The Common Good


Sojomail - November 3, 2000

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           Promoting values at the crossroads where
           spirituality, politics, and culture meet

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 ++++++++++++++++++++ 3-November-2000 +++++++++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k
     *Be careful what you wish for...

 H e a r t s  &  M i n d s
     *How to vote?

 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Best newspaper headlines of 1999

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *Fighting AIDS in Africa
     *World Summit to End Poverty

 S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e
    *Cut and paste prayer to send to friends

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Grrrl power in New Zealand
     *The music of Dar Williams

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers hit reply

 S p i r i t u a l i t y  &  P o l i t i c s
     *20th anniversary of missioners' deaths

 P. O. V.
     *Will the Internet become just another TV channel?

 W e b  S c e n e
     *Investing money the Muslim way

 H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
     *Announcing: Summit 2001

 O n   t h e   W i r e
     *SojoNet in the national media

 O n  t h e  R o a d
     *We're coming to a town near you!


Q u o t e  o f  t h e  W e e k

In America, anyone can become president.
That's one of the risks you take.

                - Adlai Stevenson


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H E A R T S  &  M I N D S
How to Vote?

by Jim Wallis

"This is not an easy time for faithful citizenship. 
By this we mean more than people who consistently 
participate in public life, but disciples who view 
these responsibilities through the eyes of faith and 
bring their moral convictions to their civic tasks 
and choices. Sometimes it seems few candidates and 
no party fully reflect our values. But now is not a 
time for retreat. The new millennium should be an 
opportunity for renewed participation. We must challenge 
all parties and every candidate to defend human life and 
dignity, to pursue greater justice and peace, to uphold
family life, and to advance the common good."

So wrote the U.S. Catholic Bishops in their "Faithful 
Citizenship" document to the church. Since then the 
bishops have deliberately remained silent, simply urging 
the faithful to inform their consciences on a wide range of
issues and discern how they are called to vote. And 
recent polls show that Catholic voters are virtually 
even - the Washington Post/ABC poll has Gore up by 3 
percent, another shows a dead heat. 

But that dilemma of no candidate fully reflecting our 
values is not unique to Catholics. As Christians 
committed to biblical values, how do we vote? From what 
I hear and read, many of us are deeply torn by this 
election. E-mails, phone calls, and many conversations 
with friends reveal great uncertainty.

Dissatisfied with both Gore and Bush, some are voting 
for Nader. But fearing that votes for Nader will swing 
the election to Bush, some will be voting for Gore, 
especially in the swing states. Others prefer Gore, 
believing he will be more easily pressured toward social 
justice than Bush, while still others can't endure Gore's 
positions on abortion, the death penalty, or the missile 
defense shield. But while Bush may be more to the liking 
of some on pro-life and family issues (and his distance 
from Clinton's moral morass), they don't trust him to 
pursue social justice or protect the environment. 

The Catholic bishops again: "We enter the public forum to 
act on our moral convictions, share our experience in serving 
the poor and vulnerable, and add our values to the dialogue 
over our nation's future. Catholics [and I would say all 
Christians] are called to be a community of conscience 
within the larger society and to test public life by the 
moral wisdom anchored in Scripture and consistent with the 
best of our nation's founding ideals. Our moral framework 
does not easily fit the categories of right or left, Democrat 
or Republican. Our responsibility is to measure every party 
and platform by how its agenda touches human life and

But how do we make the tough choices this election day? 
I won't even try to answer that for you, but here are 
some things people shouldn't do.

1. Blame Nader if Gore loses and Bush wins. This election 
was Gore's to lose and, if he does, blame him.
2. Attack Nader voters for "wasting" their vote, if they're 
casting it for conscience or towards building a progressive 
political movement.
3. Blame Gore voters for not heeding their conscience if they 
really feel Gore can be moved toward social justice or that
the differences between Bush and Gore are substantial, 
especially for poor people.
4. Attack Bush as if he is worse than Genghis Khan, when 
there (unfortunately) might not be such huge differences 
between these centrist candidates on a number of issues.
5. Try to strike fear into the hearts of people about the 
extremists that either Gore or Bush will appoint to the 
Supreme Court, thus radically altering the future of our 
6. Write off the "compassionate conservative" Republican 
rhetoric as if it is all hypocrisy. 
7. Believe that endorsing or voting for candidates is 
more important than getting them to endorse an agenda of 
social justice.

So good luck on Tuesday, vote, and pray for your country.


              JOIN THE PARTY!! YOU'RE INVITED!  

Sojourners turns 30 next year, and we want you to come to the 
celebration!  Join us in commemorating three decades of 
building community and proclaiming the gospel.   

The celebration runs from July 26-29, 2001, at Wheaton College,
just outside of Chicago. Join us for a time of celebration and 
inspiration. CELEBRATE with our music-filled outdoor festival, 
coffeehouse, cybercafe, and even talent show!  Be inspired by 
Bible studies and workshops led by national and grassroots 
ministry leaders. It will be FUN. It will be INSPIRING. And we
will do it all TOGETHER! Mark your calendars now and make 
plans to join us next summer. Watch Sojomail for more details.

Contact Robin Fillmore Chapin at Sojourners (202) 328-8842 
ext. 212 for further info. (Note: While this event is being 
hosted by Wheaton College, it is not a function of Wheaton.)

F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Best newspaper headlines of 1999

 1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
 2. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
 3. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
 4. Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
 5. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
 6. Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
 7. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
 8. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
 9. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
10. Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
11. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
12. Miners Refuse to Work After Death
13. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
14. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
15. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
16. War Dims Hope for Peace
17. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
18. Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
19. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
20. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
21. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space
22. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
23. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half


B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
Fighting AIDS in Africa

One thousand babies daily are born HIV-positive
in sub-Saharan Africa. To combat this frightening
number, the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA)
kicked off efforts November 1 in Dar es Salaam, 
Tanzania, to help set up free distribution
of nevirapine, a drug that can lower HIV
transmission risk.

More than 5,000 people die of AIDS every day in sub-
Saharan Africa and epidemiologists say that almost
27 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are
infected with the disease. One million of those
are children. Of the 18.8 million people worldwide
who have died of AIDS, a majority of them
(11.5 million) are from sub-Saharan Africa. A study
in Uganda in 1998 showed that nevirapine cut the
vertical transmission rate of HIV from
mother to infant by up to 50 percent.

GAIA, headquartered in San Francisco, is not
associated with any pharmaceutical company.
Find out how and why top AIDS researchers and
doctors, religious leaders, concerned benefactors,
and African medical officials have joined together
to form GAIA to fight the war on HIV/AIDS:


A World Summit to End Poverty

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU)
will host a summit on ending world
poverty November 12-18 in New York
City. KWRU founded the Poor People's 
Economic Human Rights Campaign, a
national/international grassroots coalition
of anti-poverty organizations dedicated to
building leadership among the poor.

The summit offers affordable, sliding-scale
registration, housing, and food. More
detailed information and contacts, as well
as registration info, are available at:

Or call the KWRU office at (215) 203-1045

*********Sojourners Online Apparel*****************


Old favorite available in new design! Jim
Wallis' inspiring message is available with
blue, yellow, and white print on either black
or heather gray shirts.

Back reads:    Sojourners
            30 Years of Hope

Check out this and other original Sojourners
designs at:


S p i r i t u a l   P r a c t i c e
A simple prayer to pass along to your
friends (and enemies!):

Spirit of God, 

I ask you to bless my friends reading this
right now. I am asking you to bolster their
spirit at this very moment.

Where there is pain, give them Your peace
and mercy.

Where there is self doubting, release a
renewed confidence in Your ability to work
through them.

Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, I
ask You to give the understanding, patience,
and strength as they learn submission to Your

Where there is spiritual stagnation, I ask
You to renew them by revealing Your nearness,
and by drawing them into greater intimacy
with You.

Where there is fear, reveal Your love, and
release to them Your courage.

Where there is a sin blocking them, reveal
it, and break its hold over my friend's life.

Give them greater vision, and raise up 
leaders and friends to support and 
encourage them.

Give each of them discernment to recognize
the evil forces around them, and reveal to
them the power they have in You to defeat it.



C u l t u r e   W a t c h
You Go Girls!!
An interesting snippet from New Zealand...
Dame Silvia Cartwright has been named as the next
Governor-General. Dame Silvia was the first woman
in NZ to become a Chief High Court judge. Her
appointment means that all of New Zealand's top
posts will be held by women: the
Governor-General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice,
Attorney-General, Opposition Leader, and CEO of
New Zealand's biggest listed corporation.


The music of Dar Williams: a review

by Kimberly Burge

Dar Williams delves into the messiness of her
own inner life to write in a voice based in
truth. Her songs have frequently recounted
her own battles with depression, which Williams
explores without adding a layer of appeal to
the illness. The romantic image of the tortured young
woman doesn't reflect her own history.

"There are a lot of things in our culture that
encourage women to inhabit a form of disempowerment.
Coming into about not posing and about
really finding out who you are and trying to be
authentic as that person. Disempowerment is a
very sexy thing in our culture, and I don't want
to feed that machine."[]

Find the entire Kimberly Burge review of Dar Williams'
music as it appeared in the Nov-Dec issue of Sojourners at:


B o o m e r a n g

May Ailes of Fairfax, Virginia, wrote:

I enjoy receiving SoJo News very much. I enjoy
the wide variety of articles and thought-provoking
essays, as well as the humor!

But I did take exception today with the "Funny
Business, Steps to Becoming a Compassionate
Conservative, or How to Give $100,000 to Charity
Without Spending a Dime" by Joyce Timbers. I
realize that it's meant to be a satire, but
there was something about it that came across
as bitter. Also, I am a political conservative -
but like your article on the changing "religious
right," I find myself in transition as well,
which is one of the reasons I enjoy receiving SoJo
news. I am really challenged to think through
social justice issues and how issues of justice
cannot not be separated from my faith. Articles
like the one mentioned above, while I know
it's meant to be humorous, backfires on people
like me that look to your magazine as a voice
that does not ridicule others. I really see the
article as a step back toward ridicule - which
I really don't believe is your intention at all.


Sully Sullivan of South Boston, Virginia, wrote:

Compassionate you dispute this?
Are you saying there is no condescension, no power
gradient, in simply throwing cash at the problem?
If you are not for simply throwing cash (other
people's, of course), then what is the point
of your political agenda?


Paul Theis of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, wrote:

Why do Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore believe
the death penalty saves lives?  In
light of the Sept. 22 New York Times
article, "States With No Death Penalty
Share Lower Homicide Rates," what evidence
can they offer for deterrence? That brutal
dragging death in Texas was not deterred.
Life without parole keeps murderers from
causing further loss of life and respects
the fact that our criminal justice system
is not perfect.


Frank Moore, working in Mexico as part of the
Christian Peacemaker Teams, wrote:

Thanks for your continuing emphasis on
human justice as an integral part of
Christian faith and action. Martin Luther
King Jr., refused to accept a definition
of peace as merely the absence of conflict,
rather "Peace is the presence of justice."

We cannot "stop the violence" by sponsoring
more violence by the military, police, and
para-militaries. We extinguish hatred by
loving our enemies, we demolish revenge by
forgiving, we create peace by refusing to ever
harm a human being by force or by economic
domination. The only good news is always a
gospel of peace.


Juliette Hackett of Sydney, Australia, wrote:

[In response to SojoMail "quote of the week" on
10/20/2000 by Ayya Khema, a Buddhist nun].

Was Jesus still learning when He was on earth?
Did He have authority? Did He touch people's

Although God in his grace and mercy does grant
some wisdom to all people on earth, "the fear
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and
knowledge of the Holy One of understanding."
So we should not expect someone without that
starting point to be too wise.

Want to make your voice heard? Send Boomerang
e-mails to the editor: ""


S p i r i t u a l i t y  &  P o l i t i c s
Twenty Years: Presente!

On December 2, 1980, Maryknoll Sisters Maura
Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursaline Sister Dorothy
Kazel, and lay missioner Jean Donovan were
abducted on a main road leading from San
Salvador's airport by members of the U.S.-
trained and funded Salvadoran National Guard.
Their bodies were found two days later in
a shallow grave. They had been tortured and
raped before being shot to death. Their deaths
ignited a storm of international outrage, helping
to give birth to a faith-based solidarity movement
that has continued to challenge the role of the
U.S. government in El Salvador and Central America
for the past 20 years. Those who allegedly ordered 
the killings are currently on trial in Florida.

To find out more about the current court case
and to celebrate and remember these four brave
women, The Religious Task Force on Central America
offers resource packets that include materials
for liturgies, faith reflection and discussion,
an update on the murder case, action requests,
graphics, and more.

Call (202) 529-0441 or visit:


P.  O.  V.
The Telecommunications Land Rush

by Danny Duncan Collum

As we speak, a telecommunications land
rush is on to move the Internet off existing
phone lines and onto the lines used for cable
TV. The full communications potential of the
Internet can only be realized with this bigger,
faster pipeline, which will make it possible
to put out high-quality video on the Internet.
As a result, phone companies, cable providers,
Internet companies, and film and TV "content"
producers are all furiously negotiating to get
into business with each other....

The danger in this grand convergence is
that the Internet will become more and more
like cable TV. You'll be offered a bundle of
services on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. You
won't be prevented from doing your own
Web surfing, say, to check out the video of
some labor conference on globalization. But
your new friends at AOL-Time Warner can make
that competing or nonprofit video come into
your machine so slowly as to be practically
useless. And they can do the same with any
video you try to send out. They now have
the technology to do this, and AT&T is already
preventing its cable Internet customers from
sending out more than 10 minutes of video at
a time.[]

For Danny Duncan Collum's entire article as it
appeared in the November-December issue of



 The Utne Reader recently listed Sojourners as
 one of the most-cited magazines in its history.

 Why does the Utne Reader love Sojourners? Sign
 up for a FREE ISSUE and find out for yourself.

 Go now to:


W e b  S c e n e
Investing money the Muslim way

Malaysian banker Hasnita Dato Hashim
launched to help Muslims
invest in the market without violating
religious principles. The Web site screens
stocks to ensure they comply with Muslim
tenets, such as those forbidding involvement
with gambling or alcohol. Because interest is
not allowed under Islamic law, for example,
the site suggests avoiding Microsoft, which
generates more than 5 percent of its income from
investment interest.

Toss questions to Islamic scholars, who can
help resolve conflicts between religion and


H e a r i n g   t h e   C a l l
After the Election: Networking to Overcome Poverty

Summit 2001: March 18-21

Mark your calendars now for the next Call to
Renewal Summit in Washington, D.C. - an event
different in theme and structure from our
previous gatherings!

Organized around the theme "Networking to Overcome 
Poverty," the March gathering will facilitate learning
from each other, magnifying our voice, and
multiplying our impact.

Summit participants will be asked to join one
of three networking tracks: policy/advocacy,
national program management, or community level
work. Tracks will meet three times during the
conference. In additional sessions,
participants can caucus with their own
denominational or regional networks.

We hope each Call to Renewal Partner and
Affiliate will send a key representative for
each of the three tracks. The Summit will
be open to anyone who wants to come.



Workplace giving, through the Combined Federal
Campaign or United Way, is an excellent way to
support the work of Sojourners. Please designate
SOJOURNERS #2227 in the Combined Federal Campaign
and National Capital Area (Washington, D.C.) United Way.

Your gift to Sojourners will ensure that we continue
our work fighting poverty, responding to human needs,
and building communities of faith. Please give.


O n   t h e   W i r e
SojoNet in the news

The Call to Renewal "Open Letter to Presidential
Candidates" on cutting childhood poverty, with
an opening commentary by Jim Wallis, is posted


O n   t h e   R o a d
Jim Wallis heads to his home state of
Michigan for 3 events:

Detroit, Michigan
November 8, 2000

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan
November 9, 2000

November 10, 2000
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Western Michigan Summit

For more info, contact: Call to Renewal
at (202) 328-8745 or


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