Century Marks

Century Marks

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).

Hope on death row

Kelly Gissendaner sits on death row, awaiting execution by the state of Georgia, having been convicted of the murder of her husband. Jennifer McBride met Gissendaner in a theology program for inmates in which McBride was teaching. McBride, who now teaches at Wartburg College, says that Gissendaner confessed her crime, repented, and has become a redeemed person. She’s been reconciled to her children, she ministers to other inmates in prison, and counsels troubled youth. In the theology program, Gissendaner started a correspondence with German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, finding hope in his theology of hope. Gissendaner’s initial date for execution was postponed due to concerns about the chemicals being used (CNN.com, March 6).