April 15th is just around the corner, the deadline for paying income taxes. It is a good time to remember that a large part of our federal taxes will be allocated to military expenditures. Of course, this means that programs that promote life and human flourishing - education, health care, economic development and diplomacy - are underfunded.
What to do about this? How about making April 15th a day to call your Senators and tell them that you are concerned about the priorities reflected in our federal budget, and that you are not happy with how your tax dollars will be used. Let's "choose life" and work for a budget that makes life available - and good - for everyone. Click here to find your Senators' and Representative's website and contact information.
The War Resisters League has done extensive research to produce their 2016 federal budget pie chart, pictured with this article. Click here to view the complete flyer and understand better how our taxes are allocated.
The Friends Committee on National Legistlation offers good background on this subject. Click here to learn more from them. Click here to download their 2013 tax chart. Sadly, not much has changed.
President Obama has just sent a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress that perpetuates the endless war of the last 13 years. It is imperative that we urge our members of Congress to oppose the president's proposal and repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.Click here to read the background from our colleagues at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and click here to go directly to their Action Center and send an email to your Senators and Representatives.
Our friends at Peninsula Peace & Justice Center have an Urgent Action page with a petition you can sign, background information, and websites to access emails and phone numbers for all of our local Congresspeople. A telephone call or a personal email or letter is always worth while and the best way to get your Congressperson's attention. If you are a person of faith, briefly include how your faith informs your understanding of justice, peace and compassion.
Too many lives have been lost. Too many dreams have been destroyed. We need to look to political, economic and diplomatic avenues to end the senseless violence on all sides and begin the long road of restoration, healing and justice.
Held at Princeton Theological Seminary on January 23-25, 2015, the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare issued a statement calling on the Administration to immediately halt targeted lethal drone strikes. The conference included more than 150 religious leaders representing many of the world religions and the Just War, Pacifist, and Just Peace traditions.
Click here to read the full and comprehensive statement, and for links to many of the speakers' presentations, all made available through the Coalition for Peace Action website.
Starting as a wish at a TED Conference, spreading across the world, learn about The Charter of Compassion through this video. And, watch this space for news about World Interfaith Harmony Week coming in February 2015.
A former member of MVPJ's steering committee came across this article by Jim Rigby, a Presbyterian Minister in Austin, Texas. It spoke to many of us, no matter our faith tradition, so we are sharing excerpts on our website. To read the full article, click here to go to Rigby's blog.
"Learning about Christianity through a world of religion" by Jim Rigby, January 3, 2015
I was born into a pretty typical version of Christianity. My mom always said, however, that every religion has something to teach us. Mom said we should respect everyone's religion as much as possible.
Until I arrived at college, I had never actually opened the scriptures of any other faith. Once I arrived here in Austin, I started a lifelong practice of respectfully reading the scriptures of other world faiths. ...
... As I read the words of Krishna, it felt like I was hearing a missing track from a familiar song. I could hear for the first time that Jesus, like Krishna, was calling us to something much deeper than traditional religion. ... What had been the comfortable wading pool of sectarian religion was suddenly beginning to feel like the vast open waters of life.
... I began to understand that Jesus wasn't calling us to dogma. Like Buddha, he was calling us to a deeper and wider wakefulness. ... If love is our aim, then awareness, not belief, is our true path.
From Taoism I learned that heaven could be found in the ordinary gifts of nature. ...
From Islam I learned to give myself fully to life, holding back nothing. From Sufi Islam I learned that humor can be a great guide to the sacred. ...
From Judaism I learned that love is inseparable from justice. From the Jewish prophets I learned that I needed to love the people in my religion and nation enough to tell them when I thought they were being unjust. ...
Finally, from atheism I learned the importance of radical honesty. ...
I am still a Christian after all these years, but I have left the little version of my upbringing and have come to understand my own faith as one voice in a larger choir. Most of all I have come to understand what Christian scripture means when it says, "whoever has love, has God."
Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has long worked for public access to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. On Tuesday, December 9, the eve of the United Nation's Human Rights Day, a 500 page summary of that six year investigation was released.
Please call or email Senator Dianne Feinstein and thank her for her courageous leadership on the investigation and the release of the report!(Click here for her contact information and an easy email form.)
25 years ago, six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her daughter were murdered by the Salvadoran military. On the anniversary of that massacre thousands of people will join a vigil at Fort Benning Georgia, home of the school formerly known as the School of the Americas, where Salvadoran and other Central and Latin American military have for years been trained by the US.
School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is organizing this gathering and invites you to join them.
They are also urging all of us to contact our representatives in Congress and ask them to support legislation to investigate and close the SOA and review the United States' training of Central and Latin American military, as well as another resolution to stop militarizing our own police forces. Rev. Eileen Altman, a member of the MVPJ steering committee reports that local Representative Anna Eshoo is a co-sponsor of HR 2989, The Latin America Military Training Review Act, and Representative Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of HR 5478, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.
Click here for ways to support these members of Congress in these decisions and urge other members of Congress to support those bills.
Craig Wiesner, a member of the MVPJ steering committee, has written about the School of the Americas in two posts. He invites you to read those two posts to learn more about SOA, now known as WHINSEC, especially as the anniversary of the massacre approaches.
Rev. Katie Goetz, former member of the MVPJ steering committee, is working on concerns around the militarization of the Redwood City police, where Katie currently resides. We will soon be posting more information about that effort and how you can get involved.
American Muslim Voice invites you to share in a community EID festival, and discover how Muslims celebrate their holiday. Friday, December 12, 7-9pm Stern Ballroom, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, 94301
All great religions encourage their followers to love their neighbors, but to love our neighbors, we must know our neighbors!