Mauricio Avilez isn’t sleeping well. He’s jumpy. It’s hard for him to concentrate on his studies. He’s learned surreptitiously that the paramilitary groups in his country, Colombia, want him dead. So he worries about unfamiliar cars on his street and motorcycles that cruise too close to the curb or near the window of a taxi he is riding in.
Several of the United States’ allies remain among the world’s most egregious violators of human rights, according to a recent report from a nonpartisan federal panel, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Republican member of Congress Henry J. Hyde opened a budget hearing of the House International Relations Committee on February 16 with a speech he called “Perils of the Golden Theory.” A reporter for National Public Radio called it flowery. I found it to be eloquent and nuanced, with a profundity one rarely encounters at a congressional budget hearing.
Filipino churches seeking justice over the summary killings of church and human rights workers are looking to the international Christian community to pressure the government in Manila to put a halt to the assassinations.
The Lutheran Church in El Salvador and officials at the Salvadoran Lutheran University contend that a robbery and brutal murder on their campus in late January was an act of intimidation aimed at the church for being outspoken in politics.
Los Angeles County supervisors, faced with a lawsuit to remove a tiny gold cross from the county seal, have voted to remove it, but the Roman goddess Pomona will stay. County supervisors voted June 1 to remove the cross, which was incorporated into the seal’s original 1957 design to represent the Catholic missions founded by Jesuit missionaries.
Though it is hard to imagine the situation in Colombia getting much worse, church leaders and human rights groups are warning that the violence is in fact increasing, and that a “dirty war” like the one in El Salvador in the 1980s and in Chile and Argentina in the 1970s is likely to erupt.
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).