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Oct. 21, 2004

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bishop John Shelby Spong will give the talk, "The Tribal God in Public Life," Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is open to the public without charge, is sponsored by the Hillel and Campus Jewish Life programs at Bucknell University and The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley.

Writing about religion and politics in his on-line journal, A New Christianity for a New World, Spong states, "[We must understand] that God is not in the employ of either political party … The thing that worries me most about American politics today comes when any person, group or political party confuses their political point of view with the `Will of God.'

"I deeply prefer a secular government that guarantees freedom of religion, to a religious government that acts as if God is a voting member of their political consensus.

"The combination of super patriotism with piety, used in the service of fear to elicit votes while suppressing equality works, but it is lethal for America and lethal for Christianity. It may be a winning formula but it has no integrity and it feels dreadful to this particular Christian," he said.

Spong is the considered the pre-eminent popular voice of progressive theology in America. Through his books, television appearances and lectures throughout the world he challenges traditional religious theology and practice. He invites religious people who seek a reasoned, just and loving faith to join him in reformulating outmoded concepts of divinity, afterlife, prayer, worship, ethics and community.

In an expansive religious world view, Bishop Spong encourages religious people to honor the holy lives of every tradition such as Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Confucius, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hahn and Dag Hammarskjold.

Questioning whether or not Jesus is the only path to God, Spong believes that any holy person who brings life, love and being to another is the word of God incarnate.


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