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God's Politics

The latest news on the President and the Pope, immigration, Sudan, U.S. military, Iraq-UK, Iran, fighting poverty, campaign, state budgets, Rev. James Forbes, and select op-eds.

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Immigration. Immigration deal called ‘alive and well’ “The White House is poised to begin a last-ditch effort this week to resurrect the compromise immigration bill that was pulled off the Senate floor Thursday, with administration officials insisting another two days of debate could ensure passage of the contentious legislation.” Democrats Say They May Revisit Immigration BillSenate Democrats opened the door to reviving the stalled immigration measure on Sunday, calling on Republicans to resolve their internal divisions and produce an agreement on how to move the legislation forward.”


US military. Military Envisions Longer Stay in Iraq “U.S. military officials here are increasingly envisioning a “post-occupation” troop presence in Iraq that neither maintains current levels nor leads to a complete pullout, but aims for a smaller, longer-term force that would remain in the country for years.” Joint Chiefs Chair Will Bow Out “Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced that Marine Gen. Peter Pace will step down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September, a move that Gates said will avert the contentious congressional hearings that would be needed to reconfirm the nation’s top military officer.”


President and Pope. On Iraq, pope’s message to Bush is quiet but firm “With Italians converging on Rome to decry the war in Iraq, President Bush received a more subtle but pointed message Saturday about America’s Middle East policy in his first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.” Pope Shares Iraq Concerns in Meeting With BushPresident Bush and Pope Benedict XVI, both religious conservatives, met for the first time on Saturday in the papal palace at the Vatican, where the pontiff privately expressed his concerns to the president about “the worrying situation in Iraq,”


Iraq-UK. Brown vows to make intelligence independent of politics “Prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown used a surprise trip to Iraq today to pledge that in future security and intelligence would be kept “independent” of the political process.”


Iran. Iran tightens screws on internal dissent “The government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in the midst of one of the most intensive crackdowns on domestic dissent in the last two decades, targeting groups as diverse as banks and labor unions, students and civic organizations.” Lieberman Favors Military Strike on Iran “Sen. Joseph Lieberman said Sunday the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran’s involvement in Iraq.”


Fighting poverty. Fighting hunger seen aiding U.S. image overseas “Politicians and religious leaders said yesterday during a forum on combating global hunger and poverty that the issues are intertwined with alleviating worldwide fear and disdain for the United States and its military forces. The forum, held at American University, was part of Washington-based anti-hunger organization Bread for the World’s “The Gathering 2007,” a movement to end hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.” ONE Vote to Launch Anti-Poverty Campaign “The anti-poverty campaign of U2 frontman Bono is promoting a $30 million effort to pressure Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to make the oft-forgotten issue a priority.” The Poverty PlatformJohn Edwards says Americans should care more about economic injustice. Can he turn the plight of the poor into a winning campaign issue?”


Sudan. U.S. relies on Sudan despite condemning it “Sudan has secretly worked with the CIA to spy on the insurgency in Iraq, an example of how the U.S. has continued to cooperate with the Sudanese regime even while condemning its suspected role in the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in Darfur.” Darfur’s aid lifeline in danger “Deteriorating security conditions in Darfur – a vast region of Sudan that is equal in size to France – are endangering the largest humanitarian aid operation in the world. Today, aid convoys have become almost daily targets, with car jackings, armed robbery, and occasional shoot outs.”


Campaign. Candidates’ fault lines on issues emerge “Close the prison at Guantanamo, or double its size? Raise or lower taxes? Let the free market or the federal government mend the healthcare system? With months still to go before the presidential primaries, the rough contours of the 2008 general election are already taking shape as Democrats and Republicans divide over those issues, Iraq and others.”


State budgets. States Finding Fiscal Surprise: A Cash SurplusMore than 40 states have found themselves with more money than they planned as they wound down their regular sessions.”


Rev. James Forbes. With an Exit, a Historic Church at a CrossroadsAs its senior minister leaves after 18 years, Riverside Church may face a rough passage into a new era.”


Op-Eds.


A pious nation? (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today) “Though the United States is considered a deeply religious country, a glance at America today reveals a society divided by wealth and poverty, tainted by violence and often oblivious to the common good. A country of believers? Perhaps. But saying is one thing, doing quite another.”


The Myth of Amnesty (By Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, Washington Post) “On the subject of immigration, my plea to Congress is loud and clear: You can’t quit now. Last week the Senate was on the verge of addressing our broken immigration system. No, the compromise bill wasn’t perfect. But our current system is a disaster. I implore lawmakers to go back to the table, iron out their differences and give us an immigration system that is enforceable, and the resources to enforce it.”

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