Mahatma Gandhi led India to independence from British rule using non-violent civil disobedience. In addition, he has inspired civil rights movements in Africa, the African diaspora and across the world. He appeared until recently to be as close to a secular saint as anyone the 20th century has produced.
The only candidates in the 2016 race who might embrace these ideas are Bernie Sanders for the Democrats, and Jill Stein with the Greens. To help incubate a new politics of peace, though, a think tank co-founded by intellectuals Michael Lerner and Cornel West called the "Network for Spiritual Progressives" (NSP) has some good ideas.
Thirty-five years after his martyrdom, Romero greater than ever. He's a living icon, an inspiration to any thinking person to speak out for peace, disrupt the unjust status quo, and do what you can, like Jesus, to help end war, poverty and injustice, even unto your dying breath. That's the greatest thing we can do with our lives.
Discrimination, whether raced-based, caste-based, gender-based, or religion-based is just plain discrimination and it springs from ignorance and has no spiritual value. It only serves to distance us from other human beings and from God. It breeds more hatred and disunity inside of the person discriminating.
One evening in late August, it just so happened that I would get mugged on Massachusetts Avenue around 10pm in front of the Gandhi statue. The entire moment seemed ironic because it was not that late and not a particularly dark spot. The newish Gandhi monument was watching over me so what did I have to be afraid of?
The radical actors of the Muslim world, in destroying the troublesome symbols of free thinking, are destroying their own cultural vitality and dynamism. In truth, their Islamist culture of death has resulted in a death of Islamic culture. The urgent task for Islamic pluralists is to lift the shadow of violence from the Islamic culture and recall Muslims to their traditions of an empathetic civilization that feels another's sorrow and does not need an enemy for its sustenance.