| QUOTE OF THE WEEK|
"We do worry about miscalculations. That's one of the reasons we want to be transparent on the radio and be talking to them a lot."
- Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which because of the close quarters of the Persian Gulf must be in near-constant communication with Iranian counterparts. The exchanges are generally described as "professional and courteous."(Source: Los Angeles Times )
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Sanctuary Breaks An Unjust Law
by Alexia Salvatierra
Why would a congregation risk prosecution to provide sanctuary to an immigrant family? Why would a pastor decide that people who have broken laws deserve protection, support, and advocacy?
When I was doing missionary work in Southeast Asia, I attended a service in a language that I didn’t speak. At a certain point, I discerned that they were saying the Lord’s Prayer. It was an amazing moment; I felt the depth of our connection as brothers and sisters in Christ, beyond all of our differences. When we got to the line, "Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors," I was struck by the insight that one of the deepest roots of our connection is the common experience of God’s mercy. While we were yet sinners ... while we did not deserve forgiveness ... before we had any capacity to repent ... someone loved us enough to die for us. Someone had compassion on us—literally "com" (with) and "passion" (feeling)—someone felt with us, felt our pain as if it was his pain, our hopes and dreams as if they were his hopes and dreams.
Sanctuary is an act of compassion, an expression of mercy. It is, however, not mercy at the expense of justice. Participants in the New Sanctuary Movement believe that our current immigration system is profoundly unjust—so unjust that we believe that we are facing one of those unique moments throughout history when divine law and human law are in conflict, and God’s justice demands that we stand with those who break unjust laws even at the risk of sharing their punishment. Sanctuary is not only about mercy; it is also about justice.
But for many of us, the decision to provide sanctuary is rooted in the impulse of the heart to love as we have been loved—to hear the cries of Liliana and Joe and Mae and Jose and Juan and Jean’s children and respond with compassion.
Yet, the act of sanctuary is more than simple charity. What we do with someone who has broken into our house only to go on to clean it, take care of our garden, remodel the deck, watch over the children, and cook us dinner? We read in Hebrews that those of us who provide hospitality have entertained angels unaware. To offer sanctuary is to recognize that the strangers in our midst are blessing us, in clear and mysterious ways. May we respond with the hospitality that we have received.
Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is the executive director of CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice), an organization of religious leaders in Los Angeles county who support low-wage workers.
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Logan Laituri: Vatican to Venerate Conscientious Objector
In a few months, the Vatican will beatify a fellow conscientious objector who stood for peace over prejudice, humility over arrogance. Like a growing number of servicemen and women in our modern conflict, this soldier of conscience would not bend to demands that he serve the country’s militaristic intentions. He faced accusations of cowardice and outright treason, even of threatening national security. The book In Solitary Witness, by Gordon Zahn, revealed that Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, was beheaded by the Third Reich in August 1943 after refusing to serve in the German army. The Catholic Peace Fellowship reports he will be beatified on October 26, 2007, in his home country, and provides information on how Jägerstätter and countless other Christians have chosen conscientious objection, often in the face of significant harassment from Christian and secular critics alike.
Ryan Rodrick Beiler: Reality Check
Reading about the Republican Party's crumbling support for the Iraq war (a few years late and many billion dollars short), two quotes jumped out at me: "I fully understand that when you watch the violence on TV every night, people are saying, 'Is it worth it, can we accomplish an objective?'" Bush told a Cleveland business group. ... [W]hy do Bush's comments on the war so often reference the "violence on TV"—as opposed to violence in Iraq?
Jesse Holcomb: If a Glacier Falls and No One Hears It...
As global warming changes the landscape and seascape of our planet in a way that feels as permanent as it does ominous, people are already finding ways to remember the natural world as it once existed, or at least bear witness as it changes. In Greenland, glaciers are melting fast, too, reports The Washington Post. One woman marvels at the fact that global warming seems to have left a permanent mark on the island. "Already we are starting our sentences by saying, 'In the days when it was cold ... We're starting to talk about it like it was history, and it's only been about five years."
Jim Wallis: 'Peace Cannot Simply Exist as an Ideal'
Last week, in a little-noticed story, a group of Catholic members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking the bishops to help mobilize the church toward ending the war in Iraq. ... The members explained: "We have taken great comfort in the prophetic words of many Catholic leaders, relied on them for inspiration during our deliberations, and welcomed them in helping shape policy. If we understand the Catholic tradition correctly, thoughtful Church leaders around the world do not believe that the war in Iraq meets the strict conditions for a just war or the high moral standards for overriding the presumption against the use of force. We agree and seek an end to this injustice."
Gareth Higgins: Live Free, or Watch 'Die Hard'
Great helicopters and explosions abound, the witticisms are barbed, and the cinematography is silver-grey in Die Hard 4.0 (or Live Free or Die Hard, depending on which empire you see it in). I was tired to start with, but the film couldn't wake me up. I vacillated between being bored and horrified, as Bruce Willis yet again stands in for the lone American male whose first resort is always violence (in the first film he was the archetype of a Vietnam War vet, assailed by terrorists on the one hand, and a frustrating civil service bureaucracy on the other; this time he clearly represents the guy who'd go to Iraq just because it's the right thing to do, even though he knows the government sending him is corrupt).
Valerie Weaver-Zercher: Suburban Spirituality
Prompted by the ubiquitous bracelets and bumper stickers, many Christians are asking (or being annoyed by) the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" Thanks to the creative folks at the Evangelical Environmental Network, we’ve also been encouraged to ask, "What Would Jesus Drive?" So here’s another pithy iteration to ponder: "Where Would Jesus Live?" If you’re like most Christians concerned about justice and peace, "the suburbs" would probably not appear in your answer. You might say the city, where Jesus could minister to the poor and the oppressed and walk downtown to preach to corrupt politicians. Or perhaps you think of the country, where he and his disciples could raise organic tomatoes and share their free-range chickens with the hungry. But Jesus in a split-level, mowing his lawn on Saturdays and waving to the neighbor kids on their trampoline? Hmmmmmm....
Jill Rauh: A Fox in the Hen House
Putting in charge of the World Bank, as that anti-poverty organization's board recently did at the U.S.'s behest, is a bit like making a power company lobbyist the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality - oh, wait, we've already done that. The problem with Zoellick is that he was formerly the U.S. trade representative - head of the agency responsible for mercilessly "negotiating" trade agreements or, more accurately, strong-arming weaker countries into accepting agreements focused on widening market access for U.S. corporations, often at the expense of their smaller competitors.
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