We should be very grateful to Francesco Duina for his new book, Broke and Patriotic: Why Poor Americans Love Their Country. He begins with the following dilemma. The poor in the United States are in many ways worse off than in other wealthy countries, but they are more patriotic than are the poor in those other countries and even more patriotic than are wealthier people in their own country. Their country is (among wealthy countries) tops in inequality, and bottoms in social support, and yet they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is “fundamentally better than other countries.” Why?
March 14, 2005
Running Time: 1:32:02
Americans have long embraced a notion of superiority, claims Howard Zinn. Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony described establishing “a city on a hill,” to serve the world as a beacon of liberty. So far, so good. But driving this sense of destiny, says Zinn, was an assumption of divine agency—“an association between what the government does and what God approves of.” And too frequently, continues Zinn, Americans have invoked God to expand “into someone else’s territory, occupying and dealing harshly with people who resist occupation.”
In modern times it may not even seem like an issue if a Christian can or cannot serve in the military, clearly Christians today and for many centuries do, so what would the issue be? On the other hand, anyone who has honestly read the gospels must recognize that the issue of violence is at the very least problematic in Jesus’s teachings. One would simply have to point to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38–47) or the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:27–31), or his teaching on the one taking the sword dying by the sword (Matthew 26:52), to recognize that Jesus tended to reject violence.
Previously published April 1, 2017
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Apr 1, 2017
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges is joined by Professor Albert Raboteau, author of American Prophets: Seven Religious Radicals and Their Struggle for Social and Political Justice. They discuss the theological and ethical motivations of prophetic figures and their importance in an age of radical evil. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the legacy of Dorothy Day who established the Catholic Worker Movement.
1nemind on Oct 5, 2014
“Empty entertainment/worship sung by pretty people. Doctrinally-correct sermons devoid of power. Sunday-only Christian lives barely distinguishable from the world. All these and many more ills are symptoms of a disease Art clearly identifies in this message. It’s such a fundamental thing, our understanding of the cross. It’s an indictment of our lives and the current impotence of the church. In the final analysis, unless we know Christ and Him crucified, our knowledge of God will be false.”
Updated: Feb. 23, 2018
I recently did an interview with Stephen Bedard on the History of Christianity podcast, also on youtube about my book All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians. I hope you enjoy it.
Probably the most famous parable by Jesus is the parable of the speck in your brother’s eye as opposed to the beam in your eye. Often this parable is taken to simply be about not being a hypocrite and not being personally judgmental against other individuals. However, this saying was not only used by Jesus and the early Christians, it was also a saying within rabbinic Judaism—seeing how they used it can shed some light on what Jesus meant with it. The saying is recorded the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:41–42:
The new poor people’s campaign should get every ounce of support we can find and generate. I say that without the qualifications and caveats I would usually include, because the Poor People’s Campaign is doing something that may not be strictly unprecedented in U.S. history but is certainly extremely rare in recent decades. It’s pursuing a worthy noble goal, that of ending poverty, while making ending war a central part of its vision, and doing so voluntarily.
“God didn’t call America to do what she’s doing in the world now. God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Drum Major Instinct, February 4, 1968
Originally posted on Jan. 20, 2013
“One day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you’re raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.” — “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King, Jr., Aug. 16, 1967