About Peter Laarman

Peter Laarman is executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting, a network of activist individuals and congregations headquartered in Los Angeles. He served as the senior minister of New York’s Judson Memorial Church from 1994 to 2004. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Peter spent 15 years as a labor movement strategist and communications specialist prior to training for the

The Fourth Is Not America’s Birthday

Independence Day Not Americas Birthday

Peter Laarman: This “birthday” business matters because people who are utterly ignorant of their own history need to be slapped around a little.

Playing Church in the Corporate Boardroom

hobby lobby supreme court decision

Peter Laarman: In this Hobby Lobby ruling, the fundamental distinction and separation between a commercial enterprise and a specifically religious or “ecclesiastical” corporation has been fatally breached.

Forget Conservatives, Can ‘Piketty Porn’ Inspire the Left?

what can inspire the left

Rev. Peter Laarman: In 2014 it is equally obvious that concentrated wealth is the fundamental moral evil threatening human well being, democracy, and the planet itself. This is why lots of people who would never otherwise go to hear a nerdy economist have been flocking to Piketty’s appearances.

The Real Threat Is Still on the Theocratic Side

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Peter Laarman: The one and only arena in which government must always give way in order to guarantee free exercise is in the internal and liturgical aspects of religious life.

Revival of the Religious Left?

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With the religious right a dominant force in the Republican Party, why is there not an equivalent on the left?

How Not to Support Obamacare

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Peter Laarman: What’s striking about the president’s pirouette on the ACA, and about Democratic disarray in the face of the renewed GOP assault in the House, is the absence of any open discourse on the underlying ethics of health care.

Cue the Mad Swine: A Biblical Lesson for Republicans

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Peter Laarman: Nothing avails against foam-at-the-mouth madness of this kind except to stand back and grant permission for self-destruction to occur.

Jerry Brown’s Cynical, Unethical Prison Plan

Associated Press

Peter Laarman: No amount of high-end religious training appears to have shaped Jerry Brown’s conscience sufficiently for him to escape the all-too-familiar pattern of selling himself politically.

God Responds to Administration Wish That He Consistently Attend Local Town Board Meetings

greece new york

Peter Laarman: I was a little surprised on Friday to find a front-page LA Times piece indicating that the Obama Administration sides with conservative Republicans and the Religious Right in a Supreme Court case involving prayer at local government meetings.

Time to Call a Satan a Satan?

elphicare

Peter Laarman: The radical Republicans in Washington and in many statehouses want to further punish and distress the poor; they want to enshrine prejudice and discrimination; they want to shred human and civil rights that are currently secured by law.

The Humanities Make Life Bearable

woman reading

Peter Laarman: Actually, my dears, what is killing the humanities is precisely the empire-in-decline anxiety that drives this report: the sense that Chinese college grads these days might actually know their Moliere and their Montesquieu better than our grads do.

Eyes on the Prize, Rainbow People! A Post-DOMA Challenge

voting rights decision

Peter Laarman: We should use this occasion to celebrate, modestly, today’s breakthroughs for LGBT people even as we publicly lament the losses suffered by Black America and pledge our firm solidarity in struggles against hate and injustice that are still to be won.

On NSA Spying, What’s With the Silence of the Lambs?

trouble in the data mine

Peter Laarman: Do we suppose that today’s Thought Police, who have far more intrusive tools, will be more benign toward persons and groups whose behavior they regard as suspicious?

Transformative Justice and Mass Incarceration: Can Faith Communities Help Create a New Frame?

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Rev. Peter Laarman: A safe society is first and foremost a just society. In that respect we have an awfully long way to go. Let’s not waste any more time.

Remembering Bob Edgar

Bob Edgar

Peter Laarman: Bob Edgar had to contend with timidity among the good and the great especially during his years with the NCC, where denominational bigwigs (Bob’s bosses on the governing body) were privately horrified that their point person should actually seek to change oppressive systems rather than simply make mewling noises about them.

American Infidel: Robert Ingersoll Was the “Great Agnostic” of the (Last) Gilded Age

ingersoll

Peter Laarman: Ingersoll’s clarity and passion influenced almost everyone, from Mark Twain and Walt Whitman to Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison, and from Frederick Douglass and Margaret Sanger to Gene Debs and “Fighting Bob” La Follette.

Mad About Money

greed

Peter Laarman: The very wealthiest Americans, whose share of income and wealth has shot up astronomically for the past 25 years, have somehow gotten a huge number of other Americans to buy into the idea that there isn’t enough money. And that therefore we should cut lifeline benefits that go to poor children and sick people and old people and veterans.

Creatively Maladjusted: Sustaining a Prophetic Ministry — February 18

creatively maladjusted

Progressive Christians United Annual Event, with La Makia Castillo, Patrisse Marie Cullors, and Sarah Nolan at St. Michael’s Church in Studio City.

Starbucks With a Smile, and a Shot of Politics

starbucks barista

Peter Laarman: Working for money has always involved emotional expression. But touting the boss man’s political agenda is a very different thing from touting the boss man’s product, a more reasonable expectation.

And Now: Forgive Us Our Debts!

obama accepts

Peter Laarman: Just a word about the Next Big Thing: the coming lame duck session and the “fiscal cliff” and the prospect of a not-so-grand bargain in which Democrats will yield yet more ground to Pete Peterson’s baleful “austerity for you but not for me” proposals.

Coalition Pushes LA’s DA Candidates On Mass Incarceration Issues

jackie lacey

Peter Laarman: With Public Safety Realignment now underway, the DA’s role becomes even more pivotal. What our chief prosecutor believes and does has a huge impact on incarceration levels.

Romney’s Prosperity Gospel: The Candidate as Televangelist

billy graham and mitt romney

Peter Laarman: Obama cannot and should not condemn those in the electorate who buy into Romney’s “there will be showers of blessing” message, but he probably does need to get his preacher voice on to remind folks that all covenant promises are conditional.

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