Century Marks

Century Marks

From dust to compost

Katrina Spade, founder of the Urban Death Project, plans to compost human remains with wood chips inside a three-story concrete core. She argues that this approach is even more ecologically sound than cremation, which creates greenhouse gases. Bob Fells, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, thinks treating human remains as a waste product is disrespectful. Spade is hoping to break ground for the composting facility in Seattle by 2022 (Slate, July 15).

Risks of faith II

Ten Sudanese Christian students were recently arrested and detained for allegedly wearing indecent clothing, a criminal offense. The young women, who were wearing mini­skirts and pants, were stopped outside the Evangelical Baptist Church in the war-torn region of the Nuba Moun­tains. Islamic law is strictly observed in Sudan, and Christians are increasingly persecuted. Two pastors in the Sudan Presby­terian Evangelical Church are being tried for spying, which could lead to a death penalty conviction (RNS).

Debt repayment

Arthur George Weidenfeld credits Christians for helping him escape to Britain in 1938 from German-occupied Austria. As a way of showing his gratitude, Weidenfeld, a Jew, is helping to rescue up to 2,000 Chris­tians from Syria and Iraq. He said it was Quakers and Plymouth Brethren who fed and clothed him and helped him to get to Britain. Baron Weidenfeld is the founder of the Weidenfeld and Nicolson publishing company. His fund to support Christians in war-torn regions in the Middle East recently sponsored a flight of 150 Syrian Christians to Poland (Independent, July 20).

End times?

Joey Kyle, the former sheriff of Christian County, Missouri, was ap­parently preparing for Armageddon. County officials discovered three tons of food in the basement of the county jail. They don’t know how it got there or how it was funded. Kyle, who was convicted of embezzlement and money laundering, attended a U.S. Chamber of Commerce conference in Las Vegas last year and came back talking about what he had heard there about a major war in the Middle East that would lead to the end times. The food was donated to a local family crisis center (Springfield News-Leader, July 18).

Risks of faith I

An anti-Christian persecution website in India claims that on average there has been a violent episode against Christians each week for the past year. Indian Christians have felt marginalized for a long time, but things got worse in May 2014, when the BJP political party, backed by fundamentalist Hindu groups, came to power. Religious prejudice is partly tied to ethnicity and poverty. A disproportionate number of Indian Christians are Dalits, meaning they come from the untouchables in the old caste system. One estimate puts the Christian population of India at 25 million people—approximately 2.5 percent of the population, although some say it is as high as 6 percent (Crux, July 19).