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Methodists Delay Vote Until Later This Week

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This article cross-posted from Wallwritings

The United Methodist Church has delayed a vote on a resolution on divestment from three US companies which "aid and abet"* Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The vote was initially set for Tuesday, but has been delayed until later this week. There is speculation among General Conference delegates in Tampa, that a move will be made to limit debate on the final resolution to two short speeches on each side.

Supporters of divestment are hopeful they will prevail. Prominent Palestinian visitors have made convincing speeches in meetings around the Conference. The outcome, however, remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, while we wait, let us use our time creatively by pondering another vote scheduled in the US in November.

That would be the election between the incumbent US President, Barack Obama, and the presumed Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. That election offers an ominous connection to the resolution process currently facing  United Methodist delegates in Tampa.

The November election campaign has begun. President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan overnight Tuesday where he was greeted by US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Lt. General Mike Scaparrotti, Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. (picture above.)

The President addressed an American television audience from an American air base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday night. He said that he had "traveled here to herald a new era in the relationship between the United States and Afghanistan, "a future in which war ends, and a new chapter begins."

In Kabul, Obama signed a 10-year strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. That agreement has been the subject of extended discussions over the past several months.

No doubt, the trip was also designed to bring attention to the one-year anniversary of the successful US removal of Osama bin Laden from the political scene.

Monday, presumptive candidate Romney, eager to downplay the one-year anniversary, exposed his gross ignorance of the politics of the Middle East in an off-the-cuff response to a journalist's question about  bin Laden.

His quick response, while shaking hands with supporters, was a flippant remark about former President Jimmy Carter.

His comment was too much for one of America's leading Muslim authorities, Juan Cole, who blogs at Informed Comment. Cole, author of Engaging the Muslim World, is a Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

Professor Cole wrote on his blog:

"Mitt Romney said Monday that of course, he would have taken out Bin Laden and that 'even Jimmy Carter would have made that call.'

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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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