Mind-boggling: If the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street were paid out in $100 bills, it would amount to a stack 54 miles high. Given the magnitude of the plan, no wonder there is public outrage. But columnist James Carroll noticed another, similar figure: in the fiscal year just begun the Pentagon will spend $607 billion on regular military operations (as well as another $100 billion on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq).
In the first three months that gay and lesbian couples could marry legally in California, an estimated 11,000 of them took their vows—a number that, according to a new study, is higher than the total in the first four years that gay marriage was legal in Massachusetts.
A Presbyterian court in Pittsburgh ruled October 2 that a minister did not violate scripture or church law by performing a union ceremony for two lesbians, since the ceremony was not a marriage under church or state law.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permits ministers to preside over same-sex unions as long as they are not purported to be marriages.
A Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics has filed suit against President Bush over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer. The Freedom from Religion Foundation maintains that the law violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against an official establishment of religion.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dined with 300 religious and political leaders on September 25 in New York City, but the event, which drew condemnation and protest, offered far less dialogue than advertised.