When westerners think about the Balkan peninsula, they think of conflict. After all, the area that includes Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Kosovo has a history of over nine centuries of complicated rivalries that have often exploded into bloody entanglements. Even historians despair of sorting out the bitter patterns of conquest and reconquest, peace and war.
Daniel O. Aleshire was elected last year as executive director of the Association of Theological Schools. The primary purpose of the ATS, an organization of some 237 graduate schools of theology in the U.S. and Canada, is to improve theological education. An accrediting agency, it also offers programs and services to member institutions.
Here is a nightmare for those who hate conflict: take a not very large or airy room in Washington, D.C., and jam it full of tables and microphones, chairs and cameras. Put a document on the table to test at a "public airing." Now invite to the table representatives of groups who are rarely in the same room together.
Marriage as a public issue has been growing in visibility in the U.S., but it has never moved to the center of public discourse. Policy wonks occasionally refer to the "m" word; this is their way of acknowledging that marriage should not be brought up in polite (or politically correct) discussions of public policy.