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.