Archive for the ‘Tolerance’ Category

Ethics, Religion, and Father Greg Boyle, SJ

April 15, 2013

SolidarityBusiness ethics students often ask me what’s the connection between ethics and religion, and I stumble to answer, something like all religions share the Golden Rule, which is the heart of ethics. As Hillel said in the 1st century, “All else is commentary.”

And at the heart of the Golden Rule is the ability to see others as like you, not as “other.” Father Greg Boyle, SJ, must be the world champion at seeing others this way. And he does this in the unlikeliest of environments: the Latino gangland of South Los Angeles, where he ministers to/saves/employs/buries—and most of all, loves—gang members and ex-gang members, most of them covered in tattoos and recently released from incarceration. He created Homeboy Industries, which has given thousands on gang members a path to employment and responsibility.

I first heard Greg Boyle (“G-dog” to his “homies”) being interviewed by Krista Tippett on her “On Being” radio show. He’s such a compelling person that I immediately ordered and read his memoir, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. He’s (obviously) religious and I am not, but his steadfast belief that we are all the same before God is an attitude all of us, believers and not, could strive for. He calls his God “not the ‘one false move’ God but the ‘no matter what’ God.”

The book is heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, and page-turning. Father Boyle is a man of unbelievable courage, love, compassion, and faith. And a heckuva storyteller.


The face of Great Britain’s Olympics: an observant Muslim named Mohamed Farah wins the 5,000 meters to the screams of 80,000

August 14, 2012

 

Mohamed Farah didn’t  win as many medals as Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt, but he was surely the great hero of the Olympics, at least to his British countrymen. He did what only four had done before him: win both the 10,000 meters and the 5,000, two races that along with the marathon, take the greatest toll on the human body.

It was thrilling to watch Farah move from the rear of the pack to the front, a third of the way through, then hold the lead as one challenger after another made a run at him.

But the most thrilling thing of all was to hear the crowd of 80,000, mostly Britons, screaming without letup, for the final ten minutes of the 13+ minute race. In a country whose reputation has been sullied by some vicious anti-Muslim sentiments and actions, here was the entire stadium yelling themselves hoarse for an observant Muslim who immigrated from Somalia when he was eight.

The roars didn’t let up when, just after crossing the finish line (more…)

America at our best: John McCain. America at our worst: Michele Bachmann and her four Congressional lap dogs

July 18, 2012

Americans welcome people who are different. They enrich our culture. They bring new energy to our society. They do us proud as a melting pot of cultures.

Americans shun people who are different. They debase our culture. They take our jobs. They seduce our children. They talk like foreigners.

So it was with Germans and Irish in the early 1800s. So it was with Jews and Chinese in the late 1800s. Italians in the early 1900s. Africans forever. And so it is with Muslims today.

At our best we befriend the stranger and his children, we treat them kindly, we hire them, and we defend them. At our worst we demean them, discriminate against them, exploit them, and attack them.

America at our worst is five House Republicans, led by Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who have accused countless American Muslims who work for the U.S. government of being secret agents (more…)

Ethicists practice jihad, along with Buddhists and Muslims

April 29, 2012

On Being is a public radio program and podcast hosted by Krista Tippett, and dedicated to conversations about religion, meaning, and ethics. Tippett often finds commonality and conjunctions among a variety of religions and philosophies, and recently she outdid herself with a conversation among:

  • ·        the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people
  • ·        Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University,
  • ·        Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the British Commonwealth, and Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

During a wide ranging conversation about happiness, the Dalai Lama observed, “One of my Muslim friends explained to me one interpretation of Jihad, not only sort of attack on other, but real meaning is combative attack your own wrongdoing or negativities.”

 “The greater Jihad*, the bigger Jihad, is to combat your own negative forces within you. Yes, yes,” Dr. Nasr agreed enthusiastically.

The Dalai Lama made the connection: “So in that sense, the whole Buddhist practice is practice of Jihad.”

“Exactly, absolutely,” concluded Dr Nasr.

In the same way one could say our struggle to be ethical is the practice of jihad—an inner struggle to be the virtuous person that we know how to be, but sometimes fall short of. It’s easier (more…)

Marco Rubio courageously and compassionately supports DREAM Act II

April 21, 2012

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a darling of the Republican right, so much so that many pundits have tagged him as a front runner for the #2 spot on the Republican ticket with Mitt Romney. If Romney were to choose Rubio, goes the reasoning, it would solidify his position with the party base that has always mistrusted him. And as a bonus, Cuban-American Rubio might help Romney with the growing numbers of Latino voters who have been turned off by his unbending anti-immigrant position.

Immigration is the one issue on which Romney and the right are together: seal the borders and hunt down and deport everybody who isn’t here legally, all 12,000,000 of them.

Rubio showed he’s not one who goes along to get along, in all likelihood forsaking any chance at the VP spot on the Romney ticket. He just announced his sponsorship of a modified version of the DREAM Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States.

Some on the Left have rejected Rubio’s proposal as a betrayal of American values, but chalk that up to hyper-partisanship. Rubio clearly wants to help young people, brought here illegally when they were small children, to stay in America legally and to get an education and a job.

Rubio’s is a story of courage and compassion, and of a too-rare politician who rejects ideology in favor of solving a serious national problem. Hooray.

 


 

The supreme significance of Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2012

 

Jackie Robinson played his first Major League baseball game 65 years ago today. We’ve long become inured to stories of “firsts,” since our society has come so far on the road to judging each person by the content of his character, but in a century of firsts, Jackie Robinson was extra special. Nobody has explained his significance as well as Jack Marshall in his Ethics Alarms blog. Read it here.

 

NBC News fakes transcript of 911 tape to make Zimmerman appear racist. Its explanation? Mistakes were made

April 4, 2012

 

Why did neighborhood-watch-wannabe George Zimmerman kill Trayvon Martin? We don’t know yet. But don’t believe anything you hear on NBC News, after they doctored a transcript of Zimmerman’s 911 call to make Zimmerman out to be racist.

Here’s what NBC broadcast on its Today show:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

Here’s what was on the real recording:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

NBC doctored the record to strengthen the popular narrative that Martin was followed and shot because he was black.  It’s a narrative that has thousands of protesters out calling for Zimmerman’s scalp—some literally. The crowd’s tempers—and mine, for that matter, have been inflamed by NBC’s mis-reporting. If there’s more violence NBC will rightfully share the blame.

So what does the network have to say? An error was made. Here’s NBC’s only statement, in its entirety.

“During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”

Americans have had reason to be distrustful of the reporting of the media, even the most respected organizations. All have earned that distrust, but NBC has brought “news” to a new low. They just made it up. And apologize? Not exactly. You see, it was “an error.” Vile.

(Thanks to EthicsAlarms.com for its original commentary.)

 

Police: Zimmerman says Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head

March 26, 2012

This article from the Orlando Sentinel website appears to explain why the Sanford, FL, police haven’t arrested George Zimmerman, the shooter of Trayvon Martin. The article says Zimmerman claimed he was attacked by Martin, knocked down, had his beaten against the ground, and cried for help, before shooting the 17-year old. His story apparently has been corroborated by a witness.

Hooray for Rick Warren for working to build bridges between America’s Christian and Muslim communities.

March 17, 2012

Rick Warren, one of America’s leading evangelical Christian leaders, last was large in the public eye when he gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. That brought him a barrage of criticism from the right for consorting with Obama. Last week he came in for more criticism and hate mail when The Orange County Register reported on his years of effort to bring the Christian and Muslim communities together.

Warren’s work is especially welcome because many prominent evangelical pastors have been spreading a hateful view of Islam:

–Franklin Graham (son of legendary Billy Graham): “Islam is wicked and evil. I don’t believe Mohammad can lead anybody to God.”

–Jerry Falwell: “I think Mohammed was a terrorist.”

–Pat Robertson, “[Islam] is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.”

–John Hagee: “Islam in general — those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.”

Warren deserves praise and respect as he takes on what should be a Christian duty, love thy neighbor, in the face of harsh opposition from the merchants of hate who broadcast their message under the banner of Christianity.

Pass the Dream Act, give Luis Luna and 300,000 like him a chance at citizenship. Obama and Gingrich favor, Romney opposes

January 19, 2012

Luis Luna, 20, was an illegal immigrant, smuggled here from Mexico at 3. The LA Times tells his story. Luis did well in school, graduated, got engaged to his high school sweetheart, got a job, then got pulled over while on the way to work for a broken headlight. He had no driver’s license, Immigration was called in, and Luis was deported to Mexico.

He tried to get back by riding the undercarriage of a boxcar, scant inches above the train roadbed, until the train stopped at a U.S. border checkpoint, where a German Shepherd sniffed him out, sank his teeth into Luis’s ribcage, and dragged him out. Luis is now homeless in Nogales, hoping to find a way legally to return to his girlfriend-now-wife, his family, friends, and the only life he’s ever known.

Luis’s tragedy could have been precluded under the Dream Act, which would provide temporary residency and a possible path to citizenship to Luis and hundreds of thousands like him who were brought here as small children and have played by the rules ever since.

President Obama supports the Dream Act, which passed the House last year but failed to get the 60 votes needed to avert a filibuster in the Senate. Mitt Romney says he would veto it, Newt Gingrich says he supports it—a principled position that is costing him dearly with Republican primary voters.


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