Century Marks

Century Marks

Shut out

The U.S. Department of Justice has sued a small Minneapolis suburb for denying Muslims permission to create an Islamic center. The government said the municipality of St. Anthony Village is violating Muslims’ right to freedom of worship. The center was proposed for a building located in an area zoned for assemblies. The municipality said it denied the request because there is a limited amount of industrial space for job creation (Reuters).

Church and state

Evidence is mounting that some Russian Orthodox clergy have been aiding the efforts of pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. One pro-Ukrainian editor charged that priests at an Orthodox church in Slovyansk, Ukraine, blessed the rebel fighters and let the rebels store ammunition on church property. Patriarch Kirill I, head of the Orthodox Church based in Moscow, suggested that the Ukrainian military actions against the Russian-backed rebels is an attempt to “overpower the canonical Orthodox Church.” The rebels temporarily took over a large Protestant church and murdered four evangelicals who belonged to another church in town (New York Times, September 6).

Conflict over

Class warfare in America is over, says Nick Carnes, and the well-to-do have won. The result is that the less well-to-do are being shut out of the decision-making process. Very few working-class Americans get into government, even at the state level. Running for office is so expensive that only wealthier Americans aspire to elected office. Once in office they reflect their own class. “Social safety net programs are stingier, business regulations are flimsier, and tax policies are more regressive than they would be if our politicians came from the same mix of classes as the people they represent,” says Carnes (Vox, September 3).

War protest

A Michigan man has won his legal battle to have “WAR SUX” stamped on his license plate. The state of Michigan argued that the phrase includes a sexual connotation that is inappropriate for children to see. A U.S. district judge ruled that the word is now being used as slang for something objectionable. The judge ruled that the state maintains the right to limit license plates that are indecent or offensive (MLive.com, September 3).

Not my business

A video seen by tens of millions of Chinese is causing a national debate about Chinese character and personal responsibility. The video shows a foreigner fainting on a Shanghai subway train earlier this summer. All the passengers around him scattered; no one came to his aid. When the train stopped at the next station, hundreds of people rushed out, nearly trampling over each other. One Chinese commented: “Everyone is hoping someone else will take care of him. . . . No one wants to be dragged into things that aren’t their business” (NPR, September 1).