“Make America Safe Again,” said the signs and speakers on the first night of the Republican National Convention. The desire to feel and be safe crosses political boundaries; it informs a litany of human actions. Yet the very concept seems unexamined. What makes for safety? Is it the same as feeling safe? Is it the same as comfort?
I had work to do the other day, but I set it aside to reread Elie Wiesel’s Night as a way to mark the great man’s death and remember his life.
While I was struck by passages I anticipated, like his account of how his belief was shattered upon seeing the furnaces of Auschwitz—“Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever”—it was an unexpected line that caught me, given a current news story I’d been following.
Elie Wiesel has died. Reading the obituaries, the thing that astounds me is the thing that has always astounded me: how young he was. Eighty-seven now, in 2016. I’ve been burying World War II veterans throughout my years of pastoral ministry. How could Wiesel only be 87?
The Great and Holy Council of the Eastern Orthodox churches concluded Sunday (June 26). There was no shortage of controversy leading up to the council. The churches of Bulgaria, Russia and Georgia didn’t attend. The Ukrainian Church asked for independence from the Russian Church. Many wondered if the council’s decisions would be valid.
In the end, cooler and more charitable heads prevailed.
In the latest issue of the Century, I profiled a family awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and its extension to DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted in a 4-4 tie, which means that the case reverts to the lower court ruling, against the program.