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Recently I was invited to a book-signing reception inWashingtonDC for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She discussed her new book, The Mighty & The Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs. She noted that although the role of religion should not be ignored in public affairs, it is wrong to allow one's personal faith to influence public policy.
How do you do that? How do you divorce core beliefs from public policies? Or is this a restatement that "people of faith" - especially those holding conservative views - should keep their opinions private while those with secular values can share their views on any topic. I wondered whether the Secretary had ever witnessed The Almighty engaged in life, law or public policy. I was tempted to ask that question during the Q&A but a respected friend felt it was "too personal."
Another Dimension? This month we've worked with colleagues in a former communist nation wrestling with tax policies exempting not-for-profit groups that provide educational, health and related social services. Tax officials don't know how to deal with abusers who should not qualify for the exemption. Instead of going after the abusers, however, the tax office recently imposed an immediate 20% income tax on all not-for-profit groups. The officials refused to meet to discuss the new policy with our colleagues whose program has trained thousands of nationals in computer and English skills. A few days ago, I received the following email (with names changed):
A very interesting thing happened yesterday. Martha and I were in a meeting when the phone rang and the person on the other end said that Martha's father was doing poorly and requesting her to go home immediately. Her uncle (her father's brother) died earlier in the week. He was a known and respected scientist/professor. Martha left and after some hours her father was feeling better. She was home then as the family was continuing to receive visiting friends to honor her uncle. Guess who showed up...both the director and vice director of the tax office! She now has a meeting with them on Monday morning. This is a wonderful development that only God could do!
Is it conceivable that this coincidence points to evidence of another dimension where The Almighty is engaged in life, law and public policy in fascinating but mysterious ways? I wonder what Secretary Albright might say, while...
Living in His-Story,
Samuel E. Ericsson
Founder & President
Advocates in Action in India
Greetings from CLAI!
CLAI (Christian Legal Association of India) successfully concluded its 2nd National Conference at United Theological College, Bangalore. The theme for the conference was "Let your Light so shine..." The three-day program started on June 8, 2006 and focused on the Christian call to leadership.
The conference was attended by 77 Christian lawyers from across India representing 14 states and a delegation from Advocates Korea. The topics addressed included integrity at the workplace, lawyers in the family, Christian involvement in law, Environmental Law and Religious Liberty. CLAI wishes to thank all the participants for making the conference fruitful. We especially thank the CLA-Karnataka team for all the efforts they made in arranging the conference.
For your information, CLAI will host the 6th Advocates Asia (AA) Conference in Delhi from October 26 - 29. We are expecting more than 180 participants from across Asia. More details of the conference will be sent to you shortly. Please keep the AA conference in your prayers and block these dates.
Christian Legal Association of India
Note: CLAI is one of nearly 100 national active or emerging Christian lawyer groups within Advocates International's global network that have been organized in recent years to be salt and light locally, nationally and regionally.