Beliefnet
God's Politics

the latest news on Gerald Ford’s death, Darfur, the Ethiopia-Somalia conflict, Iraq, congress, Saddam Hussein, presidential politics, faith and politics, James Brown’s passing, and messages from the archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope
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Gerald Ford. Gerald R. Ford Dies at 93 – “Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., 93, who became the 38th president of the United States as a result of some of the most extraordinary events in U.S. history and sought to restore the nation’s confidence in the basic institutions of government, has died.” Gerald R. Ford, 38th U.S. President, Dies “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Mrs. Ford said in a statement…” Gerald Ford dies at 93 – “Untainted himself by Watergate, Ford was left the task of restoring public confidence in an institution badly damaged by the corrosive constitutional crisis…” Gerald Ford dead at 93 – “He was the only person to ever serve as chief executive without being elected president or vice president.”


Darfur. Sudan’s president accepts UN plan to bolster force in Darfur – “President Omar al-Bashir said in the letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that Sudan is ready to immediately implement two recent agreements endorsing a three-step UN plan to strengthen the beleaguered 7,000-strong African Union force in the vast western region of the country.” Sudan May Allow U.N. Force In Darfur – “U.S. and U.N. diplomats were guarded in their reactions to the letter, which was made public Tuesday.”


Ethiopia-Somalia. Ethiopians Closing In On Capital of Somalia – “Ethiopian troops fought their way closer to the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Tuesday, pushing back militias loyal to the Islamic Courts movement that has until now controlled much of the country.” Islamists Retreat in Somalia – “The Islamist forces once in control of much of Somalia are crumbling faster than anyone expected and beat a hasty retreat back to their stronghold in Mogadishu,” U.S. Signals Backing for Ethiopian Incursion Into Somalia – “The United States on Tuesday signaled its support for the Ethiopian offensive in Somalia, calling it a response to “aggression” U.N. envoy calls Somalia situation grim – “The conflict between Somalia’s transitional government and Islamic militants has escalated dangerously, as Islamist leaders threaten a “holy war” against advancing government troops and allied Ethiopian forces, a U.N. special envoy told the Security Council.”


Iraq. Democrats will soon get a say on Iraq – “After years of playing a marginal role in the Iraq war, congressional Democrats plan to move quickly next month to assert more control and undercut any White House effort to increase troop levels.” Biden Opposes a Troop Increase in Iraq, Foreshadowing a Fight With the Bush Administration– “Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rejected a troop increase for Iraq, foreshadowing what could be a contentious fight between the Bush administration and Congress.” Biden to Fight Troop Buildup in Iraq – “I totally oppose the surging of additional troops into Baghdad, and I think it is contrary to the overwhelming body of informed opinion, both people inside the administration and outside the administration,” Biden told reporters.

Congress. With Promises of a Better-Run Congress, Democrats Take on Political Risks– “After chafing for years under what they saw as flagrant Republican abuse of Congressional power and procedures, the incoming majority has promised to restore House and Senate practices to those more closely resembling the textbook version of how a bill becomes law:” Bracing for congressional probes, Bush hires lawyers – “President Bush is bracing for what could be an onslaught of investigations by the new Democratic-led Congress by hiring lawyers to fill key White House posts and preparing to play defense on countless document requests and possible subpoenas.”


Saddam Hussein. Iraqi Court Upholds Hussein’s Sentence – “Iraq’s highest court upheld Saddam Hussein’s death sentence, opening the way for the former Iraqi president to be hanged within 30 days, Iraqi judicial officials said.”


Presidential politics. Strategy, Not Drama, in ‘I Intend to Run in ’08’ – “… presidential announcements have become, more often tha
n not, vestigial remnants of the way presidential politics were once conducted (or at least the way they are remembered). Rather than being big moments in which candidates lay down ideological markers and discuss what they would do as president, announcements are more of a pro forma exercise of the obvious.”


Faith and Politics. Consultant Helps Democrats Embrace Faith, and Some in Party Are Not Pleased – “As Democrats turn toward the 2008 presidential race, a novice evangelical political operative is emerging as a rising star in the party, drawing both applause and alarm for her courtship of theological conservatives in the midterm elections. Party strategists and nonpartisan pollsters credit the operative, Mara Vanderslice, and her 2-year-old consulting firm, Common Good Strategies, with helping a handful of Democratic candidates make deep inroads among white evangelical and churchgoing Roman Catholic voters…”


James Brown. James Brown, the ‘Godfather of Soul,’ Dies at 73– “James Brown, the singer, songwriter, bandleader and dancer who indelibly transformed 20th-century music, died in Atlanta.” Say it loud: He gave music some new moves – “For all the impact of such towering figures as Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, no one influenced black music more than James Brown because no one mirrored black culture more than the man behind such hits as “Please, Please, Please,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).”


Archbishop of Canterbury message.Archbishop fears for Middle East – “The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has given a Christmas Day sermon urging people not to forget the tragedies of the Holy Land. In an address inspired by a recent visit to the region, he said both Israelis and Palestinians feared being ignored as the world looked elsewhere.” Canterbury sermon: Full text


Papal messages. Pope urges Mid-East peace efforts – “Pope Benedict XVI has called for fresh efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and Africa, in his traditional Christmas message to pilgrims in Rome. The Pope spoke of the “many grave crises and conflicts” in the Middle East and voiced “hope that the way will be opened to a just and lasting peace”. He also deplored the conflicts in Darfur and other parts of Africa.” In humanity’s failings, pope sees need of God – ” Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said a world that has achieved unimaginable scientific progress still needs God in its unending confrontation with hunger, hatred and war.” Benedict XVI’s Christmas Day Message “To the City and the World”


Children in jeopardy are focus of pope’s homily – “Pope Benedict XVI ushered in Christmas at midnight Mass, saying that the image of the baby Jesus born in a manger should remind everyone of the plight of poor, abused and neglected children.” Papal Homily at Midnight Mass


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