The “Place of Jesus” Lutheran church & the LCMS

As we’ve blogged about earlier, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has broken ties with its mother church in Sweden over gay marriage and related issues.  Now the 6 million-strong church–one of the fastest growing in the world (and the third largest Lutheran church in the world)–is seeking ties with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Here is a fascinating interview between Rev. Berhanu Ofgaa and Deaconness Pamela Nielsen that tells the story of Mekane Yesus, which means “Place of Jesus,” a name that confesses the real presence of Christ that all Lutherans should start using. [Read more...]

And now, the war in Uganda?

Our good-hearted but usually doomed attempt to right the world’s wrongs by sending in American troops to battle bad guys continues, as we send in the American military to central Africa:

President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa to help hunt down the leaders of a rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army during a meeting with a delegation of officials and lawmakers from northern Uganda in 2006.

A senior administration official said 12 troops have been deployed so far under what he called a training mission aimed at helping African forces find and kill Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of the rebels.

The U.S. forces will deploy to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense,” Mr. Obama said in a letter to Congress released Friday.

The U.S. deployment will include special operations forces, defense officials said. Pentagon officials noted that U.S. forces are routinely deployed to Africa for training missions.

The Lord’s Resistance Army is believed to have killed, kidnapped and mutilated tens of thousands of civilians since the 1990s. Military officials said they believed Mr. Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, and other top LRA leaders are currently hiding the Central African Republic.

via U.S. Deploys Troops in Pursuit of African Rebels – WSJ.com.

Is this liberal foreign policy?  Isn’t this neo-conservative?  Like what President Bush did?  Maybe Republicans should just vote for Obama as the most Bush-like of all alternatives.

Certainly, one can make a case for neo-conservative military interventions to support America’s moral principles.   Do you think this new military engagement is a good idea?  Or are 100 soldiers too few to constitute a military initiative?

China spreads its influence

Michael Gerson tells about China’s inroads into Africa and its bigger plans:

The skyline of this city — what little there is of it — is a Chinese creation. Chinese money built the Parliament building. A $100 million, Chinese-funded hotel and conference center is rising. The Chinese government is constructing a soccer stadium, a decidedly popular move.

It is difficult to argue that these shiny new buildings are more urgent development priorities than, say, fighting malaria or providing a daily meal to children in rural schools. But the Chinese don’t even pretend this is the case. These highly visible investments, increasingly unavoidable across Africa, are designed to buy influence with governments.

But why Malawi? This poor, rural, landlocked nation is hardly a strategic prize. Elsewhere, the Chinese are clearly after oil and other resources. Malawi does have some unexploited rare-earth metals and a mine producing uranium. But the aggressive Chinese outreach here seems more directly motivated by a plan to establish China as a power throughout the continent, even in its remotest corners.

This is sometimes called neo-imperialism. At closer range, it more closely resembles mercantilism. Unlike in Asia, where China pursues tinderbox land disputes, the objectives here are overwhelmingly economic — securing vital commodities while selling cheap manufactured goods.

Though China does not seek to plant military bases or ideological revolutions in Africa, the Chinese model of state-led development is increasingly viewed as an alternative to Western economic liberalism. Leaders such as South African President Jacob Zuma are impressed with the Chinese economic approach — which is naturally attractive to leaders inclined toward the expansion of government power.

But what is appealing to African leaders is not always good for African societies. China’s defining foreign policy principle is “mutual noninterference in domestic affairs,” which comes in handy for a nation that fears a focus on its own domestic oppression. In practice, this means that African governments have a rich friend with low standards. Some Chinese associates, such as Zimbabwe or Sudan, are international outlaws. Elsewhere, the influence is more subtle. Malawi, for example, is a multiparty democracy that is experiencing slow democratic regression. Recent legal changes have restricted press freedom and expanded discrimination based on sexual orientation (adding a prohibition against lesbianism to the existing colonial-era statute). Western donors have objected. But since China is indifferent, the pressure on the Malawian government is diluted.

via China’s African investments: Who benefits? – The Washington Post.

A new nation

After years of civil war and genocide, in which the Arab Muslims of the north brutalized the African Christians of the south, a new nation has been born.  In accord with an armistice agreement, the people of southern Sudan voted for secession.  With 99.57% of the vote.

The new country, South Sudan, is set for sovereignty within six months.  It will be one of the poorest nations on earth.  And yet it sits atop vast amounts of oil.  By terms of the agreement, the oil wealth has to be shared with the north, but it needs to be developed first.

This is a country that’s worth pulling for.  And praying for.

It’s official: South Sudan set to secede with a 99.57 percent vote – CSMonitor.com.

Global warming & Africa revisited

Thanks to tODD for actually doing research on that piece I blogged about by Civil Rights activist turned conservative Roy Innis, accusing the Obama administration of devastating Ghana because of its global warming mandates:

This article appears to be less than truthful.

I searched on Google News for any mention of articles that discussed
[Ghana OPIC]. And here’s the weird thing. With the exception of this
Washington Times article, most of the news all stemmed from
Forbes[1][2][3]. I found that odd. There are basically two
sources on this story, and they both have conservative biases. That
doesn’t smell right.

Then I did a search on OPIC.gov for news of this story. Nothing I
could find, though I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to say anything
about it.

So I started searching on Google News for [ghana 130-megawatt,
gas-fired power plant], just to find discussion of this plant. And I
found all of two articles. The Washington Times article that
Veith posted, and a story from Ghana Business News.

And the latter had an interesting story[4]:

In recent times some publications in the Wall Street Journal and
particularly Forbes.com have [sought] to impugn the integrity of Ghana
and to question the country’s sovereignty. One of the articles on
Forbes actually went to the extent of accusing President Obama of
being responsible for an American power company losing an energy
contract to build 130-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at
Aboadze in the Western region. Meanwhile, a ghanabusinessnews.com
investigation of this power project contract revealed that there was
no contract at all that has been awarded to HPI. Indeed,
ghanabusinessnews.com communicated with officials of HPI by telephone
and by email and their responses were included in the report that was
published on April 16, 2009. It is curious therefore, that the Forbes
article will seek to link the failure to award a contract that never
was to Obama’s doing.

If you go to the Ghana Business News link below[4], you can
follow the link they have to a story from last year[5] investigating
this power-plant-contract that didn’t exist.

Feel free to prove me wrong, but I call “bull” on this story. It
appears to be nothing more than another right-wing potshot at Obama
and against anti-global-warming measures. I expect conservatives like
Mr. Innis (and son) to make arguments like that, but I also expect
them to tell the truth in so doing.

[1]mobile.ghanaweb.com/wap/article.php?ID=177408
[2]theghanaianjournal.com/2010/02/25/a-presidential-doublespeak-on-investing-in-ghana/
[3]forbes.com/global/2010/0315/companies-obama-ghana-hpi-energy-dont-read-my-lips.html
[4]ghanabusinessnews.com/2010/03/01/is-the-us-after-ghana’s-oil-at-all-cost/
[5]ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/04/16/us-company-to-build-another-power-plant-for-ghana/

OK, the Power Plant story sounds bogus.

The other part of the article says that new OPIC rules prevent help for projects that might contribute to global warming. Is that part true? I found this: http://www.opic.gov/news/press-releases/2007/pr061407
That, however, is from 2007, which would be from the Bush administration.

tODD also dug up President Obama’s executive order that the article referenced, which isn’t as specific as Innis made it sound:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/2009fedleader_eo_rel.pdf

tODD also found an article about OPIC and global warming:

http://www.climatechangeinsights.com/2009/11/articles/us-policy/opic-and-the-exportimport-bank-after-the-nepa-settlement-a-tale-of-two-agencies/

So, have these rules prevented investment in needed projects in Africa? We don’t really know. Maybe, and maybe they will in the future, but Innis’s column has not demonstrated what he claims.

Also, who knew that Roy Innis, black nationalist that he used to be, is now considered a conservative? I didn’t.

I know that I should be doing all of this research, but I just don’t have time. I depend on you to keep me honest. So thanks to Todd for all of this digging.

Global warming policies vs. Africa

The veteran civil rights activist Roy Innis is blasting the administration for the way its policies to combat the alleged global warming are devastating Africa:

The president signed an executive order requiring that the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) and other federal agencies reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with their projects by 30 percent over the next 10 years. The order undermines the ability of sub-Saharan African nations to achieve progress in energy and economic and human rights.

Ghana is trying to build a 130-megawatt, gas-fired power plant to bring electricity’s blessings to more of its people, schools, hospitals and businesses. Today, almost half of Ghanaians never have access to electricity, or they get it only a few hours a week, leaving their futures bleak.

Most people in Ghana are forced to cook and heat with wood, crop wastes or dung, says Franklin Cudjoe, director of the Imani (Hope) Center for Policy and Education, in Accra. The indoor air pollution from these fires causes blindness, asthma and severe lung infections that kill a million women and young children every year. Countless more Africans die from intestinal diseases caused by eating unrefrigerated, spoiled food.

But when Ghana turned to its U.S. “partner” and asked OPIC to support the $185 million project, OPIC refused to finance even part of it – thus adding as much as 20 percent to its financing cost. Repeated across Africa, these extra costs for meeting “climate change prevention” policies will threaten numerous projects and prolong poverty and disease for millions.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 800 million people, 80 percent of whom live on less than $2.50 per day. More than 700 million people – twice the population of the United States and Canada combined – rarely or never have access to the lifesaving, prosperity-creating benefits of electricity, Mr. Cudjoe notes.

Even in South Africa, the most advanced nation in the region, 25 percent of the populace still has no electricity. Pervasively insufficient electrical power has meant frequent brownouts that have hampered factory output and forced gold and diamond mines to shut down because of risks that miners would suffocate in darkness deep underground. The country also suffers from maternal mortality rates 36 times higher than in the United States and tuberculosis rates 237 times higher.

And yet Mr. Obama told his Ghanaian audience last July that Africa is gravely “threatened” by global warming, which he argues “will spread disease, shrink water resources and deplete crops,” leading to more famine and conflict. Africa, he says, can “increase access to power while skipping – leapfrogging – the dirtier phase of development,” by using its “bountiful” wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels energy.

via INNIS: Obama keeps Africa in the dark – Washington Times.

Mr. Innis and his co-author (I believe his son) go on to explain why that just doesn’t work. Africa just needs electricity, like the rest of us. Meanwhile, those of us who have electricity, along with virtually everything else we need, have the luxury of ideological purity applied to others, though not ourselves.


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