Compared to the usual formalities of ecumenical conversations, which include carefully worded assurances of mutual regard, the statement last month from the Vatican on the proper use of the term “sister churches” was exceedingly blunt.
Presidential candidate George W. Bush has fueled a debate on U.S. military readiness by charging, among other things, that the military has been neglected and underfunded during the Clinton years. He has specifically charged that two of ten active army divisions are unprepared for combat. This claim appears to be true: two army divisions have not completed combat training.
Christian football fans in Texas and elsewhere are getting back at the Supreme Court. Provoked by the ruling in June that outlawed school-sponsored prayer at high school football games, some fans in Texas and North Carolina have staged prayer rallies and protests.
There’s an old bumper sticker with the words “Question authority.” To which the proper response, of course, is: “Says who?” As that reply suggests, suspicion of authority, however well advised, does not solve or clarify the problem of authority. Whenever we want someone to heed what we’re saying, we end up invoking or assuming some kind of authority.
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).