Iran’s Nuclear Program: Who Can We Trust?

By Tony Kireopoulos

The most pressing, and debated, matter in foreign policy today is the proposed agreement between Iran and its negotiating partners regarding its nuclear program and what most understand as the future of security in the Middle East. The Obama Administration, on behalf of the United States, along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, has agreed to a deal with Iran that would rein in Iran’s nuclear capabilities while financially phasing that country back into the mainstream of the international community.

Despite the promise of a new era represented by this agreement, not all parties see it as a positive development. Among the critics are members of the United States Congress, the endorsement of which would be helpful for this diplomatic achievement to find full acceptance by the American public. While some may attribute this contrary spirit to persistent post-9/11 fearfulness, deep-seated contempt for the Iranian “enemy,” simple belligerence, or just plain animosity toward the president, I wonder if, at its core, this contrariness is fundamentally rooted in a profound lack of trust. But it is not so much about trust in Iran or its government. It is more about trust in ourselves, and in the power of our ideals.

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The Symbol of the Confederate Flag

By Tony Kireopoulos

A symbol is important. It represents what we believe, and it drives us to action in the name of that belief. It also does more than that: in the original sense of the word, a symbol makes the subject of that belief a present reality in the hearts and minds of those who look to it for meaning.

I’ve been thinking about this since the debate over the Confederate flag began after the shootings at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston. Contrary to those who claim its protection as free speech under the First Amendment, many voices have called for its removal from state houses and store shelves; many others have called for a subsequent debate of the race issues underlying the situation. I myself at first wondered about the effectiveness of pulling the flag from public view; to me, it initially seemed to be a relatively minor action compared to the gravity of what is happening in our country in terms of race these days. And yet, if I think about the Confederate flag as a symbol – not just one representing the South, but one making the reality of racism, intolerance and oppression present in the hearts and minds of many who fly it – I find myself also advocating for its removal.

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NCC Grieves With Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA expresses its deep sadness at the news of the mass killings last night at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. We extend prayers to the families of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, his sister, and all others who died in another senseless mass shooting in our nation.

Every death as a result of gun violence personally affects the churches in this country, but these shootings are felt even more personally by members of the National Council of Churches as the African Methodist Episcopal Church is a founding member denomination and has three representatives on the Governing Board, including Rev. William Miller, pastor of St. John AME, just west of Charleston.

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Protestant and Orthodox Communities Applaud Pope's Encyclical on the Environment

Welcome Francis into a Long Line of Faith Leaders and Traditions Who Call for Stewardship of Creation

WASHINGTON: Standing in solidarity with their Catholic brothers and sisters, the National Council of Churches and Creation Justice Ministries express excitement and hope for Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Acknowledging that Francis is a holy figure to millions of Americans and over a billion people around the world, this church document has the ability to reframe the debate about environmental protections and climate change away from being political and toward a conversation about moral obligation and right relationship with the Creator.

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The NCC is a community of communions called by Christ to visible unity and sent forth in the Spirit to promote God’s justice, peace, and the healing of the world.

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