The Common Good

The New York Times

The New York Times Press Items
Israeli officials confirmed Wednesday that the government had issued orders to seize West Bank land needed to extend the separation barrier around the largest Jewish settlement, Maale Adumim, and link it to Jerusalem.
Disdain for religion is far from universal among scientists. And today, as religious groups challenge scientists in arenas as various as evolution in the classroom, AIDS prevention and stem cell research, scientists who embrace religion are beginning to speak out about their faith.
But Mr. Bush must make clear to Mr. Sharon that the Gaza withdrawal is a first step. He must not allow Mr. Sharon to maneuver him into blessing an indefinite Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
President Bush has refused to ask the nation to sacrifice in any way, so the sacrifice gap has never been greater. A few families, like Ms. Sheehan's, have paid the ultimate price. Many more, including National Guard families, are bearing enormous burdens, struggling to get by while a parent, a child or a spouse serves in Iraq. But the rest of the nation is spending its tax cuts and guzzling gas as if there were no war.
At a time when most other American civilians were leaving the country, she was just arriving. Sister Anne Montgomery, a 78-year-old nun, avoided the United States-patrolled Green Zone when she moved to Baghdad, opting instead to live in Karada, a mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhood across the Tigris River from the American Embassy.
Language is clearly important in politics, but the message remains more important than the messaging. In the interests of full disclosure, let me note that I have been talking to the Democrats about both. But I believe that first, you must get your message straight.
merican policy toward the Middle East, and Iran in particular, is often couched in the language of promoting human rights. No one would deny the importance of that goal. But for human rights defenders in Iran, the possibility of a foreign military attack on their country represents an utter disaster for their cause.
In the view of the administration, then, it is "humane" to give a detainee 3½ bags of I.V. fluid and then make him urinate on himself, force him to bark like a dog, or chain him to the floor for 18 hours.
The United States has worked closely with Uzbekistan, a corrupt and autocratic state with a chilling human rights record, in the fight against international terrorism. But such policies can backfire, improving the martial abilities of units that commit crimes against Uzbek citizens, and associating the United States with repression in the eyes of Uzbek people and the Islamic world.
But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.