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Peace & Justice

A victory for the dignity of work

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The unprecedented assault on workers’ rights now spreading across the country betrays our nation’s commitment to serve the common good and defend the dignity of work. But the National Labor Relations Board has recently taken a small but important step in leveling the playing field for workers.

From Wisconsin to Ohio to New Hampshire, political leaders have demonized unions and stripped workers of basic rights that give them a voice at the bargaining table. Teachers, nurses and first responders are the victims of an ideological agenda that hurts hardworking Americans who simply want a voice on the job.

This is nothing less than a moral failure that undermines values at the heart of our democracy and diverse faith traditions.

Tattoos, music, and 'legitimate questioning of theology'

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SILK HOPE, N.C. -- The Wild Goose Festival experiment began with big dreams and big hopes. In the festival program organizers wrote: "we want to change the world, of course; but that will only happen when we change ourselves."

As the inaugural festival wrapped up Sunday, many of the more than 1,500 who made the trek to Shakori Hills Farm, not far from Chapel Hill, may not have noticed global changes, but most left with a sense of mission accomplished.

Wild Goose dreamer and founder Gareth Higgins, who has been part of the Britain’s Greenbelt Festival -- Wild Goose’s British mother goose so to speak -- satisfied a lingering question for skeptics: “Would U.S. Christians support a gathering as eclectic and diverse as Wild Goose?”

Organizers wondered, in the U.S. -- where less tolerant, less inclusive manifestations of Christianity are abundant -- would there still be room for a festival that championed religious diversity, pluralism, the inclusion of gays and lesbians, and many open mic events where people could simply tell their stories of love, pain, rejection, faith, joy and hope?

Wild Goose Day 3: mingling of faith traditions

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SILK HOPE, N.C. -- After their interfaith panel discussion Saturday afternoon, Rabbi Or Rose and Muslim chaplain Abdullah Antepli walked side-by-side talking quietly. It was quite a site in the South -- long known as the “Bible Belt.” The pair, Rose wearing a yarmulke, had just spent an hour together in a tent with former Catholic priest and scholar Paul Knitter discussing interreligious dialogue, and what it is they admire -- even love -- about each other’s faith traditions.

Documentary exposes America's big dirty secret

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The only time that the U.S. military was used against American citizens occurred for five days in late August and early September 1921, at Blair Mountain, Logan County, W.Va. Police and strikebreakers fought coal miners who were trying to unionize. Warren Harding ordered the U.S. Army to intervene against the coal miners. Fifty to 100 striking miners were killed and almost 1,000 arrested, many of whom were tried for treason against the state of West Virginia or indicted for murder or conspiracy.

Theologians revisit the prodigal son

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Commentary

There are times when the past seems prologue. History, contained in its specific context, shatters time’s boundaries and assumes an unanticipated reincarnation. This appears to be the situation confronting our sister, Elizabeth Johnson.

As the keynote speaker at assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on Aug. 2, 2008, Johnson, a Sister of St. Joseph, spoke of the universal need to extend and accept forgiveness. Its healing grace, she asserted, enriches community.

Prominent South Korean hunger striker released

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Responding to international pressure, South Korean authorities released from prison on Wednesday a well-known film critic who waged a 60-day hunger strike to protest the construction of a South Korean naval base on the Korean island of Jeju.

Professor Yang Yoon-Mo, former chair of the Korean Association of Film Critics, was given a suspended jail sentence of one and a half years and two years probation.

Still unable to eat, Yoon-Mo, 56, is recovering in a Jeju hospital where he was visited today by Peter Kang U-il, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea and bishop of the diocese of Jeju.

Yoon-Mo protested a South Korean base where U.S. warships are expected to port. In the past, the South Korean Navy has admitted U.S. warships can visit the port but has denied it will be a permanent station for U.S. forces, or part of a missile defense program. Critics of the base say otherwise. Kyoungeun Cha of the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, writes that "Seoul plans to dock Aegis-equipped destroyers at Jeju. These warships are the main military component of the U.S. missile defense system." For more on the U.S.-South Korean alliance at Jeju see Cha's article.

Yoon-Mo was arrested April 6 while he and other residents of Gangjeong village impeded construction of the base by locking themselves to earth-moving equipment.

Religion professors discuss sources of violence

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- There's a conventional wisdom when it comes to the difference between religious and secular institutions, says William Cavanaugh: "Religions are more prone than secular institutions to violence."

Just call to mind your history lessons of the so-called religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. Or current images of violence in the Middle East.

But those images don't capture the whole picture, the DePaul University theology professor said in the opening presentation of the College Theology Society's annual convention here last night. In fact, he argued, "There is no good reason for thinking that religious ideologies and institutions are more inherently prone to violence."

Religious leaders call a strike on tobacco

Religious leaders are hoping to hit a home run in a campaign to get Major League Baseball players to ban tobacco use on fields and dugouts of the national pastime.

More than two dozen members of the coalition group Faith United Against Tobacco wrote May 30 to Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, focusing on the hazards of smokeless tobacco.

Monks' suit over caskets heads to trial

COVINGTON, La. -- A federal lawsuit brought by a group of monks fighting for the right to sell handcrafted caskets without a state license is set to go to trial Monday (June 6) in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled in April that lawyers representing monks from St. Joseph Abbey near Covington could attempt to prove that a state law restricting casket sales to licensed funeral directors amounts to unconstitutional economic protectionism.

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August 29-September 11, 2014

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