Prophecies give way to prayer
With the reported site of Jesus' birth as a focal point for the Mideast conflict, one might expect the biblical prophecy interpreters to be in high gear. Not so, says The Washington Times. Even Hal Lindsey "is focusing on larger biblical themes rather than details, such as terrorist attacks on America or Israel's seizure of Yasser Arafat's political headquarters," writes Larry Witham. Christian Broadcasting Network columnist Erin Zimmerman, on a visit to Israel, says she's "surprised by the lack of detailed, 'date-setting' type of end-times speculation that was popular during the Gulf War." The reason, she suspects, is because the immediate horror of the situation makes such guesswork seem a bit trivial. Evangelicals in the Holy Land, Zimmerman says, are "becoming more aware that there's a human side to Armageddon. For many Christians, I think the prophetic viewpoint is being tempered by a new level of compassion where the Middle East is concerned."

Slave redeemers: We weren't ripped off
Regular Weblog readers will remember accusations in February editions of The Irish Times, The Washington Post, and other media that Christian Solidarity International had been duped into buying and freeing fake slaves. "Rebel officials round up local villagers to pose for the cameras," Declan Walsh reported in The Irish Times. "They recruit fake slavers—a light skinned soldier, or a passing trader—to 'sell' them. The children are coached in stories of abduction and abuse for when the redeemer, or a journalist, asks questions. Interpreters may be instructed to twist their answers."

As also noted by Weblog, Christian Solidarity International's first response didn't get into many specifics, but reiterated the horror ...

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