Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
By Greg Mitchell
Published: July 01, 2005 11:30 PM ET updated 1:00 PM Saturday
NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Friday night, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove.
Today, O'Donnell went further, writing a brief entry at the Huffington Post blog:
"I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.
"McLaughlin is seen in some markets on Friday night, so some websites have picked it up, including Drudge, but I don't expect it to have much impact because McLaughlin is not considered a news show and it will be pre-empted in the big markets on Sunday because of tennis.
"Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow."
Here is the transcript of O'Donnell's McLaughlin Group remarks:
"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury--the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.
"I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."
Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.
Besides his career at a TV journalist, O'Donnell has served as a producer and writer for the series "The West Wing."
According to published reports, Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the case, has interviewed President Bush and Vice President Cheney and called Karl Rove, among others, to testify before the grand jury.
"The breadth of Fitzgerald's inquiry has led to speculation that it has evolved into an investigation of a conspiracy to leak Plame's identity," the Chicago Tribune observed on Friday, "or of an attempt to cover up White House involvement in the leak."
Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller, held in contempt for refusing to name sources, tried Friday to stay out of jail by arguing for home detention instead after Time Inc. surrendered its reporter's notes to a prosecutor.
Miller argued that it was pointless to imprison her because she will never talk. She submitted letters from soldiers and military officers with whom she was embedded during the war in Iraq attesting to that. (Miller's pre-war coverage of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has drawn much criticism.)
She asked the judge for "very restrictive home detention," if confined at all, including an electronic bracelet and excluding Internet access and cellular phones. As an alternative, she asked to be sent to the federal prison camp for women in Danbury, Conn.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said Friday that several unidentified Senate Republicans had placed a hold on a proposed resolution declaring support for Miller and Cooper.
``Cowards!'' Lautenberg said of the Republicans. ``Under the rules, they have a right to refuse to reveal who they are. Sound familiar?''
Lautenberg's resolution is co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) It says no purpose is served by imprisoning Miller and Cooper and that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press.
Friday, July 01, 2005
The Plame Case Ain't What You Think
Thu Jun 30th, 2005 at 09:35:30 PDT
Liberal Oasis has a piece up on the Plame case and Miller and Cooper. It reflects the common wisdom about what is going on, ie that someone in the administration leaked Plame's name to punish Joe Wilson for questioning the administration's story on WMD. While many liberals have embraced this story I strongly suspect it is completely mistaken, a confabulation of administration revisionism and Joe Wilson's ego. The real story is a bit more interesting and explains why leaking Plame's name probably isn't a crime and why some folks in the administration may be in legal trouble anyway, and why Cooper and Miller's testimony is so important. Hint: its about the Downing Street Memos
certainly this is the story that Wilson has been telling. I'm not sure whether he believes it or thinks it is the best spin to get media coverage, but I'm pretty sure it is wrong and has confused most people about the real story.
To understand that you need to get past Wilson's ego and realize that he is a bit player in this drama, and his wife Valerie Plame has a leading role. We just never see her on screen.
All the attention has focused on Plame as victim, the CIA operative whose safety has been threatened and career compromised by being "outed" But most folks ignore her then current role, as analyst at the CIA WMD desk. Now the current revised history from the Bush folks is that the CIA is responsible for overstating Saddam's WMD capabilities. But we know better. To understand this case you need to recall the political and intelligence context of the period just before and after the start of the war.
As confirmed by the Downing Street Memos, Bush was determined to take out Saddam, and the administration was "fixing" the intelligence to provide a justification. Unfortunately the CIA wasn't helping very much. While "everyone" "knew" that Saddam had WMD, the actual intelligence we had was really poor. Experts were sure that the evidence we ended up seeing like the aluminum "centrifuge tubes" for uranium enrichment, the Niger documents and the mobile biological labs were bogus, and the CIA didn't trust the human intelligence from Chalabi's gang of informers.
Since the CIA was shooting down reasons for war as fast as Chalabi could make them up, the Bushies (paticularly Cheney and Rumsfeld) set up the Office of Special Plans at DOD to "stovepipe" the good stuff and package it for public and international consumption. There were reports of "war" within the intelligence community between the CIA regulars and the prowar DOD. Plame was a top CIA WMD analyst. She was one of the generals on the other side.
Now the timing of the Plame leak is important. When he War began in March even skeptics expected Iraq had some WMD stockpiles. While there was some surprise that none were used, we saw throughout the fighting reports about potential exposure. When Bush declared Mission Accomplished on May 1 the official line was still that we expected to find large caches which were hidden before the war. The administration was counting on those discoveries to justify their manipulation of intelligence before the war.
Wilson's story started to reach the public in early June when it was reported that the CIA had a negative report on the now discredited Niger memos a year earlier. It blew up in early July when Wilson went public, and Novak published his column outing Plame on July 14 - Mission to Niger
At the time the administration was flush with success and still confident that they would find illegal weapons. They were sorting Washington into good guys (who supported the war) and bad guys (who questioned it). When Wilson came up they asked around "Who is this guy" and learned he was married to a CIA WMD analyst. That made him a bad guy, so they share the news with Novak, as a way of discrediting Wilson. It wasn't about retaliation, it was about tarnishing Wilson by tying him to the antiwar faction at CIA. The White House knows Plame as an analyst who refused to support their prowar view. They have been fighting these internal battles for months; now that they have won the war those Saddam lovers are out. I doubt anyone even thought about her being covert.
To get a flavor of where the White House was going see this WSJ editorial from October
So when Patrick Fitzgerald shows up to investigate the outing of a CIA operative, the White House folks have a problem. They can hardly explain that they inadvertently outed an agent because they wanted to link Wilson to a faction at CIA that thought there were no WMD because, well, that would mean the White House had manufactured intelligence to take us into an unnecessary and increasingly unpopular war. After all they were now blaming CIA for OVERstating the threat from Iraq's WMD.
What did they tell Fitzgerald's investigators? What was their Grand Jury testimony. Bet it was pretty hard to come up with a consistent story that wasn't a political disaster. How many lied?
What started as a potential case of intentionally leaking the identity of an agent has now become about perjury and obstruction of justice in an attempt to conceal White House involvement in fixing the intelligence that led to war. Cooper and Miller were all over the prewar intelligence beat, so they become keys to understanding how the White House went from propagandists fighting CIA skeptics over WMD to triumphal victors haranguing their doubtors to well meaning victims of bad intelligence. The Plame disclosure happened right in the middle of the transformation, which means that it draws attention to both the WH role in the fixing of intelligence and its efforts to deny that role.
Fitzgerald needs the reporters to contradict whatever whitewash the WH has come up with for this mess. Its not just the identity of the source, it is what the WH was saying and when that will show that they lied to Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury to cover up their manipulation of and lying about prewar intelligence. This is what happens when the administration's Orwellian alteration of history occurs in a venue where lying is a crime and providing talking points is conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
(CNN) -- Critics of the U.S. war in Iraq have condemned President George W. Bush for attempting to link the insurgency there with the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
In a televised address marking a year since the U.S. handover of sovereignty in Iraq, Bush urged Americans not to "forget the lessons of September 11."
Speaking before a military audience at Fort Bragg, North Carolina Tuesday, the president set out his strategy for victory against the insurgency, including foreign groups such as that led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
He also pledged that American troops would stay in Iraq until their job was done and that the U.S. would not "yield the future of the Middle East" to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network.
In a bid to shore up flagging domestic support for the war, Bush said the war against terror had "reached our shores" on September 11 and that sacrifices in Iraq were "vital to the future security of our country."
But Democrats accused the president of reviving a questionable link between Iraq and 9/11.
"I think the American people are a lot smarter than that," Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden said. "They've figured this out."
And in Britain, Lynne Jones, a lawmaker in Prime Minister Tony Blair's ruling Labour Party, said any attempt to suggest that Iraq was a response to the September 11 attacks was "absolute nonsense."
"There is absolutely no connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda," she said.
"What they have ensured, in invading Iraq, is they have actually promoted al Qaeda's involvement in other countries, including Iraq."
British MP George Galloway, who was expelled from Labour over his criticism of the war, said, "The truth is, as everyone can see, that Zarqawi and the other extremist formations that have sprouted in Iraq are the result of the invasion, not the reason for it.
"The swamp of hatred against the West has been vastly deepened by the actions of those two world leaders, Bush and Blair."
Australian opposition politicians said the speech reinforced fears that the conflict would drag on indefinitely.
"Iraq has been a conflict without timelines, without an exit strategy and indeed without a mission statement from day one," Labor Party spokesman Tom Cameron said.
"Australia needs to refocus on the region and the war on terror instead of getting bogged down in the bloody quagmire of Iraq's insurgency."
David Gergen, a political analyst who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, said the speech was an attempt to "try to stop the slide" in public support.
"What he's playing for is time, so that there's not enormous pressure put on him to withdraw," Gergen told CNN.
Gergen pointed out that Bush never used the term "insurgent," referring to them instead as "terrorists."
"(September 11) has been all along his trump card," Gergen said. "He played it in the campaign; he's playing it again now."
Support for Bush's speech came from the governments of staunch U.S. allies Britain and Australia, who praised the president's pledge to keep forces in Iraq until the fight was won.
"It was a very good speech that highlighted the need to fight for freedom and democracy and the determination of the United States and our other coalition partners to win that fight," said Australia's acting prime minister, John Anderson, who was standing in while John Howard was on vacation. (Full story)
In Britain, which sent the second-largest contingent of troops to Iraq, Blair told the House of Commons Wednesday: "I was glad that we took the action we did."
In his speech, Bush also rejected calls that the United States should send more troops to help put down the insurgency.
"Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight," he said.
"Sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself."
Bush said Iraq has "more than 160,000 security forces trained," but Biden -- the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- said an overwhelming majority of those "have a long way to go."
"We have to do more to reach out and get the rest of the world in on the game," Biden said.
Bush asked for patience with the U.S. strategy, which he described as two-pronged -- with a military component to combat the insurgency and a political effort to build "the institutions of a free society."
"Our strategy can be summed up this way -- as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," he said.
While U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney last month told CNN that the Iraq insurgency was in its "last throes," the president said Tuesday that the United States had "more work to do."
"There will be tough moments that test America's resolve," he said. "We will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins."
Bushcalled the work in Iraq "difficult and dangerous."
"Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real," he said. "It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country."
Poll: Half of Americans doubt Iraq-9/11 link
The president faces an American public growing restless with Iraq.
According to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, just 40 percent of those responding said they approved of Bush's handling of the war; 58 percent said they disapproved -- up 2 percentage points from May. (Full story)
Bush got higher ratings on how he is handling terrorism, with 55 percent approving and 41 percent disapproving.
The president made repeated references in his speech to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, calling Iraq "the latest battlefield" in the war on terrorism.
But Monday's poll found that half of Americans do not see the war in Iraq as part of the war on terror that began after September 11, 2001.
A third rationale for war in Iraq?
Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who ran for president against Bush last year, told CNN's "Larry King Live" that the speech offered a third rationale for the war in Iraq.
"The first, of course, was weapons of mass destruction. The second was democracy, and now, tonight, it's to combat the hotbed of terrorism," he said. "But most Americans are aware that the hotbed of terrorism never existed in Iraq until we got there."
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told "Larry King Live" he was satisfied Bush made his case.
"I think the president laid out tonight an excellent scenario of what the realities are and what we face. (The American people) needed that. Now we need to show some progress on the ground," he said.
There are about 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. More than 1,740 U.S. troops have died there since the war began in March 2003 -- 883 of them after last June's handover.
The Iraqi government has made key strides in the year since it regained sovereignty, including historic elections in January. But the fledgling country has seen no let-up in the insurgency.
Iraq's transitional administrative law calls for a new, permanent constitution to be prepared by August 15 and put to the voters in a referendum by October 15.
CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
28 June 2005
A former Israeli soldier has been found guilty by a military court of shooting dead the British student Tom Hurndall while he acted as a human shield for Palestinian children amid gunfire in the Gaza Strip.
Anthony Hurndall, Tom's father, welcomed the outcome, but said he was disappointed the Israeli judges had not investigated higher up the chain of command.
Tom, 22, a photography student, was shot in the head with a single round in April 2003. The three judges convicted former sergeant Wahid Taysir on all counts: manslaughter; obstructing justice; submitting and obtaining false testimony and unbecoming behaviour.
Mr Hurndall, a London lawyer, told The Independent before flying home last night: "This seems to be one incident in a pattern, a system and a policy of very indiscriminate shooting and very little accountability.
"The fact that one soldier has been prosecuted is not really satisfactory because the only reason he was charged was that a British family put a lot of time into preparing a case and had tremendous support from the Foreign Office. We don't feel that the underlying policy has been addressed."
Taysir will be sentenced in August. The maximum penalty for manslaughter is 20 years. Captain Hilla Gorni, the prosecuting officer, said: "We are going to ask for a very serious sentence. This verdict shows very clearly that the army will not tolerate such acts. We will prosecute any case where this has been done."
Two other British civilians - James Miller, a cameraman, and Iain Hook, an aid worker - have been shot dead by Israeli soldiers during the four-year Palestinian intifada. No one has been charged in those cases.
Tom Hurndall, an activist in the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), died in a London hospital nine months after being shot, without regaining consciousness.
The court found Taysir shot him with a sniper rifle using a telescopic sight in clear knowledge of the consequences and in breach of the rules of engagement. It rejected defence claims that "malpractice" by British doctors caused his death.
The judges mentioned a confession in which Taysir said he wanted to teach Mr Hurndall a lesson for entering a forbidden area. He admitted aiming four inches to the left of his head to frighten him, but said he did not intend to hit him. Colonel Nir Aviram, the presiding judge, said: "From that moment, Sgt Taysir began a broad campaign of lies and falsehoods to throw off the expected investigation and to remove criminal guilt from himself." Taysir, a Bedouin who volunteered for the army, accused his commanders of racism. He sat silently in a black T-shirt and jeans through the hour-long reading of the judgment. His lawyer, Ilan Bombach, said afterwards: "We believe there are serious grounds for appeal."
Taleb al Sana, a Bedouin member of the Israeli parliament, accused the army of choosing an easy target to divert attention from its own wrongdoings. "It is easier to throw garbage on someone who is different."
The interior ministry prevented Tom Hurndall's brother, William, from entering Israel for the hearing and held him in detention. He arrived with his father, but rejected conditions that he stay no more than 24 hours, did not enter the West Bank or Gaza and be accompanied by a representative of the British embassy.
Mark Regev, a foreign ministry spokesman, said the authorities wanted an assurance that William, also an ISM activist, would not become involved in demonstrations. "We had no problem letting family members attend the trial," he said. "But we didn't want any street theatre of the kind the ISM is so good at."
Tom Hurndall's sister, Sophie, 25, said Taysir should have been found guilty of murder. "Many other soldiers are doing the same kind of thing every day and nothing is happening."
Monday, June 27, 2005
Tom Hurndall died nine months after falling into a coma
Filthy Jew Murderer,Taysir Hayb tried to attack journalists as he left court
Watch the video - Killed Protecting Others
Ex-sergeant Taysir Hayb was convicted at a military court in Ashkelon for the shooting of Mr Hurndall in April 2003. Hayb will be sentenced at a later date.
Mr Hurndall, 22, was involved in protests against the Israeli military in the Palestinian town of Rafah. He died nine months after the shooting.
His father, Anthony, said the Israeli army acted with impunity too often.
The defendant was led out of the court in handcuffs and tried to attack a number of photographers and cameramen filming him.
More than 50 people crowded into the small courtroom on a military base in southern Israel, to hear the verdict - which took more than an hour to read out.
| || We're concerned there is a policy which seems to be prevalent in Gaza that [Israeli soldiers] feel able to shoot civilians without any accountability |
In addition to the manslaughter verdict, Hayb was found guilty of obstruction of justice, incitement to false testimony, false testimony and improper conduct.
The court was told Hayb fired at Mr Hurndall from an Israeli army watchtower, using a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.
Witnesses said Mr Hurndall, from north London, had been escorting children away from gunfire when he was hit in the head by a single shot.
The Israeli army initially disputed this account, but under pressure from Mr Hurndall's family and the British government it ordered a full investigation. It later indicted Hayb, a member of Israel's Bedouin Arab minority.
Mr Hurndall, a Manchester Metropolitan University journalism and photography student, had been operating as a human shield in the Gaza Strip with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
This is a Palestinian-led organisation that includes Westerners and aims to oppose Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by non-violent means.
Mr Hurndall's sister Sophie said she felt a "huge amount of anger" towards Hayb.
"Tom was rescuing a child," she said, adding that what Hayb did "was the most despicable action you could carry out".
Mr Hurndall's father, who had been sitting in court within touching distance of Hayb, said the guilty verdict was the right one.
But he also expressed concern about the "culture in which this incident took place".
"We're concerned that there is a policy which seems to be prevalent in Gaza, amongst the Israeli soldiers and army, that they feel able to shoot civilians really without any accountability whatsoever."
Civil liberties group Human Rights Watch last week accused Israel of investigating less than 5% of hundreds of cases of Palestinians killed since 2000.
Israeli authorities say there is no policy of tolerating the shooting of civilians.
A film about the case, Shot on Camera: Tom Hurndall, will be shown on BBC Three on Monday 27 June at 2000 BST.