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Peace Prize Reactions

The biggest surprise of the past week was the announcement that President Obama will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. While no one, not even the President, felt he had done enough to earn the prize, some groups viewed the prize as a hopeful gesture while others thought the President is an agent against, not for, peace.

Sojourners supported giving Obama the Nobel Prize in several posts. Valerie Elverton Dixon wrote that while little has been accomplished so far, Obama has a vision for peace. She wrote that the Nobel committee recognized this vision and "has given him a just peace prize." Edward Gilbreath viewed the prize as "a salute to America's ability to finally rise up to the ideals of equality, freedom, and strength through diversity that it was founded on." Jim Wallis interpreted the prize as a "prayer." He wrote that he wanted it to "be a prayer for the U.S. itself, to lead in a new way and to seek a fundamentally different approach to the many global decisions that this new president will now have to make."

Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said that Obama has done little to deserve the prize and has done much to bring his role as peacemaker into question. Land noted the President's recent decision, under pressure from China, to not meet with the Dalai Lama. According to Land, "It's becoming clear that Mr. Obama's definition of engagement leaves plenty of room to meet with dictators but less room for those who challenge them."

Other groups were more pointed in their criticism of the Nobel committee's decision.

Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel said Obama "has done nothing to advance peace in this Nation or abroad. When abroad, he apologizes for America and is embarrassed by ...

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October 2009

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