The Common Good

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post Press Items
In February, I got an email with the subject line: Re: LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION. I assumed it was spam. But nope, it's legit. Facebook users filed a lawsuit against FB charging that the "sponsored stories/ads" were a violation of privacy. Judge Seeborg agreed. The settlement is for $20 million! (That's a lot of "likes.")
John McCain angrily insisted on "right" and "wrong" answers to his questions of Chuck Hagel yesterday. As a theologian and a religious leader, I want to say that John McCain is "wrong.
Pastors, parents, and people of faith -- they can make the most difference in this country. We have seen it just this week on immigration reform. On Monday, in a breathtaking display of bipartisanship not seen for years in our dysfunctional capital city, Democratic and Republican senators unveiled their plan for fixing the horribly broken immigration system -- which their partisan irresponsibility caused. It was quite amazing, really. The very next day, President Barack Obama announced his commitment to and principles for comprehensive immigration reform amid a cheering crowd of young people in a Las Vegas high school gymnasium.
In the past 20 years, the world has witnessed the death of social contracts. We have seen a massive breakdown in trust between citizens, their economies and their governments. In our own country, we can point to years of data painting a bleak picture of the confidence Americans have in any of our traditional institutions.
Tuesday was the 84th birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I don't know about you, but I miss his words, so I offer a few. King said "people often hate each other because they fear each other, they fear each other because they don't each other, they don't know each other because they cannot communicate, they cannot communicate because they are separated." I would add to his words: 'and in that separation they seek guns.' As an evangelical Christian, I'm going to make this theological.
Prominent evangelical leaders announced a new effort Monday to persuade conservative Christians and lawmakers they should support overhauling U.S. immigration laws.
This week, World Relief, as a member of the Evangelical Immigration Table, launched the "I Was A Stranger" Challenge, the largest grassroots effort to mobilize thousands of evangelicals on the issue of immigration. The Challenge encourages individuals, students, pastors and legislators to go back to the root of their faith and have Scripture inform their attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy. A short video with some of the most prominent evangelical leaders in the country reading from Matthew 25 which says "I was a stranger, and you invited me in" was launched this week to help mobilize Challenge participants in churches, campuses and across the country. Armed with a simple bookmark listing 40 verses of Scripture related to immigrants, participants are invited to read one passage a day to inspire discipleship.
The group, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, is holding a press conference Tuesday at the United Methodist Building, which is just around the corner from the White House, and delivering a letter to President Barack Obama and Congress signed by 40 national religious leaders urging action on guns.
A coalition called Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, which came together after the shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) two years ago, has drafted a public letter to President Barack Obama and Congress with the following three legislative demands: require a criminal background check for every gun sold in this country, ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime. Coalition members are holding a press conference on Jan. 15 to release the letter and to urge action.
We must be very careful about bringing theological judgments to political ones. Most policy decisions are prudential judgments -- compromises between two political parties, neither of which represents the kingdom of God. But sometimes, political ideologies come to a place where they so clearly threaten the well-being of so many and the very foundations of the common good that they must be challenged by theology. This is a moment like that.