Century Marks

Century Marks

Warning signs

“Our Earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common. Children no longer obey their parents. Every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching.” This doomsday prediction is almost 5,000 years old, dating to an Assyrian clay tablet of 2800 BC (Chicago Tribune, December 9).

Killing us

The U.S. has more guns per capita—about nine guns for every ten people—than any other country. It has nearly twice as many guns per capita as Yemen, which ranks second. The U.S. also ranks first in total number of guns, with 270 million of them privately owned. The second highest total is in India, which has 46 million guns—and a population three times that of the United States. The U.S. ranks second only to Mexico in its gun-related murder rate. Mexico’s gun-related murder rate is driven by drug wars (Washington Post, December 15).

Signs on the wall

Last month vandals spray-painted “the Maccabees will succeed” and “Jesus is a bastard” on the walls of a Greek Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem and slashed tires on three cars. This was the fifth attack on monasteries and churches in the area during 2012. Extremist Jews sympathetic to Israel’s settlement movement are suspected. The father superior of the monastery said the vandals would be welcome to come for coffee and conversation. He said he forgave them the first time and would continue to forgive them. Extremists have carried out similar vandalism attacks on other churches and mosques, which have been de­nounced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Jerusalem Post, December 12).

Sacred sounds

Though one may not share Deal W. Hudson’s conservative theological and political views, he’s compiled an interesting list of the “100 best recordings of sacred music.” The list includes not only what he considers the best compositions of all time, but the best recordings of those works. Sacred music lovers will quibble with some of his choices (Elgar and Vaughn Williams have as many entries as Bach) and will point out some omissions. Among his choice of 100 top recordings, Hudson marks those that he considers indispensable (www.catholic.org).

Gays and the fighting Irish

The University of Notre Dame has agreed to create a gay-straight alliance student organization. The move comes in response to a call for greater on-campus resources for gay and lesbian students. But the school has rejected the recommendation from its office of student affairs that sexual orientation be added to the university’s statement on nondiscrimination (InsideHigherEd.com, December 6).