Ahmadinejad: What would Jesus do?
The leaders of Iran and the United States have had no official communication since 1979. This week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad broke the silence and wrote a letter to President Bush, largely criticizing his actions in the Middle East as being inconsistent with Christian faith.

"Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ, the great Messenger of God," Ahmadinejad wrote, "But at the same time, have countries attacked: the lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed?" (That's a cleaned up version from what appears to be a somewhat poor translation.)

Ahmadinejad criticized the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the treatment of prisoners, support for Israel, U.S. actions in Latin America and Africa, and several other items.

"My students ask me how can these actions be reconciled with … duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ, the Messenger of peace and forgiveness," he said. "If prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph, or Jesus Christ were with us today, how would they have judged such behavior? Will we be given a role to play in the promised world, where justice will become universal and Jesus Christ will be present?"

The letter (which also alleges that the September 11 attacks were carried out with "coordination with [U.S.] intelligence and security services—or their extensive infiltration") doesn't say anything directly about the conflict over Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. It does, however, claim that scientific research is "one of the basic rights of nations." Ahmadinejad asks, "Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime?"

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the letter does nothing to help resolve the nuclear conflict.

"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," Rice told the Associated Press. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way. … There's nothing in here that would suggest that we're on any different course than we were before we got the letter."

Quote of the day:
"Sometimes my own messages send signals that I don't mean to send, but stirs up anxieties in the Muslim world."

—President Bush, in an interview with the German magazine Bild.

("Today's Top Five" will return when there are five stories worth noting.)

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  3. Government blocking registration of tsunami NGO | The Minister of Fisheries, Abdulla Kamaluddeen, ordered the completed marketplace to be torn down in April because it was donated by "people in opposition to the government" and "Christians" (Minivan News, Maldives)

  4. The Vatican's China problem | Beijing and the Vatican, like many antagonists, have some key traits in common. Both are intolerant of dissenting opinions. Both follow rigid orthodoxies, and both are control freaks. It's tempting to suggest that they deserve each other (Seth Faison, Los Angeles Times)


  1. Darfur refugees kill translator in Sudan | Darfur refugees rioted Monday and forced the U.N. humanitarian chief to rush from their camp, then later attacked African peacekeepers and killed a translator in a sign of deep tensions in the wartorn region despite a fragile peace deal (Associated Press)

  2. Darfur peace accord a battle of its own | Rebels balked, bickered in grueling talks (The Washington Post)

  3. Darfur deserves chance offered by peace accord | Senseless violence has resulted in 200,000 deaths and many more displaced (Editorial, The Tennessean, Nashville)

  4. If genocide doesn't spark a 'just war,' what does? | The crisis in Darfur points to the need for a new way to prevent genocide and other human-rights abuses says commentator Joe Loconte (All Things Considered, NPR)

  5. An imperialist indifference | Sudan and the colonial impulse. Richard Just reviews Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide by Gérard Prunier and Darfur: A Short History of a Long War by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal (The New Republic)


  1. Police allege terror suspects involved in priest's murder | Five militants arrested Friday in Central Sulawesi were wanted for attacks on Christians there and were not accomplices of Asia's most-wanted terror suspect, M. Noordin Top, police said Monday (The Jakarta Post, Indonesia)

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Sexual ethics:

  1. Candidates vow to urge ministers to respect gays | The five major candidates for D.C. mayor pledged last night to promote tolerance for gay men and lesbians in the city's black churches and to combat attitudes that led two prominent local ministers to denounce homosexuality from their pulpits (The Washington Post)

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Life ethics:

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  3. OB/GYN group faults FDA on blocking OTC Plan B | The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Monday condemned the Food and Drug Administration for blocking over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception (USA Today)

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Church life:

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The Da Vinci Code:

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Other stories of interest:

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  2. CDC wants routine AIDS virus testing | Federal health officials say they'd like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check (Associated Press)

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Related Elsewhere:

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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