There is much to criticize about the International Olympic Committee and the global party it throws every two years: the domination of industrialized nations, corporate greed and flagrant bouts of political fence-sitting, whether with Nazi policies in Germany in the 1930s or the recent homophobic legislation in Russia. However, the IOC has not just paid lip service to the ancient idea of an Olympic truce.
A few weeks ago, on my way home on a crowded rush-hour train, I was
slouched down in my seat trying to hide my uncontrollable crying. I was sobbing
not for the lost souls of the world but because I had reached the end of Unbroken,
a new book by Laura Hillenbrand. As embarrassing as my public display of
emotion was, I could not stop reading.
By the end of the Beijing Olympic Games, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, Germany, had sent out 237,400 black silicon Olympic bracelets to protest the human rights record of the Chinese government.
The church raised about 50,000 euros ($74,000), donated by those who received the bracelets in Europe and as far afield as India.
A New Testament scholar at Vanderbilt University Divinity School has been nominated to become senior minister of New York’s Riverside Church, one of the nation’s most prestigious pulpits. Brad R. Braxton would succeed James A. Forbes, who served at Riverside 18 years until his retirement last year.
Unitarian Universalists ended their annual General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last month with a call to oppose ballot measures in Florida and California that would outlaw same-sex marriages. Delegates also called for an end to what they called the “present-day slavery” of undocumented immigrants. Immigrant rights took center stage during the five-day meeting that ended June 29.
The protests over China’s human rights record and its treatment of Tibet as Beijing prepares to host the 2008 Olympics underline a key fact: sports and politics are supposed to remain separate, but rarely do.
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