Friday, July 22, 2005

Religious Diversity/Politics and Economics/Crossno, Barry

Spiritual symposium:

Contra Costa Times/Contra Costa/CA/USA/21-Jul-05

… Barry Crossno of Taos, N.M., finds some progressive ideals to be in line with his Quaker faith. The challenge, the 35-year-old said, will be to put the ideals into motion.

"I think the next step is putting together a really tight-knit organization that's media-savvy and that has fund-raising prowess and that can dig deep into the broader culture."

A diversity of attire, from denim shorts to pastoral robes, accompanied the diversity of faith traditions. Rabbi Michael Lerner, the conference's primary organizer, adopted Western attire, entering the conference with a brown cowboy hat that he later traded for a yarmulke.

Other clothing choices revealed spiritual and political stripes, with T-shirts advocating for peace and others critical of the Bush administration. A cluster of informational booths urged political action, touted progressive programs or offered bumper stickers and pins. A chair masseuse appeared to be doing brisk business.

The conference's common ground, promoting an interfaith alliance, could be found in the coffee grounds. The Fort Bragg-based Thanksgiving Coffee Company dispensed free cups of java from a Ugandan cooperative, comprising some 400 Jewish, Muslim and Christian farmers.

Some criticize the conference as a grab for Democratic votes. Karen Hanretty, spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, views it as elitist. ...


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