Religion

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The Islamic State Stumbles

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State – and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response – but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

What Would Jesus Do at Christmas?

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

America’s widening gap between rich and poor is especially noticeable at Christmastime when the rich shower themselves with extravagant gifts and assuage their self-images by donating a few turkeys and a toy or two to the poor, a tradition that troubles Rev. Howard Bess.

Asking Christians about Tolerance of War

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many Americans are tuning out on politics and international affairs – feeling they have no real say in what the government does – but there is a danger from such passivity, particularly the license given to the powers-that-be to make war and more war, as Gary G. Kohls explains.

Learning the Lessons of Peace

The Prophet Isaiah (Illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company)

Isaiah, one of the great Jewish prophets, was an advocate of peace whose words inspired Jesus’s non-violent teachings centuries later and continue to resonate to the present day, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

Behind the War with Boko Haram

The Nigerian and U.S. flags carried together in parade on the campus of the American University of NIgeria in Yola, celebrating AUN’s tenth anniversary. (Photo credit: Don North)

Exclusive: Last April, much of the world was horrified when the Boko Haram rebels of northern Nigeria kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls and vowed to marry them off. But the violence in Africa’s richest country has a complex back story of religion, ignorance, corruption and injustice, as Don North explains.

Christians Who Ignore the Real Jesus

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many American Christians see themselves as devout followers of the theological Jesus but don’t want to know much about the historical Jesus, the nonviolent radical who called on his followers to resist social injustice, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The Battle for Palestine — Part Three

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (Photo credit: Jim Wallace of the Smithsonian Institution)

Special Report: For nearly seven decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has fed into growing Mideast extremism, now including hyper-violent Islamic fundamentalism. But does this tortured history offer any hope for a peaceful future, asks ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk in the last of a three-part series.

The Battle for Palestine — Part Two

David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister

Special Report: After the Holocaust, Europe acquiesced to the Zionist settlement of Palestine and turned a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing that cleared Arabs from the land, as ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk describes in the second of a three-part series.

The Battle for Palestine

French diplomat Francois George-Picot, who along with British colonial officer Mark Sykes drew lines across a Middle East map of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, carving out states with boundaries that are nearly the same as they are today.

From the Archive: You can’t understand the worsening Mideast violence without knowing the modern history of Palestine, a story that begins with European anti-Semitism causing Zionists to claim Palestine for the Jews and to expel the Arabs, wrote retired U.S. diplomat William R. Polk in the first of three parts.

Making Iran the Ultimate Enemy

Iranian women attending a speech by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

The determination of U.S. neocons and Israeli politicians to make Iran and its allies the great evils in the Middle East has prevented any rational U.S. policy toward the region, even to the point of facilitating possible victories by Sunni extremists in Syria and Iraq, as Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi explains.