Veda Gill is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan (Facebook). She oversees a number of schools that educate over 6,000 students. These schools founded initially by Presbyterian missionaries in the mid 19th century are now far superior to government-run schools and they reach out to the poorest, both Muslim and Christian. She believes that education is the key to peace. She speaks with me about her important work.
Rick Ufford-Chase was the moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly from 2004 to 2006. He worked as a Presbyterian Mission Worker for twenty years on the U.S./Mexico border, supporting migrants and refugees and developing educational programs for people of faith who are interested in the complexities and challenges of the border region. He was formerly the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and is currently the Co-Director (with his wife, Kitty) of Stony Point Conference Center. He stopped in at the KBOO studio when the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met in Portland to discuss his latest book, Faithful Resistance: Gospel Visions for the Church in A Time of Empire.
On a Friday night in March 1981 Henry Hays and James Knowles scoured the streets of Mobile, Alabama in their car, hunting for a black man. The young men were members of Klavern 900 of the United Klans of America. They were seeking to retaliate after a largely black jury could not reach a verdict in a trial involving a black man accused of the murder of a white man. The two Klansmen found nineteen-year-old Michael Donald walking home alone. Hays and Knowles abducted him, beat him, cut his throat, and left his body hanging from a tree branch in a racially mixed residential neighborhood.
Arrested, charged, and convicted, Hays was sentenced to death—the first time in more than half a century that the state of Alabama sentenced a white man to death for killing a black man. On behalf of Michael’s grieving mother, Morris Dees, the legendary civil rights lawyer and cofounder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a civil suit against the members of the local Klan unit involved and the UKA, the largest Klan organization. Charging them with conspiracy, Dees put the Klan on trial, resulting in a verdict that would level a deadly blow to its organization.
My guest, Laurence Leamer, has written about this event, uncovered new information, including the climate of hate created by former Alabama governor, George Wallace that led to this lynching.
Laurence Leamer is a New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen books including the Kennedy Women and The Price of Justice. He is with me via Skype from Washington DC to discuss his latest book The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan.
Beaverton is one of the most diverse cities in Oregon with one in 5 residents born in a different country and 99 different languages spoken in homes. Megan Cohen is the Cultural Inclusion Specialist with the Mayor’s office. She discusses the Cultural Inclusion Program the city has begun to celebrate this diversity and to meet the challenges of these demographic shifts. This program was broadcast July 7th, 2016 on KBOO’s “News In Depth.”
Here is a special report for Progressive Spirit on the 222nd General Assembly that met July 18-25 in Portland at the Oregon Convention Center. The Assembly meets once every two years. It previously met in Portland in 1967 and before that in 1893. I speak with former moderator, Rick Ufford-Chase, newly elected stated clerk of the PCUSA, J. Herbert Nelson, Palestinian Christian, Nahida Gordon, Jeffrey DeYoe of the Israel-Palestine Mission Network, Ned Rosch of Jewish Voice for Peace, Ray Bagnuolo of That All May Freely Serve, and Michael Zimmerman of the Clergy Letter Project on topics of LGBTQ justice, fossil fuel divestment, Israel-Palestine, evolution, and the church's future.
Dr. Nahida Gordon, a Palestinian-American was nine years old when she and her parents had to leave their home in Jaffa in 1948. Palestinians refer to this event as al Nakba or the Catastrophe. She still has the keys to her childhood home. In her book, "Palestine Is Our Home: Voices of Loss, Courage, and Steadfastness," she brings to the West the voices of Palestinians, their culture, their resistence to Israeli occupation, and their hope to return to their homeland.
Krista Tippett is the host of NPR’s On Being. It is a show that asks, “What does it mean to be human and how do we want to live?” She was trained as a journalist and reported from divided Berlin. She received a Masters of Divinity Degree from Yale in 1994 and turned her attention from politics to the larger questions of life. She visited with me in the KBOO studio to talk about her own spiritual journey and her book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.
Patricia Tull is An ordained Presbyterian minister and professor of Hebrew Bible. She retired from Louisville Theological Seminary where she is A.B. Rhodes Professor Emerita of Old Testament. She is the author of Inhabiting Eden: Christians, the Bible, and the Ecological Crisis. In this book she demonstrates how the Hebrew Scriptures can open our minds to ecology, justice, and value. She will be speaking at Southminster Presbyterian Church June 19th in conjunction with the 222nd PC(USA) General Assembly the meets that week in Portland. She blogs at Inhabiting Eden.
“I didn’t squander my youth on responsibility,” quips Steve Theme, author of Asphalt Asylum: The Dark Roads to Light. It is part hitchhiking journal, part mythic adventure as Steve Theme tells the story of his 7,000 mile hitchhiking quest to run away and find home again. Steve introduces us to the fascinating people you meet on the road. More than that, he offers a window into the angst and idealism of a nineteen year-old-male as his 50+ self reflects on what it means to be human, to connect with humans, to struggle with whatever it is we call “God.”
On September 29th, 1962, Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett spoke before a halftime crowd at a University of Mississippi football game. He said he loved Mississippi's heritage. This compelled him to personally block African-American James Meredith from enrolling at Ole Miss. Eventually Meredith was enrolled, violence followed, and 28 clergy, white Methodist clergy, signed a statement, Born of Conviction, opposing the white power structure and its racism. Of the 28 signers, three lost their positions immediately, 18 had left the state in two years. Joseph T. Reiff, chair of the Religion Department at Emory and Henry College, has written about this time, these clergy, and their statement in his book, Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi's Closed Society.