The Common Good

Getting food to the Afghan people

Sojomail - December 5, 2001

               
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+++++++++++++++++++++++ 5-December-2001 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++ Getting food to the Afghan people +++++++++++++++++++

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 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Middle-aged blues...

 H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
     *U.S. military policy hinders food distribution

 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *American public: hello security, goodbye civil rights

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *Extremists only winners in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

 S o j o C i r c l e s
     *Rabbi to launch SojoCircle in Jerusalem

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *U.S. ambassador to Pakistan joins in Ramadan fast
     *Ramadan readings: Week 4
     *Beginning of Hanukkah: Sacred lights

 B i z   E t h i x
     *Faith-based investing big on Wall Street

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

 E c o N e w s
    *Are latté liberals dropping their SUVs after 9/11?

 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Attack of the war flicks

 W e b   S c e n e
     *Five Advent calendars on the Web
     *Holiday shopping with a conscience
     
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Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Middle age is when you choose your cereal for
the fiber, not the toy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

H e a r t s   &   M i n d s
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
U.S. military policy hinders food distribution

by Jim Wallis

Today I spoke with Ken Bacon, president of Refugees
International. He told me there is now enough food in
place to feed hungry people in Afghanistan, but banditry
and the lack of security on the ground is preventing its
distribution. The U.N. and relief agencies report that
routes are either blocked or sporadically interrupted
due to the violence and chaos of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

In northern Afghanistan, where the largest number of
hungry people are - particularly around the city of
Mazar-i-Sharif - the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs
reports a situation that "remains very unstable" with
reports of continued fighting and looting. For the period
of November 15 to December 15, the U.N. says, less than
20% of identified food needs have been met. Two million
people are estimated to be vulnerable.

Last week, a number of allied governments, including
Britain, France, Canada, Turkey, and Jordan were preparing
to send peacekeeping forces to help stabilize the situation
and permit the safe passage of food before winter
arrives completely. The Northern Alliance, now nominally
in control of northern Afghanistan, agreed to allow these
forces in. It was the obvious solution - a multinational
force to ensure safe passage of food.

But that peacekeeping force has been blocked. The U.S.
Central Command's General Tommy Franks, in charge of
the war, ruled that these forces might hamper U.S. military
operations and vetoed the deployment. Why? According to
a "diplomat representing a U.S. ally" quoted in The
Washington Post, "General Franks is very much in charge
of everything, and he doesn't want to have to worry
about a multinational force. The U.S. has one goal:
attack al Qaeda and get the job done. They're not too
worried about the rest of it right now."

If the U.S. doesn't want an international force, are
we offering to provide protection for relief distribution
ourselves? No, the U.S. government is focusing on the war.

This is morally outrageous. The U.S. doesn't want any
other force in the country, won't help with food
distribution itself, and is now standing in the way of
feeding starving people.

I ask each of you to write to President Bush, urging him
to support the necessary multinational peacekeeping force
to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan so that hungry
people can be fed. There are millions still at high risk,
winter snows have arrived in many locations, and every
day lost could cost lives. Tell the president to act now.


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B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
American public: hello security, goodbye civil rights

Is the government "doing enough" to protect the rights of
Arab-Americans and American Muslims?

Yes: 73% 
No:  19%

Do you favor the Justice Department's plan to interview
some 5,000 Middle Eastern men who've arrived in the country
in the past two years?

Yes: 79%
No:  19% 

Do you think non-citizens charged with terrorism should
face a military tribunal rather than an ordinary criminal
trial?

Yes: 59% 
No:  37%

Do you think it "should be legal" for the federal
government to wiretap conversations between terrorism
suspects and their lawyers?

Yes:   73% 
No :   24%

Do you think the government is justified in detaining
about 600 people in its investigation of the September
11th attacks, most of them for overstaying their visas
or otherwise violating immigration laws?

Yes:  86%
No:   12% 

*Source: The Washington Post. Poll taken week of November 25th.

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B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Extremists only winners in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

by David Batstone

Hard-line ideologues on both sides of the Israeli-
Palestinian divide are pushing the conflict to the
brink of full-scale war and anarchy. It's a high-
stakes game, winner take all, the extremists
knowing only a politically radicalized citizenry
bent on revenge are willing to let them play by
their own rules. 

I recall clearly the pit in my stomach on November
24. I had just read the reports in my morning paper
covering two violent events in the West Bank/Gaza
region. Five Palestinian children were killed in
a booby trap bomb placed by the Israeli army near
the Khan Yunes refugee camp. Recriminations and
denials followed, but they were drowned out by the
brazen assassination of a Hamas leader, Mahmud
Abu Hunud, struck down by an Israeli helicopter
gunship attack. I put the newspaper down, turned
to my wife, and said, "What could they be thinking?
The Israelis must know that this will lead to a
terrible retaliation on their own people." And
that's the point, the strategists behind this
act do know.

This last weekend, the penny dropped. Hamas and their
colleagues in arms carried out callous attacks in
Jerusalem and Haifa, the most calculated target being
a popular youth hangout where 10 people were killed.
The message: for every tear you make us cry for our
children, we will make you shed two. We all braced
for the inevitable Israeli response, swift and brutal.
Yet again, we were not disappointed - the
logic of this game of terror is deadly consistent.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, the two most prominent
terrorist Palestinian networks, view retaliation by the
Israeli military as playing into their hands - the more
brutal, the better. They believe it will lead to a deep
alienation of more moderate Palestinians who live in Israel
and the mobilization of Arabs and Muslims worldwide to their
cause. A similar strategy was unveiled to me when I was working
in El Salvador a decade ago. Marxist guerrillas supposedly
"fighting on behalf of the poor" forbade my community
development group from initiating a farming project,
because "any progress in the livelihood of the poor will
make them less likely to join the revolution. We want
an alienated populace."

Ariel Sharon and his terrorist network - "secret operatives"
functioning under the guise of an army - hope for the
permanent Israeli control over the West Bank and the expulsion
of the Palestinians, whether by death or dislocation. Can
anyone doubt that recent events have been coordinated to
coincide with America's "war on terrorism?" Sharon has
long been a proponent of Israeli settlements in Gaza,
and Israel's annexation of the West Bank. Moderate and
liberal Israeli movements have stymied these aims; that is,
up until now. After all, who can calmly speak of peace
when you're under "terrorist attack?" The conditions
are ideal for Sharon and his allies to pursue their aims.

Why is it that my opinions sound so outlandish here in
America? In Jerusalem this week, Shimon Peres and his Labor
colleagues - who participate in the ruling coalition -
walked out of the Israeli parliament over Sharon's refusal
to enter into peace negotiations, opting instead for a
military retaliation on the West Bank. And last Sunday,
Yediot Achronot, Israel's largest circulation mass newspaper,
with right-of-center politics, foresaw this past weekend's
suicide bombings as the totally predictable result of
the assassination of the Hamas leader - and condemned
the act. Just hours before Sunday's suicide attacks,
the newspaper said, "The coming act of retribution...
is now "in the air."

Indeed, all of us can see where this cycle of revenge
is taking us. Question is, who has the courage to
step in and take away the controls from the extremists?


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S o j o C i r c l e s
+++++++++++++++++++++
Rabbi to launch SojoCircle in Jerusalem

Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom, a founder of Clergy for Peace,
an interfaith initiative for justice and peace, lives
in Jerusalem and pursues a study fellowship on Islam
and Judaism at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Rabbi
Milgrom is launching a SojoCircle in Jerusalem in an
attempt to promote a spirit of dialogue and cooperation
in a very tense political environment.

SojoCircles are local study groups that meet monthly
(more or less) for discussion and social connection.
New groups are forming all over the world...why don't
you join in? Listed here are the new groups for this
week:

Jerusalem, Israel: Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom, abu-maor@inter.net.il
Glasgow, Scotland: Pam Swift, pamswift@lineout.net
St. Albans, England: Simon Hudson, simon.hudson1@btinternet.com
Sheffield, England: Les Smart, les_smart@hotmail.com
Portland, OR: J. Fischer, jfischer@teleport.com
Denver, CO: John McKiernan, m3jmck@aol.com
Middletown, CT: Kenneth Humphrey, kumfry@yahoo.com
Las Vegas, NV: Bob & Connie Shelley, shalleb@earthlink.net
New Bern, NC: Gary Roth, Standrew@coastalnet.org
Evanston, IL: Mary Townsend, MaryATo@aol.com
San Antonio, TX: Susan Ives, suives@texas.net
Dallas, TX: Nelda Reid, Neldareid@aol.com
Midland, TX: Dennis Bade, dbade@stlukesumcmidland.org

A complete list of SojoCircles is now online at:

http://www.sojo.net/get_connected/index.cfm/action/sojocircles.html

If you can't find a SojoCircle in your area, why not
start one? To become a group leader contact us at
sojocircles@sojo.net, or call: 1-800-714-7474.

*************************************************************************

 A MORAL RESPONSE TO TERRORISM: CONSCIENCE IN A TIME OF WAR

 A new study packet by the editors of Sojourners magazine.
  
 This 5-session, 48-page study guide - designed for use in
 classrooms, Sunday school sessions, small groups, and study
 circles - is now available. For a table of contents or
 to order your copy, go to:

 http://www.sojo.net/feedtheafghanpeople/index.cfm/action/study_guide.html

***************************************************************************

S o u l   W o r k s
+++++++++++++++++++
Respect Ramadan

U.S. ambassador to Pakistan joins in Ramadan fast

The United States ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy
Chamberlin, is fasting during the Islamic holy month
of Ramadan. Embassy spokesman John Kincannon said
that Chamberlin, a Christian, wanted to understand
better what Muslims experience during Ramadan, and gain
a sense of the spiritual values that the holy month
reflects. Chamberlin was appointed ambassador just
before the September 11th attacks.

-----------

Ramadan readings for Week 4
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The fourth week's readings are selections from the Quran.
The full text is included.

December 7 - Quran Surah 1: 1-7
December 8 - Quran Surah 2: 183-185
December 9 - Quran Surah 39: 68-70

To find the text for these readings, as well as
a list for the entire week of Dec. 7-15, go to:

http://www.sojo.net/feedtheAfghanpeople/index.cfm/action/ramadan_readings#2.
html

-----------

Beginning of Hanukkah: Sacred lights
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

by Rose Marie Berger

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish "Festival of Lights,"
falls on December 9 this year. It is a time that
commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem
following its destruction in 164 B.C. At that time,
according to legend, the one-day supply of oil the Jews
had for the Menorah miraculously kept the lamp lit for
eight days. According to the story in the first book
of the Maccabees, Judah proclaimed an eight-day
festival to be celebrated with mirth and gladness.

The lighting of the Menorah, known in Hebrew as the
hanukiya, is the most important Hanukkah tradition.
The Hanukkah lights are kindled at sundown, and each evening
one more candle is lit with a special blessing: "We
kindle these lights to commemorate the saving acts,
miracles, and wonders which You have performed for our
ancestors, in those days at this time, through Your
holy priests. Throughout the eight days of Hanukah,
these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to
make use of them, but only to look at them, in order
to offer thanks and praise to Your great Name for
Your miracles, for Your wonders, and for Your
salvations." As ancient Israel knew, it is essential
for the soul to have beauty. We must have some things
in our lives that are for beauty alone; not to be
used. The face of someone you love; the glory of an
oak in its full fall color; a single candle
shimmering for the pure joy of it. And when we are
completely filled with the divine fire there is only
one thing left to do: Become pure flame.

****************************************************************************
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B i z   E t h i x
++++++++++++++++++++
Faith-based investing big on Wall Street

by Anthony C. LoBaido

Faith-based mutual funds are those that invest only in
companies that fit a certain set of moral criteria, thus
ensuring the investor that his money is not benefiting
firms engaged in activity he would find morally
questionable. How big is the faith-based investing
movement? Almost $1 out of every $8 managed by professional
money managers is invested under faith-based criteria.

Beginning in January, faith-based investing exploded on
Wall Street, with over a dozen new faith-based mutual
funds launched this year alone. Other funds related to
an investor's particular worldview include funds for
homosexuals (the Meyers Pride Fund has $12 million in
assets), women's rights funds, environmental funds, and
animal rights funds. This type of investing is known as
SRI or "socially responsible investing." By the year 2000,
there were 175 SRI funds worth about $1.49 trillion.

Some of the more lucrative funds have been set up for
Islamic investors, concerned about following Shari'a law
and the need for Muslims to avoid investments in the
areas of alcohol, tobacco, gold, silver, gambling,
pornography, and pork. One of the biggest Islamic funds is
Permal's Alfanar Investment Holdings, which fully complies
with Shari'a law and is worth more than $300 million.
The Saudi Economic and Development Corp. is Permal's
overseas Islamic partner.

Mennonites use MMA Praxis. Evangelical Christians have
been leaning toward the Timothy fund based in Winter Park,
Florida, worth about $54 million, and the Noah fund.

Mindful of investment guidelines published by the National
Conference of Catholic Bishops in the early 1990s, Schwartz
Investment Counsel, Aquinas Funds, and Catholic Values
Investment Trust for Catholics cater to Catholic
constituencies. 

Richard Roth, a British stockbroker, says that faith-based
investing is likely to continue to grow in the future. "My
clients are not nutters; they are intelligent men and women.
But most of them would like to see big profits without the
accompanying guilt that is the baggage of investing in
things they would normally disapprove of," he said.

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B o o m e r a n g
+++++++++++++++++

Katherine Loy Stadler, founder/CEO of Bone Cancer
International Inc., writing from Newbury Park,
California:

I'll tell you how I react to all the reading I am doing
about the USA, war, Muslims, intrigue, etc.: Overwhelmed!

Then I move on to getting on with what I see as my
'heavenly assignment' (Bone Cancer International, Inc.)
in the twilight of my years  - here on this earth-y plane.
Although the task I am directing my energies to seems
bigger than I, the perspective that, yes, I may make a
difference here in this activity gets me back to knowing
that I have a purpose and can make a difference. So I keep
on keeping on, knowing that human history per se has
always had such goings on - hatred, war, terrorism -
which make the headlines and history books along with
smaller yet brilliant bits of light called "Love thy
neighbor as thy self."

---------------

Elizabeth Fisher of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, wrote:

Thank you for the article on stem cell research. As
a Christian, and the mother of two daughters with
insulin-dependent diabetes, I find I am quite
divided on the subject. I abhor the idea of mass
producing stem cells by harvesting eggs and fertilizing
them - which, inevitably, a medical business would do.
But I am also acutely aware of some real ethical
arguments in the other direction - and have a
personal stake in such research. I find the whole
subject ethically difficult - not one where I can say,
"Of course, this or that is obviously the moral choice."
I need to hear the thoughts of other Christians who
are wrestling with the problem.

---------------

Michael Danner of Metamora, Illinois, wrote:

Thanks to David Batstone for jumping into the stem cell
discussion with both feet! Certainly, what complicates
the stem cell politics is the tremendous value of the
research. To take a "blank" cell and "coax" it into
developing into whatever type of damaged cell is causing
illness is incredible. We all have visions of spinal cord
injuries healed and the steady hand of a person formerly
suffering from Parkinson's disease. Indeed, if this vision
of healing wasn't so beautiful, the issue would not be
getting as much attention.

I can certainly set aside the issue of whether or not a
woman has the right to abort a fetus she is carrying for
the sake of this discussion. What is more difficult for
me is the necessary question of when does life begin?
If life begins at conception, petri dish or otherwise,
does that product of conception, child, fetus (you choose),
have the full rights as a human being? If so, ethics for
medical research will certainly apply. Do we have the
right to experiment on a fetus because it was made in
a dish, or because, although it is life, it is not that
developed? The question of when life begins is too
important to dismiss. It is foundational.
 
It is also important as we consider the rights of
children in general and cloned individuals (looking into
the possible future). Is being small or undeveloped
reason enough to set aside human rights? Is being cloned
reason enough to set aside human rights? As nice as it
would be to be able to take issues central to the
abortion question out of the equation, in the interest
of human rights and dignity, we cannot set them aside
for the sake of our healing vision.
 
I passionately challenge the assertion that supporting
in-vitro fertilization removes all grounds for opposing
the harvesting of stem cells. Although it is exceptionally
rare for a couple to make use of all embryos that result
from the procedure, discarding embryos is not a necessary
part of in-vitro fertilization. The point that most
unused embryos are discarded speaks more to people's view
of those embryos, not to the procedure itself. I personally
know many couples who, because of their belief that embryos
are persons created, loved, wanted, and unique, have
committed to and implanted all embryos conceived in the
in-vitro process. In this act, they gave each embryo a
chance at developing further as persons. In many cases,
more embryos are created than needed for such pragmatic
concerns as cost, limiting exposure to harvesting
procedures, having spare embryos in case none survive
the initial implantation procedure, etc. If a couple is
committed to using all embryos, they can create only what
they are willing to implant. If this fails, they can
harvest more eggs and create more embryos. Yes, it is
more expensive. Yes, it takes more time. There are
people who have undergone in-vitro fertilization who
would be greatly offended by the assertion that anyone
who supports in-vitro does not believe embryos are
people and are perfectly comfortable with their
destruction and use in experiments.
 
Although a test tube is a medical instrument, what is in
the test tube is not a product of human invention. We
may be able to copy DNA in the form of a clone. We are
certainly able to combine egg and sperm in a dish. But we
need to remember that we can't make an egg from scratch
or a sperm outside of human biological processes. We
cannot make DNA in a test tube. We can only explore and
manipulate what is already provided. As a Christian, I
believe the mystery of life wrapped up in DNA, human
conception, etc., is all God-created.

-----------------

Rachel M. MacNair of Kansas City, Missouri, wrote:

The media distorts things when it comes to the war. Surely
it's no surprise that the media has badly distorted the
stem cell issue as well - and for the same reasons, to
justify the use of violence. See, for example,
http://www.stats.org/newsletters/0105/stem.htm
(relatively old, but a relatively neutral source).

Only a portion of stem cells come from embryos. We
can also get stem cells from various adult organs
and from placentas. Both sources are morally
unobjectionable. The objection has been raised
that they don't grow as well, but this turns out
to be an actual advantage. Growing too well can
mean growing like a tumor and doing harm. Adult
stem cells also have the advantage that is the
whole point of the cloning - lack of rejection as
it can be the same adult's genetic material. No need
to go through cloning procedure first. Few are trying,
except those that clearly enjoy hype.

Experiments with adult stem cells are actually further
along and show more promise at this point than the
potential of embryonic stem cells. The media hypes
up one and ignores the other.

Why? I think abortion politics is in fact the point here.
Noonan comments how the antebellem slave owners seemed
to be driven like the Furies in their efforts to get
everyone to not merely acquiesce but to positively support
what they were doing. Lincoln was quoted as saying these
people would never be satisfied until they were supported
not just in words but in actions. People who know they
are doing something wrong can be quite belligerent in
wanting endorsement from others.

In other words, the nonviolent alternatives are actually
superior to the baby-killing ones, not merely by being
nonviolent but in scientific terms as well. There is
no actual moral dilemma. God has not designed the
world that poorly.

-----------------

Leonard Campbell of Center Harbor, New Hampshire, wrote:

Stem cell research by creating life in a tube is not
acceptable. I start from the position that when an egg
starts to divide, life is present. Period. When a person
dies from natural death, life ends. Period. In between
life is precious, holy, and is to be respected as a
creation from God and as an image of God. Period.

If I were to contract a disease which could be saved by
taking a piece of another person's life, I do not want
the cure. Where does taking one life to save another
start or stop? Are we looking for a final solution?
Yes, the inference is intentional.

-----------------

Heng Sure, director of the Berkeley Buddhist
Monastery, writing from Berkeley, California:

Philip Elmer-Dewitt's  "America's First Bioterrorism Attack"
(Time Magazine, October 8, 2001) opens with: "In the fall of
1984, members of the Rajneeshee, a Buddhist cult devoted to
beauty, love and guiltless sex, brewed a 'salsa' of salmonella
and sprinkled it on fruits and veggies in the salad bar at
Shakey's Pizza in The Dalles, Oregon.... It was the first
large-scale bioterrorism attack on American soil." Though
true the charlatan Rajneesh and his misguided followers did
in fact do this, it is untrue and misleading to call them
"Buddhist."
       
The fundamental teachings of Buddhism, shared by millions
of believers through its 2500 year history, be they Thai,
Chinese, Tibetan, or American, begin with an ethical
commitment to kindness and to cherishing all life. For a
Buddhist, what one does counts more than what one professes.
Buddhist practice begins with vows to abstain from killing,
theft, sexual misconduct, false speech, and intoxicants of
any kind. Buddhist teachings on morality are not fuzzy,
do-it-yourself, or libertarian. Buddhism is not a synonym
for license. The excesses of Rajneesh's followers are simply
that: excesses of Rajneesh's followers. Not Buddhism.

It took a calamity to educate the non-Muslim world that
the religion of Islam does not encompass terrorism. After
the terrorist attacks last month the world has had a crash
course in correct reading of the Holy Koran, and what a
blessing for peace it has been to learn to appreciate and
to respect the religious faith of one billion neighbors
on our planet. Perhaps we need to learn more about
Buddhism as well.

-------------------

Kenneth J. Kistler of Park Ridge, New Jersey, wrote:

I am deeply concerned that U.S. economic and trade
interests have tended to overshadow the rising religious
intolerance against Christians throughout the world, in
nations such as China and Sudan. Though many argue that
granting permanent normal trade relations to China will
improve the human rights situation, recent reports prove
that the persecution of Christians and other religious
minorities continues to occur. In Sudan, economic
investment in the oil industry has led to further
persecution of the southern peoples by providing the
government of Sudan with newer and more sophisticated
weapons that may be used to escalate the ongoing civil war.

It saddens me that trade and economic prosperity are more
highly valued than individual human lives. Though the
United States has been outspoken about some human rights
violations, it has remained eerily silent on others,
particularly violations that occur due to religious
affiliation. I humbly ask that you would speak out publicly
against the atrocities that are being committed against
religious minorities in China and Sudan as well as in
other countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia, and Vietnam. The United States has a long-standing
reputation for advocating liberty and justice throughout
the world. Please use Sojourners' powerful voice to help
unite the church in the U.S. to eradicate this crisis
around the globe.  

--------------------

Rose Berger, assistant editor of Sojourners, writes:

Five weeks after Islamic extremists murdered 15 Christians
in a worship service, Pakistani church leaders say their
congregations fear a "Christmas bloodbath." Threats of an
attack against Christians have proliferated in Pakistan since
late October, when the al Qaeda terrorist organization
demanded the death of two Christians in retaliation for
every Muslim killed in the U.S. military strikes in
Afghanistan. Are there any Witness for Peace or Christian
Peacemaker Team-type groups who are preparing for a nonviolent
inter-positioning protection for Christians in Pakistan?
If so, email me at: 

---------------------

Celeste Kennel-Shank of Goshen, Indiana, wrote:

More than 20 students at Goshen College, Indiana, are fasting
during Ramadan. At the end of the day, we have been, whenever
possible, breaking the fast together at the cafeteria or in
people's homes on weekends. Students are joined by other
schools and churches in the Goshen area in this action. The
individuals fasting have been engaging in further study of
the religion of Islam and related culture through interaction
with Imams and academics. This past Saturday we had a meal
together. After doing some reading, we knew that we were
supposed to break our fast with figs, but all we had were
dates. Luckily, we have learned in the past few weeks not
to be picky with food.

-----------------------------

Boomerang is an open forum for all kinds of
views. The views expressed are not necessarily
those of Sojourners. Want to make your voice
heard? Send Boomerang e-mails to the editor:

"boomerang@sojo.net"

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E c o N e w s
+++++++++++++++
Are latté liberals dropping their SUVs after 9/11?

by Michelle Chihara

With all eyes on the Middle East and Central Asia,
many Americans have been reminded of our unsustainable
dependence on foreign oil. In an act of guilty patriotism,
some of them - namely, some liberals - are finally
swapping their gas-guzzling behemoths and replacing
their SUVs with eco-friendly cars.

"It's gone," says Christina Allen, vice president of
politics at Working Assets, a progressive phone service
and media company. "It was a 1999 Ford Explorer. I
wanted to sell it before Sept. 11, but then, afterwards,
it was just too much. I felt I was contributing to all
of the problems we had, with oil imports, and everything."

For more on the story, roll on over to:

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11984

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C u l t u r e  W a t c h
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Attack of the war flicks

by Patrik Jonsson

Faster than Lee Marvin could say "Dirty Dozen," Hollywood
is rounding up its good-looking troops, rallying the editing
rooms, and launching a war-time celluloid offensive.

To be sure, war movies have never gone out of vogue. From
"Stalag 17" to "U-571," Tinseltown retellings of American
derring-do are legendary - and in some cases, legendarily
profitable. In fact, many of the current releases were
inspired by the tremendous success of "Saving Private Ryan."

But more recent war films have painted a more complex,
ambiguous picture of America's wartime experiences,
including "Platoon," "Deer Hunter," and the more recent
"Three Kings," an acclaimed 1999 film that questioned U.S.
motives in the Gulf War.

But that was before Sept. 11. Now, moviegoers may prefer
"Top Gun" to "Apocalypse Now." "The general pattern is
that during the time people feel that we are at war, they
don't want to see war films," says Howard Suber, professor
emeritus at the UCLA School of Film, Theater, and
Television.

Read more at:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/1130/p1s4-ussc.html

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W e b   S c e n e
++++++++++++++++++
Advent calendars online

Five advent calendars on the Web offer entertaining
and educational ways to count down the days until
December 25.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/1204/p12s1-legn.html

-----------------

Holiday shopping with a conscience
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What do you give your socially conscious friend who has
everything? Nothing, of course. But if you're one of those
patriotic shopping types that wants to stimulate the economy
this Christmas season, here are some places to buy stuff:

Co-op America is a non-profit organization promoting
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oriented consumer in their "America's Green Pages."

http://www.greenpages.org/

-------------

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equality, human rights, education, and a cleaner
environment. 

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------------

For information on companies and industries, ratings
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is not always complete, since some companies get an
"F" on disclosure.

http://www.responsibleshopper.org

---------

GreenMarketplace.com offers an array of consciously
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---------

Contrary to conventional wisdom, socially responsible
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work, family and soul.

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