Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Remembering Rev. William Sloane Coffin

I was saddened to learn that Rev. William Sloane Coffin died today. I know that he had been gravely ill for a number of years, and his death is not unexpected. But I'm still sad that I never had a chance to meet him. Here's part of an interview he did with PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly:

Justice is at the heart of religious faith. It's not something that is tacked on. And justice is not charity. Charity tries to alleviate the effects of injustice. Justice tries to eliminate the causes of injustice. Charity is a personal disposition. Justice is public policy. What this country needs, what I think God wants us to do, is not practice piecemeal charity but engage in wholesale justice. And that's not only to erase or greatly reduce the wage gap and the living standards in America, but really to be committed to doing something about the horrible, really horrible poverty of at least one third of the people on the planet. If you want to do something good for national security, and every American should, take billions of dollars and wage war against world poverty. That would have a very sobering effect on terrorism. Terrorism now has a wonderful recruitment policy supplied by the United States foreign policy. If we were serious, with other nations, to engage the war on poverty around the world, that would stem the flow of recruits to the ranks of terrorists.

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