New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


No Home Anywhere

July 05, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Guest Author

Muslim Women Search for Justice, Opportunity

by Rebecca Martin

While some say that American Muslim women are empowered because they are American, on the other side of the globe in Saudi islamic woman 350 Muslim Women: No Home AnywhereArabia, their sisters struggle with an issue that’s at the heart of their community: living with the rights already given to women in the Koran and by the teachings of Mohammed.

That’s why women here felt Islamic justice was finally coming home, when on April 13, Arwa Al-Hejaili became the first woman lawyer granted a license to train for court appearances. Would the guardianship rule — the unwritten law that requires Saudi women to seek permission from husbands, fathers, or brothers to travel, open a bank account, and apply for jobs — go next? (more…)

Frozen Prairie

February 25, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Brian Terrell, Community, Family, Politics

Letter from a Drone Protester’s Jail

by Brian Terrell

Greetings from the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton, South Dakota!  As of this writing, I am two months into a six month sentence imposed due to my protest of war crimes committed by remote control from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri against the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Betsy accompanied me here to Yankton on November 29, and that evening the Emmaus House Catholic Worker community, Beth Preheim, Michael Sprong and Dagmar Hoxie, hosted an evening of music, good food and good company to see me off.  Activists from around the Midwest attended, including some sisters from the Benedictine monastery here.

In the morning after a great breakfast and Gospel prayer, Betsy and Dagmar and Michael, along with Renee Espeland and Elton Davis, Catholic Workers from Des Moines, and Jerry Ebner, a Catholic Worker from Omaha, walked a “last mile” with me to the gate of the prison where I expect to remain until the end of May. (more…)

Doing Time for Peace

January 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, David Swanson, Family, Politics

New Book Highlights Nonviolent Heroes and Peacemakers

by David Swanson

Hundreds of Americans, young and old, are regularly going to prison, sometimes for months or years or decades, for nonviolently resisting U.S. militarism.

They block ports, ships, submarines, trains full of weapons, trucks full of weapons, and gates to military bases.  They take hammers to weapons of mass destruction, cause millions of dollars worth of damage, hang up banners, and wait to be arrested.  They cause weapons systems to be canceled, facilities to be closed, and Pentagon policies to be changed.  They educate and inspire greater resistance.

The people who do this take great risks.  U.S. courts are extremely unpredictable, and the same action can easily result in no jail time or years behind bars.  Many of these people have families, and the separation is usually painful.  But many say they could not do this without their families or without their close-knit communities of like-thinking resisters.  A support network of several people is generally needed for each resister.

More often than not, a great sacrifice is made with no apparent success in terms of governmental behavior, either immediately or even after a lengthy passage of time. Police are becoming more violent.  Sentences are growing longer, and prisons are becoming more awful. (more…)

‘Tis the Season

December 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Lawrence Wittner

Consumerism Is America’s Real Religion…

by Lawrence Wittner

Although fundamentalist fanatics have been working for decades to turn the United States into a “Christian nation,” they have not had much success along these lines. One reason for their failure is that religious minorities and non-believers have resisted. And another is probably that a large number of Americans want to preserve religious tolerance and avoid theocracy. But it might also reflect the fact that the United States is now firmly in the grip of a different religion: shopping.

After all, in this “holiday season” the dominant activity does not seem to be traditional religious worship or prayer. The recently concluded Black Friday provided the occasion not only for an orgy of consumer spending, but for ferocious action by screaming mobs of shoppers who engaged in mass riots in their desperate attempts to obtain a variety of products. (more…)

Otherworldy Dreams

October 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

On Religion and Technology in America

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Garry Wills, professor of American history and author of Bomb Power, says that the atomic and nuclear bomb remade the country into a National Security State fostering perpetual emergency, secrecy and war.

“Secrecy,” says Wills, “emanated from the Manhattan Project like a giant radiation emission.” Indeed, Wills argues very persuasively that the Manhattan Project turned out to be not merely a “fatal miracle” because it created the “awesome” bomb but also because of the processes it set in place:

“The military-industrial complex, with a poisonous admixture of government and secrecy, had scored a triumph that would show the way to many other governmental activities… The secrecy that had enveloped Los Alamos [building the bomb] would steal quietly across the entire American landscape in the years to come.”

According to Wills, the other inevitable result of the bomb was that it gave the president supreme power. He alone could decide the fate of the world.

(more…)

Speaking of Love…

February 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Jennifer Browdy

An Unlikely Environmental Evangelist

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

I was not raised in any religion, nor do I follow any religious practices now.  I don’t believe in God as a benevolent white man in the sky, nor do I believe that one needs to sit in a particular building, listening to a particular preacher, to reach out to the divine.

But I have always felt a deep spiritual connection to the natural world.  When I was 8 or 9, I used to go out into the woods and sit alone in my “spot,” which was a circle of mossy stones at the top of a big stone ridge, ringed by maples and centered around a grassy glade.  It was a small circle, no bigger than 10 feet in diameter.  I would just sit there and look and listen to the birds in the trees above me, the small insects on patrol in the grass, feeling the wind ruffling against my face and a kind of inner exultation and delight that I can only describe as religious ecstasy.

No one taught me to do this, and it wasn’t until much later, reading personal narratives by indigenous elders, that I was able to put this early spiritual connection with nature into a broader polytheistic cultural framework. (more…)

Change of Heart

November 01, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Pat LaMarche

Jesus Never Asked if the Poor Were Deserving

by Pat LaMarche

Homeless Christ used by permission of artist deb hoeffner: www.debhoeffner.com

All across the United States homeless advocates are busily working to prepare for their most hectic season. You might call it the holiday season, the time of cheer — or as Charles Dickens explained in his epic A Christmas Carol — “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

While many homeless advocates would never compare themselves to Charles Dickens they would agree that because people “open their shut-up hearts freely” their work loads get a whole lot heavier. You likely don’t know this because you’ve never heard them complain. And they never will. Many agencies make six or seven months of their budget on what kindness comes their way between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But proof that otherwise uncaring folks suddenly give a damn at Christmas isn’t just found in anecdotal accounts by relief workers. A British study conducted by City University London in 2009 shows that charitable giving increases by 19 percent in the month of December and not because the same people who donate the whole year through give more, but because more people give. (more…)