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Lions Roar : November 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2006 17 creatures. And there are devout Catholics who understand and follow the consistent life ethic of their church’s teachings, an ethic that says promoting life is more than just opposing abortion—it’s also about opposing capital punishment, condemn- ing war, and helping the poor and needy. And increasing numbers of people on the secular Left are beginning to do more than pay lip service to, or even look down upon, American religious belief. There’s much work to be done. But ultimately, every religion embraces some form of the Golden Rule. And when prac- titioners can truly embrace the values inherent in their religion’s version of the Golden Rule, we’ll be well on our way. Adrian Rush Alexandria, Virginia The September issue was cause for hope in a world that is facing perilous times. I found Barry Boyce’s “Who Would God Vote For?” and Michael Valpy’s profile of Robert Thurman particularly engaging. A healthy alternative to the Christian Right like the Network of Spiritual Progressives would be more than welcome. Thurman, on the other hand, believes that Buddhism in America can help us find a “moral and ethical compass.” But I didn’t quite follow Boyce’s logic in his final paragraph. If, in fact, the most important political struggle is taking place in our country among American Chris- tians and concerns the debate about who God really is, then how do non-believers have a stake in that struggle? The political struggle I observe in America involves the Christian Right dominating the Republican Party and try- ing to impose its values on everyone else. Moderate and quietist Christian groups do little to stand up to these theocratic types. Meanwhile, radical Muslim factions wage war throughout the world. Thurman makes a strong point when he talks about the need for human beings to understand themselves and the world in order to find enlightenment. A humanistic approach to our moral dilemma can be inclusive of those who are tolerant and respectful of others, unbound by belief systems that alienate us from one another. Tom Thompson, Santa Fe, New Mexico Your September 2006 issue revealed a profound ignorance of current events, a deep-seated hatred for President Bush and Christians, glaring hypocrisy, and a tragic misunderstanding of what this world faces. As I type this, a major terror- ist plot to down multiple transat- lantic flights was just thwarted in England. The death toll would have been enormous. Israel has just agreed to a cease-fire with Hezbollah, a political move- ment with strong ties to Iran. Al-Qaeda’s number-two leader recently called for a “holy war against Israel,” and North Korea has threatened to launch test missiles. Plus, I don’t see China patching things up any time soon with Tibet, the country it eradi- cated back in 1959. So why was your issue devoted to anti- America, anti-Christian rants instead of a call for the entire world to “sit down and take a deep breath”? Because liberals would rather blame the world’s woes on America and the “radical right” than admit what’s truly going on. Given Buddhists’ claims to see clearly and live impartially, unfettered by visceral motivations, I expected more. Charama Bhavika Grand Rapids, Michigan On a simple level E Pluri- bus Unum (Out of Many, One) meant the various colonies united to create one nation. At another level it recognized that all people on earth are one. On yet another level, that the con- sciousness of all beings together is one definition of God. In 1953, Congress de- cided to substitute E Pluribus Unum, our nation’s former motto, with One Nation Under God. This easily may have been the trigger that set in motion the cultural cri- sis Barry Boyce mentions in “Who Does God Vote For?” (September 2006). One Nation Under God signifies that all beings are subordinate to whoever claims to be speaking for God. Naturally, there is With everything else I’ve got on my mind, now you’re telling me I have to think about breathing?