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MLK, LBJ, and Grass-Roots Change: Presidential Politics Through Spiritual Eyes

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

In the present Presidential campaign, suddenly the question has arisen whether Martin Luther King or Lyndon Baines Johnson was more responsible for passage of the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s.

I was there, folks: working on Capitol Hill and then in the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive research/action center. And the answer is – both MLK and LBJ were responsible – AND one might add with some exaggeration, NEITHER. .

The Road to Crawford

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 8/24/2005

As you can see on our Home Page or in the Section on the Iraq-US confrontation, in August I had a moving journey to and encounter with "Camp Casey," organized by Cindy Sheehan in memory of her son who was killed in Iraq.

The camp is directed at demanding that the President briefly interrupt his lengthy vacation in Crawford, Texas, to meet face-to-face with Ms. Sheehan and explain what "noble cause" had required her son's death.

40 Years Ago, the first Teach-in

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 3/23/2005

Forty years ago, in March 1965, the students and faculty of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) held the first Teach-in against the Vietnam War — an all-night study session involving thousands of students and dozens of faculty that began about 6 p.m. and lasted till 6 a.m.

I was one of the speakers.

Why is that White-Bearded Man Interrupting Ted Koppel's Town Meeting?

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 2/11/2005

Dear Friends,

It started this way: I was invited to bring a religious voice to Ted Koppel's Town Meeting show on January 27 to address the Iraq war. It was held in the same place, St. John's Church across from the White House, as his Town Meeting had been held in March 2003, two weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

But at the show itself, the producers asked for a written card summarizing the comments I intended to make. They had invited me knowing in general what my views were. So with honesty but perhaps a whiff of naivete I wrote that I intended to speak about a power-addicted Presidency that is bringing down plagues upon our heads, reminiscent of the archetypal power-addicted Pharaoh whose downfall is at the heart of our tradition.

A Letter to Arlen (Senator Specter) about Torture

David Kairys, Esq 2/4/2005

Dear Arlen:

I have not seen you in many years, and am quite aware that we have different views on many issues, but I was saddened to hear that you voted in committee in favor of the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. I thought we would share at least the fundamental belief, for the nation and the world, in the wisdom, vitality and necessity of the Geneva Accords and the basic tenets of treaties and international law that forbid torture and mistreatment of prisoners.

Should we have an Attorney General who supports torture?

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 1/26/2005

Dear Friends,

Objections to a swift decision on Alberto Gonzalez, stemming especially from Sen. Kennedy's concerns about his responses to questions about torture, have delayed the vote on whether to confirm him as Attorney General.

This gives us a momentary window in time to slow down or even halt the confirmation, and to make the record of the truth about the Administration's use of torture. SEE BELOW FOR HOW TO USE THIS MOMENT.

The Taste of Freedom: Manna & Shabbat

Rabbi Arthur Waskow 1/19/2005

Dear Friends,

In the current issue of the Jerusalem Report, you can find an essay I wrote for their "The People and the Book" column. It responds to the Torah portion that Jewish congregations traditionally read the Shabbat of January 21. (I write such a biblical commentary for JR two or three times a year.)

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