ethics

ethics

The second part of our examination of religious energies below the surface of the 2008 presidential campaign. Conservative columnist Rod Dreher is an outspoken critic of mainstream Republican economic and environmental ideas and the conduct of the Iraq war, but he voted for George W. Bush twice. We explore the little-known story of religiously influenced impulses within the conservative movement that diverge from the Religious Right.

The Religious Right has gotten a fair amount of coverage in recent years, while the political Left has rarely been represented with a religious sensibility. Our guest, a national correspondent for Time magazine is a political liberal and an Evangelical Christian who has been observing the Democratic Party's complex relationship with faith and the little-told story of its response to the rise of the Religious Right.

Kingsolver describes an adventure her family undertook to spend one year eating primarily what they could grow or raise themselves. As a citizen and mother more than an expert, she turned her life towards questions many of us are asking. Food, she says, is a "rare moral arena" in which the ethical choice is often the pleasurable choice.

We explore the complex ethics of global aid with a young writer from Kenya, Binyavanga Wainaina. He is among a rising generation of African voices who bring a cautionary perspective to the morality and efficacy behind many Western initiatives to abolish poverty and speed development in Africa.

The news has been marked in recent years, at regular intervals, by the moral and practical downfall of prominent businesses. Jonathan Greenblatt is among a new generation of entrepreneurs who want to lead a fundamental shift in corporate culture as well as philanthropy — a merger between making a profit and doing good. We explore his way of seeing the world and his economics of "ethical brand architecture" and "fiercely pragmatic idealism."

We explore human and spiritual aspects of economic downturn with a wise public intellectual of our time, the Quaker author and educator Parker Palmer. He works with people from all walks of life at the intersection of spiritual, professional, and social change, and stresses the need to acknowledge the inner life of human beings as a source of reality and power.

Before a live audience at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, Krista reads from her book, "Speaking of Faith." She traces the intersection of human experience and religious ideas in her own life, just as she asks her guests to do each week. Krista reflects on her adventure of conversation across the world's traditions — and on the whole story of religion in human life, beyond the headlines of violence.

Who knew that we learn empathy, trust, irony, and problem solving through play — something the dictionary defines as "pleasurable and apparently purposeless activity." Dr. Stuart Brown suggests that the rough-and-tumble play of children actually prevents violent behavior, and that play can grow human talents and character across a lifetime. Play, as he studies it, is an indispensable part of being human.

President Obama has cited Reinhold Niebuhr's teachings as significant in shaping his ideas about politics and governance. In a public conversation, we discuss the great public theologian's legacy and ideas — and what influence they may play in the future of American politics.

The sales are starting, the stores are open late, and many of us are gearing up to spend more money than we actually have in a holiday season with deep roots in religion. We explore the turmoil many of us experience with money in our day-to-day lives — and how we might work towards a moral and practical balance for ourselves and the next generation.

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