Are you going to change the name of the magazine in the year 2000? That’s a question we’ve heard often in recent months. The questioners have been eager to remind us of the large hopes that gripped the editors of this magazine a hundred years ago, and to remind us also—in case we hadn’t noticed—that those hopes were unfulfilled. The Christian century? It didn’t turn out that way, did it?
Anyone who has ever studied for a major exam or planned a special vacation knows how the task of preparing for a big event can give vitality and meaning to one’s days—and create a sense of emptiness afterward. No wonder, then, that journalists sounded a little disappointed as they reported that computers were functioning fine on January 1, 2000.
Republican contenders for president met in Iowa recently to talk about politics and a testimonial broke out. When asked to identify his favorite philosopher-thinker, George W. Bush responded, “Christ, because he changed my heart.” Gary Bauer concurred. Senator Orrin Hatch covered the more obvious political bases by naming Lincoln and Reagan, but took care to cite Christ as well.
When freedoms clash—when we're not sure where my rights end and yours begin—we customarily turn to the courts to resolve the matter. And the courts are likely to get an interesting set of cases connected with the Religious Liberty Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives in mid-July and will be considered by the Senate this summer (see the report on page 736).
The story of the lone, crazed gunman is a familiar one in America, but that is not the story of Benjamin Smith, who went on a drive-by shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana over the July 4 weekend, killing two and wounding nine.