Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuesday evening posts

Unrest on the Rise in Darfur

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 11:13 pm

Despite the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement in May, instability in the region is on the rise, reports Caritas Internationalis.

The Catholic aid organization is working with Action by Churches Together International (ACT) in a joint response to the Darfur crisis which finds more than 2 million people living in refugee camps after fleeing three years of fighting in the region.

The aid organization reports that El Neem camp, on the outskirts of El Daein, in South Darfur, where ACT-Caritas is working through local partners to provide the community with water, food, education and a community center, is not secure.

“If we go outside the camp to collect firewood, we can be attacked,” one woman told Caritas. “And recently, armed men have even come into the camp and stolen things.”

Before the peace agreement, the area around El Daein was divided in two: the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) controlled the area north of the rail line, while the Sudanese government controlled the area to the south.

Attacks on their villages by armed militias forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes and find refuge in camps around El Daein.

More fighting

Since the agreement was signed, fighting between the SLA and the government has ceased, but now rebels within the SLA are fighting one another.

“Before the peace agreement, we had protection from the SLA, but now there is no protection,” said a young man living in El Neem camp. “The SLA is still outside the camp, but they are fighting among themselves because some signed the peace agreement and others refuse it.”

“On the radio, they say, ‘Peace is coming, peace is coming,’ but here on the ground there is no peace,” said a refugee girl, named Asha.

A friend of hers added, “I cannot even hear about peace on the radio. I have no radio. I have nothing. We lost everything when our villages were attacked.”

It is so very sad. Read it all.

Donald Goodheart Chimes In: The Hijacking

September 19th, 2006 posted by kendall at 7:20 pm

Indeed those who, on both sides, insist that their way is the only right way and that the others should take a hike are missing the whole point of Anglicanism: agreement on essentials and non-essentials with freedom to disagree.

I would go so far as to say that those within our Episcopal Church who insist on their way of biblical interpretation, whether it be the more literal way or the more interpretive way, are in danger of attempting to hijack Anglicanism, to redefine who we are and how we deal with conflict. And I would ask, how does that fit with our scripture reading from Ephesians this morning, which says, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Put away such wrangling, discard it, get rid of it, for Christ’s sake!

You see, as several speakers said at the General Convention in June, we, the Episcopal Church, have something very special to offer to the world. While, in the end, the rest of our world may not really care who our bishops are, or how we deal with people in same gender unions, they do care if we have a way to deal with divisive issues. If they see that we can sit down and talk respectfully with those with whom we
strongly disagree, if they see that those who hold opposing views still kneel down side by side, they will see that we have something precious to offer.

An Episcopal priest and former U.S. senator from Missouri, John Danforth, addressed the June convention saying that the center of American politics has eroded and “the common ground has been cut out because the most active and articulate people representing the political parties are on the fringes.” He went on, “I don’t want to downplay the issues [of sexuality]… but I want to raise the basic question of whether that issue is the centerpiece of the Episcopal Church,” he said. “I believe that we have a higher calling, a more central message … ours is a special calling to the ministry of reconciliation.”

The Episcopal Church has always represented the middle way, “where all sorts of people can come together around the altar … and have all sorts of different views.”

Read it all.


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