What would the world look like if the primary solidarities that ordered it were religious rather than national? This is not the world we live in, though there are signs that it’s the one we’re moving toward. Among those signs, ambiguous and interesting, is the public letter sent last May by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, to George W. Bush.
Ahmadinejad’s letter received rather little sensible comment in the American media, and almost none that paid attention to the fact that it is framed as an address by one believer in God to another, and that it appeals to Bush to treat the faith he shares with Ahmadinejad as more important than what divides them.
Paul J. Griffiths, whose books include Christianity Through Non-Christian Eyes; Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity and Intellectual Appetite: A Theological Grammar, teaches at Duke Divinity School.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).