The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has announced plans to target five public companies that it says “contribute to the ongoing violence that plagues Israel and Palestine.” Church officials said they could ultimately pull their assets, or divest, from those companies if corporate behavior remains unchanged.
Not bread alone: While most media sources are reporting the famine in Niger, few of them mention the issue of population growth, says John F. Rohe. Niger has 12 million people, but its population is projected to grow to 53 million by 2050 despite widespread loss of life. Niger's fertility rate—8 children per woman—is the highest in the world. While food aid is urgently needed, it must be accompanied by funding for family planning (www.caglecartoons.com).
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Celeste Zappala, a United Methodist from Philadelphia, went to Texas last month to join friend Cindy Sheehan—also a mother who lost a son in Iraq. Their roadside antiwar protest near George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford drew international media attention as both sought to question the president about his rationale for the war.
In separate excavations in and near Jerusalem, archaeologists have found evidence of ancient, rock-hewn water systems, including a large, stepped basin that one group of scholars is calling the Pool of Siloam—a place-name that occurs in the Gospel of John, where Jesus tells a blind man whom he healed to wash there.
On the face of it, the nation’s largest Lutheran church didn’t budge on issues of homosexuality. Though aware that some same-sex couples receive blessings from pastors and that some openly gay or lesbian pastors are ordained, delegates to the biennial assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, held in Orlando, declined to authorize either practice, even on a provisional basis.