Martyrdom was part of the founding of the Shi‘ite branch of Islam, which presently dominates Iranian life. Following that tradition, children as young as 12 were sent to the front lines during the war with Iraq in the 1980s to clear minefields with their bodies.
Several of the United States’ allies remain among the world’s most egregious violators of human rights, according to a recent report from a nonpartisan federal panel, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The American addiction to oil is like an addiction to amphetamines, says Alfred W. Crosby: the substance is enormously stimulating and its users think they function much better with it than without it.
At first glance, it might seem that The Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind series occupy opposite poles of the cultural spectrum. The former’s effort to reaffirm the “sacred feminine” with the claim that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife is the sort of reworking of tradition that presumably appeals to far-out liberals.
The meaning of intercessory prayer is often unclear to Christians, so it is not surprising that many outside the church also get confused about it. The confusion is evident whenever scientists seek to determine whether intercessory prayer has measurable benefits.
Cotton was king in the 19th century, and the industry was dependent upon slavery. It wasn’t only southern plantation owners who reaped its benefits. Northerners and Europeans created a worldwide textile industry on the backs of slave labor, and they lent money to plantation owners to buy more slaves. We are still living with the legacy of that slavery, says Edward E. Baptist, author of the recently released The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Part of the legacy is that white households have almost $15 worth of wealth for every dollar held by African-American households (CNN, September 7).