Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

R. I. P. Bruce Manning Metzger (1914-2007)

Famed New Testament scholar, Bruce Manning Metzger died today at the age of 93. The online version of Christianity Today has a full obituary. He taught seemingly forever at Princeton Theological Seminary and was most famous for his work on textual criticism. He headed the translation team for the Revised Standard Version and New Revised Standard Version translations and served on the United Bible Societies’ committee that produced their edition of the Greek New Testament. Biblical and theological blogs are reflecting on the life and work of this great Christian scholar.

February 15, 2007 Posted by | Obituaries | 2 Comments

NPR: The Partisans of Ali

National Public Radio’s Morning Edition news program has been running a series on the deepening Sunni-Shi’ia divide in Islam and its modern history beginning in 1979. The series, called “The Partisans of Ali,”is definitely worth hearing. The series shows how Western policies in the Middle East, especially the U.S.’ role, has deepened this divide, though we are not the sole cause for the intra-Islamic violence. This is the kind of reporting the media should do more often. Had this kind of reporting been done prior to the Iraq war, the public and Congress would probably have been more opposed, if not the administration of George W. Bush. Understanding “what’s going on” is the first step to figuring out, “what do we do now?”

February 15, 2007 Posted by | interfaith, Islam | Comments Off on NPR: The Partisans of Ali

Chair of Joint Chiefs Denies that Iranian Govt. is Smuggling Weapons to Iraqi Insurgents

Because the Bush administration fudged, exaggerated, and sometimes outright created false intelligence in its 2002 case for the invasion of Iraq (March 2003), both members of Congress, the public, and even the once-subservient media are skeptical about the Bush admin.’s hostile attitude toward Iran. (I almost wrote “skeptical about its case for war with Iran, ” but, of course, the admin. denies that it is building a case for war with Iran, just as it denied for months before the Iraq invasion that it wanted war–even as it was putting troops in place. We don’t have the troops available for invading Iran, but hawks within the admin. look as if they are advocating bombing selected Iranian targets!) When the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff denies a major portion of the administration’s case, I would say that skepticism is justified. Lying comes second nature to this administration and they have repeatedly shown that they expect the public to believe whatever they say and to fall in line.

Update: Flynt Leverett, a former aide to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice back when she was National Security Advisor, claims that she misled Congress about a 2003 offer from Iran to make peace with the U.S.–an offer as significant as the 1972 breakthrough between China and the U.S.! The proposal from Tehran included offers to shelve Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and to quit sheltering anti-Israeli militants. It included a cover letter signed by then-president Mohammed Khatami and supreme Ayotollah Ali Khameini. Rice denies she ever saw this memo, but I believe Leverett who says she couldn’t sell it to the White House. This administration needs to keep blaming Iran for its failures in Iraq and for its preemptive war policies instead of peacemaking. But whether or not Rice ever saw the memo, its existence means that war with Iran is not inevitable and that we as citizens should DEMAND direct negotiations with Iran and demand that Congress refuse to authorize war with Iran. The Congressional switchboard is 1-800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121. The White House Comment Line is 202-456-1111. Let them hear from you, today!

February 15, 2007 Posted by | foreign policy, Iran | 6 Comments