The Common Good

Fearing for my children's future

Sojomail - January 29, 2003


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+++++++++++++++++++++ 29-January-2003 ++++++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++ Fearing For My Children's Future ++++++++++++++

 Q u o t e   o f   t h e   W e e k
     *Peter Gomes: Oil and revenge

 B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
     *I fear for my children's future

 P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
     *Why war with Iraq is not inevitable

 B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
     *The world says no to war

 S o u l   W o r k s
     *Thomas a Kempis: Lighten your load
 F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
     *Everything I need to know about life
      I learned from Noah's ark....
 B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
     *U.S. schools returning to racial segregation

 B o o m e r a n g
     *SojoMail readers hit reply
 C u l t u r e   W a t c h
     *Google versus evil

 W e b s c e n e
     *Pray the news
     *Parody of the SUV
     *The un-Hollywood film reviews

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

"I demand a better excuse than revenge or oil for the prosecution of a war that is likely to do more harm than good, that will destabilize not only the region but also the world for years to come, and that will confirm...our country's reputation as an irrational and undisciplined bully."

- Rev. Peter Gomes, Baptist minister, Plummer professor of morals at Harvard, and Republican. He gave the blessing at Reagan's second inauguration and preached at George Bush Senior's inauguration service.

Read Peter Gomes' essay, "Patriotism Is Not Enough," in the Jan/Feb issue of Sojourners magazine:


B a t t e r i e s   N o t   I n c l u d e d
I fear for my children's future

by David Batstone

President George W. Bush promised to make the world a safer place in his State of the Union address last night. Sadly, his bravado made me want to hold my children tighter in fear of the future.

Bush assumes that bombing Iraq back to the Stone Age (just as we did to Afghanistan; if Bush wins a second term, he may successfully push all of civilization back to the era of dinosaurs...) will deal a serious blow to terrorism. Ostensibly, Iraq is aiding and abetting al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Dismantling the Iraqi regime, the Bush logic goes, is a necessary step in ending the threat.

Didn't we hear this same message shortly before the invasion of Afghanistan? Can we honestly say now, a year later, that the world is a safer place? The agents of death devastated innocent lives in Bali and Kenya post-invasion. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and al Qaeda seems none the weaker.

There's more reason to believe that a strike against Iraq will fuel the growth of terrorist groups. Even though Iraq is more or less a secular state, Islamic groups that are already alienated will see the U.S. attack as a call to arms for holy battle.

How can we simply ignore the lesson of Israel that is right in front of us on the contemporary historical stage? For each strike that Sharon launches against the Palestinian people, commando groups strike back with deadly force. The cycle of violence serves to strengthen the extreme ends of the political spectrum. Politically marginal groups gain more recruits and sympathy to their desperate struggle, while moderate civilians become ever more dependent on the strong man who will make their society safe and secure.

No, President Bush, your message does not comfort me. You are polarizing the world - with us or against us; 'old' Europe and 'new' Europe; 'axis of evil' and fighters for freedom. I fear that my children - and the children of the world - will get caught in the middle once the shooting starts.

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The drums of war are beating, and Sojourners is at the
forefront of the resistance. To bolster our organizing,
mobilizing, and publicity efforts, we have several new
job openings: 

Campaign Organizer
Communications Manager
Business Manager

Go to
for more information. Sojourners is an equal opportunity
employer. Women and persons of color are especially
encouraged to apply.


P o l i t i c a l l y   C o n n e c t
Why war with Iraq is not inevitable

Institute for Policy Studies analyst Phyllis Bennis whipped out 12 Talking Points on why war with Iraq is not inevitable.

*The inspectors still have found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. Even with access to some of Washington's intelligence supposedly proving the presence of WMD programs, inspectors have not found any evidence of a viable WMD program. The dozen or so empty shell casings found may represent a technical violation, but they are not evidence of any viable chemical weapons program. The U.S. still refuses to simply turn over all the intelligence information it claims it has to the U.N.

Check out the other 11 Talking Points at:


B u i l d i n g   a   M o v e m e n t
The world says no to war

At the European Social Forum, anti-war organizations in 11 European countries agreed to demonstrate against Bush and Blair's war on the same day: 15 February 2003. They have been joined by anti-war coalitions in the U.S.

Coming to a city near you: New York, Oslo, Berlin, Ramallah, Rome, Cairo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Glasgow, Manila, Amsterdam, Paris, Athens, Antwerp, Skopje, London. The first "stateside" quarter-size palm cards (flyers) for the international Feb. 15 anti-war rally are available at:

For more information:

In Europe:
In the U.S.:


S o u l   W o r k s

"Love makes everything that is heavy light."

- Thomas a Kempis


F u n n y   B u s i n e s s
Everything I need to know about life
I learned from Noah's ark....

1) Don't miss the boat.
2) Remember that we are all in the same boat.
3) Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
4) Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
5) Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
6) Build your future on high ground.
7) For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
8) Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
9) When you're stressed, float a while.
10) Remember, the ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
11) No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.


Speak out! Mobilize peaceful and prayerful rallies 
in your community. Order protest signs and declare, 
"War is Not the Answer."

Signs are 9" x 12" and laminated (7 mil) for all-
weather use. Includes wooden "paint" stick for 
assembly. Only $4.95, not including shipping and 
handling. Order additional quantities and receive 
a bulk discount!

Go to or call (800) 714-7474.


B y   t h e   N u m b e r s
U.S. schools returning to racial segregation

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, ordering U.S. schools to desegregate. After nearly 50 years of progress in that direction, U.S. schools appear to be reversing course, veering again toward segregation. A new report from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University notes that black, white, and Latino students are increasingly attending schools in which their racial group is a majority - a situation researchers warn could reverse the gains made by educating students in a diverse setting.

Significant findings:

*The data show the emergence of a substantial group of American schools that are virtually all non-white, which the researchers call apartheid schools. These schools educate one-sixth of the nation's black students and one- fourth of black students in the Northeast and Midwest. These are often schools where enormous poverty, limited resources, and social and health problems of many types are concentrated.

*One ninth of Latino students attend schools where 99-100% of the student body is composed of minority students.

*Whites are the most segregated group in the nation's public schools; they attend schools, on average, where 80 percent of the student body is white. The two regions where white students are more likely to attend substantially interracial schools are the South and West. Whites attending private schools are even more segregated than their public school counterparts.

To find out more, go to:

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B o o m e r a n g

Merry Stanford writes from Lansing, Michigan:

I just want to say two things: 1) I love SojoMail. It's important, and I pass it on to many others. And yes, I've made a donation! 2) Funny business, in last week's edition, "Rules to live by," was not funny. Child abuse is never funny.


SojoMail reader Susan Hunnicutt writes:

I honestly do not know how Jim Wallis could write this statement in last week's SojoMail: "Never before have the churches in America been so united on the issue of peace."

I do not believe it is true. National leaders of denominations may be in favor of peace, but they DO NOT EVEN RAISE THE ISSUE at the congregational level. Morally, this war is a total non-issue in contemporary American culture, and the failure of the churches to engage in conversation about this amounts to a deafening silence.


SojoMail reader Gwyneth Holladay writes:

I am a disabled veteran. There are many who, like you and I, do not want to go to war. I can't believe anyone ever truly wants to go to war. But I am reminded of the times God has sent his people to war. Times when he has told the leaders to fight the battles, to do what is right according to him and his agenda. I believe our prayers should be an appeal to Almighty God. We should be asking him to lead and we should be willing to do whatever he tells us to do, even if we have to march around the wall of the city for three days and on the fourth strike with as much force as is available to us.

The question isn't whether to go to war or not go to war. The question is what does God want his people to do. Then, we must do it completely and without complaint or second-guessing. I pray you will stop protesting our leaders and start asking God to lead us all and for all of us to obey him. No matter what his request. Even as we go to battle (with real guns and bullets) for his cause.


Ginny NiCarthy of Seattle, Washington, writes:

Please don't perpetuate the idea that the Gulf War is "over," and so we should "stop the [second] war before it starts." The war has continued for 12 years with bombing in the Basra area. The children continue dying from leukemia largely because of the U.S. use of DU [depleted uranium] weaponry. They continue dying from diarrhea as a result of U.S. bombing of water sources and sewage plants. And the war continues by means of Security Council sanctions - mostly U.S. imposed - against chemicals for chemotherapy and against materials for repairing sewage plants, as well as for antibiotics and rehydration medicine.

George Orwell would be impressed by the U.S. success in managing the news, which continually implies that the war is over. The most insidious aspect of it is that it will continue for years and years to come to take a toll on the lives of Iraqis and of American soldiers who fought in Iraq, even if not another bomb is dropped.


Bonnie Shullenberger writes from Ossining, New York:

I wish I could convince you people that not all violence takes place somewhere else. My daughter is under the thumb of the Texas courts, and she and my grandchildren, along with thousands of other women and children in the U.S., are at risk. Sure, it's not glamorous, and movie stars don't care, but how much more abuse does it take before Christian activists start looking at what is in their own backyards? I'm near despair.


SojoMail reader Chad Cline writes:

Sometimes it is dangerous to make broad statements, e.g. the Southern Baptist position on war.

For the record, I'm a liberal Disciple. Just interested in treating other churches as I wish to be treated.


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:



Reflection. Community. Action.

While President Bush is preparing for war in Iraq, many
people are left feeling betrayed - wondering if peace and
justice are possible in this world. Sojourners has been
organizing groups - on college campuses, in churches, and
in local communities - to address this fear through
discussion, prayer, and direct action. Join people in your
community grappling with these and other issues.

A new group has formed in Ithaca, New York! If you live in 
the area and wish to join the group, please contact:

Betsy Yavits:

If you are interested in participating in a SojoCircle, either
as a leader or a member, contact us at
To find out more about SojoCircles or to see a complete list
of those already formed, visit: or call 1-800-714-7474.


C u l t u r e   W a t c h
Google versus evil

by Josh McHugh

The world's largest and best-loved search engine owes its success to superior technology and a simple rule: Don't be evil. But Google now struggles with a moral compromise that may be the cost of doing big business. Read more at:


W e b s c e n e
This week's best of the Web

*Pray the news

A beautifully designed and informative site maintained by a group of Indianapolis-based Carmelites - most of them in their 70s. In addition to various resources for a contemplative lifestyle (you can even light a "virtual candle"!), they upload a news story and each nun's reflections and prayers about it each week.


*Parody of the SUV

Give yourself a chuckle break at this tongue-in-cheek take on SUVs.


*The un-Hollywood film reviews

Very thoughtful film reviews of movies that promote spirit and art on the screen. Don't expect to find "Dumb and Dumber" here!


To make a secure donation to support our work, go to:


Get the online version of SojoMail with clickable contents:

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