Century Marks

Century Marks

Keep it to yourself

College graduates would be better off not mentioning affiliation with campus religious groups when applying for jobs. Applicants who mentioned associations with Muslim groups were the least likely to hear from an employer, according to two sociological studies done in the South and New England. For all religious groups, those applicants who mentioned a religious association received 33 percent fewer phone calls in the South and 24 percent fewer calls in the New England states. Apparently, New England indifference toward religion makes that region more tolerant of religion than the religious South (RNS).

Presidential follies, take two

After winning control of the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, President William McKinley paced the floors of the White House, wondering what to do with the Asian archipelago. When he got down on his knees to pray for divine guidance, the answer came to him in four parts: don’t give the islands back to Spain; don’t let France or Germany have them either; don’t leave the Filipinos to themselves, as they’re unfit to govern themselves; take the Philippines, educate and civilize the people, “and by God’s grace do the very best we [can] by them, as our fellow men for whom Christ also died.” The American conquest led to a bloody calamity. McKinley was assassinated long before he was able to see how awful God’s “perfect will” was (Matthew Paul Turner, Our Great Big American God, Jericho Books).

Silent bells

For the first time in centuries, church bells didn’t ring and no mass was celebrated the last Sunday of June in Mosul, the Iraqi city overrun by the radical Islamic group called ISIS. Christians in Mosul have been forced to pay a tax for their non-Muslim status. When one Christian family said it didn’t have the money, the mother and daughter were raped. The husband and father was so traumatized by the event that he committed suicide. By tradition, Mosul is the site of Jonah’s burial. Most Christians have fled from Mosul, some going to Kurdistan (Daily Beast, June 29).

Fast lane

In Voorhees, Pennsylvania, Hope United Methodist Church is offering drive-through prayer one evening a week. Using the drive-through lanes in a former bank building—which houses recovery and support groups during the week—people may either talk directly with a trained volunteer about their prayer concern or drop off a prayer using the bank’s old deposit tubes. The prayer exchange takes only a minute or two, and the identity of those requesting prayer is kept confidential (Philadelphia Inquirer, May 28).

Mostly good news

Teens are behaving better than at any time since the federal government began collecting data, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control on the health of the nation. The teen birth rate, at an all-time low, has plummeted in recent decades. One reason may be that fewer teens are having unprotected sex. High school seniors are consuming less alcohol and smoking less, and hardly any of them use cocaine. While young adults are also exercising more than in previous decades, less than half of youth ages 12–15 are physically fit (Vox.com, May 25, and NPR, May 28).