New WCC head aims at global issues, skirting some hot buttons

February 25, 2010
tveit

WCC General Secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, 22 Feb 2010/WCC-Peter Williams

Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches, aims to give the organisation a higher profile as a focus for action by Christian bodies on global issues like humanitarian relief in crises, climate change and the Middle East impasse. But at his first news conference this week since taking over on January 1, the Norwegian Lutheran cleric also made it clear that the constraints imposed by a widely diverse organisation that makes its decisions by consensus limit his options.  It’s unlikely we’ll hear him taking a public stand on two of the main issues making religion headlines these days, the sexual abuse charges against the Roman Catholic Church and the disputes over homosexuality straining relations in several Protestant churches.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Comparing Pakistan’s Islamists to India’s Maoists

December 16, 2009

chhattisgarhOne of the more controversial arguments doing the rounds is the question of whether you can compare Pakistan's Islamist militants to Maoist insurgents in India. Both claim to champion the cause of social justice and have been able to exploit local grievances against poor governance to win support, and both use violence against the state to try to achieve their aims.

Climate change debate spurs warm feelings in London

October 29, 2009

china-climateIt is rare that religion and science find agreement, but that is what happened when Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke at a meeting on saving the earth from climate change.

Christian Coalition joins hunting group in climate change fight

October 23, 2009

Remember the Christian Coalition of America?

Under the political operative Ralph Reed in the 1990s it was an electoral force to be reckoned with as it mobilized millions of conservative Christians to vote for mostly Republican Party candidates and causes.

U.S. Religious Left campaigns for climate change legislation

October 8, 2009

The U.S. “Religious Left” — which has been active at the grassroots level to support President Barack Obama’s drive for health care reform – has now launched a campaign in support his other major domestic initiative: climate change legislation.

Huckabee wins round one in 2012 Republican race

September 19, 2009

Former Arkanas Governor and Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee has won the first informal round in what will no doubt be a long race to head the party’s White House ticket in 2012.

from Environment Forum:

Holy water!

August 7, 2009

Aletsch glacier, the largest glacier in the Swiss Alps is seen on August 18, 2007. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Are the residents of Fiesch and Fischertal in Switzerland particularly pious, desperate or both? I wonder after learning that villagers there want Pope Benedict's blessing to stop the melting of Europe's longest glacier. That, after hundreds of years of praying for it to stop growing. Researchers predict winter temperatures in the Swiss Alps will rise by 1.8 degrees Celsius in winter and 2.7 degrees Celsius in the summer by 2050.

Religion, poverty and strife: what comes first?

August 6, 2009

An uprising by a radical Islamic sect in northern Nigeria may ostensibly have been about religion, but such bloodletting will recur unless underlying issues of poverty, unemployment and education are addressed.

White U.S. evangelicals most skeptical on climate change

April 17, 2009

Among U.S. religious groups, white evangelical Protestants are the least likely to believe that human activities are contributing to climate change, according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. You can see the numbers, based on a broader 2008 poll, here.

Did climate change stoke past religious persecution?

December 1, 2008

A thought-provoking new book on Christianity’s “lost history” holds that one of the central causes of 14th century religious persecution may well have been climate change. You can read my interview with author Philip Jenkins about “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa and Asia — and How It Died” on the Reuters website here.