our troops home. We support our troops without question. We do not support this war.
  4. Immigration – all current candidates favor some form of immigration solution. It is an issue only in how we build better borders and how we indoctrinate those that are here that we will allow to stay. Very simply, as Reagan realized, we can’t afford to round up and send home 11 million people.
What points might you share that we can share with others in support of a better America found through a Democratic Party majority in the House, the Senate, and the Presidency?

These are the races upcoming this fall in the Senate:

Wayne Allard (R) of Colorado
Larry Craig (R) of Idaho
Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska
Pete Domenici (R) of New Mexico
John Warner (R) of Virginia

Possible retirements
Michael Enzi (R) of Wyoming

Democratic incumbent races
Mark Pryor of Arkansas
Joe Biden of Delaware
Dick Durbin of Illinois
Tom Harkin of Iowa
Mary Landrieu of Louisiana
John Kerry of Massachusetts
Carl Levin of Michigan
Max Baucus of Montana
Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
Jack Reed of Rhode Island
Tim Johnson of South Dakota
Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia

Republican incumbent races
Jeff Sessions of Alabama
Ted Stevens of Alaska
Saxby Chambliss of Georgia
Pat Roberts of Kansas
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Susan Collins of Maine
Norm Coleman of Minnesota
Thad Cochran of Mississippi
Roger Wicker of Mississippi
John Sununu of New Hampshire
Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina
Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
Gordon Smith of Oregon
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
John Cornyn of Texas
John Barrasso of Wyoming

For Congressional information go here.

Support your local Democrats, please. Walk a neighborhood and talk the talk. Write letters that make sense.

And never forget to Hope.