Iran And The Season of Peace and Goodwill

by James M. WallBethlehem today Wikipedia

This is the season which celebrates the hope of peace and good will among humankind. The New Testament testifies to this hope in Luke 2:8-20.

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:8-20 New KJV

The key to this passage is the announcement, “You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

The Babe is Jesus, born of Mary, in the town of Bethlehem (modern city shown above). In the time recorded by Luke, the Babe lies in a manger, helpless and vulnerable. When we speak of the Babe we see him as an embodiment of future hope, a promise of what could be.

Today, in the land where Jesus was born, there is another fragile and vulnerable hope for peace. A nuclear peace agreement between Iran and major western powers waits to grow into a mature reality. Unlike the child described by Luke, this peace agreement is not perfect; it was created by political leaders, not by God.

Israel stands in strong opposition to the agreement on the grounds that it believes Iran is moving toward developing a nuclear arms system that Israel feels threatens its security. Israel is known to have at least 200 nuclear warheads; Iran has none.

Israel stands alone in this belief, except for its allies in the United States Senate, 27 of whom are sponsoring the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, a Senate proposal designed to undermine the Iranian peace efforts by President Obama.

80042-620x350The leaders of this effort are Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) (pictured at left on the right) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). (also at left).Their bill is described by a release from Senator Menendez’ office as “bipartisan legislation proposing prospective sanctions on Iran should the regime violate the interim Joint Plan of Action agreed to in Geneva or should Iran fail to reach a final agreement.”

Co-sponsors of the bill are Senators Menendez, Kirk, Schumer, Graham, Cardin, McCain, Casey, Rubio, Coons, Cornyn, Blumenthal, Ayotte, Begich, Corker, Pryor, Collins, Landrieu, Moran, Gillibrand, Roberts, Warner, Johanns, Hagan, Cruz, Donnelly, Blunt and Booker, an “honor roll” of pro-Israel senators, politicians who do not hesitate to stand against the U.S. President when his policies are opposed by Israel.

The last name on the “honor roll” list is newly elected New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who entered the Senate this fall with strong pro-Israel credentials. He and his fellow senators who have offered the new sanction bill have begun their Christmas break with the full awareness that in this season of “peace and good will” they have called for a nuclear agreement action already rejected by Iran.

Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters that should the Senate pass the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, President Obama would veto the bill.

A veto may not be necessary because while the hard line pro-Israel senators from both parties are standing against the President’s sanctions agreement, he has strong Senate support.  Senate Democratic committee chairs have sent Obama a letter of support.

In their letter they indicate that they are opposed to imposing new restrictions on Iran. They also ask the President to inform them “before any attempt is made to pass sanctions legislation.” This is procedural protection from senators who often try to pass legislation by a unanimous consent vote at the end of long work periods or at the end of the year.

The letter that supports the current Obama-Kerry negotiated agreement is signed by Senate Banking Chairman Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California, Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin of Michigan, Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Environment and Public Workers Chairwoman Barbara Boxer of California, Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Tom Carper of Delaware, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Energy Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa.

During a recent press conference, President Obama spoke to his support for the original negotiated agreement:

The pro-Israel senators in this discussion have chosen s path against the vulnerable nuclear peace agreement, thereby working to kill the agreement.  They may think they are the Wise Men in this discussion, but given Israel’s increasing isolation on the world stage, alongside its decreasing ability to stave off international economic boycotts, it would appear their wisdom is flawed.

They may soon find that they have listened to the wrong voices when they rejected the Obama-Kerry nuclear agreement.

The picture of modern day Bethlehem at top, is from Wikipedia, also a modern development. 

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
This entry was posted in Iran, John Kerry, Middle East, Middle East Politics, Obama, Religious Faith. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Iran And The Season of Peace and Goodwill

  1. Bonnie Jones Shinneman says:

    Hi Jim: THANKS for your well stated article about Iran and Israel in this time of peace and goodwill. I have been to Bethlehem several times. I yearn for and pray for peace for the people of Bethlehem and the West Bank. I also pray for peace and understanding with Iran as the people live in Iran with sanctions making life more difficult. It is ludicrous for Israel with their “illegal” nuclear weapons to make life so difficult for Iran. Thanks always for your articles which are very helpful. Bonnie Jones Shinneman

  2. Great post, Jim. I shared it on Facebook with this comment: ‘The “honor roll” of 27 is in fact a despicable “dishonor roll.” These dishonorable 27 should be impeached, every one, for this and uncountable other transgressions committed on behalf of Zionist Israel and against the vital national interests of the USA.’

  3. judy neunuebel says:

    Thank you for your excellent analysis of this situation. Shared on FB.

  4. Harris Fawell says:

    Jim: Let us hope that the President will be upheld in his support of the tentative nuclear arms agreement plan with Iran. The 27 Senators should be ashamed of theimselves. Harris Fawell

  5. Pauline Coffman says:

    Jim, Thanks for laying out the sides so clearly. The mainstream media would have us believe that only those opposed to negotiations are active! Not so.

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