Spin zone: The Iraq war was not the first one to be encouraged by sectors of the media. The Spanish-American War was set off when an explosion destroyed a U.S. warship while it was docked in Havana. Publisher William Randolph Hearst was itching for a fight with Spain. He sent hordes of reporters to Cuba to cover the explosion and within days was spinning the news to blame Spain. War against Spain was soon declared (Columbia Journalism Review, March/April).
Speaking from St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI offered a global survey of natural and human-made disasters, including military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and called on Christians to be “apostles of peace.”
Make videos, not war: Ava Lowery, 16, is a Methodist peace activist in Alexander City, Alabama. Rolling Stone magazine called her one of the great mavericks of 2006. Lowery makes homemade videos that juxtapose images from the Iraq war with popular music and provocative quotes (her Web site is www.peacetakescourage.com). One of her best-known videos is “WWJD?” which pairs the song “Jesus Loves Me” with images of grieving and wounded Iraqi children. (Chicago Tribune, April 4).
The openly gay Virginia man who was at the center of a high-profile court case after he was denied membership in a United Methodist church has been accepted into membership under the church’s new pastor.
In a labor settlement brokered by Atlanta’s Carter Center and backed by Presbyterians, fast-food giant McDonald’s and a coalition of Florida farm workers announced an agreement April 9 to double the wages and improve working conditions for tomato pickers who supply the restaurant chain with tomatoes.