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God's Politics

the latest news on the Nobel Peace Prize, faith and politics, election politics, poverty, North Korea, Darfur, Iran, conscience and war, Iraq, and tithing

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Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel for anti-poverty pioneers – “Bangladesh’s Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank have been awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Yunus, an economist, founded the bank, which is one of the pioneers of micro-credit lending schemes for the poor in Bangladesh.” Pioneering economist wins Nobel – “Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank today emerged as the surprise winners of the prestigious Nobel peace prize for their pioneering work in lending to the poor.” The egalitarian economist – “Angered by the plight of the rural poor in his native Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus combined financial acumen with the pursuit of equality,”

Faith and politics. Book: Bush Aides Called Evangelicals ‘Nuts’ – “A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush’s top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as “nuts” and “goofy” while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections. The former official also writes that the White House office of faith-based initiatives, which Bush promoted as a nonpolitical effort to support religious social-service organizations, was told to host pre-election events designed to mobilize religious voters who would most likely favor Republican candidates.”

Politics. Warner Won’t Make 2008 Run For President – “Former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner unexpectedly announced Thursday that he will not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, citing the personal toll a run for the White House would have on his family.” Ex-governor won’t take presidential plunge – “Warner, a centrist, had been one of the most aggressive early campaigners among the large group of Democrats pursuing possible presidential bids. He had already lined up considerable financial support, made 67 trips to 28 states and hired a large number of advisers with national campaign experience.” Warner Leaves Centrist Void – “Former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner’s decision to bow out of the 2008 Democratic presidential race yesterday left the remaining candidates scrambling to fill the ideological and electoral void left by the candidate long considered a leading alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid.”

Politics and poverty. Advocate is urging candidates not to forget about the poor – “One of the state’s biggest advocates for the homeless has a message for lawmakers bent on producing nasty campaign commercials: Don’t forget about those living in poverty. “Occasionally you get the campaigns talking about real issues. But lately all they seem to want to talk about is scandal and mudslinging, and nobody is talking about the real issues impacting poverty,” said Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.”

North Korea. U.N. Near Agreement on N. Korea Sanctions – “The U.N. Security Council moved closer Thursday night to agreement on a resolution that would impose an arms embargo and broad financial sanctions on North Korea in response to its claimed nuclear test,” Military action out of sanctions plan – “A new U.S. draft of a UN Security Council resolution circulated Thursday night would authorize only non-military sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program and require a new resolution for any further action, a key demand of China.”

Darfur. Research Group Advocates Targeted Sanctions Against Sudan – “Tough sanctions should be imposed on Sudan to force its government to allow a major U.N. peacekeeping mission into the troubled region of Darfur, a leading research organization recommended in a report issued yesterday. The International Crisis Group noted that international diplomatic efforts had failed to persuade Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed militia and that a new approach was necessary to prevent more bloodshed.”

Iran. Iran Defies Call to Drop Nuclear Plans – “The Iranian leadership is vowing to continue to defy an international demand to stop nuclear activities while refusing to condemn North Korea for its reported test of a small nuclear device. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech on Tuesday that Iran would continue its uranium enrichment program,”

Conscience and war. A Soldier Hoped to Do Good, but Was Changed by War – “Sgt. Ricky Clousing, 24, will serve three months in prison for going AWOL after pleading guilty. … Sgt. Ricky Clousing went to war in Iraq because, he said, he believed he would simultaneously be serving his nation and serving God. … “My experiences in Iraq forced me to re-evaluate my beliefs and my ethics,” Sergeant Clousing said, sitting stiff-backed in the witness chair. “I ultimately felt I could not serve.” The case against Sergeant Clousing, a born-again Christian from Washington State, is a small one in a war that has produced sensational courts-martial.”

Iraq. British army chief: Iraq policy `naive’ – “Britain’s new army commander said British troops in Iraq are maki
ng the situation worse and must leave the country soon, and he called Prime Minister Tony Blair’s policies “naive,” according to an interview published Thursday.” Army chief defends Iraq comments – “The head of the British army has defended his comments that UK troops “exacerbate” security problems in Iraq and should withdraw “sometime soon”.” Army chief denies rift with PM – “The head of the British army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, today repeated his call for UK troops to withdraw from Iraq soon but denied reports of a rift between him and the prime minister on Britain’s Iraq strategy.”

Religion. Church tithing continues to ebb – “Church members continue to give less of their income to churches despite increases in membership, according to a study … Church members gave 2.56 percent of their income in 2004, down from 3.11 percent in 1968,”

Op-Ed. Counting The Iraqi Dead (By Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post)- “Not credible” was President Bush’s quick verdict on the new study, published this week in the British medical journal the Lancet, calculating that more than 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion and its ensuing chaos. It is understandable that the president would be quick to dismiss such an explosive claim, but the rest of us should take the time to look a bit more closely. … If the study’s findings are flawed, then its critics should demonstrate how and why. But no one should dismiss these shocking numbers without fully examining them. No one should want to.”

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