By Jeffrey Vogel

Tikkun Daily Blog

Exceptionalism is a neutral word, as it can reference something exceptionally good or exceptionally bad — human beings, and their respective nations, have clearly shown themselves to be capable of both.

The notion of American Exceptionalism has been regularly referenced by President Obama — most significantly in his West Point commencement address last year where he said that “I believe in American Exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” He also said that “The United States is the one indispensable nation.” This blind and exclusive nationalism is the rationale that all imperial powers use to justify their military adventures and is especially dangerous when employed by our nation, the only military superpower on the planet. Read more here.




By Joe Duggan, Paul Hammel and Martha Stoddard / Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — Cheers erupted and tears fell Wednesday as the Nebraska Legislature took the historic step of repealing the death penalty with a politically high-stakes override of the governor’s veto.

Read more here.




The Pax Christi Long Island Council has identified a "Circle of Peace" among many of you who are on Pax Christi's email list. This circle, the council realized, should be acknowledged and celebrated. God bless you, each and every one!

We're pleased to keep you informed about matters of interest, upcoming events, activities, opportunities to help, and so on. You might be able to participate, might know someone who would like to participate—or you might just like to be in the know as to what's going on.

Many are willing and able to step up and participate in activities now and then. Maybe you can't make a heavy commitment of time, but two or three times a year or more, when something interesting comes up that's doable for you, you respond. You are the Circle of Peace!

Being in the Circle of Peace is not a card-carrying designation, not a lifetime membership. You're in the Circle of Peace when you see yourself as being in the Circle of Peace. When family responsibilities or health or other matters take precedence for a while, you step back, remaining on Pax Christi's email list, still keeping up with what's going on, until the time when you can be more active.

PCLI plans to convene the Circle of Peace a couple times a year, gathering for coffee, cake and conversation, to thank you for your prayers and support and involvement, and to hear your thoughts, your concerns, your hopes. Invitations to these convenings will go out to the entire email list. So you'll get them no matter where you happen to be in your own circle of life at any given time. 




Last year, Pax Christi Long Island devoted an entire issue of our newsletter, Peaceworks, to the memory of Joan Wittreich, one of the founders and iconic leaders of PCLI. Since then, her husband, Chuck, has also died. May both of those valiant peacemakers rest in peace. Now, Pax Christi USA has posted that issue of Peaceworks on its website here. We are immensely grateful to Johnny Zokovitch of PCUSA for that.




By Katrina vanden Heuvel (in the Washington Post)

Nearly 70 years ago, a group of Manhattan Project scientists, having seen the power of nuclear destruction, created what they called the “Doomsday Clock.” It was a mechanism designed to warn the world of how imminent the threat of global catastrophe was becoming — the closer the clock moved to midnight, the closer we were to doomsday. Last month, the group of Nobel laureates charged with maintaining the clock changed its time to 11:57 p.m., denoting the closest we’ve been to doomsday in more than 30 years. Their reasoning is based not just on the world’s inaction on issues like climate change, but its provocative march toward a new Cold War. Read more here.




Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) is a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism. As PCUSA, a section of Pax Christi International, we are a Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross. Read more...



By David Masciotra


Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible. Read more...




An audience with Pope Francis on the climate crisis, in advance of his forthcoming encyclical on that subject, will be the primary topic of a talk by Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, on Tuesday, June 9. Recently, Carolan and five others were invited to discuss the climate crisis with the pope. Carolan is one of the 50 Catholic leaders who attended the international gathering in Rome on that topic. In a recent story about preparations for the encyclical, Newsday quoted Carolan as saying: "This is such a powerful moment. We're asking ourselves, 'What would be the best way for us to support the faith community in getting this out and using it as a call to action?'"

In his position with FAN, Carolan works in interfaith collaboration to "bring a coordinated and effective voice to matters of justice and peace and care for creation" He has an extensive background in working on public policy issues. Earlier this year, he organized a letter to President Obama signed by 53 faith leaders—clergy, theologians, lay leaders—urging the president to "move us beyond the ways of war" and focus on alternative approaches that can "break the cycle of violent intervention"  in Iraq and Syria. For more information about that, read here.

Pax Christi Long Island organized the event, which will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, starting at 7:30 PM on June 9. Other sponsors of the evening include: Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives; Sisters of St. Dominic, Amityville; Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, Social Justice and Nonviolence committees.

The free-will offering is $5.


Homecoming Farm in Amityville will host its annual garden party on Friday, June 19, from 6 PM to 8:30 PM. Meet some of our supporters, learn about our mission, hear about our work with The INN. While you're there, enjoy wine from the Napa Valley, delicious appetizers and desserts, and participate in our raffles. And listen to live music, performed by Sun and Moon.




Budgets at all levels of government are moral documents. They allocate the funds made possible by all taxpayers, and those decisions have a clear moral dimension. In the federal budget, for example, far too much funding goes to military spending and far too little to health and education. That's a moral decision—but not a good one. To avoid making poor moral choices in their budget-making, members of Congress must keep these principles in mind:

(1) Protect low-income and vulnerable people.

(2) Invest in broadly shared prosperity that raises incomes across the economic spectrum.

(3) Increase revenues from fair sources.

(4) Seek responsible savings by targeting wasteful spending in the Pentagon and elsewhere.

If those principles seem sensible to you, please sign this letter to Congress, created by the Coalition on Human Needs as part of its Strengthening America’s Values and Economy (SAVE) for All campaign. The deadline for signing is March 12, 2015.




Every Sunday morning, an entity called the Community Economics Group meets to discuss empowering themselves economically in a way that helps all people, families, communities— and nature. If you're interested, read the group's evolving document here. That may motivate you to attend one of the Sunday meetings, at 9 AM in the Panera's on Route 110 in Farmingdale, near Republic Airport.