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If you want peace, work for justice.
Paul VI

St. Nicholas Day

December 5th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

Well, I’m pretty much of a scrooge about Christmas. I don’t like the whole consumerism thing. I don’t like families pretending they’re perfect. I don’t like . . . well, I could go on and on.

But I do love taking back tradition and ritual. This article by Mahanoy over at StreetProphets does that for me I hope it does for you as well.

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day, the feast day of Bishop Nicholas of Myra, who, legend has it, lived in what is now Turkey in the 4th century. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors and shipbuilders, among many others (including theologians).

Legend has it that a father could not afford dowries for his three daughters, and without them they could never be married. Mysteriously, on three separate occasions each girl received a bag of gold, thrown through an open window and landing in a stocking or in a shoe. This is the origin of the practice of children placing their shoes outside the door for St. Nicholas to leave them a small gift.

Join me after the flip for more about the customs surrounding St. Nicholas Day.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · economics

usda eliminates hunger

November 27th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

Earlier this month, before the election, Democrats accused the Bush administration of playing politics with the Agriculture Department’s report on the status of hunger in the United States by delaying its release until after the election. The recent history is that the report is released in October about two-thirds of the time and in November the other third.

Well, a week before Thanksgiving, the report was finally released. And guess what? Hunger does not exist in America anymore. Only “very low food security”.

The USDA and the Bush Administration may have eliminated the word “hunger” from their vocabulary, but there are still many hungry people in the USA.

bfw_logo_color.gif Let’s make sure they and our government knows they exist by giving to a local food bank or by joining the good work at Bread for the World.


→ No CommentsTags: food · hunger · justice · politics

Reinstate the draft?

November 19th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

This article, featuring the views of Charles Rangel, D-NY is getting a lot of action on Newsvine. The premise is pretty simple. We should reinstate the draft so that all of us, including the sons and daughters of lawmakers, would bear the risk of wars we choose to engage. The theory is that would make the powers that be pause before committing our troops.

I have thought about this idea for a while now. While I do not think I would work to get the draft reinstated, I would support the effort to do so. But only if there were no exemptions. Everyone should serve or no one.

What do you think?


→ 1 CommentTags: justice · peacemaking · politics · war

10 years in prison for an email

November 14th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

Amnesty International is highlighting the story of Shi Tao and asking us to take action on his behalf.

In April 2004, Shi Tao sent an email to a U.S.-based pro-democracy website. In his email, he summarized a government order directing media organizations in China to downplay the 15th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Police arrested him and charged him with “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” Authorities used email account holder information supplied by Yahoo! to convict and sentence him to 10 years in prison, where he is laboring in harsh conditions and has inadequate access to medical care.

Amnesty International – backed by thousands of voices like yours – is raising our concerns with Yahoo! about their aiding human rights abuses in China. And we’re demanding Shi Tao’s unconditional release. Take action and help free Shi Tao today.


→ No CommentsTags: amnesty international · human rights · justice

A victory for community and compromise

November 13th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

A week has passed since my last post urging us to vote. This has been intentional. I wanted to let some time pass to allow a clearer picture of the new political landscape to emerge.

There are winners and losers for sure, but I believe the real winner is the politics of compromise. Many claim the goals of peace and justice. Where we differ most is what means we will employ to get there. Some policies are indeed more oppressive than others. And this is why we need a political climate where negotiation and compromise are important.

Here’s to restoring oversight and accountability to government. Hopefully what will emerge will not be gridlock, but rather an atmosphere where we live in community with our neighbors around the world, and across the aisle.


→ No CommentsTags: elections · peacemaking · politics

12 x 1, 12 x 2

November 6th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

12 hours from now (6 a.m.) the polls open in Louisville, KY and many places around the country. In 12 x 2 hours from now (6 p.m.) those polls will have closed. What’s your voting plan? Where do you vote and when are you going to do so? Do you know who you’re voting for? Judges included?


→ No CommentsTags: elections

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

November 6th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

The old Simon & Garfunkel song describes two lovers as one is about to leave in the coming morning. He dreads the coming dawn. He dreads what awaits him as light breaks the darkness of night and the thrill of being with his love.

This will be our condition too, come Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. By then we will know who controls what Houses of Congress. Our breath will either be one of deep contentment and peace if our political love has won or one of quick, short breathes as we lay awake, restless, pondering our loss.

And Iraq will still be in the midst of a civil war. No matter who wins the elections, we will all have to deal with that reality. Sebastian Mallaby, in today’s Washington Post, details well the choices we will have to make as a nation.

As the sun rises Wednesday, the political games will have ended, the election season will be over in the US. There will be winners and losers, but there will still be Iraq. As Mallaby points out, we will no longer have the elections to distract us. We will be forced to focus on how to be peacemakers in a war that is so far away, but remains so close and so very real. May we find a way to put the partisanship aside and find a way forward together.


→ 1 CommentTags: politics · war

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

November 6th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

The old Simon & Garfunkel song describes two lovers as one is about to leave in the coming morning. He dreads the coming dawn. He dreads what awaits him as light breaks the darkness of night and the thrill of being with his love.

This will be our condition too, come Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. By then we will know who controls what Houses of Congress. Our breath will either be one of deep contentment and peace if our political love has won or one of quick, short breathes as we lay awake, restless, pondering our loss.

And Iraq will still be in the midst of a civil war. No matter who wins the elections, we will all have to deal with that reality. Sebastian Mallaby, in today’s Washington Post, details well the choices we will have to make as a nation.

As the sun rises Wednesday, the political games will have ended, the election season will be over in the US. There will be winners and losers, but there will still be Iraq. As Mallaby points out, we will no longer have the elections to distract us. We will be forced to focus on how to be peacemakers in a war that is so far away, but remains so close and so very real. May we find a way to put the partisanship aside and find a way forward together.

Editors note: This article was also seeded at dolovewalk.newsvine.com, the new groups option at Newsvine.


→ No CommentsTags: elections · peacemaking · war

Is This the America You Believe In?, Part 2

November 3rd, 2006 · by fritzg ·

Elections in the US are next Tuesday, but two days before that Nicaragua is holding it’s own national election. Check out this Common Dreams article by Ben Beachy of Witness for Peace on how the US is involved. I traveled to Nicaragua in November of 2004 with WFP and roomed with Ben while visiting coffee farmers in Matagalpa.


→ 1 CommentTags: awareness · human rights · justice · peacemaking

Is This the America You Believe In?

November 3rd, 2006 · by fritzg ·

In September Congress passed the Military Commissions Act allowing this and any future President & Sec. of Defense to declare someone, anyone, an enemy combatant and basically strip them of rights we hold dear. In the words of a New York Times news analysis: “In effect it allows the president to identify enemies, imprison them indefinitely and interrogate them — albeit with a ban on the harshest treatment — beyond the reach of the full court reviews traditionally afforded criminal defendants and ordinary prisoners.”

From New York to LA, editorial boards are decrying the passage of this bill.

What can we do about it? There are many options, one is to join Amnesty International and sign the pledge to restore America as the world leader in human rights.


→ No CommentsTags: amnesty international · awareness · do · human rights · justice · peacemaking