Speaking from St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI offered a global survey of natural and human-made disasters, including military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and called on Christians to be “apostles of peace.”
Killing people is a grisly business, even in the case of capital punishment. In Florida last year executioners found Angel Nieves Diaz still moving 24 minutes after the first administration of lethal drugs. They had mistakenly injected the drugs into the soft tissue of his arm instead of into a blood vessel.
One day after the November elections, the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches, holding its annual meeting in Orlando, called for “an immediate phased withdrawal of American and coalition forces from Iraq.” The withdrawal plan is linked to “benchmarks for rebuilding Iraqi society.”
Several of the United States’ allies remain among the world’s most egregious violators of human rights, according to a recent report from a nonpartisan federal panel, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Church leaders in many parts of the world, including General Secretary Samuel Kobia of the World Council of Churches, expressed relief and joy at the freeing of three members of Christian Peacemaker Teams held hostage in Iraq.
In a scene that has been repeatedly played since Operation Enduring Freedom commenced in Afghanistan four years ago, Michelle Naar-Obed left her home in December for a tour of duty. She knew, as did her husband, her 11-year-old daughter and her friends in Duluth, Minnesota, that she might never return.
A half century after the Nuremberg trials, the United Nations set up war crimes tribunals, in 1993 for Yugoslavia and in 1994 for Rwanda. Five years ago diplomats agreed to create a permanent International Criminal Court, inaugurated this year, for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.