…but not all people of faith, even in the USA, are card-carrying right-wing Republicans. It is good to see this acknowledged this morning on Truthout: Religious Left Gears Up to Face Right Counterpart. However, I do tend to sympathise with Jim Wallis of Sojourners, an organisation I greatly respect:
Those on the right say they are not worried by the left’s activism. Richard Land, president of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, said, “The religious left is a shadow of what it was in the ’60s.”
“I’m quite confident that in the struggle for hearts and minds, we’ve got a lot more boots on the ground than they do.”
Amid the war of words, some clergy are making a point to steer clear of labels. Rev. Jim Wallis, who heads a faith-based group in Washington called Sojourners, has been widely viewed as part of the religious left. Yet he rejects the name and preaches the need to bring the nation to “a moral center.”
“I’m an evangelical Christian who thinks that justice is a biblical imperative,” said Wallis.” The monologue of the religious right is finally over and a new dialogue has just begun.”
You may recall I heard Jim Wallis when he came to Sydney, and was mightily impressed. See also Independent Christian Voice, though I am sorry to read there that they can no longer keep up. I hope they might change their minds and post occasionally at least.
The Poet has sent something from Tom Paine: The Rome Fiasco by Chris Toensing.
As Hezbollah fights on, some backers of Israel’s campaign are urging that hope give way to hopeless cynicism, and that Washington promise Syria renewed hegemony in Lebanon in exchange for Syrian help in disarming the Shiite movement. Such a deal would certainly give new meaning to this fine phrase of Rice’s: “I have no doubt there are those who wish to strangle a democratic and sovereign Lebanon in its crib.” But the Bush team is nothing if not stubborn; Syria will remain out in the cold.
If Rice truly wants to tackle “root causes,” of course, she could approach Damascus and its erstwhile Lebanese ally from a different direction. (Now that would be a surprise.) In conjunction with pressure on Israel to stop its offensive and work out a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah to stop the rocketing, the U.S. could offer to jump-start direct talks between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967. The U.S. could press Syria officially to cede the Shebaa Farms–an Israeli-occupied mountainside along the Syrian-Lebanese border–to Lebanon, so that Israel could then withdraw and satisfy Lebanon’s last territorial claim against it. Particularly if all this happened against the backdrop of reinvigorated negotiations on the Israeli-Palestinian front, Hezbollah’s militia would lose its raison d’etre.
There must be an unconditional ceasefire in Lebanon, Gaza and Israel, followed by an expeditious revival of serious work toward a comprehensive Middle East peace. All of this is urgent for enduring security for all concerned.
All of which sounds reasonable to me.