Century Marks

Century Marks

Special welcome

More than two dozen Houston-area churches sponsored a "Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day." Organized by the Houston Clergy Council, the event was a response to an area teenager's suicide after years of being bullied. Meanwhile, megachurch pastor Joel Osteen of Houston told CNN that he believes homosexuality is a sin. Osteen acknowledged that some gays attend his church but said he doesn't preach on the subject (Houston Chronicle, February 19).

Fallen star

Brandon Davies, a star on Brigham Young University's nationally ranked basketball team, was suspended for the remainder of the season because he violated the Mormon-run school's honor code which prohibits premarital sex. BYU, ranked third at the time, had been expected to gain a top seed in the annual NCAA tournament. Davies was allowed to remain in school while his situation was reviewed by the Honor Code Office. According to a source close to the program, Davies was "extremely remorseful, heartbroken," but has accepted the school's punishment (Salt Lake Tribune, March 3).

Gleanings

Marilyn Chandler McEntyre agrees with Kenneth Burke's observation that literature is "equipment for living." McEntyre, a literature professor, calls herself a gleaner, a collector of phrases and sentences from literature that have helped her to gain perspective, direction, healing or to laugh, reclaim her deepest desires and remember her deepest purposes. The skill of good reading, she says, is not just to notice what one is reading but also to allow one's self to be addressed by it, "to take it personally," she says. Even with secular texts the Holy Spirit can "enable us to receive whatever gift is there for our growth and our use" (Books & Culture, March/April).

Heard this before?

Walter Russell Mead likens the Tea Party movement to Jacksonian populism, a recurrent theme in American politics. This kind of populism is skeptical of the elites and of elite institutions, especially during times of economic stress. While the Tea Party itself may splinter and fade, the impulses behind it will remain, says Mead. There is no consensus within the Tea Party, especially on foreign affairs. The Sarah Palin faction wants a strong response to terrorism in the Middle East and is an ardent supporter of the state of Israel. The Ron Paul branch tends to be isolationist and wants to keeps its distance from Israel. The Tea Party is also divided over free trade—the agrarians favor it, those from manufacturing regions oppose it (Foreign Affairs, March/April).

Study war no more

Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).