General Wesley Clark says he is a Methodist turned Baptist turned Catholic who attends a Presbyterian church. Congressman Richard Gephardt says his religion is “to care about the poor first.” Howard Dean, who has criticized the mixing of religion and politics, now promises to talk about Jesus when he campaigns in the South.
The result was hardly a surprise, noted Salam Al-Marayati, director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. A 2004 presidential straw poll conducted at MPAC’s annual convention showed President George W. Bush trailing four Democratic contenders, led by Howard Dean, largely because of the former Vermont governor’s staunch criticism of the war in Iraq.
Pope John Paul II called for generous international aid to “our Iranian brothers and sisters” even as a range of religious relief organizations began to respond to an earthquake that claimed more than 25,000 lives in the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran.
The State Department’s annual report on the status of religious freedom worldwide is out, and its chief villains have familiar faces. The report says China, Burma and North Korea remain among the world’s most egregious and systematic violators of religious liberty.