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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 15 THE POLITICS ISSUE “Who Does God Vote For?” (Sep- tember 2006) was one of the best articles I have read in a long time. Having watched some members of my family and an ever-increasing portion of my community be- come involved in a nearby right- wing evangelical church, I am so relieved to read about people who offer an alternative. I have heard members of this church (including politicians, police officers, and teachers) openly state that we are in the end-times and that the Rapture is near. I have also been told that there is no hope for me because I don’t go to their church. This version of Christianity scares and saddens me. If the Network of Spiritual Progressives is taking new members, sign me up! Tereasa Lenius Tripoli, Indiana Thanks to Barry Boyce for his editorial, “Beyond Bush Bashing.” It expressed truth in simple language and made much sense, lifting my spirit and my mood toward the future. I also found great encouragement in “Return to the Political World” by John Tarrant. Tarrant pointed me toward understanding that it is okay to be strong about your beliefs and intentions, especially when they are genuinely concerned with oppression, abuse, and, worse yet, fear. He reminded me to uncover and utilize the goodness found all around—to drop the judgment, know your surroundings through aware- ness, and walk strongly with the light. The lesson to not let fear enter so deeply into your soul was pro- found and clearly came from Tarrant’s heart and from his life’s path. The words affected me in this time when all that we hold to be good and true—in the world, in our lives, and in our souls—is in jeopardy. Justin Featherston Charlottesville, Virginia It has always troubled me that much of modern American Buddhism seems to be associ- ated solely with liberal politics. It should be able to reach the hearts of all spiritual people, just as Christianity should not be the sole provenance of the Right. After all, Jesus and the Buddha taught similar messages of love, compassion, and peace, rooted in a do-unto-others worldview. These are universal human ideals, not campaign slogans one political par- ty should use to defeat another. But we’re stuck at an impasse until practitioners can come to terms with the loving roots of their spiritual prac- tices and abandon their use as a tool for condemna- tion, divisiveness, and one-upmanship. And that goes for fire-and-brimstone Christians as much as it goes for lefty Buddhists who sometimes treat the dharma as a religious fashion accessory that they can flaunt at the Right, saying, “See, I’ve got religion, too. And mine is so much more enlightened than yours.” The participants in the Spiritual Activism Confer- ence (“Who Does God Vote For?”) got bigger cheers for condemning the Right than for calling on a need to change, reflect, and build bridges, which suggests that we have a long way to go in building a unify- ing spiritual ethos. Until each “side” ceases to look at the other as an enemy to be temporarily defeated in the next election—and, indeed, un- til we stop thinking in terms of “sides” at all—we’ll just spin our wheels. I think there’s hope. There are “crunchy cons” on the Right who believe that having dominion over the earth means that God has entrusted them with being good stewards of the planet and all of its Letters to the Editor