Beliefnet
God's Politics

United Nations. “The intensifying war of words between Iran and the United States reached the floor of the United Nations last night when the Iranian president accused America and Britain of violating international law.”

Global poverty. “Over two-thirds of the world’s 50 poorest countries are experiencing increases in extreme poverty.”

Religion. “Evangelical Christianity, born in England and nurtured in the United States, is leaving home. Most evangelicals now live in China, South Korea, India, Africa and Latin America, where they are transforming their religion.”

+ Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail

Full news summary:

United Nations. At U.N., Bush Urges Reform in Middle East – “President Bush called for Muslims and other residents of the Middle East to reject extremism and empower “voices of moderation,” offering the latest defense of his “freedom agenda” that has rankled allies abroad and drawn criticism from Democrats at home.”

Iran’s Leader Says U.N. Controlled by U.S., Israel – “Iran’s president told the United Nations that the organization had become a tool used by the world’s powerful to oppress the weak, and called for a radical overhaul.” Iran labels US a lawbreaker – “The intensifying war of words between Iran and the United States reached the floor of the United Nations last night when the Iranian president accused America and Britain of violating international law.” Leaders Spar Over Iran’s Aims and U.S. Power – “President Bush and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, separated by several hours and oceans of perspective, clashed at the United Nations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and each other’s place in the world.”

Iran. U.S. Policy on Iran Evolves Toward Diplomacy – “With the United States ensnarled in an increasingly difficult campaign in Iraq, war is no longer a viable option. Instead, the administration is struggling with the difficult and messy business of diplomacy.” Nobel winner says feminist movements, not military force, holds key to democracy in Iran – “Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said supporting feminist movements in the Islamic world would better promote democracy than military force.”

Darfur. Sudan Rejects Request To Allow U.N. Troops: Bush Calls for Assistance From NATO – “Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir dismissed pleas from President Bush, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other Western leaders to allow a force of 20,000 U.N. peacekeepers into the violence-wracked Darfur region.” Bush and Sudan’s Leader at Odds Over Sending U.N. Troops to Calm Darfur – “Mr. Bashir suggested that while he was adamant about barring the United Nations, he would consider a continuation of the African Union force, whose mandate expires this month, with added logistical and equipment help from the outside.” In Darfur, 10 days and counting – “Deadlines have a way of bringing crises into focus. For Darfur, Sept. 30 is the day. That’s the date an African Union peacekeeping force is supposed to pull out, to be replaced by a United Nations force three times its size.” (Chicago Tribune editorial)

Global poverty. Over two-thirds of the world’s 50 poorest countries are experiencing increases in extreme poverty – “A day before world leaders gather for their annual meeting, the U.N. General Assembly held a high-level session to focus on progress toward implementing a 10-year action plan for the least developed countries adopted in 2001. The verdict from the countries themselves was unsatisfactory.”

Iraq. ’06 Cuts In Iraq Troops Unlikely – -The U.S. military is unlikely to reduce forces in Iraq before next spring because the current contingent of more than 140,000 troops is battling sectarian violence that could prove “fatal” to the country if not arrested, the top American commander for the Middle East said yesterday.” Doubts Increase About Strength of Iraq’s Premier – “Senior Iraqi and American officials are beginning to question whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has the political muscle and decisiveness to hold Iraq together as it hovers on the edge of a full civil war.”

Red Letter Christians. Group asks: What did Jesus say? – “The press conference at the National Press Club was held by the new Red Letter Christians network, Christian communicators who say they want to change how Christians influence the national public policy debate. … What would Jesus do? is a line popular among Christians. The RLCs add a new wrinkle, a new way for assessing policy and political candidates: What did Jesus say?” (Frank James on Chicago Tribune blog)

Pope Benedict and Islam. Pope Backlash Deals Blow to Interfaith Ties – “The enraged response to the pope’s speech last week, in which he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor who regarded teachings of Muhammad as “evil and inhuman,” has dealt a stinging blow to decades of efforts by the Roman Catholic Church and others to ease tensions and open lines of communication between Muslims.” Pope Benedict XVI and Islam – “… it is regrettable that in the midst of a well-worked out (of course) formal speech at the University of Regensburg in Germany, his old academic turf, the pope lapsed for a moment and did what we tenured folk sometimes do–and remember, the pope has lifetime tenure–we come up with an allusion that gets us in trouble, let a side point take center stage or fail to count the cost of a remark.” (Martin E. Marty, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School.)

Feature: Capital punishment. ‘I’m ready’ – “The last words of the 376 prisoners executed in Texas since 1982 are faithfully recorded on the state justice department’s website. … we publish edited extracts from the site … The statements are hard to read. They are at once public and very private. They are domestic. They ask partners to care for soon-to-be fatherless children. There is a lot of love – for friends, supporters, partners, already grieving parents. There is guilt. They are overwhelmingly religious.” (The Guardian)

Religion. Evangelical Christianity shifting outside West – “Evangelical Christianity, born in England and nurtured in the United States, is leaving home. Most evangelicals now live in China, South Korea, India, Africa and Latin America, where they are transforming their religion. In various ways, they are making evangelical Christianity at once more conservative and more liberal. They are infusing it with local traditions and practices. And they are even sending “reverse missionaries” to Europe and the United States.”

Backstory: ‘St. Jack’ hits the religious right – “Former Sen. Jack Danforth, an ordained priest and GOP elder … has a new ambition: rescuing his beloved Republican Party and country from what he sees as a great danger – the too-intimate fusing of religion with politics. And his crusade is causing a stir within GOP circles because of who he is…”

Getting reasonable about faith – “Through dialogue and debate between our various faiths, regions and tribes, we can cut through the myths and stereotypes to educate one another as to who we really are, what offends us and what legacies of history have shaped our present-day attitudes. Ultimately, we tend to learn that we have a lot more in common than we have that is different. I’ll leave the theological arguments to the experts, but as far as intergroup relations go, I turn to the gospel according to Aretha Franklin: You begin with R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune)

A Christian view of war – “What would Jesus do in Iraq? He’d offer compassion, he’d feed the hungry, he’d even pray for the enemies. What he’d really do is give American Christians — Republicans and Democrats alike — something to think about.” (Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, minister and author in Tennessee)

Quote of the Day

“Instead of bringing democracy with cluster bombs, we should support women fighting for democracy.” Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. (Associated Press)

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus