ANOTHER CANDIDATE, MORE FAITH QUESTIONS
As the long, long, long presidential race gets more complicated and at times even interesting, religious questions are playing an increasing role. For a look at what kind of Jewish politician potential candidate Michael Bloomberg is, click here for a piece about the New York Mayor from the Jewish publication The Forward. By the way, we're a long way from being done with religious questions in this race.
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PROMOTING RELIGIOUS VALUES
PHILADELPHIA -- I'm intrigued by the way what I think of as religious values get transmitted within secular organizations -- and in ways that result in no one objecting.
It happened here a few days ago at the annual conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, to which I've belonged for many years.
Last year, as we were meeting in Boston and thinking about where to hold our 2008 conference, someone suggested that we return to New Orleans, where we had met in 2004, the year before Hurricane Katrina demolished so much of the city. The idea of going back was to turn columnists loose to write about the recovery effort that we guessed -- correctly, it's turning out -- still would be going on.
It would be a chance to remind the nation that there still are lots of folks along the Gulf Coast whose lives remain disrupted and who need our help. That seemed to me an expression of the value of caring, in Christian terms, for "the least of these," though Christianity has no monopoly on concern for the poor and needy, a theme found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
This year at our gathering in Philadelphia, we went a step further. When my friend Mike Harden of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch won the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, he asked the NSNC to commit at least one hour of our seminar time at future conferences to discussing ways in which we can be voices for the voiceless, for the neediest people in society. For a story about Mike's win (and some other prizes given to other columnists), click here.
At the NSNC business meeting this past Sunday morning, the membership said yes.
It makes me wonder how religious values, in your experience, get transmitted to and through secular organizations. Got any examples?
(As for definitely not-religious values, the picture here shows the Phillies' mascot having some fun with columnists Mike Deupree, left, of Cedar Rapids, and Jonathan Nicholas of Portland, Ore.)
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My column tomorrow will describe some of the ravages being experienced by the Christian community in Iraq.)
Today's religous holiday: Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul (Christian).