Wages of war: No one can predict the long-term consequences of war, but not until last summer did the U.S. stop collecting a 3 percent tax on long-distance telephone calls that was begun in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War—a war that lasted only several months (Vital Speeches of the Day, December).
“As Christians, we believe that war is not inevitable; people choose war and people can choose peace. . . . ‘Blessed are peacemakers,’ Jesus said.” —Lebanese Catholic cardinal Nasrallah P. Sfeir on conflict in the Middle East
The committee that interprets religious law for the Conservative Jewish movement, the centrist branch within North American Judaism, has accepted a legal opinion that allows for the ordination of gay rabbis and the blessing of same sex unions.
When Keith Ellison, the recently elected Minnesota Democrat who will be the first Muslim in Congress, announced that he would take his oath of office on Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, he provoked sharp criticism from conservatives and some heated discussion in the blogosphere.
World Council of Churches officials have welcomed word that after 2010, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches will no longer hold global assemblies of their own under current plans.