Century Marks

Century Marks

Earthbound hoax

Bart Centre, an atheist, claimed to offer a service to Christians that would take care of their pets after the rapture. He said his business, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, has charged hundreds of pet owners $100 each for the service. The New Hamp­shire Insurance Department smelled a rat. They issued Centre a subpoena, asking him to list his clients and other facts about his business. He replied that it was a hoax from the beginning and that he has no clients (NPR, March 25).

Jet-propelled expenses

The Pentagon's development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet has already cost the government $400 billion. The plane, designed to replace nearly all of the tactical fighters used by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, is now projected to cost over $1 trillion to develop, procure and support through 2050. One reason for the huge expense is that planes are being built even before their development and testing are completed. As plans change, planes already constructed need to be retrofitted. The software needed to make the planes combat ready is "as complex as anything on earth," according to the government (ProPublica, March 23).

Blaming the victim

A new poll shows that more than half of all Canadians distrust Muslims. As many as 52 percent of Canadians feel that Muslims can be trusted "a little" or "not trusted at all." The poll showed that 48 percent of respondents said Muslims can be trusted "a lot" or "somewhat." And 42 percent said discrimination against Muslims is "mainly their fault." Sociologist Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, concluded that Canadians hold discriminatory views and then say, "If we feel this way about you, it's your fault" (RNS).

Religious vote

The Republican presidential primaries have followed patterns of a religious census. Mitt Romney has won wherever white evangelicals have cast a minority of the votes. Rick Santorum has won in most cases where white evangelicals cast the majority of votes. Mormon voters helped Romney win Nevada, Arizona and Idaho. But ironically, Santorum, a devout Catholic, has consistently lost the Catholic vote to Romney. Columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. thinks this is because Catholic voters tend to be a moderating voice in both parties and Santorum stands to the right of most Catholics who vote Republican. Except among Mormons, Romney doesn't do well with Republican voters who say a candidate's religion matters to them (Washington Post, March 21).

Along for the ride

Imagine someone came up to you on the street and said: "My bus leaves in two minutes. Tell me about the resurrection in the time remaining." Elizabeth Templeton, who posed that challenge to the Church of England's House of Bishops, said her own response would be: "If you really want to hear about the resurrection, be prepared to miss your bus." Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had another suggestion: "I think I'd have asked the man where he was going, then said that I'd accompany him on the journey" (Benjamin Myers, Christ the Stran­ger: The Theology of Rowan Williams).