God's Politics

The latest news on the election, faith and politics, Iran, North Korea, Darfur, immigrants and healthcare, Iraq, nuclear weapons, religion, and select op-eds.

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Election. War tests voter loyalty in Bible Belt – “Republicans are furiously trying to reenergize the so-called values voters, predominantly evangelical Protestants who helped propel President Bush to victory in 2004 but have since then become disenchanted with the GOP.  But concern about the war in Iraq is threatening to overwhelm the social issues.” Parties open new fronts in battle for Congress – “Heading into the last days of the fight for control of Congress, both political parties moved Thursday to expand the battlefield, trying to revive campaigns that had been seen as lost causes. The GOP had almost given up on a Senate race in Montana; meanwhile, Democrats see promise in Arizona.” Campaigns Set For TV Finale – “The Republican and Democratic parties dumped tens of millions of dollars this week on dozens of congressional races, locking up broadcast time yesterday for a blizzard of new advertising that will saturate the airwaves over the final weekend of the midterm campaign season.”  Democrats Predict Voter ID Problems –  “Such rules, together with updated voting-machine technology, were touted as means to modernize and bolster public confidence in the election system. They have quickly led to new struggles over voting rights. Republicans and their allies assert that the identification requirements and other rules will lessen voting fraud. Democrats and their supporters contend the changes are ploys to suppress voting among poor, elderly, minority and disabled citizens, who are prone to support Democratic candidates.” Ethics Questions Haunting Races of Democrats, Too – “Despite their campaign against a “culture of corruption” in the Republican Party, there are Democrats whose campaigns have also been marked by claims of ethical failings.”

Faith and Politics. VOTING OUR VALUES’ RALLY: Religious leaders put faith in broader values – “Unlike other rallies, no Republicans bashed Democrats and no Democrats clobbered Republicans. Not a single candidate made an impassioned plea for votes with Election Day less than a week away. Instead, the 500 people gathered on a cold night at the church heard Sojourners founder Jim Wallis and several local ministers talk about translating religious values into voting values without attaching partisan labels. … Rich Nathan, senior pastor of the Vineyard Church of Columbus, said he is an evangelical Christian, but that many of the well-known TV evangelists don’t speak for him. “More and more evangelicals are saying, ‘We are not going to be in the pocket of any political party,’ ” Nathan said.”

Iran. Iran test-fires dozens of missiles – “Iran test-fired dozens of missiles, including the Shahab-3 that can reach Israel, in military maneuvers Thursday that it said were aimed at putting a stop to the role of world powers in the Persian Gulf region.”

North Korea. U.S. speeds attack plans for North Korea – “The Pentagon has stepped up planning for attacks against North Korea’s nuclear program and is bolstering nuclear forces in Asia, said defense officials familiar with the highly secret process.”

Darfur. Sudan Leader: No U.N. Troops for Darfur – “Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Friday that his government will not relent on its rejection of U.N. peacekeeping troops for Darfur.” Darfur militias ‘kill children’  – “Militias backing Sudan’s government have killed at least 63 people in attacks in Darfur in the past week, African peacekeepers say. At least 27 of the victims are thought to be children under the age of 12.”  Militias Raid Refugee Camps in Darfur – “The militias attacked eight settlements, including a camp sheltering 3,500 people who had been driven from their homes by the violence in war-torn Darfur,”

Immigrants and healthcare. Medicaid Wants Citizenship Proof for Infant Care – “Under a new federal policy, children born in the United States to illegal immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid,  … Doctors and hospitals said the policy change would make it more difficult for such infants, who are United States citizens, to obtain health care needed in the first year of life.”   Groups fear illegals’ babies may not get health care – “Several health groups are concerned that babies born to illegal immigrants could be denied essential medical care such as immunizations and physicals because of recent changes to Medicaid.”

Iraq. Pentagon Widens Its Battle to Shape News of Iraq War – “The Pentagon is reorganizing its public affairs operation in an attempt to influence news coverage, amid internal frustration at the tone and substance of reporting on Iraq and on Defense Secretary Dopnald H. Rumsfeld”.

Nuclear weapons. Optimism Turns Sour On Nuclear Arms – “In the waning days of the 20th century, nearly a dozen coun
tries abandoned nuclear weapons programs, betting on the promised security of a post-Cold War world.  But the trend toward disarmament seems to have tapered off almost as quickly as it began.”

Religion. Church Leader Resigns After Gay Sex Claim – “One of the nation’s most influential conservative Christian leaders, the Rev. Ted Haggard, resigned yesterday as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and temporarily stepped aside as pastor of a Colorado mega-church after a self-described male escort accused him of paying for gay sex.” Evangelist steps down amid gay sex claim – “the acting pastor of his church later said that Haggard had acknowledged some of the accusations were true. “I just know that there has been some admission of indiscretion, not admission to all of the material that has been discussed, but there is an admission of some guilt,” Ross Parsley told KKTV-TV of Colorado Springs.”

Op-Ed. Seeking Options On Iraq  (David Ignatius, Washington Post) – “Following Tuesday’s elections, President Bush will face some of the most difficult decisions of his presidency as he struggles to craft a strategy for dealing with the ruinous mess in Iraq. He will have to do what he has sometimes found hardest: make a decisive choice among conflicting recommendations from his advisers.”

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