All by itself, “the common good” is as vague as fine-sounding phrases tend to be. And being fine-sounding and vague, it easily becomes political pabulum to promote whatever policies the speaker wants to advance. Not surprisingly, it arises at times when politicians want to justify imposing costs on some part of society, as when Hillary Rodham Clinton told a group of donors in 2004, “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.” To some ears, “the common good” echoes communism’s demands that all lesser goods yield to the construction of a people’s paradise. At the least, when we hear that some sacrifice will serve “the common good,” it’s reasonable to ask, “Sez who?”
2. A post-election prayer
My friend (and remarkably prolific blogger) Paul Burkhart shared a great prayer on his blog for President Obama, other newly elected/re-elected government officials, and those who lost their races.
3. Principled pluralism
The video of Gideon Strauss’s talk from Q earlier this year went online this week, and it’s wonderful. For those made nauseous by the political rancor on Facebook leading up to and following the election (and for those causing the nausea), I commend this talk to you. Here’s the blurb:
From debates about the hiring practices of churches to rumors of community adherence to Sharia law, Americans have long been facing questions regarding the role of various religions in public life. As our nation grows increasingly diverse, can we coexist without compromising those principles we hold dear? Gideon Strauss says the answer lies in “principled pluralism,” a paradigm that allocates enough freedom of conscience, worship, and practice that all faiths can flourish rather than compete.
4. Guatemala earthquake
Guatemala suffered its worst earthquake in 35 years this week, with San Marcos in the western part of the country hit especially hard. A family friend in the town where we used to live nearby let me know things were fine there, but many in other towns weren’t as fortunate. The death toll is up past 50, and these photos show some of the structural damage. Please keep victims in your prayers.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!
[Photo credit: theblaze.com]