Liberal Grace

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reading Room: The granddaddy of Partitions

In the coming months you'll be hearing more and more about partitioning Iraq.

Peter Galbraith has been the leading proponent of this and the conservatives swiftboated him as a "cut and runner" for it.

Rumors are that Bush is going to adopt the partition proposal in the next year.

Partitions have always sounded better in theory than in messy reality. I can think of cases where countries were divided up and there has been has been horrific blood letting: Israel out of Palestine; Bosnia out of Yugoslavia; Eritrea out of Etheopia.

But the granddaddy of them all was Pakistan out of India. I strongly recommend that anyone who is enthusiastic about Iraq's partition, read about India's partition.

I suggest Freedom at Midnight for the average person because it reads like a novel. The sections on the violence of partition are vivid and chilling. I've read this book a couple of times.

Probably even better is Liberty or Death - India's Journey to Independence and Division by Patrick French. If you like history written like history, rather than a novel, this is the better book. I've had both Indian and Pakistan friends recommend this book which is a good testimony to its balance.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Liberal Grace Book: Right Wing, Wrong Bird

The fact that Joel Hunter is too Christian for the Religious Right makes me want to read his book

Joel Hunter, the guy mentioned in the previous post, has a book out "Right Wing, Wrong Bird."

Can Christians learn to approach political issues constructively rather than negatively, learning to serve rather than yell? Pastor and author Dr. Joel C. Hunter says it's not only possible, it's necessary! Dr. Hunter offers a manifesto for fellow conservatives who feel "left out" by the Religious Right.

About the Author
Since 1985, Dr. Joel C. Hunter has served as senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla. This innovative congregation of 12,000 uses technology to worship concurrently at five sites throughout Central Florida and throughout the world via "Webstream Worship." He serves on several boards, including the World Evangelical Alliance and the National Association of Evangelicals. Visit to learn more.


Monday, June 12, 2006

One Question Interview with J.R. Norton

The conservatives have been demagogin this issue for years: they are trying to bring America back to it's roots. It's an almost daily claim on conservative media and recently gained prominence in the appoitments of

But is this true? Or is it just more hot air from the right?

J.R. Norton has done America a great service by addressing this exact issue in his book Saving General Washington. Read more about it in the
Liberal Grace Reading Room.

Mr. Norton has kindly agreed to participate in a Liberal Grace One-Question Interview

Liberal Grace: Can you identify a key political assumption by modern conservatives that sets them apart from America's founding fathers?

J.R. Norton: There are quite a few, but I'd say the key one is the modern conservative assumption that if the president and self-identifies as conservative, there is no amount of power or extra-legal privilege that his branch of government can be granted that is any way a threat to American civil liberities or the Constitutional system of checks and balances. The baseline assumption is: we give the executive branch more power, or we give in to the terrorists. Government will take care of us if only we let it override the laws and protections that once held it back. Constitutional protections only apply during times of peace.

The Founders were viscerally aware of what it was like to live under an authoritarian government that justified its uncheckable power by invoking the idea of public safety during a time of crisis, so they deliberately built a system that denied uncheckable power to any branch of government -- but particularly the executive. They explicitly preferred more freedom to the false sense of security offered by a police state -- probably because they knew the police state, and knew that not only did you sacrifice your liberty, but you also risked wrongful arrest and draconian persecution.

The Founders were wise dudes. I wouldn't say that modern liberals are necessarily as in touch with their legacy as they should be, but I'd argue that modern conservatives have gotten America's founding principles completely ass-backwards.

J.R. Norton is senior producer for the Al Franken Show. From 2002 to 2004 he was Middle East Editor for The Christian Science Monitor
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Monday, May 29, 2006

One-Question Interview with Juliet Eilperin

Juliet Eilperin is a prolific writer for the Washington Post and author of Fight Club Politics : How Partisanship is Poisoning the U.S. House of Representatives.

Liberal Grace: If Democrats win back congress in November, I don't want it to be a "Fight Club" with Democrats beating up the conservatives. I want a return to healthy politics.

If you could give one piece of advice to Nancy Pelosi, what would it be?

Juliet Eilperin: This is the advice I would give to Nancy Pelosi: Learn from the GOP, and remember if you want a sustainable, governing majority you might want to consider building bridges to the other party, rather than treating Republicans they way they have treated you over the past decade.

I have no idea about the religious perspective of Ms. Eilperin but I will give her a ringing endorsement as a Christian. As Jesus said:

Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31 NIV)

If, the Democrats do take the house, as I hope, my prayer is that they won't be just as ruthless as the conservatives. I hope they remember what it felt like to be shut-out and treated like the enemy.

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