Century Marks

Century Marks

No tears for Cecil

Goodwell Nzou, a doctoral student at Wake Forest University from Zimbabwe, is dismayed by all the sympathy Americans are showing for Cecil, the lion shot in Zim­babwe by an American dentist. Why do Americans care more for African animals than African people? Nzou wonders. Wild animals are a threat to people who live in rural areas and villages. Nzou’s own village was once terrorized by a tiger, which attacked his mother’s uncle and injured his leg. When the tiger was finally killed, no one cared who killed the tiger or whether it was poached or killed legally (New York Times, August 4).

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).

A way to control guns

Religious leaders of the Metro Indus­trial Areas Foundation have urged President Obama to use the purchasing power of the federal government to change the firearms industry. Noting that the federal government is the nation’s top gun buyer, they say it can pressure gun manufacturers to sell only to dealers that sell guns responsibly. The government can also press gun makers on gun safety technology. Smart guns should be manufactured that can be fired only by authorized users. Manufacturers who refuse to cooperate should be denied government contracts (New York Times, July 17).

Down by the riverside

UNESCO, the cultural agency of the United Nations, has made a site on the east bank of the Jordan River, believed by many to be the site of Jesus’ baptism, a World Heritage Site. Most Christian pilgrims visit the site on the western, Israeli side of the river. The UNESCO designation will likely encourage more tourism on the Jordanian side. John 1:28 hints that the baptism took place on the eastern side of the river, but Jodi Mag­ness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina, says there is no evidence that it is the actual place of Jesus’ baptism (Daily Mail, July 13).