Beliefnet
God's Politics

The latest news on Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., Congressional leadership, North Korea, Darfur, Rep. Foley, the Amish school tragedy, the Mideast, Iraq, and Iran.

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Vindicated by history. Activist Ousted From Vanderbilt Is Back, as a Teacher – “ … Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., 78, returned to teach at Vanderbilt this fall, 46 years after the university expelled him for his role in lunch-counter sit-ins that made Nashville a springboard for a generation of civil rights activists. The expulsion of Mr. Lawson, a Methodist divinity student who was one of the nation’s leading scholars of civil disobedience and Gandhian nonviolence, was quickly dubbed the Lawson affair, and tarnished Vanderbilt’s reputation for years.”

Darfur. Student activists rise again – this time for Darfur – “She sleeps less, goes out less, and has reduced her course load to work 30 to 40 hours a week organizing student campaigns. Her goal: to end the suffering in Darfur, Sudan, perhaps the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. “If people are still dying, I need to keep working,” says Bailey Cato, a University of Oklahoma senior and a regional coordinator for a student antigenocide coalition called STAND.”

Foley. Foley Was Sexually Abused as a Youth, His Lawyer Says – “In another day of revelations about former Representative Mark Foley, his lawyer said Tuesday that as a teenager, Mr. Foley had been molested by a clergyman and had “kept the shame to himself” until now. The lawyer also issued the congressman’s first public acknowledgment that he is gay.” Foley Lawyer Cites Alcohol, Childhood Abuse – “Disgraced former lawmaker Mark Foley’s behavior was affected by alcoholism and childhood molestation but he “never attempted to have sexual contact with a minor,” his attorney said in the first extensive defense of the Florida Republican’s actions,”

House leadership. Pressure rises on House leadership over Foley scandal – “Despite efforts at damage control, the Republican leadership of the House remains under fire from its own conservative base for its handling of the sex scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley (R) of Florida. Calls are continuing among social conservatives for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) of Illinois and other members of the House GOP leadership,” Pressure builds on Hastert over Foley scandal – “Hastert, who has held together a fractured Republican caucus through one of the rockiest congressional sessions in memory, is now facing the most serious challenge to his leadership in nearly eight years as speaker, with a growing chorus of conservatives expressing outrage that he didn’t act faster to address a scandal…” Under fire – “House Republican leaders faced intensifying pressure over their handling of a complaint about a GOP congressman’s suggestive e-mails to an underage page, with some conservatives calling for Dennis Hastert to resign as speaker even as President Bush offered words of support for him.” Hastert Rejects Calls To Give Up Leadership – “Hastert rebuffed calls to resign his leadership role, which have come from conservatives and liberals alike, but public ruptures in the ranks of the House Republican leadership continued to surface in the wake of a page scandal.”

Political impact. Foley Case Shakes GOP – “The unfolding Capitol Hill sex scandal has upended the political world only five weeks before the midterm elections, escalating GOP worries that the party will lose control of one or both chambers of Congress.” Conservatives worry scandal will hit ‘value voter’ turnout – “Republican campaign strategists and conservatives fear former Rep. Mark Foley’s sex scandal will depress turnout among the party’s “value voter” base in November, further complicating Republican efforts to keep control of Congress.” Hastert image, party’s moral stance at risk – “Republicans consolidated power in the George W. Bush era by building a foundation based largely on the pillars of moral clarity and accountability. Now comes what Al Gore might call an “inconvenient truth.” The scandal over alleged sexually predatory behavior that triggered the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) undermines those core GOP strengths.”

Amish schoolchildren. ‘Innocence is gone’ at Pa. Amish school – “From the countryside they came, wending through the corn and alfalfa on foot and by buggy, leaving behind fields and flocks to seek solace in one another’s words and comfort in each other’s arms.”

Mideast. Rice, in Mideast, Meets Skeptics“Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, touring the Middle East in an attempt to build support for U.S. goals and allies, found herself on the defensive about the Bush administration’s search for partnerships and its efforts for democratic reform. Meeting in Cairo with ministers of eight moderate Arab regimes, Rice was questioned on whether her desire to work with the countries masked an American desire to line up allies against the growing power of Iran.” Arabs Pressure Rice On U.S. Peace Efforts – “The Bush administration’s effort to foster a bloc of moderate Arab states to stand against growing militancy in the Middle East
has come up against a brick wall, with several close U.S. allies bluntly telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday that they do not want to be pitted against other Arab governments and movements, according to senior Arab officials. The solution, the allies told Rice, lies with stronger U.S. leadership in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Iraq. U.S. Fatalities in Iraq Rise Amid Crackdown – “Two months after a security crackdown began in the capital, U.S. military deaths appear to be rising, even as fatalities among Iraqi security forces have fallen, U.S. military sources and analysts said.” 8 G.I.’s Die in Baghdad, Most in a Day Since ’05 – “The deadly day set back efforts by American and Iraqi troops to tame the sectarian violence that continues to besiege the capital. Since August, the military has made securing Baghdad a priority, pouring in additional troops and conducting neighborhood sweeps.”

Iran. Iran’s Proposal to End Nuclear Standoff Is Rejected by the West – “Iran has proposed that France organize and monitor the production of enriched uranium inside Iran, complicating negotiations over the fate of its nuclear program. The United States, France and Britain rejected the proposal.” UN diplomats say Iran talks apparently failed – “Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment has sabotaged talks meant to defuse the standoff over its nuclear program, opening the way for the UN Security Council to start considering sanctions next week, senior UN diplomats said.”

North Korea. North Korea Plans a Nuclear Test – “World leaders lashed out at North Korea’s vow to test a nuclear bomb sometime “in the future,” but offered no clear plan for dealing with aggravated tensions over the dictatorship’s nuclear weapons ambitions.” N Korea threatens nuclear test – “The US extreme threat of a nuclear war and sanctions and pressure compel the DPRK to conduct a nuclear test, an essential process for bolstering nuclear deterrent, as a self-defence measure in response,” said a statement in English carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.” North Koreans Say They Plan a Nuclear Test – “North Korea did not say when it would try to test a weapon, and experts inside and outside the Bush administration said the announcement itself was a negotiating ploy, intended to force the White House into lifting economic sanctions and holding one-on-one talks with North Korea.”

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