Thursday, June 30, 2005


Iraq: "Only Death Will Win"

Jack Miles, a senior fellow with the Pacific Council for International Policy, wrote a compelling commentary in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, including this contention:

This war has been a colossal blunder, and most Americans now seem to believe as much. The question facing the president is the too-well-remembered question of the Vietnam War: "How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?"

He goes on to nuance that thought, and more, in his piece "Only Death Will Win."

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


"Lazarus" at Bush's Gate

A group of U.S. religious leaders from across the theological spectrum -- evangelical, liberal, and moderate -- urged President Bush and other wealthy-nation leaders to greatly increase aid (and debt forgiveness) to Africa.

The Washington Times reported ("Religious leaders push for Africa aid"): Richard Cizik, vice president for government policy for the National Association of Evangelicals, said evangelicals have gone "from apathy and disengagement to engagement" on the issue. Currently, they "are willing to devote the same energy toward ending world hunger that they've devoted to issues such as religious persecution and sexual trafficking," he said. "We are lending our voice to this cause in a way never before done," he added. "We believe we can make this happen as we've made it happen on other issues."

The LA Times ("Churches Join to Urge Aid to Africa: Evangelicals unite with liberal and moderate religious groups to press President Bush to increase spending on development efforts"--annoying registration required) wrote: "Anybody who follows religion and has for some time would be pretty impressed and amazed," said Jim Wallis, executive director of Sojourners, a liberal-leaning Christian ministry based in Washington. "There is complete unity on this question across a spectrum that's been divided, and still is, on many other issues."

Perhaps this time the rich man will listen to Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Bishops "refocus" efforts against death penalty

Some people pay lip service to a "consistent ethic of life," and others actually try to the principle that "all life is sacred." The U.S. Catholic bishops have been in the latter camp for many years -- at least since the good work of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who helped popularize the metaphor of a "seamless garment" of life issues.

In mid-June, meeting in Chicago, the bishops reaffirmed their opposition to the death penalty. Life is not only sacred when it's "innocent" life, or the life of a good person. The bishops argue that all life is sacred ought to be protected -- whether the person is "deserving" or not. A person found guilty of the most despicable crimes should be kept off the streets, kept away from the rest of society -- even forever, in the most egregious cases. But the state should not sink to the level of killers by become one itself. So say the Catholic bishops. (And so say I, for what it's worth.) See "Bishops renew their opposition to death penalty" in the Washington Times.)

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