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Peace, Human Rights & Democracy
This section includes articles with themes that include militarism, war, anti-nuclear work, guns, politics, government, voting rights, law, nonviolence, civil disobediance, self-determination, and related topics.

Useful Fundamentalists

To many in the West, Muslims are seen as violent fundamentalists, and are conflated with political extremism. Neil Elliott details that the term “the problem with Islam” is misplaced, especially when compared with Christian fundamentalism and U.S. foreign policy. [posted 2/4/05]

Will Abbas Need a Magic Wand?

It has been years since the promise of peace between Israelis and Palestinians has seemed so close, but Samia Khoury is worried. While Mahmoud Abbas has made efforts to show his seriousness for peace, she accuses Israel of continuing an oppressive occupation. [posted 2/4/05]

Post-Tsunami Solidarity Offers Way to Peace

Sri Lanka has suffered for years with devastating internal warfare. In the wake of the December tsunami, warring religious and political groups have come together. Sri Lankan bishop Duleep de Chickera says this offers the hope of a lasting peace. [posted 2/4/05]

The Urgency of Nuclear Terrorism

A new book by Graham Allison, Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, shows why nuclear weapons threaten us right now, yet are eminently containable. Sybille Ngo Nyeck reviews this timely resource. [posted 1/26/05]

Evangelical Fervor in Foreign Policy

George W. Bush stands in a long line of presidents, including Democrats, who have believed the U.S. has a divine mission in the world. Joseph Wakelee-Lynch believes that Bush's commitment to liberty may be genuine, but worries about America's prophetic interventionism. [posted 1/26/05]

No Mandate from Women of Color

There was a gender gap in voting patterns in the November 2004 presidential election, but an even more marked difference when race is considered as a factor. Linda Burnham analyzes the statistics, and predicts four bleak years for women of color. [posted 1/14/05]

Resistance and Empire in Iraq

Rashid Khalidi's new book, Resurrecting Empire , offers a comprehensive account of the psyche of resistance to foreign occupation in the Middle East. Sybille Ngo Nyecks reviews the book, which offers historical lessons to the U.S. in modern Iraq. [posted 1/4/05]

My Sudan: A Country of Conflict

Sudan continues to capture international news headlines for its civil war. Joseph Marona, the Episcopal archbishop of the Sudan, writes about the war's devastating outcomes and the halting, but hopeful, steps toward a lasting peace. [posted 12/29/04]

Conscientious Objection and the War in Iraq

An increasing number of active duty military personnel are asking questions about their service in Iraq. Joseph Wakelee-Lynch looks at how they and young people registering with the Selective Service can make hard decisions without the fear of shame. [posted 12/22/04]

Groupthink

There is a big problem in the U.S. right now, and it's not conservatism, according to Richard Thieme. The issue is that people don't know history, and even when we do realize the mistakes that have been made, we don't learn from them. [posted 12/15/04]

Colin Powell: Crusader for U.S. Multinational Corporations

As he departs office, Colin Powell can expect a wealth of positive commentary on his term as U.S. Secretary of State. Joseph Mulligan is less sanguine, detailing Powell's work as an agent of a coercive form of free market economics. [posted 12/15/04]

Progressive Leaders Must Deepen Community

As a former evangelical Christian, Rima Vesely-Flad believes the Christian Right has something worth learning from: an ability to connect spiritual commitment to politics. Progressive faith leaders must also learn how to build community into their political agendas. [posted 12/3/04]

The White Elephant in the Room: Race and Election 2004

Conventional wisdom in the month after the U.S. elections said that religious values drove the results. Bob Wing refutes that with extensive statistical analysis, citing race as a more critical factor and offering some good news to progressives. [posted 12/3/04]

The Responsibility of the Christian Left

In the midst of an ideological war, progressives need to stop being politically neutral, and to “take the fight to the Right,” claims Neil Elliott. It's time to insist on “family values” that support all people; on praying for all affected by war, not just “our troops”; and much more. [posted 12/2/04]

Jesus-Loving Leaders

U.S. political leaders are invoking the divine at every opportunity these days, but Robin Øye says their legislative initiatives prove they are blaspheming. He calls on politicians, and revolutionaries too, to follow the words of the prophet Micah. [posted 11/29/04]

About the Dead

Rami Elhanan, an Israeli Jew, has been intimately affected by Palestinian violence: his teenage daughter was killed by a suicide bomber. Yet he finds the evil characterizations of Yasser Arafat, following his death, another obstacle to peace. [posted 11/18/04]

Arafat and the Mirage of Peace

The death of Yasser Arafat has provoked countless commentary on his “failure to deliver a state to his people.” Samia Khoury finds this appalling, stating that Israel could not have found a better peace partner, which bodes poorly for the future. [posted 11/15/04]

He Has Issues, I Have Issues, You Have Issues

The second Bush administration faces a daunting domestic and international policy agenda. Mark Bozzuti-Jones summarizes those concerns, but with an outsider's eye he argues that the real issues facing the American people are ones they need to address themselves. [posted 11/15/04]

What's the Matter with Jesusland?

It's appropriate for the U.S. to come to a greater respect for the role of faith in the culture, says Irene Monroe, but she's wary of the term “moral values.” After all, she notes, slavery and segregation were once moral values with popular support. [posted 11/15/04]

Getting Darker with the Other

Progressive Christians need to go below their political defenses, down to the dark underworld of our fear, writes Jonathan Callard. As people on the Left and the Right seek to keep away from the Other, he appeals for an incarnational theology. [posted 11/12/04]

Filtered Moral Values

The real “value” that stood out during the U.S. elections was American exceptionalism, states Joseph Wakelee-Lynch. In response, he says progressive Christians must realize that this is the right time for a new form of evangelization. [posted 11/12/04]

On Baseball, Politics, and the Existence of God

Just before Election Day, against the odds, the Boston Red Sox won baseball's World Series, and many believed it was a “sign” that John Kerry would then be elected president. Considering these events, Matthew Lawrence looks at the dueling Anglican roles of belief and reason. [posted 11/12/04]

Bury Arafat and Sharon Together

Yasser Arafat died today, and Israelis and Palestinians are already fighting -- over where he will be buried. Marc Ellis, a Jewish academic, has a novel idea: no matter where it is, leave space for a grave for Ariel Sharon, Arafat's nemesis. Ellis explains why. [posted 11/11/04]

Don't Mourn – Organize!

Progressives have been in mourning in the wake of the reelection of George W. Bush. Jacqueline Schmitt was stuck in such a funk, until she realized that “moral values” are, in fact, the territory of people of faith, like her. [posted 11/6/04]

Race and the Race

The buzz about the election is that “values” were the big issue on November 2nd, but Rebecca Gordon has identified another key indicator: race. She crunches data and shows how white voters re-elected Bush, while some people of color were disenfranchised. [posted 11/5/04]

To Whom Much is Given. . .

In the wake of the presidential election, the U.S. must work globally and transparently, according to Sybille Ngo Nyeck. She compares the country to the “demoniac” in the Gospel of Mark, offering insight to the “evil spirits” that torment it. [posted 11/5/04]

Domination of Beliefs

Political pundits are claiming that “values” were the main reason that Bush beat Kerry. Daniel Webster takes offense, saying the nation is split about its values. Writing from Utah, he offers first-hand examples of the ideological chasm. [posted 11/3/04]

Jeremiah and the Sacred Act of Voting

The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah seems an unlikely candidate to offer advice for the 2004 election, but Chloe Breyer finds him to provide exactly that. She describes his legacy of addressing politics from a religious perspective. [posted 10/30/04]

This Time We're Watching

With widespread evidence of election "irregularities" in 2000, progressive leaders aren't taking a chance in 2004. A "November 3rd" coalition of partisan activists has organized nationwide actions for the day after the election, and to ensure the presidency isn't "stolen" this time. [posted 10/29/04]

Divided Church is Dividing the Nation

Progressives, once known as “liberals,” have stood idly by while conservatives took over U.S. Christianity, according to Derek Darves. With a severely divided electorate, he argues that the country will find reconciliation only if it happens first between Christians. [posted 10/29/04]

A New Paradigm of Political Leadership

With election day in sight, Thomas Ambrogi reviews Episcopal bishop Bennett Sims' provocatively titled Why Bush Must Go: A Bishop's Faith-Based Challenge. He finds the book less a Bush-bashing political analysis than a journal of politically-committed spirituality. [posted 10/28/04]

Vote Christian?

Diverse religious groups are working to influence the U.S. presidential election. Chloe Breyer took her congregation members to mobilize voters in Philadelphia, and learned that progressives and conservatives have something in common. [posted 10/19/04]

 

March 2002 issue of The Witness magazine
Faith and Patriotism
"You’re with us or you’re against us," dictated President Bush to the world in September 2001. As countries have lined up to support the so-called war on terrorism, so have religious organizations — with Christian churches supporting the bombing of Afghanistan and other political efforts of the Bush administration. When does the cross come before the flag? A series of articles discuss "My country, right or wrong," especially addressing the roles of the media and the church in supporting this patriotic proposition.

Be an Established People in the Land of Exile

African-Americans were denied the ability to vote in the 2000 presidential election by the thousands, some legally but many illegally. Citing the biblical words of the prophet Jeremiah, Rima Vesely-Flad seeks a way for blacks to reclaim their political rights. [posted 10/14/04]

The Righteous Empire

Evangelical Christianity has merged with neoconservative political theory, according to Louis Eltscher, to form an American rationale for global intervention. His research finds the effort to spread democracy “unilaterally and by force, if necessary” to be strikingly reminiscent of fascist history. [posted 10/1/04]

Anglican Peace and Justice Network Statement on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

30 Anglicans from 23 worldwide church provinces met in Jerusalem from September 14-23, 2004 to discuss global justice issues. A statement by the Network deplores the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and suggests steps to peace in the region. [posted 9/30/04]

For Chris: A Walk in the Countryside

On September 29, 2004, two nonviolence activists walking Palestinian children to school were brutally beaten, and left for dead, by five young Israelis. Jennifer Kuiper, writing from Bethlehem, describes the attack, and despairs at the state of our world. [posted 9/30/04]

The Wall

The separation barrier between Israel and the occupied territories – known to some as a “security fence,” to others as an “apartheid wall” – is deepening divisions in the region. Samia Khoury outlines the problems, which are both physical and psychological. [posted 8/12/04]

D-Day 2004: French-German Reconciliation

On the 60th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, the leaders of two historic enemy nations stood together and proclaimed a future of peace for their lands and all of Europe. Thomas Ambrogi, present at that historic event, finds hope for the world. [posted 7/28/04]

Kicking the Dog

For more than two centuries, warfare has been central to the U.S.' national identity. Now, in the midst of yet another war, the country is also tearing itself apart over same-sex marriage. William Blaine-Wallace connects the conflicts. [posted 7/26/04]

A Christian Nation?

The national debate about the Pledge of Allegiance is but one of a series of recent events when people have described the U.S. as a “Christian nation.” Daniel Webster, citing the history of the country's creation, takes exception. [posted 7/9/04]

Reviewing 9/11: A Nation in Deep Trouble

The New Pearl Harbor , a little-known book by David Ray Griffin, and Michael Moore's documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11 , are reviewed by Carter Heyward. She says they both ask troubling questions about the morality and complicity of the Bush administration. [posted 7/9/04]

Torture and Politics in South Africa and Iraq

Two articles by George Wauchope, reporting from Botswana, address the Iraq crisis. In one , Wauchope compares his experience of being tortured in apartheid South Africa to the Abu Ghraib scandal. In the second, he critiques the “handover of power” to the new Iraqi government. [posted 6/30/04]

Iranian Eyes on Iraq

Iran shared one million deaths with Iraq during a decade-long war. Survivors of that era talk with Sara Afshari about the current conflict. She finds that some, long having sought revenge on their neighbor, instead oppose the U.S.-led war. [posted 6/30/04]

To Be Black, Muslim, and Military

Should Muslims fight in this war? Precious Rasheeda Muhammad, a young antiwar Muslim woman whose younger brother is a member of the U.S. Marines, confronts her own inner turmoil. [posted 6/30/04]

Moral Choices in Iraq

This spring, George Packard traveled to Iraq to visit military chaplains and U.S. troops. As a Vietnam veteran, he considers the hard choices that today's soldiers must make, and also what leads Iraqis to join the resistance against the U.S. [posted 6/30/04]

Revisiting Augustine & Just-War Theory

For years, Saint Augustine has been cited as a religious foundation for “just-war” arguments. Neil Elliott disputes this, since he finds no evidence that Augustine wrote of a Christian obligation to wage war. [posted 6/30/04]

Patriotism and Loyalty: America's Volatile Mixture

How gullible is the American public? Despite the Bush administration's lies for going to war, polls indicate most people still support the invasion of Iraq. Joseph Wakelee-Lynch says this is finally changing, as patriotism and loyalty begin to separate. [posted 6/30/04]

Theological Implications for Justice in Iraq

Kenyan bishop Gideon Ireri speaks from experience in discussing war and imperialism. But his hope for positive change in Iraq is based not just on political solutions, but a religious belief in redemption. [posted 6/30/04]

Torture May Indeed be in “America's Soul”

U.S. politicians and average citizens alike believe that torture is antithetical to the country's values. Rosalind Wiseman, however, thinks otherwise. Daniel Webster reports on her findings of embedded violence in U.S. society. [posted 6/30/04]

The Center of the World

A recent trip to Jerusalem reminded Brian Grieves about the interdependence of the three Abrahamic faiths. He says peace in Iraq, and around the world, will be difficult without these historic traditions putting an end to religious extremism. [posted 6/30/04]

American Heroes or Hegemony?

Watching the “D-Day” anniversary observance, Brazilian bishop Luiz Prado was reminded of his youth, idolizing Hollywood soldiers and cowboys in the 1950s. Now, however, he sees a worldwide David and Goliath situation. [posted 6/30/04]

Expanding Our Post-9/11 Empathy

In 2002, an internet campaign titled “Blood of Heroes” sought support for the U.S. war against terrorism. A new religiously-based online initiative, Faithful America, apologizes for what the U.S. has done in Iraq. Chloe Breyer says they are connected. [posted 6/29/04]

Opposing a Dichotomous Worldview

It is election season in Japan, and nationalist rhetoric is all the rage. Shintaro Ichihara is concerned by language focused on “national interests,” but he finds hope in new relationships being built between the victims of war. [posted 6/29/04]

From Normandy to Iraq

Scottish bishop Michael Hare Duke has traveled the world, and seen how the language of peace sometimes hardens battle-lines. Looking at Iraq on the 60th anniversary of World War II, he wonders if the U.S. has learned the lesson of the importance of repentance. [posted 6/29/04]

Peace Does Not Fall from the Sky

Sadly, cease-fire and peace agreements do not always last: so what makes some of them work while others don't? Peace Time, a new book by Virginia P. Fortna, examines 50 years of peace agreements. Sybille Ngo Nyeck reviews this comprehensive work. [In English and en Français; posted 6/22/04]

The World's Most Wretched Victims

Last month, a peace treaty was signed in Sudan, giving hope to millions devastated by two decades of civil war. Roy Nielsen gives thanks for the international efforts that led to this agreement, but says we cannot rest: the violence and famine continue. [posted 6/21/04]

In the Crazy Place

Just as fascism was the dark side of industrialization, terrorism is the dark side of digitalization and globalization, says Richard Thieme. Looking at modern images of torture, he believes we live in “a nightmare with no history.” [posted 6/11/04]

Stealing Elections: Shame on Us

The 2000 U.S. presidential election was “stolen in Florida,” according to some observers. Terry Brauer considers Greg Palast's new book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and wonders about a repeat of the problem this November. [posted 6/11/04]

Rewards for Justice

After three Americans were killed by a car bomb in Gaza, the U.S. government posted a huge reward for finding the perpetrators. Samia Khoury finds this gesture to be hypocritical when compared to the U.S. foreign policy in the region. [posted 6/2/04]

You Can't Stop at Evil

Torture in Iraq, xenophobia in Europe: evil is everywhere. How can we move from being victims to victors? Chris Chivers recounts the powerful example of a person who was bombed and seriously maimed, but who refused to let it crush his spirit. That, says Chivers, is the story of Easter. [posted 5/26/04]

A Simple Focus on Respecting Life

The perspective of a Japanese Christian may not seem very important in a country where less than one percent of the population shares that religion. But Shintaro Ichihara believes that every action for justice and peace, as simple and humble as the person's status may be, is meaningful. [posted 5/21/04]

A Japanese Diaspora Still Seeking Peace

The experience of Japanese people in North America during World War II should be a sobering reminder to us of the power of oppression, says Timothy Nakayama. Yet their cultural trait of rarely challenging authority may prevent us from making these connections. [posted 5/20/04]

The Color of Abu Ghraib

The tortures at the now-infamous Iraqi prison must be understood in racialized terms, according to Bob Wing. And, he says, we cannot point our fingers at a few people: we all are complicit in this tragedy. [posted 5/19/04]

The Sept. 11 Commission's Unasked Question

For several weeks, a national September 11th Commission topped the daily headlines. Joseph Mulligan argues that they never asked the key question: whether the Bush administration deliberately failed to prevent the attacks, in order to gain support for a war in Iraq. [posted 5/14/04]

Homophobia's Role in Torture at Abu Ghraib

The shocking images of U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners have prompted tough questions about gender and power in the military. Irene Monroe also sees evidence of entrenched homophobia, both in the Islamic culture and the Western world. [posted 5/14/04]

The Poisonous Dregs of War

April 2004 may have become the tipping point for the failed U.S. plan for Iraq, according to Joseph Wakelee-Lynch. While change may finally come for an ill-conceived war policy, we can only be profoundly depressed at the cost. [posted 5/7/04]

South Africa at 10: Unfinished Business

This week marks the tenth anniversary of South Africa's democratic elections, and the world now considers that post-apartheid society a model for reconciliation. Michael Lapsley, a former political exile, reports on a powerful international “Journey to Healing and Wholeness” conference. [posted 4/29/04]

Challenging Christian Zionism

A just and lasting peace in the Holy Land is impossible as long as Christian Zionists support Israel's oppressive policies, according to a Sabeel international conference statement. Over 600 participants from 30+ countries call these Zionist alliances "heretical." [posted 4/28/04]

The Mines in International Politics

As recently as 2001, a global campaign to ban anti-personnel land mines drew worldwide attention and support. Now, as many seek to revive the movement, Joseph Wakelee-Lynch finds that the Bush administration has developed its own “smart mines” policy. [posted 3/31/04]

Haiti: Both Church and State Must Answer

Noting that Haitian church leaders are part of the nation's political transition process, some people are glad that President Aristide has been removed from office. But Neil Elliott is pessimistic, saying that both the U.S. government and the church must face some harsh truths. [posted 3/26/04]

God Takes No Side in War

On the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Daniel Webster reviews the efforts of the religious peace movement. George Bush's use of religious language to justify the war leads him to reflect sadly, “God must be weeping.” [posted 3/25/04]

A Very Unnationalistic Patriotism

In the U.S. and the U.K., hard questions are being asked about how citizens could accept their governments' reasons for war in Iraq. But “It's too late!” note some protesters. Northern Irish theologian John McDowell asks whether we were blinded by flag-waving, and what we can do now. [posted 3/19/04]

The Prodigal Son: El Salvador's Poor

This Sunday's (March 21) gospel reading from Luke is the famous story of the Prodigal Son. Richard Bower relates the lesson to El Salvador's presidential election this weekend, and to the impoverished masses of that country who are seeking justice and equity. [posted 3/17/04]

The Language of War

“ The Korean War: police action they said/ Did that cause young men to be less dead?” Poet Gloria Hoglund writes about wars from the past half-century and the death of a brother unable to escape the demonic memories of his military service. [posted 3/11/04]

Letter from Harris County Jail (Part II)

From jail, Jesuit priest Joe Mulligan sends his second installment to Witness readers about the power of U.S.-backed neoliberalism in Central America. In this essay, he compares the implementation of “free-market” policies in Nicaragua to what's now happening in Iraq. [posted 3/11/04]

Song for Robert MacNamara

"I want to/ place my hand/ under your heart/ and lift/ some of the weight.” Poet Christine Rodgers responds to the powerful new documentary film, “The Fog of War.” [posted 3/4/04]

The Earthquake

The earth shook in Jerusalem, but for once it was not due to a bombing by either Israelis or Palestinians. It was a “natural” disaster, and Samia Khoury notes the irony of the equalizing force of this potentially “divine intervention.” [posted 3/4/04]

Resisting Evil

The Lenten tradition of resisting temptation has traditionally focused on the practices of prayer, penitence, and self-denial. Chris Chivers says there is another aspect – apathy – and as an example he looks back ten years to the slaughter of innocent people in Rwanda. [posted 3/4/04]

The Fog of Military Service

Recent weeks have found the Bush administration handling questions about the president's Vietnam-era military service. Joseph Wakelee-Lynch analyzes the Bush-Kerry military debate, and concludes that Americans are unwilling to address the underlying moral issues regarding war. [posted 3/3/04]

Preach the Good News and Cast Out Demons

In a devastating indictment of both warmaking institutions (e.g., the Pentagon) and individual human indifference, Catholic Worker legend Elizabeth McAlister calls each of us to practice not just civil disobedience, but indeed nonviolent civil resistance . [posted 2/27/04]

Haiti Report

“In early morning darkness/ gunboat enters the harbor/ heavy arms, new guns.” A poem by Carolyn Scarr responds to the horrifying stories of bloodshed and death that are once again emerging from violence-torn Haiti. [posted 2/27/04]

Peace vs. Power: A Conversation with Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Jean Bertrand-Aristide is facing an unenviable legacy: being twice run out of elected office by military coups. The current Haitian president spoke with Geoffrey Cook about the challenges of promoting education and health care in a world that demands the priority of neo-liberal economic reforms. [posted 2/27/04]

U.S. Is Complicit in Haiti Crisis

In the 1990s, international pressure forced the U.S. to help Jean-Bertrand Aristide return to Haiti, where he had been elected president and then deposed in a military coup. Now, another armed revolt threatens to topple his administration: Neil Elliott sees the same forces behind this “army,” including the U.S. government. [posted 2/27/04]

Letter from Muscogee County Jail (Part I)

Joe Mulligan, a Jesuit priest, is spending three months in a rural Georgia jail for protesting U.S. foreign policy. He writes to Witness readers about the death of Ben Linder, a young engineer, at the hands of Nicaraguan Contra fighters, and the power of U.S.-backed neoliberalism in Central America. [posted 2/13/04]

Was Detroit Priest Murdered? Jazz Opera Tells the Story

In 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, a worker-priest named Lewis Bradford was found dead in a Ford Motor plant in Detroit. The company said it was an "accident," but some have alleged he was murdered for being an outspoken organizer. Bill Wylie-Kellermann previews a new musical, Forgotten, that looks at this tragic story. [posted 2/11/04]

U.S. Soldier Kills Former Green Beret & Admits Priest Was "Brutalized"

Eric Haney served as leader of a special Delta Force counterterrorist unit during the Sandinista period. His recent book admits to killing his former roommate in Honduras. In a radio interview, he also acknowledged that a Jesuit priest -- whose body is still missing -- was tortured before death. [posted 1/28/04]

Do Not Worry

Scripture tells us not to worry about our lives, but in the middle of an oppressive military occupation, Samia Khoury sometimes finds those words to ring hollow. We all have worries, she muses, but some are about the stock market and others concern daily survival. [posted 1/28/04]

The Holy Innocents

The story of the Epiphany tells of the journey of three magi to the birthplace of Jesus, an infant who lived despite a ruler's decree to kill babies throughout his kingdom. From Brazil, Luiz Osorio Prado writes that this ancient story has modern-day implications, where political leaders act like bloodthirsty kings. [posted 1/14/04]

Was the Bush Administration Complicit in 9/11?

Distinguished theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether reviews The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin. Originally skeptical about the upcoming book's premise, she finds the author's arguments to be convincing and chilling. [posted 1/8/04]

Evangelization in a Culture of Empire

This is the most somber of recent Decembers, according to Joseph Wakelee-Lynch, with wars abroad and an unparalleled economic culture at home. Yet was the world so different in the first century C.E., he wonders? [posted 12/22/03]

The Holiday Hoax

On the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, George W. Bush made a short, surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq. While many considered it a publicity coup, others have expressed cynicism. William Alberts compares the president's rhetoric with many unanswered questions. [posted 12/18/03]

Liberating Iraq: From Cyrus I to George II

History repeats itself again, and again, muses Joseph Mulligan. Modern invaders of Iraq are saying the same things that were said more than 2,500 years ago in ancient Persia. Is this truly liberation? [posted 12/17/03]

The Globalisation of Anglicanism Is Rather Like the Globalisation of Many Other Things

Writing from Britain, Peter Selby surmises that most people in the U.S. who support Gene Robinson's election as Bishop of New Hampshire also opposed their government's war on Iraq. However, he finds there to be a problematic post-colonial connection between the two concerns. [posted 12/17/03]

The Hoopla in Geneva

In late 2003, attention in Israel/ Palestine has turned to a controversial peace plan drawn up in Geneva. Some political observers believe this is the long-awaited breakthrough in negotiations. Samia Khoury is not so easily persuaded. [posted 12/17/03]

Begin with Rage

 "We are all ticking/ it would seem/ and we will/ either deactivate/ ourselves or explode." Poet Christine Rodgers holds out hope for peace despite a world engulfed in violence. [posted 12/4/03]

All the News that's Print to Fit

For over 18 months, mainstream media has supported the Bush administration's policy towards Iraq, argues William Alberts. Detailing editorial coverage from the build-up to war through the current morass, he finds major newspapers and TV complicit in the nation's warmongering. [posted 11/12/03]

To Ask Nothing in Return: Father Emile Shoufani's Theology

In June 2003, a controversial delegation of Israeli Arabs and Jews traveled to Auschwitz and other tragic memorial sites of the Holocaust. The group was led by Emile Shoufani, a Melkite Catholic priest. Jonathan Reiber seeks to understand his remarkable, pain-filled philosophy. [posted 11/12/03]

Retiring in Grace

Surrounded by ongoing violence, Palestinian writer Samia Khoury steps back from her monthly analysis of the Israel-Palestine conflict to discuss her educational work. After 17 years shaping values as president of Rawdat El-Zuhur school, she finds an unexpected form of liberation in retirement. [posted 11/12/03]

Moralism's Collapse in Iraq

The Bush administration has built support for its military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq on a religious argument of a just and moral war. Joseph Wakelee-Lynch suggests that the U.S. is not only failing in these wars, but also in its battle for the mind of America. [posted 10/23/03]

Sudan: American Interests and Christian Ethics

Multinational corporations, particularly the oil industry, have played a key role in maintaining the status quo in Sudan - a nation where millions have died in a tragic civil war. Roy Nielsen offers ways North Americans can help lay the groundwork for peace. [posted 10/10/03]

A Tribute to Edward Said

Author and intellectual Edward Said was one of the best-known Palestinian voices around the international diaspora. Following his death on September 25, 2003, Samia Khoury remembers Said as brutally honest and critical, but filled with love for his people. [posted 10/8/03]

South Africa's Lessons to Zimbabwe

In 1990, Apartheid agents sent a letter bomb Michael Lapsley in Zimbabwe. He barely survived, and began a transformative journey that has taken him from victim to victor. Now he challenges Zimbabwe to learn from South Africa's own history. [posted 10/1/03]

Collateral Damage

Israeli and Palestinian children die each week in the Middle East, and their tragic deaths are treated as "collateral damage" in the parlance of the violent antagonists on both sides. Mary Page Jones launches the "AMARE" project to support the youngest of these war-torn children. [posted 9/19/03]

The Goodness of Evil

U.S. Christians hold a profound belief in their nation's goodness, according to Joseph Wakelee-Lynch. He argues that the U.S. war on Iraq has highlighted this faith in "God's imprimatur upon the national security goals of the American state." [posted 9/16/03]

Who is the Obstacle?

Mahmoud Abbas's resignation as Palestinian prime minister has led to increased finger-pointing between Israelis and Palestinians as the U.S.-sponsored "Road Map" falls apart. Samia Khoury decided it is time to review the phrase "an obstacle to peace." [posted 9/16/03]

Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward Said

David Barsamian’s new book is a series of interviews with Palestinian diaspora’s most famous writer, Edward Said. Reviewer Richard Toll finds that Said consistently challenges the U.S., both pre- and post-9/11/01. [posted 8/29/03]

 

Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets
There have been dozens of meetings in recent weeks between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the U.S. to attempt to get the "Road Map" moving forward. Samia Khoury in East Jerusalem is deeply skeptical, based on decades of experience. [posted 8/7/03]

Crossing boundaries in Israel/Palestine: An interview with Jean Zaru
Palestinian Quaker Jean Zaru, a leader in interfaith dialogue in the Middle East, was interviewed by The Witnessin June 2003. She presents her concerns on the "Road Map," women’s rights in the Middle East, and the role of the Christian community in the Holy Land. [posted 7/21/03]

Pray for Burundi: Bujumbura under Attack
In 2001 and 2002 cease-fires were signed between the Burundi government and rebel forces — but some rebels ignored or have abandoned the peace effort. Anglican Bishop Pie Ntumakazina sends a plea for prayers from the nation’s embattled capital city in the midst of renewed violence. [posted 7/8/03]

A Mean Streak in U.S. Foreign Policy
The Project for a New American Century initiated by Paul Wolfowitz and fellow Reaganites is the foreign policy doctrine driving all of the Bush administration’s international efforts, argues Joe Mulligan. He links the Iraq war to a decade of U.S. belligerence and arrogance. [posted 7/8/03]

Finding the Heart’s Treasure: America’s Case for the War in Iraq
The preemptive strike on Iraq was justified by the Bush administration in several ways, but as their deceptions and lies are unearthed, do Americans care? Joseph Wakelee-Lynch finds no distinction between U.S. Christians’ love for the flag versus the gospel. [posted 7/7/03]

War Exposes Church Weakness
In recent months, a wide disparity has been evident between statements against war by church leaders and the response of the people in their pews. Dan Webster examines the conflict between the prophetic and the pastoral. [posted 7/7/03]

Sabeel’s Position on the "Road Map"
The "Road Map" presented by the UN, U.S., Russia, and European Union is "the only game in town," according to the Sabeel liberation theology center in East Jerusalem. Sabeel responds positively to the intent, but is pessimistic about Israel’s response. [posted 5/29/03]

In the Shadow of a Military Pillbox
Summer in Palestine can be disarmingly beautiful. Samia Khoury is enamored by the music concerts, dance performances, and sports events that spring to life — but then she notices the guardpost across the street once again. [posted 5/29/03]

Those Who Don't Count
Following the war in Iraq, few people are willing to ask the question, "What was the cost?" Mark Engler challenges the media to research the civilian body count, not just the number of U.S. and U.K. soldiers who died. [posted 5/21/03]

LOSS
"A razor between the ribs/ separates the sacred chamber/ like lips in prayer." During the war in Iraq, a poem by Ralph Pitman reflects on the theme of the loss of life and "collateral damage." [posted 4/23/03]

Learning a Lesson
Zalman Shoval, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., warned Palestinians to "learn a lesson" from the war in Iraq. Samia Khoury takes exception to Shoval’s admonition, and declares that it is actually Israel which should be changing its tune. [posted 4/15/02]

Be Not Awed
The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was characterized as "shock and awe," designed to frighten opponents with sheer power. Bill Wylie-Kellermann says this invasion — part of an effort to control history through a belief in omnipotence and righteousness — ultimately mocks God. [posted 4/15/03]

Has the United Nations Failed?
Taimalelagi Tuatagaloa-Matalavea, the Anglican Observer at the UN, has been working with ecumenical colleagues for months on Iraq. In an interview with The Witness Matalavea reflects on the lessons learned in trying to stop the war. [posted 4/4/03]

Walter Dennis: In Memoriam
Episcopal Bishop Walter Dennis died on March 31, 2003. A trailblazer for civil rights and race relations in the church, Dennis had a lifelong commitment to justice and peace. [posted 4/3/03]

Linda Strohmier: In Memoriam
Former National Evangelism Coordinator for the Episcopal Church and Witness board member Linda Strohmier died on March 14, 2003. Strohmier challenged the church toward inclusive liturgy and music, and was called a "teacher, healer, prophet, and mystic." [posted 4/3/03]

A Myth: We Are Not at War with Islam
Political leaders insist that the war being fought in Iraq is not with the Islamic religion. Episcopal bishop and interfaith activist William Swing believes that the evidence proves otherwise. [posted 4/3/03]

Easter and Transfiguration 1945 — and 2003
Okinawa was the site of the deadliest battle in human history. Timothy Nakayama was astonished to learn that this battle began on Easter Day. He reflects on the irony of how this tragic event and the nuclear attack on Hiroshima are both connected to Christian feast days. [posted 4/3/03]

The Real War America Needs to Fight
In a time of war, a nation needs every soldier who is willing to serve. Irene Monroe says that the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy adopted by the U.S. military — and the discrimination that it encourages — is militarily dangerous. [posted 4/2/03]

A War Never Really Ends: An Interfaith Response
The Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace and justice organization, releases a prayer-centered statement calling for a nonviolent resolution to the conflict in Iraq. The Witness magazine is one of 13 co-signatories to the statement. [posted 4/3/03]

How Should Christians Respond in the Midst of War?
The Witness magazine responds to the start of war in Iraq. [posted 4/2/03]

A Letter to All Christians in Latin America and the Caribbean
Costa Rican theologian Elsa Tamez made a decision in September 2002 that she would cancel all her trips to the U.S. if Iraq was invaded. Now that war has begun, she calls on leaders throughout Latin America to join her in boycotting the U.S. in protest against the war. [posted 3/21/03]

An Alternative to War for Defeating Saddam Hussein (The Sojourners Plan) AND
On The Dangers of Putting Your Trust in Princes (A Response to Sojourners)

The Sojourners community in Washington DC recently released a "six point plan" to avert war in Iraq. Atop the list is a call for Saddam Hussein to be removed from power. Carolyn Scarr, a long-time activist for peace with Iraq, strongly criticizes the call by Sojourners and its leader, Jim Wallis. [posted 3/18/03]

An Open Letter to President Bush
In mid-March, as war in Iraq seemed inevitable, George W. Bush spoke out on the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He declared that once Yasser Arafat steps down as the Palestinian leader, a U.S.-led "road map" for peace could move forward. Samia Khoury takes serious issue with Mr. Bush. [posted 3/18/03]

Silent with Small Candles
Desmond Tutu inspired a worldwide candlelight vigil for peace on March 16th. Participant Jane Redmont reports that even when no words are spoken, there is immense power in such a moment. [posted 3/18/03]

Don't Let the War Clouds Blind You
The seemingly imminent war on Iraq is dominating all the news headlines. While war is obviously a real issue, Robert Morris senses that the Bush administration is using Iraq as a smokescreen for a broader, and perhaps even more radical agenda. [posted 3/18/03]

Finding Our Way: A Christian Perspective
The decisions being made right now about war will affect our global future, declares Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold, head of the U.S. Episcopal Church. He calls on the U.S. to not only be a superpower, but a super servant in an interdependent global community. [posted 03/14/03]

Peace, Be Still
In the midst of an intense trip to Palestine/Israel, Michael Battle had the opportunity to visit the Sea of Galilee. A storm that swirled around him provided a metaphor for the swirling turmoil of the Middle East, and the biblical story of Peter. [posted 3/14/03]

Unseen Targets
How is a war created? Robin Øye outlines a process through which war can be created: identify an enemy; demonize him; don’t allow engagement; and develop a mentality of kill or be killed. All in all, he finds it absurd. [posted 3/13/03]

From Ashes to Blessings
On the morning of Ash Wednesday, Ed Bacon and other religious leaders were arrested in Los Angeles. When he was released from jail later that day, a spontaneous incident changed what had been an act of protest into one of blessing. [posted 3/13/03]

Sabeel’s Statement Against War
The prospect of war in Iraq has led the Sabeel ecumenical liberation theology center in Jerusalem to issue a strong statement advocating for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Issued from Jerusalem, the statement expresses concern that war will further destabilize the Middle East. [posted 3/12/03]

We Say No to This War
Tony Blair’s strong support for the U.S. administration’s push to war in Iraq has provoked considerable debate in England. Bishop Peter Selby has listened, prayed, and agonized — and feels the time has come to speak bluntly to oppose war. [posted 03/13/03]

President as Pastor Is No Way to Run a Nation
George W. Bush's presidency has always been focused on creating a theocracy instead of a democracy, according to Irene Monroe. She says that as a servant of God, Bush effectively removes himself from being president. [posted 02/25/03]

The Business of War
Gas masks are all the rage in Israel/ Palestine right now. With war looming in Iraq, military paraphernalia and armaments are big business. Samia Khoury, writing from Jerusalem, wonders who is benefiting from the sale and use of arms in this global conflict. [posted 02/20/03]

Racial Profiling Will Not Create Peace
In the Second World War, Timothy Nakayama was taken from his Canadian home and put in an "internment camp" by his government. His wrongful war-time treatment has made him determined to resist current security measures that are targeted at specific ethnic groups. [posted 01/23/03]

Elections
The Palestinian community keeps putting its hope in elections in the U.S. and in Israel, dreaming that new administrations will find a way to achieve peace. But no peace is on the horizon — and Samia Khoury sees a disillusioned elder generation of Palestinians now supporting violence. [posted 01/17/03]

If Fury Is Red, What Color Is Wisdom?
"The world, it seems/ has become nothing more/ than a brightly hung/ piñata." With increasing violence around the globe, and a sense of imminent war in Iraq, poet Christine Rodgers offers her voice. [posted 01/17/03]

The Strains of Christmas
Christmas 2002 is an emotional minefield, according to Michael Hare Duke. With Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity closed by the Israeli military and with children’s "Nativity" scenes censored by Scottish authorities, a chasm has emerged between the dream and the reality of the season. [posted 12/18/02]

Living in the Bullseye
"I write from today's Auschwitzian oven/ These gases are radioactive and economic." Cliff Kindy sends a poem from Iraq to his daughter Miriam. In a land that some scholars identify as the beginning of biblical creation, Kindy reports that "the rivers of life have become the rivers of hell." [posted 12/18/02]

Dubya Meets Jonah — War Against Terrorism: Plan B
The biblical story of Jonah offers a metaphor for the U.S. campaign against Iraq and international terrorism, according to John Hall. He says that Jonah’s willingness to repent can help us understand how to move in a better direction, politically and socially. [posted 12/13/02]

Equality in Martyrdom
At the end of Ramadan, Samia Khoury considers the topic of martyrdom — a sensitive word these days in Palestine/Israel. With people dying all around her, including a 95 year-old woman who was shot dead this month, she feels the term needs to be reassessed. [posted 12/13/02]

Duty: A mirrorwise reflection between Matthew 2:16 and John 16:2

"You don't build a kingdom being soft/ He cuts a broad swath, our King." A poem by Tobias Stanislas Haller prods at the themes of nationalism and loyalty that emerge at the center of a world at war. [December 2002]

 

Truth: The First Casualty in Preparing for War
Scott Ritter, an ex-Marine who served as an arms inspector in Iraq, has been a controversial figure ever since he began denouncing the efforts of the Bush administration. Bruce Campbell reviews "In Shifting Sands: The Truth About UNSCOM and the Disarming of Iraq," a new film by Ritter. [posted 12/13/02]

Triage: Dedicated to the Nurses of the Vietnam War
"Who would believe that God would have/ handed me such a chore"? As her nation contemplates going to war in Iraq, in stark, haunting words, poet Laurie Kash pays homage to those who died in Vietnam a generation ago, and to those who were their caregivers. [posted 12/06/02]

Time to Resist
Churches have been making statements about the prospect for war in Iraq, but Ray Gaston believes that the time has come for Christians to take a stronger stand -- including civil disobedience. He compares the growing power of the U.S. to the time of the Roman Empire. [posted 11/25/02]

Bush's Nobel Rebukes
Peace Prize recipients throughout the world have come forward to warn against George W. Bush's rush to war with Iraq. Mark Engler reports on the efforts by international political leaders to oppose American unilateralist foreign policy. [posted 11/22/02]

The Golden Rule
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a rule of life that most of us have been taught since an early age. Samia Khoury says this universal law, captured in diverse religious traditions, should be the guide for U.S. foreign policy. [posted 11/14/02]

Seeking Another Way
Our fears about violence are multiplied by the media’s fixation on the topic, real and imagined. During this era of insecurity, Janet Chisholm promotes the transforming power of nonviolence training. [posted 11/01/02]

The Deafening Silence of Religion Concerning Iraq
In dealing with the moral issues of war, Christians must engage the thinking of their great theologians, says John Bryson Chane. Using these criteria, he argues that at this time there can be no support for a U.S.-led war with Iraq. [posted 10/31/02]

A Japanese Peacemaker Travels to Communities at War
In a relatively peaceful nation like Japan, citizens don’t easily understand how conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia affect their lives. Kobayashi Satoshi spent several weeks visiting those war-torn lands, and says his own community needs to recognize its role in supporting worldwide violence. [posted 10/29/02]

Nombres para No Olvidar
La Iglesia Anglicana de El Salvador es unos de los lideres mas fuertes en la promoción del proyecto "Nombres para No Olvidar." Se construirá un monumento en el Parque Cuzcutlán, San Salvador, para recordar más de 40 mil personas civiles matado durante los doce años de la guerra civil en El Salvador. [En Espanol] [posted 10/16/02]

U.S. Episcopal Church and Worldwide Anglican Church Oppose Rush to War on Iraq
The Bishops of the Episcopal Church, USA issued a letter concerning war with Iraq to the U.S. Congress on October 1, 2002. This followed closely on the heels of a similar pair of resolutions passed by the international Anglican Consultative Council on September 22, 2002. [posted 10/11/02]

The Christian Ethic and Iraq
The U.S. administration is filled with self-described Christians, but the government’s push toward war on Iraq is decidedly non-Christian, according to Robert Warren Cromey. He says we need to know Sadaam Hussein as a full person, not as a stereotype. [posted 10/08/02]

How Many Times Do I Have to Forgive?
Forgiveness is something we are all called to do as a part of our faith. But is it always possible? Following September 11, 2001, Elizabeth Kaeton tried to pray for the terrorists who coordinated the attacks. She couldn’t, and still can’t… but says that God’s forgiveness still awaits them. [posted 9/26/02]

Defying UN Resolutions: Double Standards in Iraq and Israel
The superpower U.S. is preparing to wage war in Iraq, and the United Nations is standing idly by. Samia Khoury watches in frustration as the situation in Palestine/Israel somehow gets worse and worse, and the world does nothing. [posted 9/24/02]

One Year Later, What Have We Learned?
The tragic attacks in September 2001 changed the framework of daily life in the U.S. Although people initially came together in a united spirit, Irene Monroe believes that we have gotten stuck in victim mode, fragmenting our communities once again. [posted 9/24/02]

APJN Statement on the Israel/Palestine Conflict
The international Anglican Peace & Justice Network issues a press release on August 12, 2002 expressing their concerns about the deepening conflict in the Middle East. [posted 8/12/02]

Dissent in a Free Society
The first anniversary of the September 11th attacks is approaching, and American flags will soon wave even higher. Peacemaker Mary Miller reviews a new collection of essays, Strike Terror No More, and reflects on lessons learned from that day’s terrible events. [posted 8/6/02]

Developing American-Afghani Relationships
An interfaith delegation to Afghanistan saw stark evidence of the effects of years of civil strife and the more recent war against the U.S.-led coalition. Iftekhar Hai, an Indian-born Muslim who now calls the U.S. home, looks at the high- and lowlights of the trip. [posted 8/6/02]

¿Hay Esperanza en el Futuro de El Salvador?
El Salvador survived a long war, but violence continues unchecked in a country flooded with guns. Luis Serrano, a priest who was held as a political prisoner in 1989, looks at the role of religion as he seeks for signs of hope in the nation. In Spanish and English [posted 8/2/02]

Health Care Crisis in Gaza: An Interview with Suhaila Tarazi
The Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza is one of the few places for medical care in a community of one million Palestinians. Suhaila Tarazi, director of the hospital, talks with Nancy Dinsmore about the immense challenges it is facing at this critical time. [posted 7/25/02]

Mixing Politics and Religion
In Washington DC, the combustible mix of faith and politics becomes an even stronger brew. John Chane, the new Episcopal Bishop of Washington, can’t help but take a stand. He strives to follow in the footsteps of four outspoken American women who he calls "pearls in a turbulent sea." [posted 7/23/02]

Incarnational Politics: Saving the World from "Democracy"
Developmental and democratic models directed to Africa by powerful Western agencies invariably fail. John Kaoma and Elizabeth Parsons reflect on this dilemma based on their years of work in Zambia and Zimbabwe. [posted 7/19/02]

Zimbabwe: A Ghastly Future
The March 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe did little to ease the tensions that have built in that nation over the past two years. According to George Wauchope, things are worse than ever, and violence and lawlessness have become the law of the land. [posted 7/19/02]

The Resemblance of Resentments
Former federal prisoner Joe Loya muses that he once could have been good friends with alleged "Dirty Bomber" Abdullah al Muhajir (Jose Padilla). Loya recalls how easy it was while in prison to find solidarity with the "enemy of his enemy" in a common struggle against the U.S. government. [posted 6/24/02]

Four Months at the Tantur Checkpoint
The Tantur Ecumenical Institute sits at the border between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, a flashpoint for a city at war. David Selzer and his family spent four months living in Tantur, witnessing the violence and seeking peace in this polarized community. [posted 6/21/02]

Banalities and Blessings
Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in the compulsory service of a benighted lord, writes Henry Carse. Living in a seemingly endless cycle of violence — with teenagers firing automatic rifles and their seniors perpetuating hateful stereotypes of their "enemies" — he still finds a measure of hope. [posted 6/19/02]

The Born Again Newspaper
In response to the recent stand-off between Palestinians and the Israeli Defense Force at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, members of the secular news media began using surprisingly religious language. Bruce Campbell wants to know why. [posted 6/13/02]

Remembering May 15 and June 5
East Jerusalem has become a ghost town, according to Samia Khoury. While reforms do need to be made within the Palestinian Authority, she argues they will never manage to occur until the Israeli Occupation is lifted. [posted 6/1302]

Pray, Organize and Get Politically Active: An Interview with Barbara Lee
On September 14, 2001, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee drew national attention when she cast the lone vote against a bill intended to give the president a "blank check" to pursue the "War on Terrorism." Episcopal priest Earl Neil, a long-time friend of Lee’s, spoke with her about her peace & justice values and activism. [posted 5/8/02]

Remembering a Salvadoran Martyr
A quarter-century ago an activist Jesuit priest named Rutilio Grande was gunned to death on a rural road in El Salvador. Joe Mulligan describes why his tragic death is just as influential today as it was in the early days of the liberation theology movement. [posted 5/8/02]

Occupation is Oppression
Archbishop Desmond Tutu sees a form of apartheid in the Holy Land. Despite saying that God is weeping over the Middle East, Tutu, in reflecting on his experience under apartheid in South Africa, believes there is yet hope for peace. [posted 5/8/02]

From Desperation to Hope
"Ariel Sharon is a man of peace," said President Bush. When Samia Khoury heard this comment, she was not sure whether to laugh or cry. While despairing over the words of the US and Israeli leaders, she manages to find a measure of hope from other voices: Israeli Jews who are speaking out. [posted 5/3/02]

You Do Not Know the News
A recent trip to the Middle East leads Constance Hammond to believe that Israelis and Palestinians are living out a form of post-traumatic stress disorder: some are in denial, while others are in a state that goes even beyond denial. She reports on her visit to this region at war. [posted 4/1/02]

Is Anyone Listening?
The situation in Palestine/ Israel is out of control — but so are the questions that lay underneath the violence, says Mary-Page Jones. She articulates a need to truly listen to the "voices crying out in the wilderness" in order that we can make a difference. [posted 4/26/02]

The Blind Leading the Criminal
Yasir Arafat, Ariel Sharon, and the Bush administration are all obstacles to peace, says Sam Bahour. The current violence that has overwhelmed Palestine/Israel owes as much to the U.S.’ efforts to create a colonialist Palestinian state as it does to the military occupation. [posted 4/10/02]

Don't Be a Coward, Be a Christian
Lay your life on the line! This is the message that the Christian church needs to embrace regarding the violence in Palestine/ Israel right now, says Jane Lee Wolfe. We have elected to bemoan the "situation over there," and the time has come to show real leadership. [posted 4/10/02]

Occupation vs. Normalization
It was not "Good Friday" during Holy Week, but Sad Friday in Palestine/ Israel. Violence and vengeance won out over a peace offering from the Arab Summit. Samia Khoury seeks a glimmer of hope during a time when way of the cross has become her community’s daily walk. [posted 04/05/02]

Fast Track to Disaster for the World’s Poor
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is "NAFTA on steroids," according to some observers. Tom Ambrogi says the FTAA represents the effective takeover of global political and economic governance by transnational corporations — and he decries the Bush administration’s efforts to "fast track" this legislation through the U.S. Congress. [posted 04/05/02]

Waging Reconciliation in the Holy Land
Reconciliation is important, says Naim Ateek, but only when it is recognized as the third stage in a sequence that begins with justice and continues through peace. Security and reconciliation are possible in Palestine/ Israel, but only when justice, morality, and international legitimacy are not ignored. [posted 3/29/02]

Craignez Ce Qui Tue le Corps et l’Esprit
Amidst Cameroon’s soccer-crazed euphoria of winning the African Cup of Nations, Sybille Ngo Nyeck is sobered by the nation’s social realities. Political dissension and the oppression of women — with recent news reports of the rapes of young women by international humanitarian workers — indicate there is little to truly celebrate. [posted 3/29/02]

Binocular Vision in Liberia: Recovery or Collapse?
Liberia has suffered under corrupt and despotic leadership and civil war for at least two decades. John and Judy Gay, who served as missionaries in Liberia in the 60s and early 70s, returned recently to assess the health of the church and society in this war-torn land that they love. [posted 03/04/02]

The Silence Is So Loud
Supporters of peace in Israel/Palestine were hoping that the emerging voices of Israeli conscientious objectors would push the Israeli government to ease the Occupation. Instead, Samia Khoury reports, it seems the situation is even more brutal than before, and US administration’s silent response is deafening. [posted 03/04/02]

The Privilege of Choice
We all make choices that affect our lives, but are who has the power to dictate what these options are? Samia Khoury says that Palestinians have often been blamed for not taking advantage of the choices they have been offered — but these choices are not their own. [posted 02/06/02]

La Maison Cosmique ou la Beauté Originelle Révélée
Reflecting on the topic of democracy in Africa, Sybille Ngo Nyeck sees a "rising spirituality by subtraction" among its post-colonial political leadership. Drawing on the story of Jericho, she calls these nations both physically and psychologically defeated, to the point of self-hatred. [In French and English. posted 01/30/02]

Marginal Christianity
How does one reconcile one’s Christian identity in the political arena? Judy Scherff says Jesus would be considered very liberal in modern day American politics. She contrasts His teachings with the legislative records of two conservative Christian members of the US Congress to drive her point home. [posted 01/30/02]

Fear and Love and Foreign Policy
The U.S.-led war on terrorism will not work, says Robin Øye, because it is based on fear. Only in embracing a new direction, one which strives toward love, can Americans ever expect to live in peace again. [posted 01/25/02]

Peace with Justice in Kashmir: Overcoming the Burden of History
India and Pakistan have come once again to the brink of war, in large part due to the disputed border territory of Kashmir. Patrick Augustine says that eternal neighbors cannot be and must not be eternal enemies, and he offers a ten-step proposal for moving toward peace in the region. [posted 01/15/02]

Manifest Destiny in Israel
This land is here, therefore it must be ours — such was the way that white Americans felt about the American West, and immigrating Jews felt the same way about Israel, according to Patti Browning. She argues that this mindset will have to change for tragedies like September 11 to be avoided in the future. [posted 01/15/02]

An Advent call to the church
During the season of Advent 2001, the board of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company, The Witness' contributing editors and the staff of The Witness magazine and web site called the Episcopal Church and all people of faith to prayer for the victims of the September 11 hijackings and attacks and for all victims of the "war against global terrorism." Responses to the statement from around the church are featured.

Update on the Zimbabwean Situation
With presidential elections imminent, Zimbabwe is suffering with food shortages, political polarization, and increasing violence. George Wauchope, reporting from tense Harare, highlights primary concerns and offers excerpts from the New Years Day editorials of the nation’s three primary newspapers. [posted 01/09/02]

Trapped in Hot Discussions
After months of separation from her family, Samia Khoury was finally able to make a ten-minute drive from Jerusalem to Ramallah. Stuck talking about the Israeli occupation, she dreams of a future when wild flowers and other beautiful aspects of life will be the subject of conversation once again. [posted 01/09/02]

On Patriotism
What is "true patriotism"? Jeff Ryan, raised in a military family, had a radical change of heart when he began to question the Vietnam War. Now a history teacher, with the war in Afghanistan as a backdrop he recounts examples of "patriots" who have stood out in his nation’s history. [posted 01/08/02]

Voudrais-tu venir à Jéricho?
The place called Jericho is a metaphor to Sybille Ngo Nyeck: it could be a Palestinian village, an inner city in the USA, or an African village trapped within a war. She calls Jericho those places where we go with blindfolded eyes and hearts, filled with contempt. [In French and English. posted 01/08/02]

The Grace of Time
In the midst of so much suffering in the Middle East, Samia Khoury fell unconscious at her computer. Having escaped death, she reflects on what is most important to her — ending the Occupation. [posted 01/03/02]

My Friend Asked a Question
US Secretary of State Colin Powell recently announced there should eventually be a Palestinian state — as long as the Palestinians stop their violence against Israel. Samia Khoury takes Powell to task. [posted 01/03/02]

Peace through Genuine Friendship
Many people are talking the language of interfaith understanding, but how many have actually opened their homes to someone from a different faith? In a speech at an Islamic mosque, Anglican priest Chris Chivers discusses the power of building grassroots, one-to-one religious relationships. [posted 12/14/01]

An Open Letter to the Islamic Faith
In the wake of September 11th, tensions have heated up between many Muslims and Christians, and religiously-motivated violence is on the rise. Native Pakistani Patrick Augustine, an Anglican priest, looks to bring together these children of the same God by speaking out to the Islamic community. [posted 11/25/01]

My Faith May Be Doomed to Failure
Walter Rauschenbusch is renowned as the founder of the Social Gospel. In the wake of September 11th, his great-grandson Paul Raushenbush recalls his legacy while wrestling with a sense of impotence in the face of a troubled and violent world. [posted 11/19/01]

Developing Effective Mechanisms in Civil Society for Conflict Transformation
The relationship between the government and civil society is a tenuous one in many developing countries. Writing from Zimbabwe, a nation currently grappling with a fragile political situation, George Wauchope makes constructive recommendations for strengthening these processes. [posted 11/0801]

The War Fever in the Superpower U.S.
As the U.S. military commences an invasion of Afghanistan, a Japanese American Nisei (second generation U.S. resident) remembers living in both Japan and the U.S. during World War II. Mike Yasutake reflects on nationalism while he prays for peace. [posted 10/31/01]

Communicating Disagreement
Inflammatory talk shows and polarizing political rhetoric are making it hard to have meaningful dialogue when we disagree nowadays. Robert Cromey shares tips on how to keep the conversation going, even when we hold separate opinions. [posted 10/31/01]

A Massive Act of Conscience
In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. called for a "massive act of conscience" to oppose war. George Regas remembers that challenge, and on the day that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan, issues it again. [posted 10/12/01]

You've Come Nowhere at All, Man!
How are DNA and sea anemones related to global violence? On the anniversary of the Second Intifada, Palestinian medical student Samah Jabr breaks down the brainless need of certain creatures — like humans — to choose war over peaceful coexistence. [posted 10/12/01]

High Holy Days Amid the Ruins
Are America and Israel innocent? At the time of the most holy days of the Jewish calendar, a time of awe and repentence, Jewish scholar Marc Ellis examines the dichotomies of innocence and guilt, of good and evil. [posted 10/12/01]

Getting the Story Straight
What is terrorism? Human rights advocate Thomas Ambrogi finds fault with the U.S. media’s coverage of the Israel/ Palestine conflict.

Justice on Trial in South Africa
South Africa’s "People’s Poet," the award-winning Mzwakhe Mbuli, is in prison on a bank robbery conviction. In an era of "truth and reconciliation," Tom Anthony sharply questions the state’s case against Mbuli.

Anatomy of Racism
"The most basic form of deception is in fabricating a false symmetry between occupier and occupied, between oppressor and victim." So says Hanan Ashrawi, in discussing the Palestinian — Israeli conflict.

The Zionist Ideology of Domination Versus the Reign of God
In a high-profile speech to an ecumenical audience, Palestinian liberation theologian Naim Ateek calls for a new radical nonviolence, using Walter Wink’s model of challenging the Powers & Principalities.

Emerging from the Rubble
In the wake of two devastating earthquakes, El Salvadoran Episcopal Bishop Martín Barahona frankly assesses his country’s government, economy, and social structure, as well as his developing church, in a powerful interview with Richard Bower.

Hearing the Cry
Episcopal bishop Allen Bartlett delivers a sobering report on his recent trip to Palestine, and suggests ways for people to act in response to the military occupation.

The Church Against the Sanctions
Visiting Iraq, Marilyn Borst recalled a childhood lesson about the importance of confession and the power of forgiveness. Facing the sanctions led by her home nation, on behalf of many people of faith she asks for forgiveness once again.

Quebec and the FTAA: Protesting "Free" Trade
Activist Grace Braley went to Quebec City for the Summit of the Americas and found a fence in her path. She challenges the religious community to take a stronger stand on free trade issues.

Jubilee Reflections on Mordechai Vanunu and Samuel Day
In reflecting on the diverse meanings of "Jubilee 2000," Middle East advocate Patti Browning honors Israeli nuclear protester Mordechai Vanunu and the deceased activist Sam Day.

Walking with Jesus into the Desert
"They told us it was safe!" Janet Chisholm, interim director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, recalls growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the time of the first bomb tests, and her many connections with nuclear weapons since then.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
In response to increasing violence in the Middle East, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship joins the call for people of faith to promote a solidarity of peace.

Grief Brings Paralysis
The director of World Vision International’s office in the Middle East sends a somber update on life in Israel/ Palestine.

A Message from an Anglican in Jerusalem
In the midst of the Intifada, the dean of St. George’s Cathedral walks the Via Dolorosa. Moving along the Stations of the Cross, Ross Jones reflects on the dehumanizing process that is affecting everyone in the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Atoning for the Middle East Tragedy
Seeking to find a halt to the spiraling violence in the Middle East, a very controversial editorial by Rabbi Michael Lerner calls on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

The Failure of Retributive Justice
The death penalty is seen by many as a deterrent to violent crime. Taking his cue from a South African justice activist, Michael Phillips instead sees it as one more element in an endless cycle of violence.

Tongues of Fire
Other than the occasional journalist, Westerners are rarely able to visit present-day Iraq. Marthame & Elizabeth Sanders made it past the sanctions to the ancient city of Ur, and were amazed at the diversity of Iraq’s Christian community.

Seafarers’ Rights Face a Worldwide Crisis
In a March 20 speech to hundreds of ship executives from across the globe, an officer of the historic Seamen’s Church Institute in lower Manhattan, Douglas B. Stevenson, challenged the international ship industry to strengthen seafarers’ rights.

Money: God’s Principal Rival
Visiting the U.S., and looking at how money directs its role as the "world superpower," Peter Selby argues that the international debt crisis is not something that has gone wrong with the system — it’s intrinsic to the system.

What Constitutions Can Achieve — And What They Can’t
Objectivity, ideology, bias, "supra-political processes "… the controversial presidential election of George W. Bush caused Peter Selby to reflect on the nature of democracy and faith.

Palestine Under Siege
Writer and priest Stephen Sizer draws on the story of the Good Samaritan to decry Western indifference to the indigenous Palestinian community.

Dominus Jesus: For Now Respice Finem
A former Roman Catholic priest, Alfred Stefanik finds the major encyclical issues by the Vatican an opportunity to discuss Catholicism — both the Roman variety, and the "fuzzy" version practiced by Episcopalians.

Room 407
Everyone in the Immigration & Naturalization Service room is anxious and fearful: their lives will be permanently affected by what happens in that room. Robert Sterry tells the story of his visit to Room 407.

Violence Begets Violence
A one-time supporter of the State of Israel, Richard Toll has become heartsick by recent visits to the Middle East. In a Lenten sermon, Richard Toll reflects on violence during Jesus’ time and our own.

Faith in a Pluralism of Faiths: The Gift of Interfaith Solidarity
In an increasingly pluralistic world, our churches still often call us to one truth — our own truth. Are Christianity and "globalization" both negative forms of Western world mission? World Council of Churches staff member Hans Ucko explores the complex state of interfaith relations.

Iraq: A Christian Witness
A visit to Iraq forced Irene Voysey to face the role of Western Christians in supporting the Gulf War and the ongoing sanctions against Iraq. In the land of Abraham, with doves overhead, she determined to speak out against the sanctions.