The Common Good

God's Politics

God in a Brothel: These Children Have Names

God in a Brothel isn’t about nameless, faceless children. It’s about real children — children with names, personalities, and potential as specific and precious as those belonging to the children you and I know. But, unlike the kids in our lives, these children have been kidnapped or sold into slavery by adults who should be their protectors.

In some cases, traffickers visit poor, rural settings in their own countries and convince parents to allow their daughters to accompany them back to a city where, the parents are told, the girls will be given well-paying and respectable jobs. The girls are then kidnapped, often across national borders, and sold into slavery.

Other parents deliberately choose to sacrifice one or more of their children and sell them into slavery in order to provide for other children at home.

Still others function as their own children’s pimps.

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Faith and Politics: New "American Values Study" Shows a Nation Divided

 
The 2011 American Values Survey -- a large annual survey exploring important issues at the intersection of religion, values and politics -- released this morning (11/8) by the Public Religion Research Institution, highlights American attitudes on equal opportunity and inequality, the Mormon question in the 2012 election, and attitudes about the Obama presidency. "We are witnessing the emergence of a generational fault line over what constitutes a good society," said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. "Seven-in-ten of the Millennial generation believe that society would be better off if the distribution of wealth were more equal, while a majority of seniors disagree."
 
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From Jim Wallis to Billy Graham, on His 93rd Birthday: "Thank you!"

Billy Graham has always been a life-long learner, passionate about preaching the gospel but always ready to understand more about what that gospel means in the world. It was never surprising to me that this southern born and raised American evangelist decided early on to insist on preaching only to racially integrated coliseums and crusades, when many others just went along with their culture. Later, as a result of falling in love with the new congregations we was preaching too in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, had a "change of heart" on the nuclear arms race-which we featured in a cover interview with the evangelist in Sojourners magazine. Billy Graham has also been willing to admit his mistakes and grew from them, which is something all of us as "leaders" need to constantly learn from. And while a conservative evangelical all his life, Graham was never drawn to the hard edged and politicized fundamentalism of the "Religious Right" but instead often winced at them.

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The Afternoon News

U.S. foreign aid and the 2012 budget. Most Republicans want someone other than Romney on the GOP presidential ticket. OpEd: A year from the election, how does Obama measure up? Thanksgiving week discussion on faith with the GOP presidential candidates. President Clinton defends Perry on immigration. Recent poll says 62 percent believe the war in Iraq wasn't worth fighting. "Wall Street resurgent prosperity frustrates its claims, and Obama's."

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Jim Wallis and Gary Bauer on CNN's "State of the Union" Discuss Religion and the 2012 Election

On Sunday morning (11/6), Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," with American Values president Gary Bauer and host Candy Crowley to discuss how religion will affect the 2012 General Election.

On the blog, view video of Jim's appearance, in two parts.

Part 1:

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Chris Hedges' Occupy Wall Street Statement

Chris Hedges' statement on Occupy Wall Street read in part:

As part of the political theater that has come to replace the legislative and judicial process, the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to a $550 million settlement whereby Goldman Sachs admitted it showed "incomplete" information in marketing materials and that it was a "mistake" to not disclose the nature of its portfolio selection committee. This fine was a payoff to the SEC by Goldman Sachs of about four days' worth of revenue, and in return they avoided going to court. CEO Lloyd Blankfein apparently not only lied to clients, but to the subcommittee itself on April 27, 2010, when he told lawmakers: "We didn't have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients." Yet, they did.

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The Morning News

Protesters encircle the White House. Democrats get blow-back over outreach to religious voters. Catholic bishops to Penn State: Call the Cops. GOP candidates on the issues. Rick Perry's faith journey leads to presidential run. E.J. Dionne on the politics of the "heavenly and unheavenly". Alabama immigration law crippling farms. Immigration focus of Arizona recall election. Living with homelessness.

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Listening to Veterans

Despite all that I knew 40 years ago about the policy and politics of the Vietnam war, I learned much more by simply listening to veterans. Late at night, often in bars, I heard about the war from the experience of those who fought it. And that taught me more than everything I had ever read. With tens of thousands of vets coming home from Iraq in the next two months -- and many more returning from Afghanistan over the next two years -- we'll have plenty of opportunities to say thanks, and then just listen.

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You Make Me Almost Want To Be a Christian

I always notice something when speaking to a mostly secular audience. Many people have been so hurt or rejected by the bad religion in which they were raised or have encountered elsewhere over the course of their lives, and, quite understandably, they are skeptical and wary of the faith community. But when someone looks like a faith leader (this is where the ecclesial robe helps ) and says things that are different from what they expect or are used to, their response is one of gratitude and the moment becomes an opportunity for healing.

After I spoke Sunday and joined the circle around the White House, person after person came up to me to express their thanks or simply to talk.

My favorite comment of the day came from a woman who quietly whispered in my ear, "You make me almost want to be a Christian."

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The Morning Sojo: November 7, 2011

A round-up of recent Op-Ed columns from the mainstream media.

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