Richard Procida, Una Lee Jost, Lisa Snow, and Joseph Dowd
Sunday, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.
What is the relationship between spirituality and activism? What is the role of faith in politics? From abolition and the civil rights movement to anti-war activism and the Poor People’s Campaign, people of faith and their institutions have been at the forefront of social change. Concern for the earth and the welfare of humanity is at the heart of an aware and mature spirituality. Even Christians are discovering God’s cry for justice in the Bible. This panel will discuss the legal, ideological, ethical, and practical implications of spiritual and religious activism.
Rich Procida is an attorney and the author of a textbook on foreign comparative law and social science entitled “Social Issues in Global Perspective: Pornography.” He grew up in South Whittier, attended Rio Hondo Community College, and transferred to the University of Southern California. After graduating with a double major in international relations and social science with a minor in the Study of Women and Men in Society, he worked with the mentally ill and disabled. He then went on to Law School at American University, Washington, DC where he focused on constitutional law and international service. He currently practices Social Security disability law. Mr. Procida writes about the Bible, politics, and the supernatural at ModernLectionaries.blogspot.com. He writes about the Bible readings from the Revised Common Lectionary, a selection of Bible passages used by mainline churches across the country to tell them what passages to preach and teach from on any given holy day. His articles provide clergy, pastors, and lay ministers with a progressive message to preach and teach on Sunday morning. He writes from progressive Christian perspective. He also produces “Bible Study for Progressives,” a podcast “where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality, and politics.” Rich and his co-hosts discuss the theological and political implications of scripture and offer a spiritual response to injustice in world.. We apply these lessons to current events, address issues in modern Christianity, expose and oppose religious extremism, and advocate for social justice.
Una Lee Jost is an Asian-American lawyer mom with a solo law practice (jostlegal.com) providing outside general counsel services to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Prior to that, she was a civil litigator for downtown Los Angeles law firms as well as in-house counsel for a private Christian university. She is a 2001 graduate of Loyola Law School and minored in ethnic studies as an undergraduate at UC Riverside. Una grew up in an Asian-American Evangelical church, accepted Jesus as her Savior and Lord during elementary school, was an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship student leader in college, and attended a multicultural Baptist church during law school. Una volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ historic 2016 presidential campaign and numerous other progressive electoral and issues campaigns. Currently she invests her time with Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA), a grassroots coalition whose mission is to mobilize Asian/Pacific Islanders and allies to advance the interests of the 99%, and with L.A. Voice, a multi-racial, multi-faith network of 57 diverse churches, synagogues, and mosques across L.A. County working together to transform the community into one that reflects the dignity of all people. She also serves as a board member of the Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles (CLA-LA) which seeks to share the love of Jesus Christ by cultivating a passion for justice in our community and providing free legal services and hope to those in need in L.A. County. She now attends Pasadena Mennonite Church, a member church of L.A. Voice, where she facilitates an Organizing Committee.
Lisa Snow has studied factors which influence us subconsciously with a focus on media. She recently published Mind, Media and Madness which explains in very simple terms how our minds work, how media works and how these two can combine to work in insidious ways which distort our worldviews and perspectives. Along with writing books, she is involved was a media consultant on Brainwashing My Dad and assisted in different capacities on Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic, Finding Joshua and other film projects. She has a MA in Media Psychology from Fielding University.
Joseph Dowd is a philosophy professor and an amateur scholar of religion. He has a fairly unique background, having been born in South Korea but adopted by Irish-American parents. He currently works as a professor of philosophy at Cal State San Bernardino, teaching classes on philosophy, ethics, and Asian philosophy and culture. His parents’ economic-justice-oriented Catholicism and lefty political leanings had a strong influence on him, instilling a concern for the poor that continues to animate his thought, if not always his actions. He also has strong anti-war and anti-imperialist sentiments and marched against the Iraq war during his high school days. Joseph believes strongly in the need for civil dialog across philosophical and ideological lines, especially in today’s polarized political climate. He is the current organizer of THINK, a Meetup group where members discuss religious, ethical, and social issues over dinner. Throughout his life, Joseph has always been either agnostic or one step away from agnosticism; however, he thinks that the Christian tradition contains insights that today’s left can benefit from. The British literary critic and Catholic socialist Terry Eagleton has noted that at the center of the Christian story is the idea that God’s ultimate self-revelation took the form of a tortured and crucified political prisoner. As the Dominican priest Herbert McCabe once quipped, we might summarize the gospels’ message as follows: “If you don’t love, you’re dead. And if you do, they’ll kill you.”