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Lions Roar : September 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2006 102 SHAMBHALA SUN Market Place ARTS & CRAFTS/GIFTS BOOKS/TAPES/VIDEOS LIFELONG LEARNING & CAREER PRACTICE SUPPLIES SERVICES & SOCIAL ACTION TRAVEL 0 Jhampa Shaneman P.O.Box89 Winlaw, B.C. Canada V0G 2J0 1-800-819-2288 fax 775-582-6504 buddhist-astrology.com • Psychotherapy • Eidetic Image Therapy • Counseling & Coaching • By phone and on line Toni D. Nixon, Ed.D., L.L.C. Therapist, Author, Buddhist Practitioner Finding calm in the midst of change: integrating spiritual practice with therapeutic goals 1.800.828.0788 1.845.339.1684 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eidetictherapy.com May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe. May all beings awaken to the light of their true nature. May all beings be free. with blaming it on the Bush administra- tion or the Republican Party.” She also emphasized that there is a very big need for the spiritual progressive movement to diversify, especially in terms of class. “We tend to want to talk about the big corporate people, the people who have all the money, who are controlling ev- erything, and say what they need to do. Well, to the rest of the world, the rich people are the American middle class. We may feel we don’t have so much in comparison to the very rich, but con- sidering what we consume compared to the many who are starving, what we really have to ask is, ‘How much are we willing to sacrifice? How much are we willing to change?’” WHO CAN SAY what the political im- pact of these calls for a spiritually re- newed politics will be? A piece in The New York Times on the third day of the conference dismissed it as an insignifi- cant struggle on the part of the religious Left “to find a unifying message.” The very next day, The Washington Post ran an upbeat story on the front page, de- claring in the first line, “The religious Left is back.” Like politicians from time immemorial, the spiritual progressives will have to learn not to live and die by what it says in the papers, particularly if they are intent on forging something that transcends partisan boundaries. The calls by these religious leaders to look beyond right and left are based in a very sound theology: if godliness is to have any real meaning, it has to be above any version of us versus them. But street politics, electoral politics, boils down to contests between people and parties. It is partisan by its very nature. Not one of these religious leaders denies that. They simply want people to first tap into what they really care about—which they say is the welfare of everyone on the planet—before they step into the political arena. This, they believe, is what many peo- ple in America are looking for: public life based on deep meaning. The Right has tried to supply that, but in a way that has been judgmental and ungenerous, out of keeping with the understanding of God that these clergy experience in their own traditions. In straying from a politics of meaning altogether, the Left has done little better. The Network of Spiritual Progres- sives includes people of many religious persuasions, including Buddhists, Hin- dus, Sufis, and Wiccans, and people of no religious persuasion whatsoever— but in small numbers. Like America it- self, the progressive religious movement is basically Judeo-Christian, and the most important political struggle now taking place in the United States may be the one among American Christians. It’s a debate that all Americans, believers or not, have a stake in. It’s about what the true Judeo-Christian values and vir- tues are, and what influence they can, or should, have on society. It’s a debate about who God really is. ♦