October 2008

The news is more and more shocking from the pews of the McCain/Palin rallies, but even more so from Palin herself. The flirtation with promoting racial hatred and violence is getting stronger, and they need to be told to stop before they bring the country to the brink. This is a turning point for the United States. Frank Rich warns:

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the

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A New Baptist Approach to Muslims?

by mgopin on October 8, 2008 · 3 comments

This article highlights the important role of Richard Land, one of the most famous conservative religious spokesmen in the country, in the development of the report on U.S.-Muslim Engagement. A responsible approach to United States foreign policy has to include a bipartisan approach. That is why our project reached out to moderate evangelicals in an effort to create a new basis of multi-faith relations at a global scale.…

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I signed the following statement, along with dozens of Jewish, Christian and Muslim American leaders, that condemns a film released in order to incite hatred against Muslims across the United States as a way of shifting election votes. This is sadly reminiscent of what I wrote about yesterday, in Indian elections. Democracy’s soft underbelly is racism, populism and fascism. It is advantageous to discover people’s fears and build a voting base on that foundation. The only way forward is to unite against this and expose it. This is completely separate from an honest discussion between civilizations and religions when there are deep wounds, injuries and grievances to talk about. This is about the uses of hatred to garner votes.

Statement from American Religious Leaders in Response to Mass Distribution of ‘Obsession’
October 06, 2008

We, the undersigned religious leaders, representing a wide spectrum of theological beliefs and political persuasions,

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The shocking story of Christian persecution in India in recent months has all the markings of a politically motivated campaign. The atrocities are across several provinces, and now there is footage of soldiers and police engaged in the persecution, in the regions where BJP is in control. It is clear that BJP supporters are utilizing hatred and fear of Christians as a way to gain political power. There are certainly conversions to Christianity, especially by aggrieved lower castes in India. This is nothing new, and at 3% the Christian population is absolutely no threat to anyone, but they are an interesting scapegoat.

The Nazis did the same thing. Appeal to the basest instincts of a wounded majority, get them to persecute a tiny minority, scapegoat them, and then take over the country based on concocted grievance rather than on substantive issues. Once in power, invent reasons for wars with neighbors …

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Two McCain advisers told participants in a weekend retreat that his administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

A McCain administration would discourage Israeli-Syrian talks and would not prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

That was the collective message delivered over the weekend by two McCain advisers — Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Richard Williamson, the Bush administration’s special envoy to Sudan — during a retreat hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy at the Lansdowne Resort in rural Virginia.

One of Barack Obama’s representatives — Richard Danzig, a Clinton administration Navy secretary — said the Democratic presidential candidate would take the opposite approach on both issues.

In an interview with the Atlantic magazine over the summer, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) insisted that in his presidency he would serve as the chief negotiator in the

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I just published this piece in the Washington Jewish Week. I wrote it as a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of Brit Tzedek Ve’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, a national American Jewish organization with over thirty thousand members and thirty eight chapters, which argues in Washington for a just solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict.

It is settled: The election is about change. Sen. Barack Obama had made that his central motif all along, but now Sen. John McCain is onboard. Now that everyone is using the word “change,” it begs a question. The question is not “Who stands for change?” but rather, “Whose changes are going to really make a difference, and what are those changes?”

One place where change is desperately needed is in the disastrous United States policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict that has been in effect for the past eight years. It

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The recent U.S. report on Muslim engagement was crafted carefully by a very bipartisan group in which I played a role, but this article argues that it strongly favors Obama’s foreign policy.

U.S.: Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World

WASHINGTON, Sep 24 (IPS) – In an implicit indictment of President George W. Bush’s “global war on terror” and the hawkish pronouncements by Republican candidate John McCain, a bipartisan group of nearly three dozen U.S. leaders called here Wednesday for Bush’s successor to place much greater emphasis on high-level diplomacy — including direct engagement with Iran and Syria — in dealing with the Middle East and the Muslim world.

In a 152-page report, the group, which included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Bush’s former Deputy Secretary of State and McCain adviser Richard Armitage, also called for any new administration to work “intensively for immediate de-escalation of the

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