South Korea Orders All Aid Groups Out of Afghanistan
Today's Top Five
1. No progress in Korean hostage situation
The South Korean government, which last month banned travel to Afghanistan, has now ordered Korean organizations already in the country to pull out by the end of the month, the Associated Press reported. Reuters, meanwhile, reported that South Korean Christians are pulling back their short-term missions programs around the world this summer. However, there are few actual developments in the efforts to free the 21 Koreans from Saemmul Presbyterian Church being held by the Taliban.
The New York Times and others have quoted a letter from the hostages' families to presidents Bush and Karzai: "We do not want world order and principles to be undermined for the sake of the release and safe return of the Koreans. Saving these people, however, will also serve as an opportunity to reaffirm the precious values of humanity as a whole."
There has been deadly fighting between the Taliban and Afghan police in the district where the hostages are being held, but it appears unrelated.
2. Pentagon report criticizes seven military leaders' appearance in Christian video
Four generals and three other military officers appeared in uniform and "in official and often identifiable Pentagon locations" in a video for Christian Embassy, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. That's a violation of military rules, and "corrective action" should be taken, says a 47-page report from the Defense Department's inspector general.
"The overall circumstances of the interviews emphasized the speakers' military status and affiliation and implied they were acting within the scope of their official positions as DoD spokespersons," the report said.
3. Is Romney Mormon enough? Is Giuliani Catholic enough?
While much of the buzz about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney focuses on whether his Mormon faith will dissuade evangelical voters, a video making the rounds is raising questions of whether Romney is actually Mormon enough for conservatives.
In the now-famous interview, WHO's Jan Mickelson repeatedly asks Romney about his Mormon faith and repeatedly asserts that Romney's church disciplines anyone who encourages abortion in any way. Mickelson explained, off-air, "What I was trying to get to was: People who will reject your Mormonism on a theological basis can, would put up with that and might vote for you if they thought you were a consistent, morally consistent, Mormon."
"Well, I am," Romney responded. "I am. I am!" But Mickelson was wrong in her views on Mormonism, he said. "There are people in my church who are pro-choice. That is not against my church's view to allow people to have their own position on political positions."
After the interview, Romney said he would not return to the program. "I don't like coming on the air and having you go after me and my church," he said.
"I'm not going after your church; I agree with your church!" Mickelson said.
Meanwhile, at a town-hall meeting, fellow candidate Rudy Giuliani refused to answer whether he is a "traditional, practicing Roman Catholic."
"My religious affiliation, my religious practices, and the degree to which I am a good or not so good Catholic I prefer to leave to the priests," he said. "That would be a much better way to discuss it. That's a personal discussion, and they have a much better sense of how good a Catholic I am or how bad a Catholic I am."
Of questions about his faith, Giuliani said, "It's just sort of gossip. I've never been big on gossip."
Still, the week's most interesting religion news from the campaign trail came on the Democratic side, and not from one of the candidates. Here's what Elizabeth Edwards had to say about God:
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