"Better to be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian,” Martin Luther is alleged to have quipped. Whether or not he actually made this remark, the sentiment captures the paradoxical vision that Luther and many other Protestants have brought to politics. Yes, Christ is Lord of the political sphere as well as the spiritual sphere—Luther had no intention of denying that.
Most of the excitement lately in the Republican race for president has been generated by Baptist minister Mike Huckabee. Huckabee’s surge in the polls seems to stem largely from the fact that he exudes one quality the other Republican candidates seem to lack—authenticity.
We usually don’t think about water unless we’re thirsty, or unless we’re enduring a flood or a drought. Water has been very much on the minds of people in Georgia and other southeastern states, which have experienced the worst drought in a hundred years. Without significant rain, the water supply for Atlanta (Lake Lanier) could run out in the next three to nine months.
People who have knowledge of and access to contraceptives tend to have fewer unwanted pregnancies and therefore fewer abortions. It’s no accident that the world’s lowest abortion rates are found in Belgium and the Netherlands, where contraception is widely available, or that the highest rates are in Cuba and Vietnam, where access is limited.
The most impressive thing about “A Common Word Between Us and You,” an open letter to the world’s Christian leaders signed by 138 Muslim scholars, is that it exists. (See news report.) The second most impressive thing is the economy of its argument.
Thirteen nuns who were kidnapped from their monastery north of Damascus last December were released in March in an apparent exchange for prisoners held by the Assad regime. Despite this good news, Christians in Syria continue to be under siege. A jihadist group in the city of Raqqa gave local Christians an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a protection tax, or be killed. Although accurate numbers are hard to come by, one estimate says that 450,000 of the 2 million Syrian refugees are Christians. Syrian Christians who have fled their war-torn country report kidnappings, murders, ransacking of their shops, and pressure to convert (Christian Science Monitor, March 10).