Century Marks

Century Marks

Modern cathedrals

In his travels about the country as a church consultant, Anthony Robinson has noticed that in many cities the manufacturing plants are shuttered and office buildings vacant. The only institutions that seem to be thriving are hospitals and medical centers, which not only have the latest in medical technology but in some cases incorporate shops, spas, community centers and destination restaurants. These lavish new medical facilities, aimed at the well-insured and affluent, make Robinson skeptical about keeping the cost of health care in check. He calls these elaborate medical facilities our modern cathedrals—evidence that health care is at the center of our lives (Crosscut, June 1).

Looking back

When historian David McCullough was asked what future generations will wonder about us, he answered, "How we could have spent so much time watching TV" (Time.com, June 20).

Tax dollars at work

Kentucky taxpayers are about to subsidize a theme park based on a replica of Noah's ark. The subsidies come in the form of tax incentives. The theme park, developed by an organization called Answers in Genesis, was the brainstorm of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which advances a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. "The ministry of Answers in Genesis can't think of a more effective way today to share the gospel with so many millions of people than an ark," states the organization's website (USAToday.com, May 31).

Walking in their shoes

Volunteers at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Haven recently washed the feet of 40 homeless people. They also massaged and put lotion on the feet of these homeless people and gave them new socks and a $40 voucher toward new shoes. In some cases the condition of their feet indicated medical problems, such as diabetes, and a nurse was on hand to treat those problems. Homeless people on average walk 8.5 miles a day (New Haven Independent, April 23).

Good questions

"Is it fair that David Letterman makes 700 times more than a schoolteacher?" Michael Sandel, government professor at Harvard, asks his students that question in his popular course on justice. Sandel's lectures on justice, which can be accessed via the Internet, have given him nearly rock-star status in Asia. On a lecture tour in Japan, the free tickets to his talk that were distributed via a lottery were scalped online for as much as $500. Sandel began that lecture by asking, "Is ticket scalping fair or unfair?" Sandel believes a renewed interest in justice indicates that people are recognizing that economic values do not by themselves produce happiness or a good society (Thomas Friedman, New York Times, June 14).