God's Politics

The latest news on the religious right, youth voters, Benedict in Brazil, adoption, Afghanistan, Iraq, religious earmarks, Bush at St. Vincent, general speaks on Iraq, national guard, military recruiting, climate change, Republican presidential candidates, immigration, and select op-eds.
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Full news summary:

Bnedict in Brazil. The Pope Denounces Capitalism and Marxism – “In a major speech on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI condemned capitalism and Marxism as “systems that marginalize God” and urged the Latin American clergy to feed people’s spiritual hunger as the way to ease poverty and halt the Roman Catholic Church’s steady decline in the region.” Pope ends Brazil trip with fierce speech – “Pope Benedict XVI ended his first pilgrimage to the Americas much as he began it: with a searing attack on diverse forces, from Marxism and capitalism to birth control, that he believes threaten society and the Roman Catholic faith.”

Religious Right. Traditional values down, but not out – “The midterm elections that swept congressional Democrats into power sparked fresh obituaries for the religious right. Are the obituary writers correct? Is the traditional-values movement declining? … In a three-part series, The Washington Times looks at the future of the traditional-values movement, including the status of the abortion debate and the role of women.”

Adoption. Christian groups launch adoption campaign – “Evangelical leader Rick Warren came to the heart of the religious right movement last week to criticize a narrow focus on abortion, homosexuality and pornography as un-Christian. Strikingly, top Christian conservatives agreed. During a three-day summit here, members of Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ joined Warren and dozens of other pastors from across the nation in a pledge to devote more of their resources and clout to helping children in need.”

Afghanistan. Key Taliban Leader Is Killed in Afghanistan– “The man who probably was the Taliban’s’s foremost operational commander, Mullah Dadullah, was killed in a joint operation by Afghan security forces, American forces and NATO troops in Helmand Province,” Taliban leader’s death a big blow – “The killing of a major Taliban military commander over the weekend means three top leaders have been lost in the past six months, raising questions about whether the militants’ long-promised spring offensive in Afghanistan will happen this year.”

Iraq. U.S. Forces Search Iraq Area for 3 Missing Soldiers– “The intensive search coincided with two deadly car bombings in Baghdad and northern Iraq that killed at least 55 people, wounded 155 and further underscored the challenges facing the American and Iraqi security forces, which have been unable to thwart such attacks by the Sunni Arab-led insurgency despite the infusion of new American troops.” Iraqi militants claim to hold U.S. soldiers – “A militant group tied to Al Qaeda claimed to be holding three American soldiers missing since an ambush that left four U.S. troops and an Iraqi interpreter dead.”

Religious earmarks. Religious Groups Reap Share of U.S. Aid for Pet Projects– “Religious organizations have long competed for federal contracts to provide social services, and they have tried to influence Congress on matters of moral and social policy – indeed, most major denominations have a presence in Washington to monitor such legislation. But an analysis of federal records shows that some religious organizations are also hiring professional lobbyists to pursue the narrowly tailored individual appropriations known as earmarks.”

Bush at St. Vincent. Visit by Bush Tests Beliefs and Hospitality of Students at a Catholic College – “these are far from ordinary times for President Bush. In yet another sign of the troubles he is facing, even in places where he once could have expected none, the news that he would give the commencement address at St. Vincent College here on Friday was not universally welcomed on the campus, which is about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County. Rather, it set off weeks of debate and protests as this tight Benedictine campus community grappled with faith and war and an unfamiliar level of polarization.”

General speaks on Iraq. Army Career Behind Him, General Speaks Out on Iraq– “John Batiste has traveled a long way in the last four years, from commanding the First Infantry Division in Iraq to quitting the Army after three decades in uniform and, now, from his new life overseeing a steel factory here, to openly challenging President Bush on his management of the war.”

National Guard. Governors say war has gutted Guard – “As wildfires, floods and tornadoes batter the nation, the readiness of the National Guard to deal with those disasters, as well as potential terrorist assaults, is so depleted by deployments to foreign wars and equipment shortfalls that Congress is considering moves to curtail the president’s powers over the Guard and require the Defense Department to analyze how prepared the country is for domestic emergencies.”

Military recruiting. Tougher sell for recruiters: Dad – “The percentage of fathers who said they would support military service for their son or daughter dropped from 77 percent in 2003 to 59 percent by last August, according to defense of
ficials. Mothers’ support also dropped, from 65 percent to 52 percent. Even grandparents, some of whom belong to the “greatest generation,” showed slightly more reluctance to approve of a grandchild joining the military.”

Youth voters. Youth voters a force in ’08 race – “Young voters, who for decades played a marginal role in electoral politics, have emerged as a powerful new force in the 2008 elections and are poised to determine the next president as a result of an explosion in political activity among youth.”

Climate change. Climate change to force mass migration – “A billion people – one in seven people on Earth today – could be forced to leave their homes over the next 50 years as the effects of climate change worsen an already serious migration crisis, a new report from Christian Aid predicts.”

Republican presidential candidates. Christian conservatives pledge support for ’08 Thompson bid – “Several leading Christian conservatives say they will rally to former Sen. Fred Thompson, who they expect to announce “in a matter of weeks” that he will seek the Republican nomination for president next year.” Giuliani Takes On G.O.P. Orthodoxy on Social Issues – “Rudolph W. Giuliani directly challenged Republican orthodoxy on Friday, asserting that his support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights should not disqualify him from winning the party’s presidential nomination.” Giuliani Tries to Clarify Abortion Stance – “Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to quell a growing controversy over abortion that has disrupted his presidential campaign. Restating his support for abortion rights, he asked Republican voters to look beyond that issue to the totality of his platform and record.”

Immigration. Senators plan weekend talks on immigration bill – “In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a bipartisan stalemate on immigration reform, senators plan to negotiate through the weekend to try to forge a long-elusive compromise.”

Op-Ed. Thought vs. feeling in religion – (James Carroll, Boston Globe) – “RELIGION SERVES two functions. It explains the mysteries of life. It helps overcome life’s difficulties. Preachers who have influence are like good teachers, in the first case, or like motivational speakers, in the second. The powers of intellect are in tension here with emotional fervor. As happiness itself depends on vital interaction between thought and feeling, good religion achieves a balance between these polarities. The conflict between them was on display when Pope Benedict XVI arrived last week in Brazil.”

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