If, as Tertullian taught, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, in a liberal society church growth has to find its inspiration elsewhere. Western society was built partly on the premise that people shouldn’t have to suffer for their faith. That’s why talk of martyrdom often seems exotic or irrelevant in churches in the U.S.
In Chicago winter lingers well into March, like a house guest unaware that she’s worn out her welcome. But some of us hardly notice; we’re mesmerized by the NCAA basketball tournament involving 65 teams from Division I schools.
If President Bush were running for reelection, he would probably be opposed to letting an Arab company run six American ports. He would use Karl Rove's game plan for electoral success: run on national security, and stress that you, unlike your opponent, understand the ruthlessness of terrorists and the gravity of threats in the post-9/11 world. Many members of Congress seemed to be mindful of Rove’s advice as they blasted away at the Bush administration for allowing Dubai Ports World to manage shipping terminals in the U.S. In this case, the Bush administration has taken a nuanced view of national security, one that argues that long-term security depends on good relations with the Arab world and on the ability to foster alliances in the Middle East.
Cartoons are, by their nature, caricatures: they are oversimplified in order to make a forceful point and provoke debate. Editors know that one powerful cartoon can generate more furor than dozens of provocative articles, so they make a rough calculation: Will the cartoon generate light as well as heat? Will the publishing of it be, as St. Paul would put it, not only lawful but beneficial?
Did Flemming Rose, culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, make the wrong calculation in publishing cartoons that featured the Prophet Muhammad?
What should U.S. immigration policy be, given that half a million immigrants enter the U.S. illegally each year and the total number of undocumented residents in the country is about 11 million? For the far right, the answer is obvious: close the borders. This view is regularly touted on Fox News, where commentators decry the porousness of U.S. borders, argue for stepped-up policing—perhaps even a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border—and for a crackdown on those who employ or aid undocumented migrants. They imply that illegal immigrants must be sent home. Read the CENTURY editorial.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had his brother hand deliver a check for $400,000 last month to Tehran’s only Jewish hospital with the message that “our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you.” In September Rouhani’s administration had issued a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews around the world. Though some question Rouhani’s motives, his behavior is a refreshing contrast to that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a Holocaust denier (New York Times, February 6).