Tag: Current Events

Many of my friends on social media have changed their profile pictures to the Arabic N to indicate their support for and solidarity with Christians who are currently being persecuted in the Middle East. A White House petition calling for the United States Government to offer support to Christians in Iraq has over 41,000 signatures at the time that I am writing this, and is quickly adding more. . . . How should Christians feel about all of this?

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An article published in the Washington Post this past weekend notes that unlike previous midterm elections, this campaign has yet to see the emergence of a dominant, national theme. No one issue—or even set of issues—has taken center stage, cutting in, through, and across the various races. What we have instead is an election constituted through diverse, often locally- or regionally-defined issues that at the end of the day lack any sort of common ground.

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. . . What makes the ideology of ISIS appealing to its members and young recruits, especially those who travel from Europe and desperately want to join the fight, is actually the global message that this group tries to address to its Muslim audience. It has declared its determination to go beyond the parochial nationalist discourse and to establish a sovereign Islamic caliphate that aspires to global jihad.

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Since World War II, the primary ambition of international humanitarian law — the law of armed conflict — has been to insulate military violence from the civilian population. Military forces are required to identify themselves as such, by wearing clearly marked uniforms, and to discriminate in their selection of targets: They cannot deliberately attack noncombatants or infrastructure that has no military use.

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When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in response to cross-border terrorist rocket-fire, European (see here and here) and US leaders endorsed their claim to have just cause. But were they right to do so? Do the on-going attacks conform to just war criteria? These are separate questions; both are important. We seek to address these issues from the perspectives of international law and Catholic theological ethics.

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After spending weeks in mid-summer headlines, it appears the ramifications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby have still not finished panning out. In midterm elections across the United States, Hobby Lobby has become something of a rallying cry for both parties – though in distinctly different ways.

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Religion is, of course, no stranger to politics in the United States, a fact that becomes all too clear in election season, as incumbents and their challengers hone their rhetoric to appeal to the theological sensibilities of their base. For better or worse, religion will no doubt continue to play a role in the run-up to the midterm elections. But in the wake of the Supreme’s Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby . . . we can, I think, expect to hear a lot about religious freedom.

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I thank both Timothy Simpson for taking the time to respond to my post and the current editors of Political Theology Today for allowing me to respond. It is an uncomfortable issue for people on all sides of the debate. I can only imagine the frustration wrought by “having been the target of barbs by both Christian and Jewish Zionists.” If my tone is irenic, I can only be glad; I do not desire to be the cause of frustration (even at those moments when I feel frustration). If Rev. Simpson views my tone as irenic, I find the content of his response to be ironic.

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I wish to thank Dr. Bernstein for his thoughtful and irenic response to “Zionism Unsettled” (hereafter, ZU). . . . ZU is indeed a hard-hitting document. It says things many people would rather not have discussed and calls out both Jewish and Christian Zionists for their contribution to the misery and suffering of the Palestinian people. Such a resource, which could be utilized at the congregational level, was sorely needed. The Israeli occupation began in 1967, when I was four years old. I’m now a grandfather, and yet it still continues.

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As I compose this, the gloves are being taken off on all sides, and in every direction, over the matter of the Presbyterian Church USA’s 310-303 approval of divesting from three companies (Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard) whose business with Israel are seen to impact the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

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Federal elections in the world’s largest democracy have recently led to a significant change of leadership in India. There are two crucial domains of concern for anyone looking at the future of India after these elections: on the one hand, concerns about the rights and dignity of minority communities, which is saturated with an ideological component; on the other hand, the project of growth and development, which is the language Prime Minister Modi now speaks.

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After half a dozen years of economic decline and political hardship EU measured its demos in the elections to the European Parliament. The result was just about expected, though probably not at all what the ”Europeans” — whoever they are these days — were eager to see. Given a choice between a commitment towards the globalization of world politics and going home, going home, by and large, won.

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