Global Arrogance or Planetary Community? - A Call to Communities of Faith

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

For S-30 & Beyond, Washington & Beyond

Dear Friends,

I am writing to ask you for a signature as well as a reading.

Through consultations with the Jubilee USA staff and the mermbers of the Religious Working Group, we have developed the following Statement & Call that includes and goes beyond the September 29-30 religious part of the Washington actions on globalization — especially, as you'll see, encouraging study and action in home congregations whether people come to Washington or not.

More than 100 leaders of various religious communities have already signed (see below). Please add your name!

The Shalom Center is now working on study materials for churches and synagogues that will make the home-congregation work possible.

In these study guides, we intend to address four major aspects of globalization — top-down control, damage to the earth, oppression of workers, and destruction of public health and other public services — and to bring sacred texts and teachings to bear on those problems. We would be delighted to have your suggestions on texts and other materials we should include.

We are seeking signatures to this Call from leaders of the various streams of Judaism, Christianity, and other traditions.

So please WRITE BACK by Email to with your own signature to this Call. List how you'd like to be identified. Please also share this with others in the religious communities who might add their signatures as well.

Many many thanks.

Shalom, Arthur

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Director, The Shalom Center
Freeing Our Time>

Global Arrogance or Planetary Community? —
A Call to Communities of Faith

As religious and spiritual communities that remember the arrogance of powerful and unaccountable institutions — how it destroys human lives, shatters communities and families, chokes the earth, and attacks the sacred truth within all life — we covenant together:

To oppose one major form this ancient arrogance is taking in the 21st Century — the form of unaccountable corporate globalism; and

As religious and spiritual communities that continue to lift up compassion, hope, and joy as the marks of human fullness, we covenant together:

To seek instead a planetary community of the earth and its peoples, workers and congregants, families and neighborhoods.

Among us, some will take part by bringing this statement and the teachings of our traditions about what today we call "globalization" to our home congregations and communities.

Among us, some will carry these teachings to Washington DC where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, servants of these pyramidal powers of globalization, will be meeting.

Some of us, either in our home communities or in Washington, will take part in a fast of contrition and commitment, of some duration in the period from September 26 to October 2.

Those who come to Washington will gather on the night of Saturday, September 29, for a religious service and an all-night candle-light vigil.

And some, in the spirit of Martin Luther King, will move into the day of Sunday, September 30 to take part in a nonviolent act of resistance to unaccountable power.

What do we remember that stirs us to these actions and this covenant?

We remember Pharaoh, whose arrogance grew out of pyramidal power, who enslaved the workers, ordered the deaths of little children, and brought down upon his country a series of environmental disasters.

We remember the Roman Empire, which used its arrogant power to crucify Jesus and torture ten of the greatest rabbis to their deaths, to sow ancient Palestine with salt so that crops would not grow, and then to sell its people into slavery.

We remember that the arrogantly powerful of Mohammed's (PBUH) day forced him to flee from Mecca to Medina in order to bring God's teachings to the people.

We remember that Gautama had to leave the power of the palace to understand the sufferings of the poor and to experience and teach enlightenment.

We remember that Gandhi had to face a mighty empire to fuse the ancient insights of his people into the teachings of satyagraha (soul-force or nonviolence).

We remember how the indigenous communities of the Americas, of Africa, of Asia, of Australia, along with their spiritual traditions, have been shattered by arrogant empires, political and economic.

We remember how the spiritual experience of women has been suffocated by the arrogance of religious, political, and economic tyrants.

And we remember in contrition how we ourselves have often been complicit with these powers and principalities of the earth, living our lives, for the sake of comfort and in accord with habit, in ways that feed their wealth and power.

These are the separate streams of the separate memories of our different traditions. Today these different streams flow together into a great ocean of planetary outrage and planetary promise.

For today, we all experience the iron faces of the global corporations that are shattering the lives of children, enslaving workers. poisoning the breathing of our planet, and turning the very water of life into a commodity too expensive for hundreds of millions.

We face a choice: global arrogance, or planetary community?

The global corporations have invented unaccountable, undemocratic institutions to shield them from the will of the people. And these institutions have then rewarded the global corporations by helping to maximize their profits at the expense of human needs and the web of life on earth.

On September 29-30, we will bring our selves, our flesh-and-blood faces, to face two of these unaccountable, undemocratic institutions: the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

And we will face as well the threat of even more undemocratic, unaccountable institutions — trade agreements that will go even further to insulate the global corporations from democratic review, and the threat that these trade agreements will be authorized by "Fast Track" voting that goes still further to erase our constitutional protections for legislative review on behalf of the people and democracy.

These institutions of unaccountable power have served the global corporations — By insisting that loans and grants be conditioned on shattering social programs, public schools, public health, even the public water supplies, and imposing privatized purchase of the most basic needs of life — at prices the poor cannot afford;

By supporting the profits of huge drug companies at the cost of spreading a deadly world-wide epidemic — AIDS — that in some societies endangers the entire next generation;

By supporting investment structures that reward sweatshops and the smashing of labor unions, so that profit margins can fatten while the workers grow frail and despairing;

By destroying the lives and hopes of children, who are condemned to body-wrecking, soul-destroying work and whose schools are turned into travesties of education.

By making idols of Competition, Production and Profit, turning work from a sacred practice into overtime and speed-up so exhausting that workers no longer have time free for their families, their neighbors, and their spiritual communities.

By doing all this first to the poor in the poorest societies — many of them now even more desperate than they were a generation ago — and then, through the threat of capital export and cut-throat competition, putting workers, consumers, and the earth itself in danger in even the more prosperous societies.

But our traditions bring forth new hope in the downtrodden, new compassion in the prosperous, new insight in those who have been blinded by official lies.

So we will gather in our home communities, to teach the wisdom of our varied traditions as they address these evils — ancient in their challenge, new only in their form and their global reach.

And those of us who can some to Washington on the night of September 29-30 will come with our ancient robes and sacred instruments, with old and new symbols of love and community in a spirit of love and community.

We will walk and vigil to make the Presence of the Spirit known.

If the Global Police appear in our midst as they did in Seattle and Quebec and Genoa , we will respond as Martin Luther King and his friends responded in Montgomery and Birmingham and Selma - with loving firmness to insist that we must bear free witness, and loving firmness to see what is Godly in their faces.

To make possible a world in which the body can heal and the spirit can flower, we draw on the spirit of the call to Jubilee in the Hebrew Bible:

The call that fuses liturgical celebration, social justice, healing of the earth, and time for restful spiritual reflection into one transforming unity of action;

The call to recognize that all the earth is God's — and that no human institution can enslave the earth or other human beings.

We demand — That the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund cancel the crushing debts of the nations that the policies of the Bank and IMF themselves have impoverished and forced into debt;

That they abandon the policy of "structural adjustment," which through privatization and high prices for the necessities of life embodies the destruction of public services and the idolatry of Profit;

That they make workers' freedom to organize unions and everyone's freedom to organize on behalf of the endangered earth the conditions of all grants and loans;

That they stop investing in the mining and drilling for fossil fuels that, burning, scorch our planet, and turn instead to investing in sources of energy that will heal the web of life;

That they open their own meetings and deliberations to public scrutiny and democratic control.

That the President withdraw and the Congress reject the short-circuiting of democratic legislative oversight called "Fast Track";

That the human race join in an urgent campaign to end the lethal epidemic of AIDS.

So that these transformations be achieved, we covenant together — with each other and with the spirit of all life — to bear witness and work, to plan and to pray, for an end to the global structures of arrogant power and for the healing of our peoples and our planet.


[Where the organization comes first, it has endorsed the Call. Where the person comes first, the organization is noted for identification only.]

  • Alliance for Justice, Medical Mission Sisters
  • Sensei Robert Joshin Althouse, Zen Teacher and Priest
  • Benedictine Sisters of Erie (S. Christine Vladimiroff, OSB)
  • Steven J. Bennett, Executive Director, Witness for Peace
  • Alice Benscoter
  • Sister Ida R. Berresheim, CSJ
  • Gene Betit, Social Justice and Outreach Minister, Our Lady Queen of Peace R.C. Church
  • Rev. Robert L. Brashear, Sr. Pastor, West-Park Presbyterian Church
  • Barbara Broderick
  • Catholic Worker Community of Akron: House of Peace, Matthew 25 House, Casa Maria Jose, Dorothy Day House
  • Church Women United, Northern California/Nevada (Joy Crocker, Civic & Legislative Chair)
  • Rita A. Clark
  • Jim Clifford, mental health worker
  • Congregation Justice Committee - Sisters of the Holy Cross (Notre Dame, IN)
  • Sister Rosemary Connell, CSJ
  • Rev. Dr. Louisa L. Davis, United Christian Parish of Reston, VA
  • Stan De Boe, OSST, Office of Justice and Peace, Conference of Major Superiors of Men
  • Marie Dennis, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Rev. Dr. Dorothy May Emerson, Unitarian Universalist minister
  • Joseph J. Fahey, Professor of Religious Studies, Manhattan College
  • Faith in Action Task Force in Solidarity with the Filipino People of Chicago, IL
  • Sue Wagner Fields, Globalization Specialist, Church of the Brethren
  • Joan Gannon, RSCJ
  • Dr. Peter Gathje, Chair, Religion and Philosophy Dept, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN
  • Richard W. Gillett, Minister for Social Justice, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
  • Roshi Bernie Glassman, Peacemakers Order
  • Mary Ellen Gondeck, SSJ, Office of Peace and Justice, Sisters of St. Joseph, Nazareth, MI
  • Nancy Gowen, Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
  • Diane Connolly Graham
  • Shelby Grantham, Senior Lecturer in English, Dartmouth College
  • Arthur Green, Brandeis University
  • Debra W. Haffner
  • Maria Harris, author
  • Joan R. Hasselbach
  • Robin Hoy, North and Southampton Reformed Church
  • Jane Heil, member of Zen Peacemaker Order; staff at The Other Side magazine
  • Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
  • Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs
  • Déirdre McKiernan Hetzler, Campus Minister, St. John Fisher College
  • Michael W. Hovey, Coordinator, Peace and Justice Education, Iona College, New Rochelle, NY
  • Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, Chair, Department of Religion, University of Florida
  • Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND
  • Br. Christopher Stephen Jenks, BSG, Fessenden House
  • Jews United for Justice, Simon Greer
  • Jonah House Community: Michele Naar Obed, Greg Boertje Obed, Kristin Betts, Philip Berrigan, Elizabeth McAlister, Susan Crane, Carol Gilbert, O.P., Ardeth Platte, O.P.
  • Elizabeth E. Kane, OSF
  • Katherine A. Kelley
  • Sister Betty Kenny, OSF
  • Robert P. Kreps, Colonel, USAF-Ret
  • Sister Margaret Lanen, SND
  • Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor, TIKKUN: A Bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics Culture and Society
  • Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, The Shefa Fund
  • Martha House Catholic Worker, Philadelphia, PA
  • James H. Matlack, Director, Washington Office, American Friends Service Committee
  • Sue Miller, SCL, Community Director, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth
  • Andrew C. Mills
  • Lee Moore, The Shalom Center
  • Nicaragua-United States Friendship Office
  • William O'Brien, The Alternative Seminary
  • Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM, Congregation Justice Coordinator, Sisters of the, Holy Cross (Notre Dame, IN)
  • Steven O'Neil, SM, Marianist Society, Inc., Office of Justice & Peace
  • Pax Christi USA (signing as an organization)
    • Also signing as individuals with Pax Christi:
    • Joe Annunziata, Pax Christi
    • Zebulon Bartels, President, Pax Christi Penn State
    • Amy Campney, Pax Christi-Gainesville, FL
    • Tom Cordaro, Chair-Pax Christi USA
    • Mimi Darragh, Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi
    • Carol Fay, Co-coordinator, Pax Christi New Jersey
    • John B. Gallini, Pax Christi Richmond
    • Marmete Hayes, Pax Christi Burlington
    • Phyllis Turner Jepson, Pax Christi USA Staff
    • Dr. Megan McKenna, theologian, writer, Pax Christi USA
    • Patricia McSweeney, Taunton, MA, Pax Christi
    • Gary Melrose, Bay Area Pax Christi
    • Mary Munton, Pax Christie Richmond Va.
    • Merle Nolde OSB, Coordinator, Pax Christi St. Cloud
    • Sister Karen Nykiel, O.S.B., State Coordinator, Pax Christi Illinois
    • Pax Christi Burlington
    • Pax Christi Long Island
    • Pax Christi Metro New York
    • Pax Christi Morris County NJ
    • Pax Christi St. Louis
    • Pax Christi South Akron
    • Bishop Walter Sullivan, President, Pax Christi USA
    • Barbara Richardson, Pax Christi USA Staff
    • David Robinson, National Coordinator, Pax Christi USA
    • Tony Vento, Program Director, Pax Christi USA
    • Sr. Miriam Ward, Pax Christi Burlington
    • Johnny Zokovitch, member of Pax Christi USA
  • Betty D. Peeler
  • Marge Piercy, poet, novelist, essayist
  • Quantum Leap 2000 (Joy Crocker, Director)
  • Kathy Rawle
  • Rev. George F. Regas, Executive Director, Regas Institute, Pasadena, Ca.
  • J. Benton Rhoades, member of Church of the Brethren
  • Rev. Meg A. Riley, All Souls Church-Unitarian, Washington DC
  • Dee Dee Risher, The Other Side magazine
  • Davia Rivka
  • Marie Romejko, SND
  • Dr. George William Rose
  • Ms. Irma Garcia Rose
  • Joseph Rozansky, OFM; Franciscan friar
  • Molly Rush
  • The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Coral Gables Congregational Church
  • Helen Scheel, M.M., Social Concerns Coordinator, Maryknoll Sisters Eastern USA Region
  • School Sisters of Notre Dame-SHALOM North America
  • Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Social Justice Executive Committee
  • Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
  • Sojourners magazine
  • Mary Sullivan, OSU, Coordinator of Justice and Peace Office, Ursuline Sisters, East
  • The Citizens Budget Campaign of W. PA
  • The Home for Peace and Justice, Joan M McCoy Saginaw Mi
  • Susan Thompson, Columban Fathers Justice and Peace Office, Washington, DC
  • Richard Ullrich, Marianist Society, Inc., Office of Justice & Peace
  • Elise Wang, Catholic and Buddhist
  • Teresa Warnick, Pastoral Associate, St. Rose of Lima Church, Gaithersburg MD
  • Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center
  • Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Jewish Commmunity of Amherst
  • Kathryn Taylor Williams, Retired Clergy, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
  • Scott Wright, Cocoordinator, EPICA: Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean
  • Bill and Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann, The Witness
  • Sister Mary Louise Zollars, DC

Please WRITE BACK by Email to, with your own signature to this Call. List how you'd like to be identified.