Posts Tagged ‘other’

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.


Romney’s little joke, heh heh: “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate”

August 24, 2012

How do you encourage the right-wing idiocy that Obama was born in Kenya and thus an illegitimate President, while not getting the tar of hate on yourself? Why, by making a little “joke” about it, like Mitt Romney did today while campaigning in Michigan.

“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital,” Romney said. “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

The text says I’m one of you. The subtext says my opponent is an “other,’ not like us at all. Romney, who is used to getting away with irresponsible language in his prepared texts, often shows his true self when ad libbing. His prepared texts say that he knows that Obama was born in the United States. His true self says, encourage the crazies to hate Obama and to vote for me.

<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com”>www.hypersmash.com</a&gt;

New York lessons from the ‘ground zero mosque’

April 7, 2011

 

The story of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” has spread halfway around the world to Turkey and to Hurriyet, the Turkish daily I scan (the English edition) on my iPhone every day. Today’s edition has an article by David Dyssegaard Kallick about lessons from the mosque. It’s not so much about the mosque as it is about the endless rhythmic flow of immigrants to New York.

Germans, Irish, Italians, Chinese and Jews, they were all considered “other” at first, despised and feared, but eventually each group became integrated into the New York scene, “not by shedding their culture, but by making a place for it in America.”

Kallick says he’s seen this movie before and it always has a happy ending. He explains why he’s certain that Muslims will find their rightful place in New York—shaping the city and being shaped by it. It’ll be another building block in America’s exceptionalism.

 

Worth watching: the CNN documentary, Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door– Soledad O’Brien

April 1, 2011

 

CNN last week ran an excellent documentary about the controversy over a planned new mosque/community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It’s called Unwelcome: Muslims Next Door– Soledad O’Brien. The video runs 42 minutes. An excellent summary of it is here.

It’s upsetting to contrast how ordinary American are the Muslims of Murfreesboro with how fearful and suspicious are the mosque’s opponents. The idea that the American Muslims are “other” is reminiscent of similar arguments made about African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Jewish Americans, and, much earlier, Irish-Americans.

We Americans take pride in our diversity, and in America as a melting pot, but we still have the capacity to summon up a layer of hate and suspicion from just under the surface.

 


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