Century Marks

Century Marks

Beyond politics

The Hebrew Bible is not a textbook on government, but it still can be seen as a guide to modern politics, argues Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. It offers a sustained critique of the uses of power and clearly narrates the moral failures of kings. It tends to prefer the simple relationships of family and community and is critical of the city for its excesses and abuses of power. The texts are concerned with community and society beyond the state—in the welfare of the marginalized, the nature of employer-employee relationships, debt and debt relief, and the environment (review of Michael Walzer’s In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible in Foreign Affairs, November/December).

Blocked market

Apple Com­puters’ app store has refused to carry a program that notifies subscribers every time a U.S. unmanned drone strikes a target somewhere in the world. Though the app, called Drones+, includes only data, not graphic material, Apple said that many users would find it objectionable. It was developed by a New York University grad student using information from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which is tracking the use of unmanned CIA drones (Guardian, November 13).

As you love yourself

When considering Jesus’ words, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” we have a tendency to overlook the “as yourself” part, remarks novelist Ron Hansen. We may use “as yourself” as a measuring stick, to see how well we’re loving the neighbor or to assert a quid quo pro. “I think Jesus intended his hearers to realize they are indeed esteemed by God, that Love loves them, and they ought to treat themselves as a favored child or a prized possession,” says Hansen. Concern for others and for ourselves results from a fully integrated devotion to God (guest essay at journeywithjesus.net).

Crushed

An upstate New York man filed a $3 million lawsuit against a Roman Catholic church after a 600-pound stone cross fell and crushed his leg. The man had regularly prayed at the church for his wife’s recovery from cancer. As a gesture of thanks for his wife’s recovery, the man offered to scrub down the large cross which stood outside the church. While he was cleaning the massive crucifix, it came unhinged from its mount and toppled onto him. The 45-year-old father of three, who had no health insurance, lost his leg in the accident
(UPI).

Biased

Jamie Barden, a psychologist at Howard University, tried an experiment with students. He told them a story about Mike, a political fund raiser. Mike had a serious car accident after drinking at a fund-raising event. A month later, Mike made an impassioned statement on the radio against drunk driving. Barden asked the students if they thought Mike was a changed man or a hypocrite. The students were two and a half times more likely to say that Mike was a hypocrite if they were told he belonged to a political party different from their own (New York Review of Books, November 8)