God's Politics

The latest news on the NAE and the religious Right, Iraq, presidential politics, Bush in Columbia, Iran, Mideast, attorney general, Darfur, and select Op-Eds.

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NAE & Religious Right. NAE Leaders Advance Broad Agenda with Landmark Document on Human Rights and Torture– “The board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals advanced a broad public agenda at its annual meeting this week, endorsing a landmark document on human rights and torture, and reaffirming its “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Public Engagement,” first adopted in 2003.” Evangelical Body Stays Course on Warming – “Rebuffing Christian radio commentator James C. Dobson, the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals reaffirmed its position that environmental protection, which it calls “creation care,” is an important moral issue.” Evangelicals battle over agenda, environment – “A struggle for control of the evangelical agenda intensified this week, with some leaders declaring that the focus has strayed too far from their signature battles against abortion and gay rights.”

Bush in Colombia. Under Tight Security, Bush Lauds Colombia’s Uribe – “As Air Force One swooped over the Andes Mountains toward this city for the first time in a quarter-century, President Bush and his aides sat in the front compartments with an optimistic message about improved security after decades of civil war and drug trafficking.” Bush Visits Colombia Amid Security and Protests– “The risky nature of President Bush’s trip to this violent country was spelled out on a television monitor aboard Air Force One en route from Uruguay: “Colombia presents the most significant threat environment of this five country trip!”

Iraq-Congress. Pelosi Cautions Bush Not to Veto an Iraq Bill– “Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, challenged President Bush over his threat to reject an Iraq spending bill if it calls for a troop withdrawal, even as the administration sought to shift money to pay for additional forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Democrats Steer the War in Iraq in Fits and Starts– “Over the next few weeks, the new Democratic Congressional majority will try to translate public discontent with the war in Iraq into actual policy, with a series of votes on the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.”

Iraq-war. Fallback strategy for Iraq: Train locals, draw down forces – “American military planners have begun plotting a fallback strategy for Iraq that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and a renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters in case the current troop buildup fails or is derailed by Congress. Such a strategy, based in part on the U.S. experience in El Salvador in the 1980s, is still in the early planning stages.” In New Tactic, Militants Burn Houses in Iraq– “Sunni militants burned homes in a mixed city northeast of Baghdad on Saturday and Sunday, forcing dozens of families to flee and raising the specter of a new intimidation tactic in Iraq’s evolving civil war,”

Iran. Iran to take nuclear case directly to UN – “Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is planning to respond in person to intensifying international pressure over his country’s controversial nuclear programme by taking his case directly to the United Nations security council in New York,” In Shift, U.S., Iran Meet On Iraq – “After months of trading accusations, U.S. and Iranian officials sat in the same room Saturday at a much-anticipated regional conference on finding ways to end Iraq’s sectarian violence and prevent a wider conflict.” Iraq summit brings U.S., Iran to the table – “But much of the attention was on the U.S.-Iranian sideshow, a crucial element because of Washington’s allegation that Tehran is helping Iraqi insurgents. Would the Iranian and U.S. delegates steal away for some private discussions? Would they be seated near each other during the talks? Would they commit to future meetings?”

Mideast. Israel-Palestinian talks yield little – “Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wrangled for more than two hours over differences that have blocked a resumption of substantive peace talks, but they achieved little more than a pledge to keep meeting regularly.” Palestinian Christians Look Back on a Year of Troubles – “But few point directly at Hamas, looking instead to the overall stresses on Palestinian society and its increasing thuggishness.” Under Pressure, Palestinian Territories Pull Apart – “Since withdrawing from Gaza a year and a half ago, the Israeli government has severed this coastal strip from the West Bank. The Palestinians have fractured politically at the same time.” Years of Strife and Lost Hope Scar Young Palestinians– “They are the children of the second intifada that began in 2000, growing up in a territory riven by infighting, seared
by violence, occupied by Israel, largely cut off from the world and segmented by barriers and checkpoints.’

Attorney General. Gonzales Should Quit, Senator Says– “A leading Senate Democrat demanded that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales step down, saying he had politicized his office at the expense of the nation’s laws.” Rove identified as link to fired U.S. attorneys – “The White House acknowledged that presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints to the Justice Department about federal prosecutors who later were fired for what critics charge were partisan political reasons.”

Presidential politics. Early Primary Rush Upends ’08 Campaign Plans– “The trickle of states moving their 2008 presidential primaries to Feb. 5 has turned into an avalanche, forcing all the presidential campaigns to reconsider every aspect of their nominating strategy – where to compete, how to spend money, when to start television advertising – as they gird for the prospect of a 20-state national Primary Day.” In Crowded G.O.P. Field, a Lesser-Known Hopes to Capitalize on the Issues– “With his staunch fiscal and social conservative credentials, Mr. Brownback is trying to establish himself as the candidate with the most trustworthy ideological record, even as he bucks other Republicans on issues like immigration and the current troop buildup in Iraq.” Actor Thompson ponders ’08 run Fred Thompson has played the president in the movies, and the ex-senator now says he is “leaving the door open” on a real run for the White House in 2008. The Tennessee Republican said he has been encouraged to run by some of his former colleagues, who cite the lack of a “true conservative” among the top tier of candidates already on the campaign trail.”

Darfur. Sudan blamed for Darfur crimes – “The Sudanese government has orchestrated and taken part in “large-scale international crimes” in Darfur, a high-level UN human rights team said … the UN assessors found the Sudanese government was responsible for waging a ruthless campaign resulting in war crimes and human rights abuses.” Darfur’s aid groups on the front lines – “Even as Washington issued its incriminating report; even as its special envoy to Sudan returned from Khartoum last week without an agreement for a hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force there; even as the Sudanese government refused to deliver to the International Criminal Court two nationals indicted for Darfur war crimes, 13,000 humanitarian workers were on the front lines in a region the size of France.” Sudanese charged with war crimes – (Nat Hentoff, Washington Times) “…who will bring troops into Sudan to deliver the criminal court’s summonses to the humanitarian minister and the head of the Janjaweed, which has terminated so many lives and forced 2.5 million black Muslims into becoming refugees who are still attacked by the Janjaweed?”

Op-Ed. Red-Letter Christians hope to take politics out of religion (Tony Campolo, Philadelphia Daily News) – “RECENTLY, I met with a group of Evangelical leaders who have become concerned with the wedding between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party. … The purpose of this gathering was not to create a Religious Left movement to stand over and against the Religious Right, but to give some unity to a movement that will transcend partisan politics. Believing that Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, we wanted to bring together Christians who are concerned about what is happening in America.”

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