Middle East extremists fail, World Vision’s victory, climate change change, and the Boxer rebellion

 The extremists fail this time: Despite a deadly attack by Hamas, the Middle East peace talks continued.

The determination, this time, to continue talking despite the deadly attacks by Hamas on Israeli settlers in the West Bank this week looks to me like a big deal. Maybe the motives of the extremists this time were simply too cynically obvious to fool anyone. Hamas explicitly characterised the attacks as an attempt to undermine the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. In Washington yesterday, Israeli West Bank settlement leader Danny Dayan used the attacks as an excuse to call for the cessation of talks he never wanted in the first place. Meanwhile, here was Mr Abbas’s response: “We do not want any blood to be shed, one drop of blood, on the part of the Israelis or the Palestinians. We want them to live as neighbours and partners forever. Let us sign an agreement, a final agreement, for peace and put an end to a very long period of struggle forever.” The PA backed up those words with a massive wave of arrests of Hamas operatives in the West Bank. And Mr Netanyahu’s: “President Abbas, you are my partner in peace… I came here today to find a historic compromise. I didn’t come here to find excuses or to make them. I came to find solutions.”

World Vision can hire the faithful: Ninth Circuit Court rules that WV can require that its employees be Christians.

 “This is a significant victory for World Vision’s religious hiring rights,” said Dean Owen, World Vision’s director of media relations. “The right of faith-based organizations to hire people who are co-religionists, who are of their own faith, has been law in this country for nearly 50 years.”

Three former World Vision employees, Silvia Spencer, Ted Youngberg, and Vicki Hulse, sued after World Vision fired them in 2006 for disagreeing with central tenets of the organization’s Statement of Faith. As O’Scannlain notes, everyone involved agreed that the three employees were fired for religious reasons. The question was whether World Vision qualified for the religious exemption to the Civil Rights Act, which normally prohibits any organization from hiring or firing based on religious beliefs.

The former employees asserted that both law and legal precedent limited “religious organizations” to “churches, synagogues, and the like.” The Ninth Circuit, who produced some of the precedents they pointed to, disagreed.

“If Congress had intended to restrict the exemption to ‘[c]hurches, and entities similar to churches’ it could have said so,” Judge O’Scannlain’s opinion said. “Because Congress did not, some religious corporations, associations, and societies that are not churches must fall within the exemption.“

 A Notable Change on ClimateWith his new book, Danish scientist Bjørn Lomborg has become an unlikely advocate for huge investment in fighting global warming. But his answers are unlikely to satisfy all climate change campaigners.

He finishes: “If we care about the environment and about leaving this planet and its inhabitants with the best possible future, we actually have only one option: we all need to start seriously focusing, right now, on the most effective ways to fix global warming.”

Boxer rebellion: Has the California Senator met her match in former H-P exec Carly Fiorina? Recent polls show Boxer and Fiorina in a statistical dead heat. A Rasmussen poll released last week found Boxer with a 1-point lead, taking 44 percent compared with Fiorina’s 43 percent, according to Politico.

Now, along comes Fiorina. The former CEO carries no beltway baggage, and her performance as head of Hewlet-Packard gives her credibility where it’s needed most: the economy.

In addition, she brings a new weapon in her fight with Boxer. In the past, the Senate Democrat has only faced challenges from men. “Barbara Boxer cannot say to me that I do not understand the challenges women face,” Fiorina told CBN News. All of these elements could be the perfect storm for Fiorina, and they might be a torrential downpour for her opponent.

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About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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