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JudyM's Journal - Archives
Posted by JudyM in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue May 23rd 2006, 04:49 PM
I attended the "Spiritual Activism Conference" in DC last week and left feeling inspired with hope that if we on the Left improve our efforts to talk "values" in the public sphere we can win over a lot of voters. The basic premise of the conference is that politicians who believe in progressive values should be putting those values right out there for everyone to hear, and that we should be doing our part to support them in that effort. Politicians have difficulty articulating these values (compassion, kindness, ecological conservation, peace, etc) because they are 'soft' rather than 'tough,' and so are fodder for ridicule from politicians on the Right, who couch their 'values' in terms that are based on the 'realities' of a bottom line based on economic efficiency and the like.

We've all heard the Right's rap about how the Left doesn't stand for anything, we're flip-floppers, etc so many voters in the middle feel that only the Right is really concerned about values, and they vote for those politicians who at least seem to stand for something. This seems idiotic to me, but apparently a lot of people vote republican for this reason. However, as we all know, the Religious Right is not really articulating authentic spiritual values; those values instead underlie the policies of the Left.

The conference was an effort to articulate a "new bottom line" and empower and mobilize people to 1) effectively lobby their elected representatives to vote according to progressive values and 2) form groups within their own communities to disseminate info and become activists in promoting candidates and legislation consistent with these new bottom line values.

In fact, most of the 1200 conference attendees went to their representatives' offices on Thursday for face to face meetings set up in advance by the conference organizers. I observed this to have been a powerful transition point for most everyone, few of whom had ever even contacted their elected reps in the past.

In the various speeches there was actually little talk of religion -- just emphasis on those values of compassion, etc. This was appealing to me, as a pretty much secular person. Yet there was a broad diversity of spiritual background represented both among the speakers and attendees: from evangelist to secularists to native American and other earth-based religions. Everyone was speaking the same language of peace and compassion.

A Jewish woman from Iran spoke about her hardships, another native woman from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge area (for whom English was a second language) talked about the vanishing animal life, a hip-hop rapper touched the crowd with periodic interludes focusing on these values issues and war, global warming, etc., a guitarist and conga player sang rousing rhythmic stories of experiences in war-torn Iraq, Arun Gandhi, Holly Near, Cindy Sheehan, and others urged us to think about how we can change the world one step at a time if we work together. There was such an inspired feeling of hope. Of starting to believe that we have not gone too far down the path with * to make it hopeless to take steps to return. A sense of a possible global community of peace, of caring for the environment, of turning part of our GNP toward the problems of poverty and hunger rather than feeding it all into the military.

Ultimately, the conference was about focusing each of us on having the courage to maintain a high moral vision, and to work for this despite the cynical Right's argument that it's not realistic to run the world on compassionate principles, that efficiency is instead paramount. My own hope is that enough people will still believe these values matter -- enough to join this grassroots movement.

You can read more of the specifics of the group's platform at www.spiritualprogressives.org
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Posted by JudyM in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Mar 21st 2006, 08:02 PM
from the Religious Right. Just came out in Feb. Talks about *our* values in a counterpoint discussion to the twisted angry punitive religious right. The book sets out the platform for this relatively new, growing movement being championed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives, who are also having their 1st national Conference on Spiritual Activism in DC this May.

http://www.tikkun.org/community/spiritual_... /

I saw him speak recently and as of last week I'm volunteering to help get this movement noticed. Cindy Sheehan, Richard Gere, Gandhi's grandson, many others are already on board.

More here: http://www.spiritualprogressives.org /

Looking (and grateful!) for anyone who's interested in helping in any way.





Read entry | Discuss (1 comments)
Just Released: This can change the entire "values" dialogue for the better!


Click here <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect... > before you buy from Amazon.com, and DU gets a share of your purchase!
Watch Vid of Michael Lerner; Reviews of The Left Hand of God
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"The blueprint for the next stage in the spiritual development of our planet." Deepak Chopra

"Michael Lerner is the most prophetic intellectual and spiritual leader of our generation. We ignore his wisdom at our peril!" Cornel West, author of Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism

"An insightful, inspiring book by Rabbi Lerner that can put America back on track." Arun Gandhi, president, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi

"A social thinker with impeccable liberal credentials -- he's a Berkeley-based rabbi, sometime Hillary Rodham Clinton guru and the editor of Tikkun magazine ... The Left Hand of God ... serves the vital purpose of articulating a progressive religious alternative to the conservative flavor of religion that has dominated American politics and society for the past 30 years." Washington Post (Amy Sullivan)
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