Religious freedom does not demand a privatized faith
Feb 24, 2004
Christians in the U.S. often worry about the nation’s “secularism” and the attendant privatizing of religion. While it’s true that the U.S. is not officially religious, and there are many forces that lead people to treat faith as merely a private matter, the country’s political tradition and constitutional framework do not demand such a result.
In December advisers to the Food and Drug Administration recommended that a “morning-after pill,” previously available only by prescription, be made available to U.S. consumers over the counter. The pill, marketed as “Preven” and “Plan B,” is not the same as RU-486, the “abortion pill” that terminates development of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
You had to admire the way Pete Rose played baseball. Judging by what he did on the field, he earned the right to be in baseball’s Hall of Fame. He is still the all-time hits leader with 4,256. Over a 24-year playing career he was named to the All-Star team 17 times; and he had an incredible fielding percentage of .991 despite playing four different positions.
The 1970s—that era of fuel shortages and economic “stagflation”—is not normally the subject of nostalgia (That ’70s Show! notwithstanding), but perhaps it should be. According to researchers at Fordham University, the U.S. enjoyed a high rate of “social health” from 1970 to 1976.
The American Society of Newspaper Editors is trying to find out what people want in a newspaper. It is worried about declines in readership—78 percent of adults read newspapers in 1970, compared to 55 percent last year. So far, it appears people want better service, more local news, reader-friendly presentations (graphics and narrative-style articles), and advertising.
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).