Bill Moyers on American Society

Here’s an exerpt from a speech given by Bill Moyers at Occidental College on March 22, 2007. A transcript of the entire speech is publshed on

America was not supposed to be a country of “winner take all.” Through our system of checks and balances we were going to maintain a healthy equilibrium in how power works – and for whom. Because equitable access to public resources is the lifeblood of any democracy, we made primary schooling free to all. Because everyone deserves a second chance, debtors, especially the relatively poor, were protected by state laws against their rich creditors. Government encouraged Americans to own their own piece of land, and even supported squatters’ rights. In my time, the hope of equal opportunity became reality for millions of us. Although my parents were knocked down and almost out by the Great Depression, and were poor all their lives, my brother and I went to good public schools. The GI Bill made it possible for him to go to college. When I bought my first car with a loan of $450 I drove to a public school on a public highway and stopped to rest in a public park. America as a shared project was becoming the engine of our national experience. Continue reading

O Brother, Why Aren’t Thou in Church?

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on March 26, 2007. It was also featured on UPI’s mainpage.

For the last twenty years Americans have recognized March as women’s history month, and it seems important not to let this month slip away without acknowledging and addressing the misogyny that lingers in the Christian Church, particularly among the growing movement of evangelical men who blame the paucity of male pew sitters upon the feminization of the Church. Continue reading

Bread for the Soul

This column was the featured column on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality forum on March 12, 2007.

During Lent this year, I’ve decided to learn how to make bread.

Although I’ve always been comfortable in the kitchen, good bread is something that continues to elude me, and I suspect this is because I have always lacked the kind of patience required to allow the dough to rise without interfering with the work of the yeast.

This is a problem that goes beyond bread making. Continue reading

Let Religion Have a Voice

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on March 5, 2007. A shorter version will air on KQED FM’s Perspectives series soon. Stay tuned.

Last month, Walter Cronkite came to San José to speak on behalf of “First Freedom First,” a national campaign seeking to reinvigorate the American commitment to separating Church and State by preserving our government’s secular inclinations in matters such as public education and health care policy.

By temperament and proclivity, I have a hard time disagreeing with Cronkite and his fellow activists. I don’t want my children to be taught creationism instead of biology; I don’t believe external religious mores should come between a patient and her doctor; I don’t think the mandates of one person’s sacred text should keep another person from marrying the man of his choice.

But I’m not entirely sold on the “First Freedom First” agenda because part of what is being promoted is a call to silence houses of worship by keeping them from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Continue reading