The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, a body that opposes the death penalty, asked God to grant Iraq “the mercy, justice and compassion that it has long been denied” and “an end to the fear and death that marked Saddam Hussein’s rule.”
Former President Gerald R. Ford, praised in death as a low-key healer for the nation in the troubled aftermath of the White House Watergate scandals and the Vietnam War, was eulogized in a succession of Episcopal services at the turn of the new year.
Billy Graham has been named in the Gallup Poll’s top 10 “most admired men” list for a record 50th time. In a poll taken in mid-December, the 88-year-old evangelist came in fifth. Ranked before him, in order, were President George W. Bush, former president Bill Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter and Senator BarackObama (D., Ill.).
In a surprise move, Massachusetts legislators took a first step toward banning same-sex marriages in the first and only state to make them legal. If the state legislature approves a ban in another vote during the 2007-2008 session, the initiative will be placed on the November 2008 ballot.