Yet again, Congress and the President have squandered an opportunity to end the Iraq war. On Thursday the House of Representatives approved the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act 223-201, far short of the 290 necessary to override President Bush’s promised veto. The 219 Democrats and four Republicans who voted to end the Bush administration’s untenable, failed policy deserve commendation, but far too many of their colleagues refuse to heed the wishes of the American people and the faith community.
As reported in an article posted on Faith In Public Life’s Daily News, Roman Catholic members of Congress recently stepped up their effort to enlist the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the movement to end the war. While the Conference has not yet taken new action, grassroots Catholics have heeded the call.
Catholics account for more than 1 in 4 voters, and a post-election poll in 2006 found that 47 percent of U.S. Catholics considered the war in Iraq the most important issue that affected their vote. On Thursday Catholics for an End to the War in Iraq launched a campaign to give church members a new avenue to work for peace. They are providing sign-on petitions, media campaigns, and targeted local events to pressure leaders to begin a responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Thousands of Catholics joined this effort on the first day. People of faith continue to take the lead in demanding that Congress and the President end the calamity that is the Iraq war. What remains to be seen is how long it takes for our leaders to follow.
In case you haven’t heard, the first Hindu prayer from the Senate floor was interrupted this week by zealous attacks from individuals affiliated with the right-wing group Operation Save America. “Abomination!â€ they cried. Watch the incident below:
Many of our friends in the blogger community, including Faithfully Liberal and Bill Cork have offered great commentary on this story. Faith In Public Life wants to weigh in on this conversation because of our commitment to reclaiming the values debate in America. Disrespect and prejudice are not the values we’re trying to promote.
The real abomination in this story is this group’s manipulation of religion to promote intolerance.
The book In Solitary Witness, by Gordon Zahn, revealed that Franz JÃ¤gerstÃ¤tter, an Austrian farmer, was beheaded by the Third Reich in August 1943 after refusing to serve in the German army. The Catholic Peace Fellowship reports he will be beatified on October 26, 2007, in his home country, and provides information on how JÃ¤gerstÃ¤tter and countless other Christians have chosen conscientious objection, often in the face of significant harassment from Christian and secular critics alike.
Street Prophets’ Pastor Dan writes on recent meetings between evangelical Christians and Muslims at the Egyptian embassy. He opines, “Anything that includes Ralph Reed trying to do diplomacy cannot be a good thing. Double that for diplomacy organized by Benny Hinn.”
Faithful Progressive helps out the war cause by noting: We Are Not Fighting the Real Al Qaeda in Iraq–They Are in Pakistan, Stupid
The Beatitudes Society has a great review of SiCKO — Towards a We Culture — which includes clips of that really feisty liberal British MP.
And the NCC is gearing up for a big interfaith fast to protest the Iraq war. It’s coming on October 8.
In faith news:
WoodMoor Village covers the wackiness of attacks on pagan chaplains and pagan elected officials by folks like Cal Thomas.
Evangelical Ecologist points out that the Vatican is aiming to become the world’s first carbon neutral state.
JSpot writes on changes in Jewish publishing and what the Web 2.0 might mean. Some of this applies to other faith groups and especially at the facebook crowd becomes more involved in decision-making, social media tools — for information sharing and advocacy — will certainly decentralize who controls a faith message.
Islamicate shares that he is “a Nizari Ismaili, and hold that the Aga Khan is the direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through his daughter Fatima (PBUH) and his cousin/son-in-law Ali (PBUH). The New York Times ran a decent story yesterday on the Aga Khan and his humanitarian efforts. I don’t call it philanthropy. . .”
And for this week’s action item: Faithful Ohio has a great post on why we’ve got to get active to protect net neutrality.
Avaaz is a community of global citizens who take action on the major issues facing the world today. If you use You Tube you may see their highly watched videos featured often. Avaaz has members in every country on earth, and operates in twelve languages working to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people — and not just political elites and unaccountable corporations — shape global decisions. Check out all the great videos at Avaaz’s YouTube site.
Their name means “Voice” or “Song” in several languages including Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, Nepalese, Dari, Turkish, and Bosnian
One of the Avaaz campaigns I really like is their work with Global Call to Action Against Poverty to call the G8 leaders to keep their promise to the world’s poor. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has signed on to their letter which was featured in big ads in the Financial Times and German press in the build up to the June 6th G8 Summit. The goal was to remind the G8 finance ministers of their promises. Their response was to pledge a further $60 billion to combat poverty. As they write, “we cannot allow this pledge to become another broken promise.”
Right now their blog has a ton of footage of Al Gore, so if you have a jones for the green man, check it out.
Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors, according to documents released yesterday.
In memos over a two-year period that ended in August, FBI agents and officials also said that they witnessed the use of growling dogs at Guantanamo Bay to intimidate detainees — contrary to previous statements by senior Defense Department officials — and that one detainee was wrapped in an Israeli flag and bombarded with loud music in an apparent attempt to soften his resistance to interrogation.
“Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in GuantÃ¡namo,” New York Times, 11/30/04:
The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba.
The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at GuantÃ¡namo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in GuantÃ¡namo.
The team of humanitarian workers, which included experienced medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at GuantÃ¡namo were participating in planning for interrogations, in what the report called “a flagrant violation of medical ethics.”
Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women’s underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The investigation also supports the idea that soldiers believed that placing hoods on detainees, forcing them to appear nude in front of women and sexually humiliating them were approved interrogation techniques for use on detainees.
“”Reports indicate that the treatment of detainees since their arrests, and the conditions of their confinement, have had profound effects on the mental health of many of them. The treatment and conditions include the capture and transfer of detainees to an undisclosed overseas location, sensory deprivation and other abusive treatment during transfer; detention in cages without proper sanitation and exposure to extreme temperatures; minimal exercise and hygiene; systematic use of coercive interrogation techniques; long periods of solitary confinement; cultural and religious harassment; denial of or severely delayed communication with family; and the uncertainty generated by the indeterminate nature of confinement and denial of access to independent tribunals. These conditions have led in some instances to serious mental illness, over 350 acts of self-harm in 2003 alone, individual and mass suicide attempts and widespread, prolonged hunger strikes. The severe mental health consequences are likely to be long term in many cases, creating health burdens on detainees and their families for years to come.â€”
Join the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Rabbis for Human Rights and Evangelicals for Human Rights to challenge our political leaders to stop U.S.-sponsored torture.