Century Marks

Century Marks

Rare case

A hard-line Muslim cleric received an 11-year suspended sentence last month for tearing up and burning a Bible in Egypt. His son was given a suspended sentence of eight years for the same incident. The two were ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($700). The ruling can be appealed. The cleric ripped up a Bible and burned it during a rally last fall by ultraconservative Salafi Muslims in front of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, protesting an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. It’s rare in Egypt for an attack on a faith other than Islam to be prosecuted (AP).

Define church

Will Campbell, who died last month, referred to himself as a bootleg preacher. A lawyer once asked him where he went to church. Campbell said that depends on your definition of church. The lawyer replied that church is a community of baptized believers. Campbell said that the night before he was in a tavern with a neighbor whose wife had just died. He watched him get drunk and helped him a bit. Campbell said he knew the people in that tavern. “There were all baptized; they were all believers,” he said (Tennessean, June 4).

Marital advantage?

Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that it will lead to a further weakening of the institution of marriage. But some research shows that there are strengths in same-sex marriage from which heterosexual couples could learn. Same-sex couples tend to be happier and have less conflict, and they are more likely to share equally in household chores and childrearing. Because they don’t have fixed gender roles to follow, same-sex couples have to do more negotiating to make the relationship work. “If a genderless marriage is a marriage in which the wife is not automatically expected to be responsible for school forms and child care and dinner preparation and birthday parties and midnight feedings and holiday shopping, I think it’s fair to say that many heterosexual women would cry ‘Bring it on!’” says Liza Mundy (Atlantic, June).

Earn to give

Jason Trigg, a recent MIT graduate in computer science, may represent a new breed in his generation. He’s taken a job at a Wall Street hedge fund company to make as much money as he can—so he can give away as much as he can. His favorite charity is the Against Malaria Foundation, which estimates that a $2,500 donation can save one life. Trigg, who lives with three roommates, figures he can do more by contributing to good causes than by actually working in them. Rather than going on a mission trip to dig wells in Africa, he can contribute funds to have more wells dug. Trigg attributes his career choice to philosopher Peter Singer, who regards earning-to-give as the most ethical career choice (Wonkblog, washingtonpost.com, May 31).

Givers beware

Crooks are scamming people out of money by impersonating well-known religious leaders on Facebook and making appeals for money. United Methodist pastor Adam Hamilton of Kansas City, who leads the largest Methodist congregation in the United States, has been one of the victims of these scammers. “Somebody is using my pictures and my name in order to take advantage of other people and to hurt them, and that really makes me mad,” Hamilton said in a sermon titled “Evil in the Name of God.” Anyone can pretend to be someone else on Facebook and as soon as a phony page is taken down, another can be put back up (Kansas City Star, May 11).