"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
Last evening I attended a reception and dinner in Washington for evangelical Christian leaders, which is not an unusual event here. But the topic and, especially, the main speaker would seem highly unusual to many. The event, called "A Global Leaders Forum," was hosted by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Micah Challenge, a global advocacy campaign focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are aimed at cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015. The topics that brought 250 evangelical leaders together from around the U.S. and world were indeed global poverty and the urgent issue of climate change. Both issues are now firmly on the agenda of the evangelical mainstream, as last night's impressive list of leaders demonstrated.
The speaker for the evening was none other than Ban-Ki Moon, the new secretary general of the United Nations, which is driving the MDG initiative. Growing up in the evangelical world, I remember the great debate about who was the real "Antichrist" as described in biblical prophecy--it was either the pope or the United Nations. As Washington Post writer Dana Milbanks noted this morning
In the wildly popular Left Behind series of evangelical Christian novels, the Antichrist takes the form of the secretary general of the United Nations, sets up an abortion-promoting world government and becomes the Global Community Supreme Potentate. Last night, the National Association of Evangelicals met for dinner at the Sheraton in Crystal City. The keynote speaker? Why, the Antichrist himself.
Last night, the supposed Antichrist was listening to gospel music, speaking of his own faith, quoting scripture, celebrating a new alliance with "the evangelical church" on the critical issues of poverty and global warming, and bringing the conservative Christian crowd to its feet in smiling agreement with the secretary's agenda.
Indeed, leader after leader insisted this was a biblical agenda. A prominent leader from the Religious Right came up to sit right next to me, and then engaged me in an amazing conversation about finding common ground. This dramatic shift in the public agenda of the evangelical community is affecting American politics in very significant ways and promises to change them, especially if the political labels of left and right slowly slip away and are replaced by a common commitment to focus on the key moral issues of our time. Those issues are now defined more broadly and deeply than before and include the plight of God's poorest children and the fragile state of God's creation.
MadHatterDay is a holiday in October. It fills the need for a second crazy day in the year, almost exactly half a year from April Fools' Day. The real spirit of MadHatterDay is turnabout: The nonsense we usually have to pretend is sane can be called madness for one day in the year; the superficially crazy things that really make sense can be called sane on MadHatterDay.
MadHatterDay is 10/6. The date was chosen from the illustrations by John Tenniel in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wherein the Mad Hatter is always seen wearing a hat bearing a slip of paper with the notation "In this style 10/6". We take this as inspiration to behave in the style of the Mad Hatter on 10/6 (which is October 6 here, although in Britain MadHatterDay occurs on June 10...but I digress...) Some astute observers have noted that the paper in the Mad Hatter's Hat was really an order to make a hat in the style shown, to cost ten shillings sixpence. However, it is well known that Time Is Money, and therefore Money Is Time, and therefore 10/6 may as well be the sixth of October.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush signaled a willingness Saturday to spend more than what he had recommended for a popular children's health program, but provided no specifics on how much higher he would go.
Dr. Gwen Wurm checks Christina Brownlee, 5, at the University of Miami Pediatric clinic on October 3.
The president on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would increase spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has called for a $5 billion increase. Several Republicans in both chambers have sided with Democratic lawmakers on the issue.
"If putting poor children first takes a little more than the 20 percent increase I have proposed in my budget for SCHIP, I am willing to work with leaders in Congress to find the additional money," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
Democratic lawmakers say votes to override the president's veto will be held in mid-October. That effort is not expected to succeed.
The program provides health insurance to children in families with incomes too great for Medicaid eligibility but not enough to afford private insurance.
Bush used his radio address to once again make the case that he believes the spending increase sought primarily by Democrats is a step "toward their goal of government-run health care for every American."
"Government-run health care would deprive Americans of the choice and competition that comes from the private market," he said. "It would cause huge increases in government spending."