The best-selling novel by Dan Brown upset an international and predominantly lay Catholic organization as well as conservative Protestants, but with the movie version of The Da Vinci Code slated for mid-May, both offended groups are exhibiting mixed feelings.
Hamas intends to apply Islamic law, or shari'a, as the basis for running the Palestinian Authority after its landslide win in the late January elections for the legislature, officials from the group said. But they added that people would not be forced to comply with shari‘a.
Military action against Iran is unwarranted and unwise: one, a nuclear threat is not imminent. Two, the U.S. and Israel’s military superiority should discourage Iran from aggressive action. Three, the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities would be difficult: they are widely dispersed, with many in underground bunkers. Four, Iran has the means with which to retalliate. Five, Iran could embargo its oil and plunge the world into deep depression. Finally, military action would strengthen hardline Islamists (Richard Falk, the Nation, Feb. 13).
By a 216-214 vote, the House of Representatives has passed a controversial budget-cutting bill opposed vigorously as “immoral” by mainline and ecumenical church leaders late in 2005. The bill, which President Bush said he would sign, trims federal budget programs by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The February 1 vote by the House included no Democrats in favor.
Pope Benedict XVI has issued the first encyclical of his papacy, dedicating Roman Catholicism’s highest form of writing to a reflection on love and charity that calls for a “purification” of erotic love between men and women.