An Inclusive Litany

9/16/01

Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikkun, September 16, 2001:
The narrow focus on the perpetrators allows us to avoid dealing with the underlying issues. When violence becomes so prevalent throughout the planet, it's too easy to simply talk of "deranged minds." We need to ask ourselves, "What is it in the way that we are living, organizing our societies, and treating each other that makes violence seem plausible to so many people?" And why is it that our immediate response to violence is to use violence ourselves—thus reenforcing the cycle of violence in the world? ...

This is a world out of touch with itself, filled with people who have forgotten how to recognize and respond to the sacred in each other because we are so used to looking at others from the standpoint of what they can do for us, how we can use them toward our own ends. The alternatives are stark: either start caring about the fate of everyone on this planet or be prepared for a slippery slope toward violence that will eventually dominate our daily lives....

So here is what would marginalize those who hate the United States. Imagine if the Bin Ladins and other haters of the world had to recruit people against America at a time when:

  • America was using its economic resources to end world hunger and redistribute the wealth of the planet so that everyone had enough.

  • America was the leading voice championing an ethos of generosity and caring for others—leading the world in ecological responsibility, social justice, open-hearted treatment of minorities, and rewarding people and corporations for social responsibility.

  • America was restructuring its own internal life so that all social practices and institutions were being judged "productive or efficient or rational" not only because they maximized profit, but also to the extent that they maximized love and caring, ethical/spiritual/ecological sensitivity, and an approach to the universe based on awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation (what I call an Emancipatory Spirituality).

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