Century Marks

Century Marks

Intolerable

Former president Jimmy Carter, on a visit to the West Bank, said that after eight months of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, conditions in the Gaza Strip are “intolerable.” He lamented that not one destroyed house in Gaza has been rebuilt. In a press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Carter called for the Palestinians to hold an election. (No elections have been held in Gaza or the West Bank in nearly a decade.) Carter and his delegation called off a planned trip to Gaza without giving an explanation (Haaretz, May 2).

Religion on ice

Religion is often on display in professional athletics, with the exception of the National Hockey League. The few hockey players who are open about their faith buck a tradition of reticence or downright distrustfulness toward religion. Unlike professional football or basketball, many NHL players come from Canada or Europe, where the culture is much more secular and religious faith is closely guarded. There is also the suspicion in hockey that a person of faith might be too soft a player. Some hockey clubs make chapel services available, but far fewer than in professional basketball (Boston Globe, April 5).

Civil war

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality for gays, it could lead to civil war. He predicted that approval of gay marriage would lead to the collapse of the nation. “The country can be no stronger than its families. . . . So we need to do everything we can to try to hold [marriage equality] back and to preserve the institution of marriage,” Dobson said on a conference call with activists (Right Wing Watch, April 8).

Everyday hero

Feidin Santana feared for his life when he made a video recording of a policeman shooting Walter Scott in the back in North Charleston, South Carolina. After Santana took the video with his phone, he considered deleting the evidence and fleeing town. But because he turned the video over to the police, the officer, Michael Slager, was held accountable for the shooting. Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot after being stopped for a broken taillight. Santana encourages others to record bad things happening, even though he says he had doubts about what he was doing at the time (Washing­ton Post, April 9).

Believe it or not

Madison, Wisconsin, has become the first municipality to make atheists a protected class of persons, protecting their civil rights in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. The sponsor of the ordinance said that it is only fair to protect nonreligious belief since varieties of religious belief are protected. Five atheists spoke up in favor of the proposal, sharing stories of discrimination. No one spoke against the proposal (www.channel3000.com, April 1).