Islam's Plan to Shape US Policy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Dragoon68, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    Religion's power to shape policy
    by Feisal Abdul Rauf in Washington Post on 12/28/2009.

    "For decades U.S. administrations have scrupulously separated church and state. As a result, the power of religion as a partner in shaping domestic and foreign policy was lost. Yet religious organizations and the government can cooperate to achieve shared domestic and foreign policy goals without impinging on America's fundamental belief that the state should not endorse any one religion.

    That is the big religious story of 2009.

    Obama has built on President George W. Bush's faith-based objectives. He has gathered 25 religious leaders of all faiths in a revamped Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He has gone one step further than Bush in expanding the diversity of his religious advisers. For the first time, Muslim-Americans are included.

    The Council's goal is to find common interests motivating religious organizations to partner with the federal government to solve problems. It is putting together recommendations it will present to the president in February to help fulfill Obama's belief in the power of involving faith communities in helping shape both domestic and foreign policy.

    When President Obama traveled first to Ankara and then to Cairo to speak directly to the Muslim world, he made a powerful statement that he understood the value of Islam and its potential to help build peace from Palestine to Pakistan. More than any other American president, he made clear that the United States saw Islam as a force that could overcome the destructive influence of extremism. He called on Muslims to join him in seeking Islam's objectives of peace and justice.

    Obama's critics say his outreach achieved nothing; that peace is no closer in the Middle East, that Iran has rejected Obama's overtures and that a surging Taliban in Afghanistan requires more U.S. troops. But that misses the point. The seeds have been sown for a new American engagement with Muslims. It will take time and effort to nurture those seeds.

    One of the results of Obama's outreach to Muslims has been the quick reaction of Muslim leaders to condemn incidents such as the shootings at Fort Hood, Tex., by a Muslim Army officer and young Muslim-Americans charged with traveling to Pakistan to join terrorist organizations.

    Not only did Islam not condone these actions, Muslim leaders said, they violated basic Islamic principles. These leaders asserted that Muslim organizations worldwide have a responsibility to combat the power of extremist groups trying to recruit Muslims to their cause. They acknowledged that religious arguments and religious organizations must be used to stop extremists.

    All of these developments recognize that sound politics and policy cannot ignore the ethics of religious values or the importance of these values to billions of people around the world. If these values can be crafted, engineered and deployed to solve problems, they will become powerful tools for good.

    That is the most important religious story of the year because it does so much to lay the groundwork for major stories in 2010 and beyond."
     
    #1 Dragoon68, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2010
  2. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    Religious communities must be engaged in foreign policy
    by Feisal Abdul Rauf in Washington Post on 2/23/2010.

    "Q: The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is recommending that the U.S. government develop a strategy to make religion 'integral' to American foreign policy. Should U.S. foreign policy get religion?

    The report issued by Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Engaging Religious Communities Abroad goes right to the heart of what we at the Cordoba Initiative have been advocating for years.

    Religion is the solution to conflict.

    For decades, the United States has shied away from using religious arguments and engaging religious groups to further American diplomatic objectives. Church and state are separated in foreign policy just as in domestic government. U.S. diplomats can't even talk about religion. The United States has seen issues dividing people not as religious but as secular demands for power and for territory that require secular solutions.

    As a result, a fundamental variable has been missing from peace initiatives.

    Certainly history has shown that religion and politics can be dangerous things to mix.
    But we believe that if the highest ethics of religion are mixed with politics rooted in justice, the combination can be positively powerful and extremely effective.

    Ignoring religion will doom peace initiatives because so many of the conflicts in the world today are based on interpretations of religious belief that promote violence rather than the peace on which these religions are founded.

    At the bedrock of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the belief that we love God and we love each other. All three religions embrace reconciliation and forgiveness.

    Peace agreements signed reluctantly by secular governments will have a hard time succeeding. Secular leaders are changeable and subject to popular passions. That is one lesson from the failure of the Oslo peace agreements. To achieve peace in the Middle East, one has to understand the role of religion from the Israeli side and from the Palestinian side.

    Only by reaching people at their core religious values can diplomacy build coalitions that will produce a sustained peace. Any agreement must be built from the ground up by engaging religious organizations to provide a broad base of support and to promote reconciliation.

    For that reason, we agree with the recommendation of this report that the U.S. government incorporate people with a deep knowledge of religion into the highest levels of foreign policy.

    And we certainly applaud the conclusion that religion should be viewed "as a source of creativity, inspiration, and commitment to human flourishing that can and often does provide enormous opportunities.""
     
  3. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    From The Chicago Council on Global Affairs came "Report of the Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy" from which a few extracts below are quoted:

    "The Task Force also recommends that the United States mandate that its ambassadors engage religious communities. This aligns with a major recommendation made by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her book The Mighty and the Almighty: “In the future, no American ambassador should be assigned to a country where religious feelings are strong unless he or she has a deep understanding of the faiths commonly practiced there. Ambassadors and their representatives, wherever they are assigned, should establish relationships with local religious leaders. The State Department should hire or train a core of specialists in religion to be deployed both in Washington and in key embassies overseas.” As a first step, the United States could appoint a distinguished American Muslim as ambassador or special envoy to the Organizationof Islamic Conference (OIC). President Bush was the first to appoint a U.S. envoy to the OIC, but that appointment lapsed with the end of his administration. Replacing the envoy with a well-respected and learned ambassador, preferably a Muslim American with direct access to the president and secretary of state, among others, would signal America’s seriousness in engaging Islam and give some permanence to the position. This post would be in addition to the existing position of special representative to Muslim Communities at the State Department."

    "Within the United States, the Establishment Clause prohibits a range of interactions between government and religion, including

    • the fusion of religious and government authority;
    • the disbursement of government aid on the basis of religious
    criteria;
    • government approval of or preference for particular religions;
    • government adjudication of theological controversies.

    It is unclear, however, whether and how these domestic nonestablishment constraints apply to U.S. foreign policy. There are reasonable arguments that the clause imposes significant limits on the conduct of foreign policy, and there are equally reasonable arguments that it imposes only relatively narrow limits that have little or no practical effect on the policies recommended in this report."

    "Similarly, there is little doubt that those who drafted and ratified the clause were principally concerned with government support or favoritism of particular religions within the United States, which suggests that it was not meant to apply to relations with foreign countries. On the other hand, the founders were unquestionably concerned about preventing all federal religious establishments, even if they may not have thought about such establishments in the context of foreign policy. Globalization, moreover, means that many interactions of government with religion overseas may well strengthen the power or influence of particular religions within the United States in violation of domestic Establishment Clause norms."

    "The challenge before us is to marginalize religious extremists, not religion. Especially where religious extremism is a central factor in a conflict or the political landscape, it is all the more important that there be more tolerant religious voices that can counter the extremists and provide alternative views from within their own tradition. Promoting an uncompromising Western secularism as a solution to religious extremism can have the unintended effect of feeding extremism by further threatening traditional sources of personal, cultural, and religious identity. Contra the secularists, the best way The challenge before us is to marginalize religious extremists, not religion. Especially where religious extremism is a central factor in a conflict or the political landscape, it is all the more important that there be more tolerant religious voices that can counter the extremists and provide alternative views from within their own tradition. Promoting an uncompromising Western secularism as a solution to religious extremism can have the unintended effect of feeding extremism by further threatening traditional sources of personal, cultural, and religious identity. Contra the secularists, the best way"
     
  4. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    Here's a list of the CCGA task force members. These are the people advising our government what they should be doing. Let me know if you find any that you think are Christians who would actually represent the Lord's interest in this matter:

    Michael Barnett, Harold Stassen Chair of International Relations, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

    Henry Bienen, President Emeritus, Northwestern University

    José Casanova, Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion,
    Peace, & World Affairs, Georgetown University

    Bob Edgar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Common Cause

    Virgil Elizondo, Professor of Pastoral and Hispanic Theology and Fellow, Institute for
    Latino Studies and Kellogg Institute, University of Notre Dame

    Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, The University of Chicago Divinity School

    Thomas F. Farr, Visiting Associate Professor and Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for
    Religion, Peace, & World Affairs, Georgetown University

    Frederick Mark Gedicks, Guy Anderson Chair and Professor of Law, Brigham Young University

    Kent Greenawalt, University Professor, Columbia Law School

    Ken Hackett, President, Catholic Relief Services

    William Inboden, Senior Vice President, Legatum Institute

    Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy The Brookings Institution
    Douglas Johnston, President International Center for Religion and Diplomacy

    Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow and Visiting Professor, Berkley Center for Religion,
    Peace, & World Affairs, Georgetown University

    Radwan A. Masmoudi, President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy

    Ruth Messinger, Executive Director, American Jewish World Service
     
  5. Dragoon68

    Dragoon68
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    Michelle Obama is on the board of directors of the CCGA.
     

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