For months the American flag has been showing up on cars, porches, football helmets and basketball uniforms. The display has made us wonder about the meaning of this unprecedented—for this generation—expression of patriotism. It is, of course, a display of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks and with the firefighters and police officers who tried to rescue them.
President Bush has told Congress to stop its “partisan bickering” and pass his economic stimulus package. But of course partisan politics is alive and well in Washington, however muted it is by the nation’s war on terrorism, and Bush himself is practicing it shrewdly, even a bit imperiously.
I believe in God and I believe in free markets,” Kenneth Lay told a religion editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune early last year. Not surprisingly, Lay’s devotion to deregulated markets became an article of faith for Enron, the Houston-based energy company he heads.
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree . . .” With those words the writer of Luke’s Gospel acknowledged the political backdrop of Jesus’ life. The Roman Empire was the world’s unrivaled superpower. Its influence extended throughout the Mediterranean, and it had developed the capacity to enforce its will in such remote outposts as Judea.
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).