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This Week: God and Politics in the Holy Land
This Week
February 20, 2004

This week on NOW:

An unlikely group has emerged as a potent political force in discussions about peace in the Middle East: American Evangelical Christians in the United States. Citing Biblical prophecy, these evangelicals call for all of the West Bank to remain in Israeli hands, and oppose any two-state solution. Sometimes called Christian Zionists, they believe that the Second Coming of Jesus will take place in Jerusalem and also oppose any division of the city.  Chrisitan Zionists have allied themselves with conservative Israeli politicans and represent a powerful voting bloc for President Bush in the upcoming presidential election. Can he afford to ignore their wishes? NOW travels to Israel to examine the growing influence of these Christian Zionists on the peace process and on the making of American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Civil Rights attorney Connie Rice is known for success in tackling problems of inequity and exclusion. She is co-director of The Advancement Project, a public policy and legal action group that supports organizations working to end community problems and address racial, class and other opportunity barriers. As a litigator, Rice filed the landmark case on behalf of low-income bus riders resulting in a mandate that more than $2 billion be spent to improve the bus system. "I sue people who don't produce results with our public money," says Rice, "You cannot take $10 billion of money for the Los Angeles Unified School District. They can't even tell you what they're doing with it and the kids are illiterate. No. Unacceptable." She has received more than 50 major awards for her work in expanding opportunity and advancing a multi-racial democracy. David Brancaccio sits down with Connie Rice for a lively, and oftentimes surprising, discussion of her views on the state of our nation with a focus on economic disparity.

In a few days the interim governing council in Iraq is supposed to reveal the outlines of a new constitution for the country. America's Pro-Consul Paul Bremer anticipates it will look, smell, and feel like our very own Bill of Rights - guaranteeing Freedom of Speech, Assembly, and Religious belief to all Iraqis. But Muslim clerics who put faith over democracy don't want Islamic Law to be a basis of the constitution; they want it to be the main basis of how the country is governed. It is only four months until June 30, the day President Bush wants to turn the country over to Iraqis; but with continued killings, suicide bombings, civilian deaths, and increased tension between Iraqi factions, will the US be able to safely transfer power back to the Iraqi people? NPR's Deborah Amos has been covering Iraq for years and reports to Bill Moyers via satellite from Baghdad.

In Depth

The History of Christian Zionism

More on West Bank Settlements

Piggy bank

The Advancement Project's Connie Rice

Election 2004: Income and Inequality in America

Map of Iraq
Keeping Up with Middle East Media

The Afghan Women's Bill of Rights

NOW's Focus on Iraq


Talk about Iraqi elections on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

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God and Politics in the Holy Land (NOTE: Some still images have been removed due to online permissions issues.)

David Brancaccio talks with The Advancement Project's Connie Rice

Bill Moyers Talks with Deborah Amos in Baghdad

Bill Moyers on the Film OSAMA


God and Politics in the Holy Land
Producer: Bob Abeshouse
Editor: Kathi Black

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