Century Marks

Century Marks

Room for the dead

Cemetery crowding, especially in large cities or among religious groups that forbid cremation, is becoming a problem worldwide, forcing some creative solutions. Residents of Mexico City must exhume and remove their relatives’ remains after a number of years. A Tower for the Dead project is in the works there: it will include a vertical necropolis along with a subterranean complex 820 feet deep. A simpler solution is to stack graves on top of each other and to share tombstones. Other options being considered are stacking the dead above the ground in niches built into a wall or housing the dead in buildings with each floor resembling a traditional cemetery (AP).

Love and beauty

When Robert Deming lost both his mother and sister in his youth, he was so angry at God that he decided he was an atheist. He eventually came back to the faith not by argument or reason but by the love of his wife. “I would not be a Christian if not for two things,” he says. “The love of someone patient and the beauty of adoration offered lovingly.” His advice to Christians with family or friends who have left the fold: “Be patient with those you love . . . [and] do what you
do with beauty, care, and reverence” (thesubdeansstall.org, October 12).

Drumbeat of war

“The mainstream U.S. media plays [sic] the role of government lapdog more than watchdog,” says Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. By repeatedly showing gruesome beheadings by ISIS and giving abundant airtime to hawkish politicians and pundits, the media have turned a war-weary public to lend support to airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. The media are not providing a vigorous debate about military actions and alternatives to it. They also have not focused on the consequences of war. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that U.S. air-strikes have attracted 6,000 recruits to ISIS (Common Dreams, October 10).

Peace sign

A small band of Jews and Muslims marched through one of the busiest squares in Washington, D.C., last month shouting “Spread Hummus! Not Hate!” The one-day event began at the University of Maryland, traveled by bus to a mosque in D.C., and ended at a private residence in Virginia. It was designed to counter anti-Islam ads that appeared months ago on D.C. city buses. Organized by the newly formed Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, the bus tour served up pita bread and hummus at most of its six stops (RNS).

Repressed desires?

Two researchers from Brock University analyzed Google Trends data over a two-year period and discovered that residents in states that tend to be more religious and politically conservative produce the most searches using words like sex, gay sex, porn, XXX, free porn, and gay porn. A 2009 Harvard state-by-state study also showed a significant correlation between social conservatism and subscriptions to online porn sites (Washington Post, October 7).