A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace





















































































Justice and Peace Are One Path

Peace and justice nourish one another, sharing their hope for non-violence and their concern for the interests of others. Wherever exploitation and oppression are ignored, peace and justice are illusive; wherever respect and support for human life become priorities, peace and justice are reborn.


Rule-of-law and justice are not always the same. Hopeless citizens who despair of working out their life-and-death issues within unjust legal, economic and political frameworks sometimes turn to crime, terrorism, and war. What goes around comes around. Those who work for equal opportunity and peace lift up their own lives with the lives of others, growing in understanding and acceptance of human difference, and increasing the sum of peace and justice.


The Golden Rule, the historical foundation for all moral and legal systems, and the basis for the “liberty and justice for all” to which we pledge allegiance, works so well because treating others as you wish to be treated becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Peace and justice are among the highest ideals and values enshrined in our proud founding documents, which extend equal protection for the peaceful, equitable goals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” even to “the least of these”—children, the elderly, sick, needy and handicapped, and all who struggle to rise from historical discrimination.


Angry media xenophobes and demagogues try to scare us into believing that the world is divided into a tiny deserving few of “us” vs. a vast faceless, threatening, undeserving “them,” urging us to abandon the goal of peace and justice for all, and to put power and wealth in the hands of a few self-interested fear-mongers who guilefully “guarantee” safety through militarism. Offering the opposite message are the great leaders of our past and present, urging us to love and help one another, to give and forgive, to risk peace instead of war, and to work together for respectful, supportive conditions valuing the sanctity of human life everywhere. Truly, we cannot avoid all injustice, but we can avoid adding to its sum.


Justice implies neutrality and fairness, but no judges are completely unbiased. We all see the world uniquely, based on our different backgrounds. In the face of the same legal arguments, natural, unavoidable bias is evident in the many disagreements among even our rigorously-selected highest justices.


Our current justices’ life experiences are for the most part grounded in privilege and wealth. A more balanced Supreme Court would include justices whose lives reflect struggles against prejudice, poverty or disadvantage, since, in common law legal systems like our own, justices at times “make the law” by overturning precedents, regulations and legislation, with immense implications for future generations.


Clearly we need to appoint judges with sterling records of excellence and impartiality. President Obama hopes also to nominate Supreme Court justices with a sense of what real-world folks go through, who know what it is to be a teenage mom or to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old, to have the system not work for you, to be vulnerable in the political process—an outsider, a minority, someone without a lot of clout.


In the five percent of hard cases where the legal language is not perfectly clear, and where legal procedures alone can’t lead to a rule of decision, President Obama believes that the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in a judge’s heart. May we find the peace and justice we seek there, and together with our good president, continue to nurture peace and justice in our own hearts, in our families, communities, businesses, schools, courts, churches and government, and in all our relationships with others throughout the world.



Please send questions and comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you!

Democratic Advocacy for the Sanctity of Human Life

Americans of faith, whether liberals or conservatives, have always wanted to elect leaders who will put in place caring governmental policies supportive of human life, from beginning to end—policies such as people-friendly health care, education, jobs, housing, transportation, and energy; equitability and opportunity; a small-business and worker-friendly economy; environmental stewardship; generosity toward the most vulnerable; representative, transparent politics, government, and taxation; and a peaceable foreign policy. Unfortunately, Republican partisan hacks continually manipulate our natural emotions and sympathies to galvanize us around single values-issues like abortion, and thus distract and divide us into voting against our own (and everyone else’s) best interests, against the very life-supporting and compassionate values we care so much about, values which the Democratic Party has always stood up for. The Democratic Party party is pledged to make abortion more rare, not more dangerous, and to promote healthy childbearing, family planning, contraceptive research, and comprehensive family life education. Look at Republican Party results and you will see that, once in power, they consistently put in place policies that move the bulk of the nation’s money away from the broad middle class and toward a small group of very wealthy people. The Republican Party isn’t what it used to be. This time, I hope Americans of faith will vote Democratic—for a change

A Fair Trade


I hereby offer a hypothetical “deal” to all the many deeply caring anti-abortion activists, such that we equally concerned anti-war activists will agree to give up all violence against the unborn, in exchange for their equivalent agreement to resist the use of violence upon those already born—whether through war, torture, abuse, poverty, neglect, anger, vengeance, retaliation, punishment, or any other form of violence. When we can all agree to respect and protect human life from all forms of violence, agreeing to use only non-violent means to resolve our conflicts, we will together build a culture of peace where respect and support for human life everywhere is the highest moral value. 







Please send your comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net 


Jim Wallis Practices God’s Politics

Jim Wallis’ rich and thought-provoking exploration, God’s Politics, will stimulate a generation of dialogue at the intersection of faith, politics, and contemporary culture. Wallis’ mental exuberance and hyperactivity are easily balanced by his brilliance, generosity, and love. God’s Politics is a must-read.


Wallis argues that values based in faith must inspire American politics, and that this right was guaranteed by our founders when they separated church and state. Wallis feels that the very survival of America’s social fabric depends upon the emergence of political and cultural leaders having a clear vision of justice, peace, environmental stewardship, family, and consistent-value-of-life ethics grounded in the traditions of acceptance, forgiveness, and love preached by the biblical prophets (including, of course, Jesus.) To Wallis, faith cannot ignore poverty, injustice, war, and other attacks upon humanity, nor mean-spiritedly criminalize or marginalize minority voices and choices, nor turn away from those everywhere made in the image of God.


I agree with Wallis that “faith…prefers international community over nationalist religion…” adding my hope that he will consider advocating for respect and support now for the quality of human life everywhere as the highest possible ethical stance (similar to the Catholic doctrine of the value and inviolability of human life.) Acceptance of this stance supersedes patriotism and nationalism, which, however noble, engender polarizing fears that lead to ethnocentrism, hatred, war, injustice, unfriendly competition, and indifference to suffering in other nations.


Wallis offers a wonderful example of a compassionate prophetic voice and life which many will be inspired to emulate. As a rallying cry, though, the concept of “prophetic faith” is not quite universal enough to provide a satisfying ethical framework for political discourse in a multicultural democracy, injecting instead a degree of divisiveness into Wallis' otherwise effective argument, rather than the clarity and commonality he intended. Just deciding which and whose prophets to include would assure a fractious, ultimately irresolvable argument. Furthermore, the words “prophetic faith” unnecessarily threaten many non-religious citizens, while even religious citizens disagree as to which prophets are foundational.


Also, although clearly Jesus spoke with a prophetic voice, many Christians would be confused and offended if Jesus were even temporarily and merely metaphorically reduced to the status of “prophet.”


Does Wallis’ concept of “prophetic faith” embrace the teachings of the wide variety of major/minor prophets from all major/minor world faiths—say, Confucius, Mohammed, “Buddha,” Mao, Marx, the minor biblical prophets, etc? On what basis would he include or exclude prophets?


Will Wallis include other, often controversial, modern-day (dead) “prophets”–Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Billy Graham, Pope John Paul, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others in the prophetic tradition? If so, whom, and on what basis? What about present-day prophets—all visionary moral leaders fitting Wallis’ definition of “prophet”—such as Jim Wallis himself, Jimmy Carter, Pat Buchanan, Oprah, Jim Carroll, Marianne Williamson, the Dalai Lama, Pope Benedict, George Bush, Gordon Hinckley, Bono, etc?


A promising alternative framework for moral political discourse offering a common unifying vision acceptable to all philosophical and religious bases would be “respect and support now for the quality of human life everywhere,” a belief that Americans already embrace, i.e., “all men are created equal.” The rest of the world would jump at the chance to move in this direction along with the U.S.


No successful political movement would dare reject patriotism; however, a political movement could successfully promote “respect and support now for the quality of human life everywhere” as “the highest moral value,” leaving to individual discussion the various moral implications of this stance.


Wallis‘ argument in favor of choosing a consistent ethic of human life, with its important implications for poverty, injustice, war, violence, etc., fits in perfectly with the above-declared “highest moral value.” His excellent “test” question—“How are the children doing?” also fits well. So too would “Golden Rule Politics” (see other essays on Golden Rule Politics at www.epharmony.com ).


Mr. Wallis is the founder of Sojourners, a network of Christians working for justice and peace. He edits the acclaimed Sojourners magazine, is a powerful and popular speaker, the author of seven books, a Harvard lecturer, and the founder of Call to Renewal.


Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net







A Generic, All-Purpose Letter, Ready To Send Out To Your Political Representatives

Dear Sir (or Madam):


The America I see around me is no longer recognizable. Our political and governmental systems are unresponsive to the needs of U.S. citizens, and unrepresentative of their views. Government at all levels seems powerless to resolve present or future challenges. America is increasingly feared, despised, and distrusted around the world.


In hopes of clarifying and simplifying your job, I’m asking you to work and vote in the following ways, whenever possible:


Against secrecy;


Against greed;


Against polarization, whether between individuals, organizations, governments, or nations;


Against fear as expressed in anger, pain, hatred, war, violence, vengeance, despair, and cynicism;


Against blaming anyone, including yourself;


For acceptance, support, and respect for the quality of human life everywhere;


For social and economic justice for individuals and families;


For environmental stewardship;


For the strong promotion of positive values and healthy lifestyles and attitudes, especially via school programs and the public airwaves;


For easing the day-to-day burdens of working people;


For embracing the changes and technologies necessary to make our government once again responsive, representative, wise, and capable;


For generously alleviating suffering, in the present and future;


For treating every person in every nation as we would wish to be treated;


Please give special consideration, in each decision, whenever possible, to its impact upon all children and all small localities, everywhere.


Thank you very much for your well-intentioned and devoted service.


Yours sincerely,


A Concerned Citizen


Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net






James Agee Does Bill Bennett

If Bill Bennett had just said, “abort every baby” or even “abort every white baby” instead of “abort every black baby,” he could have made his point just as well without coming across like a totally insensitive Ku Klux Klanner.


On the other hand, this whole controversy boils down to: How are we treating all the babies who are born into our culture? Not to mention, our planet?


Here’s what James Agee had to say about the matter, back in 1939:


“In every child who is born, under no matter what circumstances, and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again. And in him, too, once more, and of each of us, our terrific responsibility towards human life; towards the utmost idea of goodness, of the horror of error, of God.” (from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men)



(I would like to add that I think Bill Bennett a fine, admirable person who has worked hard and taken many personal risks in his life in order to add beauty and goodness to the world. Like all of us, he's entitled to mistakes and shortcomings, none of which are important. When someone has such long suits, and works so hard to make the most of them, sometimes their (our) short suits seem (in contrast) very short. I thank the world for Dr. Bennett's gifts and life, wish him well, and trust that he won't be daunted by his recent negative publicity….) Keep up the good work, Dr. Bennett!