Quotes from Previous Issues of Progressive Theology

Let us follow the Prince of Peace, not the dogs of war.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire

Remember the victims of war.

We are on the path toward becoming the Sparta of the 21st century, armed to the teeth and without the capacity to care for our own people.

Dennis Kucinich

Righteousness exalts a nation (Prov 14:34), but arrogance doesn't.

So let me say as clearly as I possibly can - the federal budget now being proposed is unbiblical. We must clearly and prophetically respond. Now, more than any time during the past 20 years, we need a faith-based initiative against political priorities that neglect poor people.

Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief, Sojourners

The way we use power is far more important in the long run than is the amount of power we have available.

Elton Trueblood

A brother who had sinned was turned out of the church by the priest; Abba Bessarion got up and went with him, saying, "I, too, am a sinner."

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I do not lack the courage to think a thought whole.

Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

Between a few hundred and a few thousand people die every year from terrorist acts. More than 6 million children die every year from hunger-related causes. Where should our government's spending priorities be?

A superpower that no longer stands for anything, that no one believes in anymore, that is seen only as a bully, will fall despite its military might. If the Bush administration ever wanted to reflect on history, it might think about this.

Mark Kurlansky, "Thunder of '68 Rumbles Onward," Los Angeles Times

The Road Map for Peace is a useless piece of paper until we begin to act like arbiters rather than partisans.

Hysterical fundamentalism is not the way into the future; it is the last gasp of the past.

John Shelby Spong, A New Christianity for a New World

The Iraqi war was the wrong war, for the wrong reasons, against the wrong enemy.

Sen. Robert Byrd

If one is guided by profit in one's actions, one will incur much ill will.

Confucius, Analects 4.12

The Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Bertrand Russell, "Why I Am Not a Christian"

Q: What is another name for NBC's version of "Saving Jessica Lynch"?

A: "Wrecks, Lies, and Videotape"

In my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.

Al Gore, 9 November 2003

[For the U.S. to develop nuclear bunker-busting bombs] is dangerous and provocative. It is like a drunk preaching temperance to everyone else at the bar, while ordering another round.

Bob Schaeffer, Anti-Nuclear Alliance

From the cowardice that dare not face new truth,

From the laziness that is contented with half truth,

From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,

Good Lord, deliver us.

Kenyan prayer

Perspectives of the Powerful

What need we fear who knows it,
when none can call our power to account?

Lady Macbeth

You know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

Athenians to the Melians, Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War

Many people would define peace as deliverance from one's enemies. I believe Jesus would define peace as the transformation of enemies into friends.

There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted.

Vice President Dick Cheney

Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives. It's about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and in our world. Politics is about doing well for people.

Senator Paul Wellstone

O, what a godly outside falsehood hath!

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Howard Dean said that he represented the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party; I believe that progressive Christians represent the Christian wing of Christianity.

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

So what were we to do when we in America were attacked on September 11, that infamous day? I say we should have done then what we never did before: stop speaking to the people we labeled our enemies and start listening to them. Stop giving preconditions to our peaceful coexistence on this small planet, and start honoring and respecting every human's need to live free and autonomously, to truly respect the sovereignty of every state. To stop making up rules by which others must live and then separate rules for ourselves.

Michael Berg, whose son Nick was beheaded in Iraq

Tho' much is taken, much abides: and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

Kurt Vonnegut

They stand quietly [outside the Temple of Time], reading prayer books, holding their children. They stand quietly, but secretly they seethe with their anger. For they must watch measured that which should not be measured. They must watch the precise passage of minutes and decades. They have been trapped by their own inventiveness and audacity. And they must pay with their lives.

Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams

I am newly aware that our enemy is to be hated but as one who will hereafter be a friend; and towards a friend I would wish but thus far to show aid and service, as knowing that he will not always abide.

Ajax, in Sophocles, Ajax

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Christian response to violence is supposed to be to turn the other cheek. One wonders how different the world situation would have been if Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair had done just that.

Leila Nadir, Iraqi-Canadian Christian

Maybe you don't go to hell for the things you do. Maybe you go to hell for the things you don't do.

Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby

If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us.

George W. Bush

Langdon frowned. Kohler was right. Holy wars were still making headlines. My God is better than your God. It seemed there was always close correlation between true believers and high body counts.

Dan Brown, Angels and Demons

The world needs better ideas, not better weapons.

Christ crucified rules [in modern Christianity], and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed

The United States is not so strong, the final triumph of the democratic ideal is not so inevitable that we can ignore what the world thinks of us or our record.

Harry Truman

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
   when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
   the Lord will be a light to me.

Micah 7:8

We must love one another or die.

W. H. Auden, "September 1, 1939"

I wondered how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of children everywhere as our own. Then we could never drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or napalm on Vietnam, or cluster bombs on Afghanistan or Iraq, because wars, especially in our time, are always wars against children.

Howard Zinn

Have mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon our efforts,
That we before Thee,
In love and in faith,
Righteousness and humility,
May follow Thee,
With self-denial, steadfastness,
   and courage,
And meet Thee in the silence.

Give us a pure heart
That we may see Thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear Thee,
A heart of love
That we may serve Thee,
A heart of faith
That we may live Thee,

Whom I do not know
But Whose I am.
Whom I do not comprehend
But Who hast dedicated me
To my fate.

Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

Violence may murder the murderer, but it doesn't murder murder. Violence may murder the liar, but it doesn't murder lies; it doesn't establish truth.... Violence may go to the point of murdering the hater, but it doesn't murder hate. It may increase hate. It is always a descending spiral leading nowhere. This is the ultimate weakness of violence: It multiplies evil and violence in the universe. It doesn't solve any problems.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is what self-centered religion does to us: it allows us to use it to further our own ends.

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln

Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.

They made a wasteland and called it peace.

Tacitus, Agricola

To have a job where you can make things better for people? That's a blessing. Why would I do anything else?

Marla Ruzicka, founder of CIVIC (Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict)
victim of violence in Iraq

This Memorial Day let us indeed remember those who have died in war, civilians as well as soldiers, and let us pray that the scourge of war be lifted from the earth forever

In a world where the threat is asymmetrical, where the weak defy the strong, the power of conviction, the capacity to convince, the ability to sway opinion count as much as the number of military divisions.

Dominique de Villepin, newly appointed prime minister of France, from a speech delivered to the U.N. Security Council, 19 March 2003 (click here for the entire speech)

The Christian religion is powerful enough to supply both an inspirational vision of the afterlife and a realistic program for the present life.

I don't just denounce suicide bombers. I denounce those governments which use indiscriminate slaughter to advance their foreign policy.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone

If the God you believe in hates all the same people you do, then you know you've created God in your own image.

Anne Lamott

There is a massive undermining of religious and spiritual sensibilities in the modern world, but the main problem is not secularists but rather the materialism and selfishness that have become the common sense of global capitalism.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Current U.S. military policy resembles a man standing in a fire ant bed with a huge magnifying glass trying to burn the ants that are crawling on his feet and legs. No matter how big the magnifying glass, the fire ants will still bite him, and in fact the magnifying glass only serves to rile up the ants.

Men never do evil so cheerfully and so completely as when they do so from religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal

The President said an hour ago that the Gulf Coast looks like it has been obliterated by a weapon. It has. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Having lost faith in all else, zealots have nothing left but a holy cause to please a warrior God. They win if we become holy warriors, too; if we kill the innocent as they do; strike first at those who had not struck us; allow our leaders to use the fear of terrorism to make us afraid of the truth; cease to think and reason together, allowing others to tell what's in God's mind.

Bill Moyers

The subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people. And when the people are not informed, they cannot hold government accountable when it is incompetent, corrupt, or both.

Al Gore
It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.

Confucius, Analects 1.16

Inclined to peace by his temper and situation, it was easy for [Augustus] to discover that Rome, in her present exalted situation, had much less to hope than to fear from the chance of arms; and that, in the prosecution of remote wars, the undertaking became every day more difficult, the event more doubtful, and the possession more precarious and less beneficial.

Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bush and his commanders in the war on terrorism are willing to waste non-terrorists to kill terrorists. Right or wrong, that is not caring about the dignity of every life.

David Corn

With malice toward none, with charity for all . . .

Abraham Lincoln

A country will have authority and influence because of moral factors, not its military strength; because it can be humble and not blatant and arrogant; because our people want to serve others and not dominate others. And a nation without morality will soon lose its influence around the world.

Jimmy Carter

When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:33-34

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.

William Sloane Coffin

When the Way prevails under heaven, swift horses are relegated to fertilizing fields. When the Way does not prevail under heaven, war-horses breed in the suburbs.

Tao Te Ching 46

War is a coward's escape from the problems of peace.

Thomas Mann

Religion is what the common people see as true, the wise people see as false, and the rulers see as useful.


The problem with the press is that they can't tell the difference between a bicycle crash and the end of civilization.

George Bernard Shaw

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one bungler destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 9:18

Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn't bloody and barbaric. That's why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

Gregory Boyd

It may seem obvious, but the only hope for peace in the world is to wage peace, not war.

If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the grounds that a "suspected terrorist" is inside . . . , the resulting deaths of women and children may not be intentional. But neither are they accidental. The proper description is "inevitable." So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a deliberate attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of innocent people dying inevitably in "accidental" events has been far, far greater than all the deaths deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reject war as a solution for terrorism.

Howard Zinn

The fabric of law is spun from a single thread, and when the US government deems a few individuals to be less worthy of full protections against the abuse of power, everyone is threatened.

James Carroll, Boston Globe

War is terrorism. That is why a "war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms.

Howard Zinn

It's Iraq, stupid!

When you love people, you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them. God sees Christ, His Son, in us and loves us. And so we should see Christ in others, and nothing else, and love them. There can never be enough of it. There can never be enough thinking about it.

Dorothy Day

He harms himself who does harm to another, and the evil plan is most harmful to the planner.


Perhaps we will one day be able at least to admit of a God possessing sufficient majesty and expansiveness to transcend the limits of our own imaginations and experience. But meanwhile, . . . we might do well to look upon the inadequacy of our concepts of God as the truest mirror of those limitations that define our condition.

Ian Tattersall, Becoming Human

There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back.

Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Peopleware

[Those who accept] the Americanized, Constantinian paradigm [say:] We are of God; they are of the Devil. We are the light; they are the darkness. Our wars are therefore "holy" wars. With all due respect, this is blatant idolatry.

Gregory A. Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation

History would be far different it we did not tend to hear God most clearly when we think He is telling us exactly what it is we want to hear.

Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.

Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton on Peace

Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Obi-Wan Kenobe, Star Wars: Episode III

You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society.

Kurt Vonnegut

Being elected to a position of leadership should not be misconstrued as a license to do as one pleases at the expense of the will and trust of the electorate.

Zimbabwean bishops, open letter "God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed"

The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.

Albert Einstein

The word of God is never patriotic, for God is not a partisan of any one nation.

What do we want the Church to do? We don't ask for more cathedrals. We don't ask for bigger churches of fine gifts. We ask for its presence with us, beside us, as Christ among us. We ask the Church to sacrifice with the people for social change, for justice, and for love of brother. We don't ask for words. We ask for deeds. We don't ask for paternalism. We ask for servanthood.

César Chávez

Torture is how you create enemies, not how you defeat them.

Barack Obama

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

John Locke

From a theological perspective, when believers divide the world into two groups--the in-group and the out-group--they imply that God, too, makes such distinctions.

The ultimate question is whether the doctrine of the goodness of God or that of the inerrancy of Scriptures is to prevail when they conflict. I think the doctrine of the goodness of God is the more certain of the two. Indeed, only that doctrine renders this worship of Him obligatory or even permissible.

C. S. Lewis

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, piety must be the next to the last.

History will judge societies and governments - and their institutions - not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.

César Chávez

Strike against all ordinances and laws and institutions that continue the slaughter of peace and the butcheries of war. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought. Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder. Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.

Helen Keller

The worst war the U.S. ever lost was not Vietnam; it was the war on poverty.

When my late father--Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer--denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Frank Schaeffer, commenting on the furor over some of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's words

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?"

Robert F. Kennedy, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw

The Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

Karl Marx

Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice

Gandhi's Seven Deadly Sins

Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.

Colin Powell

By choosing you, the American people have chosen change, openness and optimism.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy, in letter to Barack Obama

True Christians do not know vengeance. They are the children of peace. Their hearts overflow with peace. Their mouths speak peace, and they walk in the way of peace.

Menno Simons

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

President Barack Obama

Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.

Thomas Merton

Love needs to be proved by action.

Thérèse of Lisieux

This is my family. I found it all on my own. It is little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good.

Stitch, Lilo and Stitch

In the natural order no matter what ideals may be theoretically possible, most people more or less live for themselves and for their own interests and pleasures or for those of their own family or group, and therefore they are constantly interfering with one another’s aims, and hurting one another and injuring one another, whether they mean it or not.

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

It's difficult to be a Christian in countries where the government is hostile to the faith, but perhaps it's even harder in countries where the government uses the words of faith to usurp the loyalty of its citizens.

Small wonder that President Obama advises us to look forward, not backward--a convenient doctrine for those who hold the clubs. Those who are beaten by them tend to see the world differently, much to our annoyance.

Noam Chomsky

When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

Dom Hélder Câmera

Never, then, would I turn aside from a stranger, such as thou art now, or refuse to aid in his deliverance; for well know I that I am a man, and that in the morrow my portion is no greater than thine.

Theseus, in Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus

He [Silvanus] also said, "Unhappy is the man whose reputation is greater than his work."

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Marge Piercy, "To Be of Usee

A Jesus who advocates war and violence is the devil wearing a God-mask.

Any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate

Charter for Compassion

Earthquakes are random events. How many people they kill is predetermined. In Haiti this week, don't blame tectonic plates. Ninety-nine percent of the death toll is attributable to poverty.

Ted Rall

On Mayday in Washington thousands of us were arrested for disturbing the peace. But there is no peace. We were really arrested because we were disturbing the [Vietnam] war.

Howard Zinn

We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt.

Haitian economist Camille Chalmers, stating that Haiti needs to be seen as a creditor nation, not a debtor nation, owed by the West for two centuries of exploitation

Our Lord was stripped that we might be clothed.
With the gall and vinegar he sweetened
the poison of the serpent which had bitten men.

Ephrem Syrus

One of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.

Ronald Reagan in 1961, on the threat of Medicare

We must speak out against a government that spends trillions of dollars to build up a military machine, but provides only a pittance to deal with the AIDS crisis that is destroying Africa.

Tony Campolo

Being Christian doesn't mean being anti-American, but it does mean that Christian identity and loyalty matter more than national identity and loyalty.

Marcus Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary

Last April in the Czech capital, Prague, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, but he warned that nations probably would not eliminate their arsenals in his lifetime. I am three decades older than the US president, yet I am confident that both of us will live to see the day when the last nuclear weapon is dismantled. We just need to think outside the bomb.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Rewriting history in the name of national pride isn't patriotic, it's ignorant.

Texas NAACP, in reaction to the recent changes to the history curriculum of public schools by the (Texas) State Board of Education

The great danger of fundamentalism is not its particular set of doctrines but its claim to possess the truth

Are you journalists or are you rushing a sorority?

Jon Stewart

It would be easy and obvious to point to all the different productive ways we could have spent that $1,000,000,000,000 [on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]. But we all know that we wouldn't have. To fund health care or mass transit or research and development into clean, renewable energy sources, or simply to ensure that all Americans have adequate food and housing, and that all children are well-educated, are liberal fantasies. Taking even incremental steps on any of those requires the political version of a bloodbath. But funding actual bloodbaths hardly requires debate. Those are our national political values.

Laurence Lewis

Originalism isn't a pillar of our Constitutional history. It's a talking point.

Senator Al Franken

The counterinsurgency strategy is falling apart. The doctrine of counterinsurgency has broken down just as the chain of command has broken down. The Karzai Administration is broken by corruption. Our budget is broken. General Petraeus has served his country honorably, but we can't expect a different outcome from a new general with the same old strategy. The only way to repair this mess is to get out of Afghanistan. What we have to show for our strategy is the death of over 1,100 U.S. soldiers and countless innocent civilians. The U.S. has not been made safer, and the Afghan people are left to fend for themselves between the failure of their government, and ours, to protect them. Bring our troops home.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

For if the constitutional conception of "equal protection of the laws" means anything, it must at the very least mean that the Constitution will not abide such a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group.

Federal Judge Joseph L. Tauro, in declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Acts unconstitutional

If any overarching conclusion emerges from the Afghan and Iraq Wars (and from their Israeli equivalents), it's this: victory is a chimera.

Andrew Bacevich

The evidence he [Colin Powell] presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise.

Score: Fools and Frenchmen 1, Cohen 0
Another score: 4400+ U.S. troops dead, 
               600,000+ Iraqis dead

Richard Cohen, Washington Post columnist, 6 Feb 2003

  • People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
  • If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
  • If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
  • If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
  • What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
  • If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
  • The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
  • Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
  • In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

    Mother Teresa

    Our political and philosophical beliefs often say more about the God we worship than the religious words we mouth.

    If the bad act is committed by a member of a group you wish to demonize, attribute it to a community or a religion and not to the individual. But if the bad act is committed by someone whose profile, interests and agendas are uncomfortably close to your own, detach the malefactor from everything that is going on or is in the air (he came from nowhere) and characterize him as a one-off, non-generalizable, sui generis phenomenon.

    Stanley Fish, comparing reactions to Muslim terrorists attacking the World Trade Center and a Christian stabbing a Muslim cab driver in NYC

    The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending--with the exception of the money spent on them.

    Matt Taibbi

    I get a headache when I hear supporters of this endless warfare complaining about the federal budget deficits. They're like arsonists complaining about the smell of smoke in the neighborhood.

    Bob Herbert, New York Times

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, unanimously ratified by the U.S. Senate on June 6, 1797

    [The U.S. is] a Government which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance.

    George Washington, "Letter to the Jews of Newport, RI"

    One hopes people who love the death penalty are taking note [of former death row inmate Anthony Graves' exoneration]. So often, their arguments in favor of that barbarous frontier relic seem to take place in some alternate universe where cops never fabricate evidence and judges never make mistakes, where lawyers are never inept and witnesses never commit perjury. So often, they behave as if in this one critical endeavor, unlike in every other endeavor, human beings somehow get it right every time.

    Leonard Pitts Jr.

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder.

    Bill Moyers, speech at Boston University, Howard Zinn Lecture Series

    Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

    Thomas Jefferson

    You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan.

    Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's final words on 13 Dec 2010, according to his family

    If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we've got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition, and then admit that we just don't want to do it.

    Stephen Colbert

    Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.

    President John F. Kennedy

    Commonsense restrictions would not prevent sane people with common sense from having their guns for target practice or hunting or collecting or personal protection. But commonsense restrictions could at the very least make it harder for disturbed and violent people to get their hands on guns and kill 9 year-old girls. The local government in Wild West Tombstone got that more than a century ago. Why can't we get that now?

    Joan McCarter

    [The media] cannot, month in month out and year in and year out, make the kind of untruthful, of bitter assault that they have made and not expect that brutal, violent natures, or brutal and violent characters, especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not very strong mind; they cannot expect that such natures will be unaffected by it.

    Theodore Roosevelt, minutes after being shot by a would-be assassin

    A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Have you ever heard of any campaigning politician, in any other industrial democracy, promising to provide "an American-style health-care system"?

    Ed Quillen

    During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

    George Orwell

    We've learned that the system makes too many mistakes to entrust it with the ultimate power of capital punishment. We've learned that legal safeguards can be pushed aside when emotions are high after a heinous crime. We've learned that political ambition sometimes blinds those in power to the weaknesses of a case. We've learned that evidence can disappear or be misrepresented, that witnesses seeking special deals may lie, that juries may be swayed by emotion instead of facts.

    Chicago Sun-Times editorial

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

    Louis D. Brandeis

    Only in Congress would you find a chorus singing mightily that the affluent and mighty need an extra helping of taxpayer largesse. Screw the kids in Head Start, the students receiving Pell Grants, the dislocated workers and the nutritional needs of infants--how can we better help JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon?

    Katrina vanden Heuvel

    These are the values inspiring those brave workers in Poland.... They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.

    Ronald Reagan, Labor Day 1980

    Some Tautologies:

    When the superior man hears the Way, he is scarcely able to put it into practice. When the middling man hears the Way, he appears now to preserve it, now to lose it. When the inferior man hears the Way, he laughs at it loudly. If he did not laugh, it would not be fit to be the Way.

    Tao Te Ching

    Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life.... He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that all the crimes he committed against me -- which forced his resignation facing impeachment -- are now legal.

    Daniel Ellsberg

    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

    James Madison

    It's both sensible and logical to argue that our president and elected representatives must serve as a check on the military establishment, rather than issuing blank checks to them. It's both sensible and logical to argue that all wars, as required by the Constitution, must have a Congressional declaration before American troops and treasure are committed. It's both sensible and logical to argue that, as good as our military is, it ultimately can't win someone else's civil war (Iraq) or nation-build in a place where the concept of "nation" is little more than notional (Afghanistan).

    William Astore, Lt.Col. USAF (ret.)

    In philosophical discussion, the merest hint of dogmatic certainty as to finality of statement is an exhibition of folly.

    Alfred North Whitehead

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The extreme language of Evangelical/"pro-life" rebellion has now been repackaged in the debt ceiling showdown. It is the language of religion pitted against facts.

    Frank Schaeffer

    We [have] substituted the prayer of Jesus with the prayer of Jabez. Increase my territory. Enlarge my territory.

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright

    [These are] the now-endangered markers of a civilized society: legally ordained minimum wages, child labor laws, workers' safety and compensation laws, pure foods and safe drugs, Social Security, Medicare and rules that promote competitive markets over monopolies and cartels.

    Bill Moyers

    To be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born "illegals."

    Barbara Ehrenreich

    Never was there anything as wretched as old age coupled with poverty.

    Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival

    In other words, the hidden subsidies [designed to help individuals seeking college degrees] are not helping those who most need help in getting a degree. It's also helping lenders, by providing an incentive to borrow. So why not take that $22.75 billion or so that we're already spending and putting it directly toward making public higher education free?

    Sarah Jaffe

    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

    Abraham Lincoln

    I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

    John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

    The whole 
    idea of love was not to fall.  And neither was 
    the whole idea of God.  We put him well 
    above ourselves, because we meant, 
    in time, to measure up.

    Heather McHugh

    Nor are we the culmination of evolution, except in the sense that there has never been another species so bizarrely ingenious that it could create both iambic pentameter and plutonium.

    David Quammen, Monster of God

    You may have noticed that Republicans have been struggling to come up with a credible alternative to the Affordable Care Act once they repeal it. Why is it so hard? Because Obamacare WAS the Republican alternative.

    Matt Miller

    We must worship a different God.

    Trayvon Martin's father, in response to George Zimmerman's comment to Sean Hannity that Trayvon's death was "all a part of God's plan."

    We tried war, we tried aggression, we tried intervention. None of it works. Why don't we try peace, as a science of human relations, not as some vague notion--as everyday work? As diplomacy, as respect, as understanding the essential interconnectedness of all people, that we're really one.

    Dennis Kucinich

    Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.

    John Donne, "Meditation XVII"

    Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.

    Will Durant

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

    Jimi Hendrix