Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Conference Calls for Creation of Caring Society

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Conference Calls for Creation of Caring Society

Article excerpt

THE NETWORK of Spiritual Progressives (NSP)/Tikkun held its annual conference at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC, from June 11-13. Speakers discussed the political and spiritual crisis facing the world today, and gave recommendations of what to do about it. NSP co-chair Catholic Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister appealed for compassion and NSP co- chair Rabbi Michael Lerner called for "Creating the Caring Society-Caring for Each Other and Caring for the Earth," the central theme of the conference.

Rabbi Lerner, as well as other speakers throughout the conference, urged the 500 attendees to push the Obama administration from a spiritual progressive perspective, and to avoid the Obama-bashing coming from Tea Party fundamentalists or other political groups whose only goal is to make Obama fail. Yet Lerner also made clear that NSP had no intention of accepting "anti-ideological" politics from the Obama administration, and suggested aligning with other liberal and progressive forces and coalitions struggling for peace, social justice, environmental sanity and human rights.

CNN filmed the June 13 memorial service in Lafayette Park, where Jewish, Christian and Muslim clergy offered prayers in memory of the nine activists killed in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Michael Lerner, Rev. James Winkler (chair of the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodists of America), Rev. Ama Zenya of the United Church of Christ, and Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America offered prayers, including ones for the freedom of Gilad Shalit and the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners. …

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