The Common Good

Peace on Earth?

Sojomail - December 20, 2006


QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"We're not winning, we're not losing."

- President George W. Bush, in a striking semi-reversal from his pre-election statement, "Absolutely, we're winning." (Source: The Washington Post )

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis


Peace on Earth?

Two months ago, we helped convene a group of 24 evangelical Christian leaders to launch an Evangelicals for Darfur campaign. Full-page ads ran in several national and many local newspapers around the country, along with radio ads. Articles about the campaign appeared in 167 publications. We urged President Bush to use his "personal leadership in supporting the deployment of a strong U.N. peacekeeping force and multilateral economic sanctions." That campaign generated nearly six million "impressions," and the coverage of it nearly 11 million. Our message was heard.


But while the president has consistently said the right things about Darfur, there has yet to be strong enough action. The situation in Darfur continues to get worse. News reports this morning tell of a genocide without borders as the killing is now also taking place in neighboring Chad, where 90,000 people have fled their homes to find safe shelter. Yesterday, the United Nations evacuated 71 aid workers from the largest refugee camp in Darfur after their compound was attacked. As more and more people die or are made refugees, the government of Sudan continues to block the deployment of a strong U.N. peacekeeping force authorized by the Security Council months ago to expand the existing African Union force.

In his last official news conference, outgoing U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said that more could be done in Darfur: "There are measures short of force that could be used: political pressure, economic sanctions, isolation, and of course in the last resort, there is the use of force." The Bush administration must quickly move from words to real actions. Maximum political and diplomatic pressure should be used at all possible points to force Sudan to accept additional peacekeepers. Key Security Council members, especially Russia and China, are obstructing U.N. action; the U.S. needs to increase its efforts to gain their cooperation. And additional actions should be taken against Sudan, including targeted sanctions against top government officials while enforcing existing sanctions. During the recent visit of British Prime Minister Tony Blair to Washington, he and the president discussed measures that included a no-fly zone over Darfur and a possible naval blockade.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, let us keep in our hearts, our prayers, and our actions the people of Darfur, Iraq, and everywhere in this troubled world where there is no peace. Their lives may depend on us.

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THIS WEEK IN GOD'S POLITICS

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Jeff Halper: Yes, Virginia, it is Apartheid
Jimmy Carter's use of the term "apartheid" to describe what is developing in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel these last 40 years is both accurate and useful. Accurate because apartheid is emerging in Israel/Palestine. What is apartheid? It is the forced separation of populations in which one people establishes a regime of permanent and structured domination over another .... Indeed, Israel itself calls its policy hafrada, separation, apartheid.

Ryan Beiler: The Sermon on the Mount Actually Works
After the tsunami devastated Southeast Asia three years ago, I wrote a commentary for Sojourners' January 2005 issue, speculating on what aid for Muslim nations could accomplish. ... Well, now we have the facts to prove it. Kenneth Ballen writes in today's Christian Science Monitor: "In global public-opinion surveys, Terror Free Tomorrow, the nonprofit organization I lead, found that the U.S. military's humanitarian missions to the broader Muslim world have directly caused a dramatic drop in popular support of terrorism and extremism."

Jim Wallis: People Will Die Because Bush Won't Listen
The president says he doesn't want to rush a decision, but what more does he need to know? Every day we just keep doing what we are doing, more Americans will die and more Iraqis will die. One may or may not agree with every recommendation of the Baker/Hamilton Report, but at least the bipartisan report told the truth about the situation in Iraq that is rapidly spinning out of control. And telling the truth is what the Bush administration has never done since the beginning in Iraq. This is a war based on lies, made worse by incompetence, and is pursued in sheer arrogance.

Richard Rohr: Humbled by Mystery
People who have really met the Holy are always humble. It's the people who don't know who usually pretend that they do. People who've had any genuine spiritual experience always know they don't know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love that is incomprehensible to the mind. It is a litmus test for authentic God experience, and is - quite sadly - absent from much of our religious conversation today.

Jim Wallis: Video of Anderson Cooper 360 on 'What Is a Christian?'
Jim Wallis joins Anderson Cooper, along with Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Rev. Dwight Hopkins, American Baptist minister and professor at University of Chicago Divinity School, as part of a focus on "What Is a Christian: Where Do You Fit?"

Brian McLaren: The Politics of Joy
How can there be political transformation in the external world of thorns, sins, and sorrow if our inner lives don't become the manger into which hope, healing, empowerment, love, and joy are born? What happens in the political realm - in the public world where people treat one another justly or unjustly, peacefully or violently, as neighbors or as enemies - can never be separated from what happens in the personal realm. And the reverse is true, too.

Diana Butler Bass: Beyond Two-Party Paradigms
Many people - including most of last week's questioners - assume that the Episcopal Church is engaged in an argument between two religious parties: liberals and conservatives. I have long doubted the wisdom of two-party paradigms, believing that two-party analyses primarily serve the interest of partisanship. ... Centrists exist as a moderating group between the old partisan divides, seeking to find healthy, creative space for the common good. The two relatively new groups, the "progressive pilgrims" and "emergent conservatives," represent post-liberal and post-conservative alternatives to the older parties.

SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

Does Darfur Have a Prayer?
Christianity Today

Inside Politics
Washington Times

The Religious Left's Rebuttal: Harry Reid asks Jim Wallis to speak for the Democrats
The Weekly Standard

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