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A Faith-Based Perspective on Bush's Call to Lift Offshore Drilling Ban and other Environmental Injustices
I was scrolling through the online version of the New York Times this morning, and read the headlines, "Bush Calls to End Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling." (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/19/washington/19drill.html?_r...). Bush's argues that lifting the ban would help lower gas prices and strengthen national security. He goes on to argue that if Congress fails to act accordingly, then Americans can blame them for $4/gallon gasoline. I tried to make some sense of the argument: put the environment, surrounding wildlife, and our earthly home at risk because it's the ONLY way to keep gas prices down. And, the corollary: failure to lift the ban means greater economic pressure for Americans.
Growing up as Catholic, I understood that the Church was not one to endorse candidates, but was rather, issue-based. While mainstream media portrayed the Church as ultra-conservative and seemingly detached from social realities, I knew it be otherwise. Religious leaders from Archbishop Romero, who connoted the term, "liberation theology," God's preference for the poor, to more familiar names including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa, and the basis of my faith, Jesus, all worked tirelessly to turn the world on its head, taking the risk to challenge the status quo as a means of improving the lives of marginalized groups.
I remember attending a progressive/public service-oriented leadership conference two years ago where I had the opportunity to momentarily step out of my San Francisco bubble and interact with other young people around the country. As usual, I engaged in dialogue with other service-oriented idealists about the need to wake up government and inspire action among our less active young counterparts. As the participants and myself got to know each other more, the seem to be quite receptive to, if not in awe of, my Bay Area background. While hailing from "liberal utopia" sat well with my colleagues, many appeared puzzled by my religious affiliation.
"Did you say you were Catholic? Well, you're not like other church people I know."
I guess his critics ignored Chrisopher Hitchens, whose new book asserts "God Is Not Great" and "Religion Poisons Everything."
So if you criticize part of a religious practice... conservatives can call it bigotry... but if you criticize all religions... they give you a free pass?
While calling for a reform of the property tax system to make education funding fair for all students, she also proposed spending a greater share of lottery money directly on education.
"We all deserve good education, decent pay, a fair court system."
Speaking on her record of community activism, personal experiences, and deeply held spiritual beliefs as an engine for social change, Jenny's responses combined her faith with her progressive values.
"I have a friend who has to choose between medicine or food. That is morally wrong."
Jenny Parker has been nationally recognized for her work on poverty reduction, such as her innovative John 3:13 campaign to improve worker rights at Baylor University.