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Faith & government
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Jonathan Miller's "The Compassionate Community" is one of the finest books I have ever read on modern American political discourse.

Miller, the state treasurer of Kentucky and a 2007 gubernatorial candidate, has written a "cookbook" of ways our seemingly polarized society can reconnect with itself.

Rather than focusing on the "hot button" topics that have so dominated political debates of late - such as abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration and the war in Iraq - Miller draws attention to the issues that are so important to Americans' day-to-day lives.

These are topics that don't receive much attention as speaking points from our politicians, such as corporate responsibility, financial education, college affordability and global warming.

Miller highlights these and many other issues in his book to point out the many areas Americans are, in fact, in agreement on and can work together on, contrary to what the mainstream media and some politicians would have us believe.

Miller uses 10 Biblical heroes to illustrate his points of why Christians and Jews alike are called upon by their faith to be active members of society (Miller also uses quotes from the Quran and Buddhist teachings as well, to emphasize the fact that all world religions call on their followers to care for the poor).

For example, Miller uses the relationship between David and Jonathan to illustrate the value of peace. Miller draws attention to the fact when Jonathan sided with David against his father Saul, he was going against his own self-interests, but he did it anyway because he knew that he was acting in Israel's long-term best interests. He knew Israel would be better served if David were king.

Biblical Jonathan did what many of our own politicians today should be doing, which was to reject their own self-interests in the name of the greater good. In "The Compassionate Community," Miller calls on our elected officials to take the seemingly unpopular stance of calling for a decrease in the American consumption of oil in favor of alternative energies because it will be in America's long-term best interests.

In his book, Miller calls on our elected officials to look further than the next election, to look at what is good for America in the long run. But Miller also places responsibility on the shoulders of the citizens. According to Miller, it is up to the citizenry to let its elected officials know what issues are important to them, and to then hold the politicians accountable to produce results.

I would recommend this book to all citizens who are discontent with the results coming out of Washington and the state capitols, and who are willing to work for a change but aren't sure where to start.

"The Compassionate Community" has been endorsed by Al Gore, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. Evan Bayh, Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism among others.

  Miller has announced that all of the proceeds of this book will be going to charity.