By Rabbi Joshua Chasan
Clergy leader, Vermont Interfaith Action
PICO and its constituent community organizations and the congregations of which they are comprised are COVENANTAL communities. Our power lies in our understanding of covenant. The contemporary crisis for America (indeed for the whole world) is a loss of sense of mutual respect and the self-respect that underlies mutual respect. The loss of the understanding of the power of human solidarity….
Historical example of the power of religious organizations can be found in the church-based roots of abolitionism coming out of Oberlin in the 19th century (see Barnes, The Anti-Slavery Impulse). For theological understanding of covenant, see the work of Von Rad on the “Old Testament.”
…We are not of the left or the right or the center. We are people who are trying to remember how to walk in a God-fearing way. Why not a call from PICO and other faith-based community organizing efforts for A Renewal of the Covenant of America.
This represents much of what I learned from PICO and also my own understanding, as an American historian, of the power of the religious communities in America.
Offered in the spirit of the redeeming love which we all celebrate this week.
Rabbi Joshua Chasan is a Clergy leader with Vermont Interfaith Action. Original submission date: April 21, 2011