Century Marks

Century Marks

Foul play

A survey of senior financial services executives in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that 26 percent had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace. Twenty-four percent thought that financial services professionals need to engage in unethical or illegal activity to be successful. Sixteen percent said they would engage in insider trading if they thought they could get away with it, while 30 percent said their compensation packages pressured them to engage in unethical or illegal behavior. “When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk,” said an executive at a law firm that represents whistleblowers and that conducted the survey (Reuters).

Dream speak

Before Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington, singer Mahalia Jackson gave a rousing rendition of the song “How I Got Over.” But Jackson did more than set the crowd up for Dr. King. When the beginning of his speech seemed rather flat, Jackson repeatedly said, “Martin, tell them about the dream.” Without Jackson’s prodding we might never have heard those now-famous lines (Anthony Heilbut, The Fan Who Knew Too Much, Knopf).

At Mitt’s table

Despite uneasy relations with evangelicals, the Romney camp has been reaching out to them at least since 2006 when the Romneys invited evangelical leaders to a meeting in New Hampshire. The group included Franklin Graham, the late Jerry Falwell and Gary Bauer. After these leaders got back home they received a chair from the Romneys with a plaque on the back that read, “You will always have a seat at my table.” Evangelicals are hoping that Romney chooses a vice-presidential candidate to their liking and that he’ll give a Rick Santorum–like stump speech supporting their understanding of family values (interview with David Brody on PBS Newshour about his book The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party Are Taking Back America, Zondervan).

Getting his goat

A new missionary on an Indian reservation saw an elder standing in his yard with a goat in his arms. Occasionally the goat would stretch its neck and take a bite of the bushes in the yard. When the missionary asked what the man was doing, he replied, “I’m trimming the hedges.” Incredulously, the missionary said, “Don’t you know that could take all day?” The man said, “What’s time to the goat?” (Randy S. Woodley, Shalom and the Community of Creation, Eerdmans).

Lay leader

Philanthropist Melinda Gates has declared that she wants to devote the rest of her life to making contraception more accessible globally. Her efforts put her in direct opposition to the Vatican. Gates, a Catholic, says that since her declaration she’s gotten a multitude of supportive responses from Catholic women, including nuns. She argues that women in Africa and Asia need to make decisions on their own about contraception. She points out that 82 percent of American Catholics believe that contraception is acceptable—and that African and Asian women will likely follow them (Sydney Morning Herald, July 13).