The enormous ecumenical impact of the Taizé community, with its haunting music and its tradition of silent prayer and meditative chant, is astonishing given that the community never promoted itself. No doubt many American Christians who have made the pilgrimage to Taizé had to suppress their initial disappointment at its unprepossessing buildings and casual presentation.
Controversies over the teaching of evolution are back in the news. President Bush and a prominent Catholic cardinal have lent their support to the teaching of “intelligent design,” a purportedly scientific alternative to Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
After last November’s election, a frustrated member of a Mennonite congregation near South Bend, Indiana, wrote an article for his congregation’s newsletter. In it, he articulated his own political convictions.
After 9/11 Americans asked: Why do they hate us?—they being shadowy extremists from the Middle East. After the terrorist bombings of 7/7 in London, Britons pondered the enemy within: How could middle-class, second-generation British Muslims do this to their fellow citizens?
The Supreme Court pleased no one entirely with its mixed decisions in the Ten Commandments cases. That’s generally a sign that the court is doing its job and trying to decide each case on its merits—in this case, ordering that a display of the Ten Commandments be removed from two county courthouses in Kentucky, but allowing a display on the grounds of the state capitol in Texas.
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).