The Common Good

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post Press Items
After an official investigation, the Vatican seems pretty upset with the Catholic Sisters here in the United States. They have reprimanded the women for not sufficiently upholding the bishops' teachings and doctrines and paying much more attention to issues like poverty and health care than to abortion, homosexuality and male-only priesthood.
Today, the Supreme Court is hearing a case about the constitutionality of Arizona’s anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070. It will be months before the case is decided but a broad spectrum of the Christian community already has their minds made up. This legislation is not just ethically bankrupt but undermines basic Christian values and American ideals. The court will decide whether it is legal, but it is already clear it isn’t moral. We are both evangelical Christians. One of us is white and one of us Hispanic. It is our common faith commitment, not the color of our skin, that unite us on the need for comprehensive immigration reform and in opposition to patchwork punitive legislation like we have seen in states like Arizona and Alabama.
Wednesday afternoon the Nebraska state legislature approved a bill (LB1161) that will allow Nebraska to proceed with a $2 million study to find a route for TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through the state. Gov. Dave Heineman is expected to sign the measure into law. It's a case of Big Red going for the black by jeopardizing the green. But what does this mean?
A 2010 study conducted by the Paul B. Henry Institute showed that while 44 percent of evangelical pastors said they publicly supported a political candidate in the last election, 40 percent of mostly liberal mainline protestant pastors said the same. Progressive Christian author Donald Miller shamelessly campaigned for Barack Obama in 2008, and Jim Wallis gave the Democratic weekly radio address after the 2006 midterm elections. They certainly have the right to engage in such things as private citizens, but as Christian leaders, must also recognize the implications of their actions. 

When we last spoke we talked about what it takes to create a movement -- to move from addressing isolated incidents (the "Underground Railroad") to creating a cultural shift ("Abolition"). Obviously, it takes a change of heart and mind. But as Jeremiah Wright quoted Jim Wallis at the National Press Club, "We haven't confessed of racism, much less repented."
"There is a way to reduce the deficit and ensure that those who are struggling get the helping hand they need," said Lisa Sharon Harper, director of mobilizing at Sojourners, a progressive Christian nonprofit.
The other day I took a break from work to grab coffee with a friend. As we paid for our cups I turned to my friend and said, casually, "What are you doing for Lent?" We're both interns at Sojourners, a Christian organization, so this wasn't a totally odd question. Her face lit up. "I have so many ideas," she blurted out with enthusiasm. "I want to give up sugar, and credit-cards, and alcohol and I want to stop looking in the mirror. I want to get up early every morning and pray before work and exercise and--"
"It will be so nice to be back at the Oscars. It's such a fun night," Hart told USA Today. "The last time I was there was in 1959, when I was a presenter. This will be different." Back then, Hart was a 21-year-old rising starlet who had already starred in films alongside Elvis Presley, George Hamilton and Montgomery Clift, USA Today reported. A few years later, she was at the peak of her acting career on the trail of a seven-figure contract, and was happily engaged to Los Angeles businessman Don Robinson. But by then Hart's feelings about Hollywood had already started to change, a shift that began some years before when she was performing in a Broadway play , Sojourner reported.
Last week Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced a bill (S. 2041) that would give Congress the authority to approve the controversial transcontinental Keystone XL pipeline, without the President's approval. Forty-four Republicans and three Democrats signed on as co-sponsors.
While the National Prayer Breakfast and People's Prayer Breakfast events may seem opposed, they actually share supporters. The National Prayer Breakfast has been protested in past years as a symbol of Washington influence and for its alleged ties to violent anti-gay legislation in Uganda, but the event draws a mix of liberal and conservative clergy and policymakers. For example, Jim Wallis, the well-known evangelical who is founder of the progressive Christian organization Sojourners, plans to attend the Hilton breakfast. But his organization, which runs a magazine by the same name, is also sending a reporter to the People's Prayer Breakfast. And J. Robert Hunter, one of the few members of The Fellowship who has frequently spoken in the media about the breakfast, said in an interview that he donated $100 to the alternative event. Merritt confirmed the donation.