We’ve heard the question, as have pastors around the country: Where is God in the death and devastation that struck September 11? One clergyman reported that a New Yorker who noticed his clerical collar stopped him on the street to ask exactly that shortly after the World Trade Center towers collapsed.
We want a word from God. When, before our eyes, hijacked airplanes crash into buildings, and the towers of the World Trade Center plunge to the ground snuffing out thousands of lives, when evil suddenly and irrevocably transcends the limits of what we have assumed is possible, we desperately seek to know what God intends for us.
Two follies, both with track records, were on full display at the recent United Nations conference on racism held in Durban, South Africa: Arab and Islamic states persisted in their misguided effort to brand Zionism as inherently racist, and the U.S. again demonstrated that its commitment to international negotiation is at best nominal.
With the horrifying results of Palestinian car bombings and suicidal bombers regularly displayed in newspapers and on television, Americans are not likely to associate “nonviolent protest” with the Palestinian cause. But in fact nonviolent protest has been and continues to be the Palestinians’ primary weapon.
The word courtship and the idea of it—a prescribed process of getting to know someone in preparation for marriage—is virtually archaic. The courting rituals that members of the baby-boom generation still enacted or endured have largely disappeared. Young people no longer live with expectations about male initiative and female reticence.
The food movement has called attention to the abuse of animals that are raised and killed on factory farms. But even farmers who raise animals in humane ways, in small-scale operations, intend for the animals to be slaughtered. Bob Comis, a professional pig farmer, asks how can he ethically raise pigs knowing that his ultimate aim is to kill and market them for consumption. “As a pig farmer, I lead an unethical life,” Comis confesses. “I am a slaveholder and a murderer” (American Scholar, Spring).