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REFUGEE

by mgopin on May 29, 2017 · 1 comment

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It is the most frequently commanded law in the Bible. It is the foundation of what should be recalled every seven days, and every single holiday throughout the Bible. It is the foundation of the identity of the physical and spiritual ancestor of half of planet earth’s human inhabitants who call themselves religious. The abuse of this law, it is warned, is the basis of the destruction of society. It is purposefully and explicitly anti-misogynist and pro-women and children.

 

It has many names: refugee, resident alien, illegal alien, landless, homeless. It is the law of Ger, Yatom and Almanah. It is the law that says that no matter what happens in your society, no matter how rich you become, no matter how poor you become, no matter how beleaguered, embattled, selfish, miserable, or confused, you must love the refugee, the widow, the orphan, if you want to survive …

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(As it appeared in the Huffington Post. )

There is a war for your brain in today’s politics, and the weapon of that war is language manipulation. George Lakoff has spent his career demonstrating the power of language and neural nets to trap us into thinking thoughts we do not necessarily want to think, to believe things that we would question if we were not being manipulated. In a wonderful interview , Lakoff describes a series of words that have changed us. For example, people were convinced at a certain point that taxes were not an investment in our future, in our society, but a burden to be relieved. Everyone repeated the phrase “tax relief” that we all forgot that taxes are essential to everything in our lives, our roads, our police, our hospitals, our schools, our safety in every respect. This is the exact neural path through …

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A version of this originally published in the Huffington Post

The largest coordinated national and international protest in American history snuck up on me, like a long-lost friend’s unannounced visit. I spent half my life pining over being slightly too young and too conservative to have been together with Woodstock’s 400,000. But there I was 48 years later, half a century later, on January 21, 2017, stumbling unwittingly out of the Metro red line at Judiciary Square, Washington, DC, and spilling onto a sea of humanity packed like sardines, and into an experience that dwarfed 1969 Woodstock. This was not a sea of kids scared to death of the draft, everyone in their twenties, raucous music and lots of sex. There was no tear gas and rage and throwing stuff everywhere like Chicago 1968.

There was plenty of anger, but there was this strange peace among people of every age …

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Who says commerce can never lead the way? This company had the courage to revive one of the most important moments in history. That day between British and German troops should be immortalized in the annals of peace as one of the central turning points. It should be studied by every person in other parts of the world who suffers under “eternal” enemies at each other’s throats. It is the art of the possible. The art of lone men, lone leaders who pave the way with a different idea in their head of the men they are pointing their guns at. This is leaders, a new idea, and the resulting festival of goodness.…

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LEADERSHIP, IDEA, AND EVIL

by mgopin on December 27, 2015 · 0 comments

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There is no mystery to evil.
In fact making evil into a mystery,
Is a bad idea.
There are only good ideas and bad ideas.
Anything that brings purposeful, unprovoked harm,
To other sentient beings,
Is a bad idea.
Evil is a bad idea,
In the hands of a leader.
Be a leader only,
With a good idea.
If you must,
Be a follower,
For a good idea.
Be smart enough,
To be aware,
Of your own bad ideas,
And confine them to your head.
If you cannot,
Then you must leave immediately.

The temptation to mystify evil is equal to our bewilderment at humanity, how many good people are led to do the worst things imaginable. The answer is not evil in them, but the evil of bad ideas inside leaders, and the tragedy of human obedience. The one alternative that has always worked is very good …

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A Great Sifting of Religions

by mgopin on December 11, 2015 · 1 comment

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Has anyone else sensed that global crisis is becoming like a massive sifter of the major religions? It is separating out hate ideology from piety, so that as the sifting increases we are starting to see who in each religion is a charlatan hater cloaked in religious garb, and who is penetrating deeper every day into spiritual authenticity and sacred courage.

See this article. Here is an excerpt:

As Rabbi Rick Jacobs defined it in his December 2013 address at the URJ Biennial in San Diego, “audacious hospitality isn’t just a temporary act of kindness so that people don’t feel left out; it’s an ongoing invitation to be part of a community where we can become all that God wants us to be—and a way to transform ourselves in the process.”  At this moment more than ever, the world needs people like Rivka—those who are willing to uphold the

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FLAGS AND THE LIGHT

by mgopin on December 8, 2015 · 0 comments

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12366495_1112583035427874_1794517858_n
 
Light lasts forever, and we are light. If the energy and mass it took to create all of the atoms and molecules that evolved into our consciousness and spirit come from the light and return to it, then the light that the Menorah generates is eternal. To me this is the ancient holiday of Hanukkah.
 
When this picture was taken that flag reigned terror on the entire world, it was invincible, and the little Menorah was weak as could be. Brutality rises so high but disappears so quickly, while the light lasts forever. My heart goes out deeply to those who took the picture so long ago, I doubt I could have survived. But to me the picture is a triumph of light over darkness, eternity over that passing vapor of empty bullying.

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By Marc Gopin

Tom Banchoff’s essay raises important insights and deepens the discussion about the historical relations between organized religion now and in the future with secular forms of power, governance, and authority structures. Banchoff rightly warns that ignoring these trends is a grave mistake in assessing the future, in tracking what kind of balance and shift in balance of powers may be taking place. There is no question that political Islam has had an enormous impact on contemporary history, even though it is too early to say where this will lead.

I want to focus my thoughts and response on two aspects of religion that are often not distinguished sufficiently in terms of our subjects of power and religion as well as secular and religious sources of authority in history and going forward.

There are two essentially different elements of religion as a human phenomenon that often have little …

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Nonviolent statecraft is a difficult proposition because policy makers act in the national interest, which will not consider nonviolence as its priority. Nations often pursue war and embrace violent regimes as allies because the benefits economically and politically of the military/industrial complex are irresistible. As a result it is hard for peace-oriented policy makers and bureaucrats to persuade their own institutions to commit to nonviolent statecraft.

Let’s take an example. An oil-producing regime upon which the U.S. economy depends eagerly courts the United States, promises to build free U.S. military bases, offers full cooperation militarily and in intelligence, and offers generous contracts to American companies in a wide range of congressional districts. Aligning with that regime’s interests appears advantageous, but doing so forces the United States to view the oil-producing regime’s adversaries as the adversaries of the United States.

Military Experiments in Conflict ResolutionThat is the bad news. The

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I am at 29:15-43:29. and then a lot in the Q and A. Please watch, I was good that day. I highly recommend the whole video, as there were so many inspiring voices from young Palestine and Israel, each one of them a courageous and amazing person. And Mohammed Cherkoui from The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution was really great as well. Mmmm, watching this now this is more organized than i thought. It is funny I speak without notes, and it does not feel organized inside. interesting.

 

 

If you cannot view the video on this site, please click here

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