Century Marks

Century Marks

Media and Muslims

“What the heck is wrong with you Muslims?” Eboo Patel was asked after giving a speech in Kansas City. Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, asked in return what impression he would have of Kansas City if the only thing he observed was the first minute of the local news every night, which tends to focus on violent crimes. It is no wonder Americans are afraid of Muslims, Patel said, because all Americans hear about Muslims in the news has to do with extremists (Todd H. Green, The Fear of Islam).

Bare cupboard

Almost 5 million older Americans experience food insecurity, Bread for the World reports. Lack of nutritious food exacerbates other conditions common to senior adults, such as heart disease and depression. Senior adults who are food-insecure are 60 percent more likely to experience clinical depression. Participation in the SNAP program is low among this group due to the stigma associated with receiving what was formerly known as food stamps. “After a lifetime of contributing to society, older Americans should not have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World (bread.org, May 26).

Minimum housing

There is no state in the United States where a person working full time at minimum wage could rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than 30 percent of wages—the benchmark for housing affordability. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has tallied the amount of hours a minimum-wage worker would have to work in each state to afford a one-bedroom apartment. In the District of Columbia it is 100 hours per week, in California 92 hours, and Texas 73 hours. In South Dakota, the lowest, it is 49 hours (Vox, May 28).

Pocket poetry

Win Bassett discovered that many of the patients in the state-run hospital where he was working as a student chaplain were very familiar with hymns. Hymns were the most effective way of consoling these patients’ souls. They responded positively to poetry as well, even though they didn’t know the poems he carried in his pocket. “I chalk up these powers to poetry’s economy of words,” Bassett writes. “When you know you don’t have much longer in this life, why not make every word you speak and hear pack as much meaning as possible?” (Poetry Foundation, May 27).

God and guns

An NRA-backed bill in North Carolina, which calls for an end to the ban on Sunday hunting, is pitting religious conservatives against other conservatives. The Christian Action League of North Carolina, a coalition of 17 conservative denominations, is vigorously opposing the repeal, saying Sunday hunting is a violation of the fourth commandment. Supporters of the repeal say the ban on Sunday hunting forces people to go hunting in neighboring states and negatively impacts the North Carolina economy. One of the chief backers of the ban in the legislature is a member of a Southern Baptist congregation and a lifelong member of the NRA who has a concealed-carry permit (Baptist News Global, May 27).