God's Politics

the latest reports on Iraq and Congress, antiwar protests, Iran, the Mideast, presidential politics and marriage, U.K. churches and the MDGs, and E.J Dionne on “Christians Who Won’t Toe the Line”

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Iraq-Congress. Senate Rejects Democrats’ Call to Pull Troops– “The Senate on Thursday rejected a Democratic resolution to withdraw most American combat troops from Iraq in 2008, but a similar measure advanced in the House, and Democratic leaders vowed to keep challenging President Bush to change course in Iraq.” Senate rejects Iraq withdrawal measure – “In an ominous sign for the Democratic legislative campaign to end the war in Iraq, the Senate on rejected a resolution that would have required President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. combat troops within 120 days after it was enacted.” House Panel Approves Bill To Fund War, Set Timeline – “Democratic legislation to set timelines for the removal of troops from Iraq headed for a showdown on the House floor next week after the Appropriations Committee approved a $124 billion war funding bill yesterday that would end the U.S. role in the conflict by next year.”

Iraq-antiwar. Christian Groups To Stage Protest– “Several thousand Christian peace activists plan to march on the White House tonight to demonstrate their opposition to the war in Iraq, organizers said yesterday. The march, which is unrelated to tomorrow’s antiwar rally at the Pentagon, will be preceded by a 7 p.m. service at the National Cathedral,” Once More to the Pentagon – “Tomorrow, according to organizers, tens of thousands of demonstrators protesting the war in Iraq will march on the Pentagon in what they are billing as “the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 march to the Pentagon.”

Iraq-war. For U.S. and Sadr, Wary Cooperation – “U.S. troops are conducting security sweeps in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City for the first time in three years, part of a revamped plan to pacify the capital. Yet the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has not risen up to fight them,” Attack on Sadr City Mayor Hinders Antimilitia Effort – “Gunmen ambushed a convoy on Thursday that was carrying the mayor of the sprawling Shiite area known as Sadr City, seriously wounding him and complicating American efforts to rein in a powerful Shiite militia there.” General seeks another brigade in Iraq – “The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade, in addition to five already on the way, as part of the controversial “surge” of American troops designed to clamp down on sectarian violence and insurgent groups, senior Pentagon officials said yesterday.”

Iran. 6 Powers Agree on Sanctions For Iran – “The U.N. Security Council’s five major powers and Germany have agreed in principle to ban all Iranian arms exports and freeze the financial assets of 28 Iranian officials and institutions,” U.N. Council Gets New Draft Decree on Iran Nuclear Sanctions – “The Security Council received on Thursday a draft of a new resolution to impose sanctions on Iran for its defiance of demands that it suspend its nuclear enrichment activities and return to negotiations over its nuclear program.” U.N. weighs ban on Iranian arms exports – “The draft resolution also calls on governments and financial institutions to not offer Iran financial assistance, except for humanitarian and developmental purposes,” Russia joins west in turning sanctions screw on Iran – “Russia joined the west in stepping up the pressure on Iran yesterday over its suspect nuclear programme by agreeing to tighten UN sanctions on the Islamic regime, a day after announcing a delay in the supply of nuclear fuel to it.” Cleric hits Ahmadinejad for making enemies – “A leading cleric and close associate of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has joined critics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is coming under increasing criticism from Iran’s political and religious authorities.”

Mideast. Unity Cabinet Offered By Palestinian Premier – “Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas presented a unity government Thursday that for the first time since the Islamic movement took power almost a year ago includes rival political parties” Hamas-Fatah Coalition Misses West’s Goals – “But the political document guiding the new government does not fulfill the international community’s three demands – to recognize Israel, forswear violence and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements – and Israel announced that it would therefore not deal with the new government or any of its ministers,”

Presidential politics and marriage. Till divorce do us part: Evangelicals wary of GOP marriage record – “When Southern Baptist public policy guru Richard Land sizes up the Republican presidential pack and factors in whether a candidate has been divorced, he thinks of marriage mathematics, not just morals. … “For Land and other con
servative religious leaders, the checkered marital histories of GOP candidates could be an important factor. While divorce may not be a deal-breaker — it could be, depending on how many, and for what reasons.”

UK churches campaign for MDGs. ‘Spend Money on Poverty, Not Arms,’ says World Vision Chief – “The Head of World Vision[UK] has called on the UK Government to spend money on fulfilling its promises to the poor instead of replacing its nuclear weapons system during the launch of a new Christian campaign to halve absolute poverty around the world. … The campaign, run by the Micah Challenge coalition of churches and Christian charities, will put pressure on the Government and the international community to look at their progress on the MDGs so far and commit to greater action so that extreme poverty and hunger really are halved for the world’s poor by 2015.”

Op-Ed. Christians Who Won’t Toe the Line (E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post) – “Evangelical Protestantism in the United States is going through a New Reformation that is disentangling a great religious movement from a partisan political machine. This historic change will require liberals and conservatives alike to abandon their sometimes narrow views of who evangelicals are.”

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