Century Marks

Century Marks

Alcohol free

Recently three fraternities have been either closed or suspended by their national organization. Caitlin Flanagan made a yearlong study of the Greek fraternity system and concluded that alcohol is the root of fraternity problems. When Phi Delta Theta de­cided 12 years ago to make its houses alcohol free, people predicted its demise. “It’s more popular than ever, and its amount of sexual assault, hazing, assault and battery . . . have [sic] dropped by 85 percent,” Flanagan says. “If you get alcohol out, you’ll reform the system” (NPR, March 21).

Following the money

Benja­min Netanyahu, who recently won re­election as prime minister of Israel, received 90 percent of his campaign contributions from the United States. Three families from the U.S. gave 30 percent (Harper’s, March).

Cut up

Under the sway of the multimillionaire religious guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, 400 men in India cut off their own testicles to “bring them closer to God.” Although this happened in 2000 at a hospital run by Ram Rahim, the facts are just now coming to light. Only one castration victim has come forward so far. His lawyer says he thought he’d become a social outcast if he didn’t follow the guru’s teaching. Ram Rahim, who has also been accused of assault by some female followers, is under investigation by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation. He has an estimated following of 50 million people worldwide (International Business Times, March 1).

Catholic consensus?

Four U.S. Catholic publications published a joint editorial calling for the end of capital punishment. The editorial had in view an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case out of Oklahoma that raises the question of whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. The editors of National Catholic Reporter, America, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor point out that citizens, acting through their government, are the moral agent in these executions (National Catholic Reporter, March 5).

Fajitas and prayer

An appellate court in New Jersey has ruled that a man who was burned while praying over sizzling fajitas can’t sue Applebee’s restaurant. The customer said that while he was praying over the meal he heard a popping noise and then felt a burning sensation on his left eye and face. He later claimed that his arms and neck were also burned from the sizzling fajita and that the waitress did not warn him about the danger. The trial judge dismissed the suit, ruling that the restaurant didn’t have to warn him of an obvious danger (Courier-Post, March 5).