A street preacher works a corner just blocks from the Christian Century office, loudly warning passersby of the wrath to come. It’s always tempting to wonder, If that is the Good News, what’s the bad news? Nevertheless, there is logic to this man’s ministry. If he truly believes that most people are going to hell, then it makes sense for him to warn as many as possible.
Many of those who were skeptical about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, including the editors of this magazine, worried that sweeping away the devil of Saddam Hussein would—as in the parable in Luke 11—make way for several other kinds of devils. The devils appear alive and well in Iraq.
The case of Judge Roy S. Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has become the cause célèbre of the Christian right. He has refused to obey an order from a U.S. district judge to remove a display of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the state judicial building. Two years ago Moore took it upon himself to install the 5,300-pound granite monument.
By all reports the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, which took the unprecedented step of confirming an openly gay man as a bishop of the church, was a remarkably civil affair. Church leaders debated one of the most divisive theological issues of our time in respectful fashion. They addressed last-minute charges of personal misconduct against the bishop-elect, V.
It’s easy to define a lie: it is a statement the speaker knows is not true. Being truthful is more complex. As Bonhoeffer argued, character matters. A truth told by an untruthful person could be worse than a lie told by a truthful person. And context matters too. What, for example, is the truthful response to a murderer who shows up at your door in search of your friend whom he intends to murder?
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).