The Network of Spiritual Progressives (brainchild of Tikkun magazine’s Rabbi Michael Lerner) held a conference in San Francisco recently called “A Strategy Conference for Liberals and Progressives” which Lerner has written about at the Huffington Post. It is a revealing piece, and indicates that the participants seem to think that the Kingdom of God can be brought in with some constitutional tinkering and congressional spending.
One focus of the conference was a proposed constitutional amendment–who it’s proposed by I don’t know, but it sounds like it was written by a liberal cleric trying to sound like a lawyer. It needs to be read as a whole to be believed:
The Environmental and Ethical Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. (EERA)
Article One: Corporations are not and shall not be considered “persons” or given the rights of individual human beings under the terms of the U.S. Constitution or the constitutions of any state in this Union, nor shall Congress or the courts give them similar rights or protections. The use of money in elections is not a protected form of “speech” and Congress shall limit the amount of money spent on any election campaign, lobbying or advertising to shape public opinion on any given piece of legislation or issue, and shall require equal time from media or equal print space to present the major alternatives in elections and ballot measures in the words of the candidates or those supporting any ballot measure, and may take other steps to insure that the American people are well-informed about the major alternative positions being debated in American society on economic, environmental, health and health care, corporation’s environmental and ethical responsibilities, high-tech, science, defense, human rights, child-rearing, elderly care, product and food safety, social justice, war and peace, labor, wages, employment, housing, immigration, transportation, foreign policy, nutrition, education, the legal system and prisons, and caring for each other issues, and the worldviews and ethical and environmental values that lie behind the differences in position, and informed of these alternative views by the advocates of the different positions who must also be given adequate and equal time to explain their critiques of the alternatives to the positions they hold.
Translation: the federal government will take over the media, and spoon-feed the citizenry whatever it thinks they need to know about any public issue. The job of debating such issues is to important to be left to individuals or private groups, so the government will decide what gets said. And given that people such as Harry Reid and Dick Cheney (pick your villian) do such a good job of framing public debate, it makes perfect sense to leave it in their hands and those of their chosen minions to decide whether all sides are fairly represented.
Article Two: Congress shall require that any corporation with an income of over $100 million per year must obtain a new corporate charter once every five years, and that charter will only be granted to those corporations that can prove a satisfactory history of social, environmental and ethical responsibility to a grand jury of ordinary citizens.
Translation: only corporations funding approved left-wing political activism and supporting progressive legislation will be allowed to operate in the United States.
Article Three: It is the responsibility of the United States Government and all its offices, and all other state and local governments, to develop policies and implement them, for the sake of enhancing the environmental sustainability of the planet and the well-being of all people on the planet, including, but not limited to the well-being of all Americans. Citizens may receive injunctive relief from policies that are environmentally destructive, and Congress shall provide adequate funding for a judiciary sufficient to inquire thoroughly about these alleged threats to the environment, hear the testimony from different perspectives, and then issue relief to the impacted individuals or communities as they may deem appropriate, and impose fines or imprisonment to corporations whose boards have not taken adequate steps to protect the environment or government officials who have been similarly negligent.
Translation: the most extreme forming of global warming hysteria will be enshrined in the Constitution. Failure to bow down to the Religion of Green™ will be expensive, to say the least.
Article Four: Every educational institution in the U.S. from k-graduate or professional school training shall require at least one course each year to train people on how to become aware of the ethical issues faced in decision making in the various aspects of daily life, the world of work, government, the military, police, the courts, the corporations, banks and investment firms, the stock markets, educational institutions, foreign policy, economic policies, human rights policies, health institutions, immigration policies, and the pursuit of environmental sustainability, food and agricultural policies, regional planning, and homeland security. This training shall allow for a variety of perspectives on the ethical responsibilities that people hold not only to their clients but also to the larger society, the entirety of humanity, and the sustainability and flourishing of the natural environment of the Earth.
Translation: Christian and Catholic education will either be nationalized or banned. All educational institutions will be transformed into indoctrination centers where only progressive worldviews, politics, and ethics will be tolerated.
Now, this exercise in wishful thinking has as much chance of becoming part of the U.S. Constitution as I have of winning the Miss Universe contest. That’s beside the point. The point is that this is a window into the mind of “spiritual progressives” and their left-wing secular allies. NSP leaders Michael Lerner, Cornel West, and Joan Chittister and their friends offer here a picture of what their ideal America would look like, a picture that has more than enough in common with various totalitarianisms to give one pause about the influence these people have.
Lerner also mentions a couple of other items that the conference took up. One is a Global Marshall Plan funded by America and the West, which “would dedicate 1-2% of their GDP each year for the next twenty to once and for all end global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education, inadequate health care, and repair the global environment.” Their faith in the ability of money to bring in the Kingdom is touching, isn’t it? The last one is a petition to the President and Congress that advocates, among other things:
Education reform to teach students that what should count in life is to maximize our own and each other’s capacities to be loving, kind, generous, caring for each other, ethically and environmentally responsible, and filled with gratitude and awe at the grandeur of the universe.
They don’t want much, do they? This, presumably, is an extrapolation on Article Four above.
By the way, I should also mention that the NSP is having a similar conference in Washington in June. Among the speakers will be the General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, Jim Winkler, and emergent church icon Brian McLaren. Not to suggest that they approve of the above amendment (though they may well), but if they don’t, I wonder how they like being in bed with a bunch of people whose ideas about freedom sound like they come from the Soviet Politburo?
(Via the Wall Street Journal “Best of the Web column.)