Farm Bill On My Mind

This column ran as the featured commentary on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on August 6, 2007.
I wish the farm bill had a bigger place in the Great American Discourse.

Every five years, our elected leaders in Washington have the opportunity to set the policies that apportion federal subsidies given to America’s farmers, and when the farm bill comes up for renewal it is a great opportunity to ask some very basic, very important questions.

How do we want to eat? What kind of food do we want to feed America’s poor children who take advantage of the school breakfast and lunch programs that are underwritten by the federal farm bill? Which farmers and what kind of farming should derive the greatest benefit from federal financial aid? Continue reading

Patriotism’s True Color, or Green: the New Red White and Blue

This column was the UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum’s featured commentary on July 2, 2007.

Both my country and my grandfather were born on the fourth of July, and while only a handful of Americans this week will remember the birth of William Mullenger of Crawford County, Iowa, his lasting legacy of service to his country is worth mentioning as a nation prepares itself for the great manifestations of patriotic celebration that, for the next few days will mark American life from sea to shining sea.

My grandfather was a patriot. He served his country in uniform during the First World War—mostly digging graves for his brothers in arms who succumbed to the flu’ pandemic of 1917—but a fuller expression of the love for his country was my grandfather’s dedication to the five hundred acres of farmland he inherited from his father and worked his entire life. Continue reading

Seeds for Life

My grandfather, William R. Mullenger, spent his life as a farmer on 500 acres outside of Dennison, Iowa. He was dedicated to the stewardship of his farm and to the work of conserving the natural resources necessary for the preservation of farming as a way of life. I’ve written this column in his honor.

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on April 9, 2007.

The Easter Season now is upon us, it’s a time to cheer as the forces of life overcome the power of death; and because St. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, compares the transformation of resurrection to the germination and sprouting of a seed that has been planted in the ground, the Easter Season seems an appropriate time to talk about the politics and ethics of seeds.

Seeds? Continue reading