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From Ray McGovern Website
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12 years ago, as vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden was about to debate Sarah Palin, I wrote him an open letter, published as "Time for Confession" (See: Click Here). I urged Biden to apologize for helping President Bush attack Iraq, acknowledge the baleful consequences, ask for forgiveness, and promise not to let "that kind of thing happen again." It struck me that such a statement would be disarming, in both senses of that word.
As he prepares to debate President Donald Trump next Tuesday, Biden might pause long enough to weigh the merits of complete honesty now a highly endangered species. I still think that an expression of sincere contrition might have a novel appeal in this age of cynicism and obfuscation. The Iraq issue is sure to come up, even if Trump misses the chance to raise it himself.
Following is the text of my 2008 letter:
September 30, 2008
Dear Senator Biden
I don't have to remind you of the importance of this Thursday's debate from a political perspective. But as you prepare, I invite you to spare a few minutes to look at the opportunity from a moral and religious perspective.
You may wish to examine your conscience regarding how you have acted on key foreign policy issues and reflect on John 8:32: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
The holy days of religious traditions serve a very useful purpose, if we but take the time to pause and ponder. I write you on Rosh Hashanah, the first of 10 days focusing on repentance.
In Judaism's oral tradition Rosh Hashanah is the day when people are held to account. The wicked are "blotted out of the book of the living," while the righteous are inscribed in the book of life.
Those in the middle are given 10 days to repent, until the holiday of Yom Kippur the solemn Day of Atonement.
If that has a familiar ring to it, Joe, we heard it in as many words at Mass last Sunday in the first reading, from Ezekiel 18: "If one turns from wickedness and does what is right and just, that one will live."
At Rosh Hashanah the ram's horn trumpet blows to waken us from our slumber and alert us to the coming judgment. Rabbi Michael Lerner has been a ram's horn for me. On Sept. 28, he sent a note addressing forgiveness and repentance.
He encourages us to find a private place to say aloud how we've hurt others, and then to go to them and ask forgiveness.
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