Link to What's New This Week When Politics and Religion Clash

Dear Habermas Logo and Link to Site Index A Justice Site


Mirror Sites:
CSUDH - Habermas - UWP - Archives

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: March 22, 2003
Latest Update: March 22, 2003

E-Mail Icon

Site Teaching Modules When Politics and Religion Clash

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, March 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Tina once told me that we probably shouldn't dicuss religion in class (Religion, May We Talk of It?) because it was likely to cause argument and hurt feelings. Tina then went on to get her advanced degrees in a religious school. I hope I convinced her that religion is not only something we should discuss, but something that we must now discuss if we are to respect and care about each other in a global society in which we are fighting a war where religion certainly comes into play.

The real question is not whether we should discuss religion. It is how we can go about discussing religion without letting our emotions and anger and violence, like war, result disrupt our discussions. I'm no expert. I don't have the answer to that anymore than anyone else does. But I do know a way to lead us. It has worked for us in large classroom environments, in office gatherings, even when we were all crammed in, in the cafeteria right in the middle of our lunch. And hopefully now, we can spread this to the Dear Habermas readership in general.

On Friday, March 21, 2003 I received an e-mail from Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith:

Subject: reader requests further information


On the subject of your piece, "Religion and War" I am writing to ask if you remain interested in this topic. If so, I would like to call your attention to a story in Connecticut and ask if you would be interested in discussing it. "What about those End Times, Mr. President?"

Edward Ericson, Jr. writes about infomercials produced by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and airing on Pax which include an endorsement from Senator Joe Lieberman, D-CT. I have seen four versions of the infomercials including one which began with the words, "end days" as a kind of code word start up. Others who endorse the IFCJ's fundraising effort to send Jews to Israel include virtually all of those listed on your story including Colson, Robertson, Netanyahu, and others. I am quite upset to read the response of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein which is to say that Mr. Ericson was trying to "smear" the Senator and I am sending it below for your information. If you are interested in discussing this topic please let me know. I am trying to get a radio program together here in Connecticut with a college station to discuss it.

I am confused by the term "send Jews to Israel." Which Jews? Why? Perhaps it would help if you could tell us which URL on our site you are referring to. We have a file, Religion, Eschatology, and the End of Days, which should explain the End of Days theology to any of my students who are not familiar with it.

For information on Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), link to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein: Bridging Faiths on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Backup. jeanne

Your reporter did a disservice to your readers by trying to smear Sen. Joseph Lieberman for being a friend and supporter of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews ["What About Those Endtimes Mr. President," Jan. 6]. This is a groundless attempt to associate him with an apocalyptic cult-like view of endtimes prophecy that neither he nor we ever espoused. The Fellowship does not support end-times prophecies; nor, as a national poll in October confirmed, do most Christian supporters of Israel. Certainly nobody who knows anything about Sen. Lieberman could possibly think he would support a position or organization that supports such a theology. Sen. Lieberman has endorsed the important work of The Fellowship, as have leading members of the Jewish and Christian communities in the U.S. as well as Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum/. This support emanates from an understanding that The Fellowship is the leading organization for Christians who want to help Israel and the Jewish people -- with no strings attached.

Sorry, we don't have any reporters, so I think there's some kind of mixup here. jeanne

Given the dire tone of your article, your readers deserve to know exactly what Sen. Lieberman says in our television program. Here it is in its entirety: "Rabbi Eckstein established the first dialogues in America between the Jewish community and the evangelical Christian community. He is the leader in America -- probably in the world -- in this important work." To besmirch a fine man such as Sen. Lieberman and a ministry such as ours with baseless insinuation and innuendo is repugnant and irresponsible. Shame on you!

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President and Founder International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Apparent reference to: What About Those End Times, Mr. President? Sen. Joe Lieberman announces his candidacy, but not his association with lunatic fringe of Biblical prophecy. By Edward Ericson - January 16, 2003.

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

On Saturday, March 22, 2003, jeanne responded:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith:

Although we had a little difficulty figuring out precisely to which files you were referring, we do get your point: that anything that fosters peace and understanding between Christians and Jews is a step nearer to the peace we all seek.

Perhaps some of our students will have more to add to this. I thought I'd just try to get up the necessary references so we could have a discussion.

love and peace, jeanne