The U.S. does little and the rest of the world does less
Oct 19, 2004
What happened to the United Nations?” asked Haruun Ruun, executive secretary of the New Sudan Council of Churches. “The killings and rapes are still happening in Darfur.” Ruun was in New York last month to press the UN to impose sanctions on the Sudan government, which has implicitly backed the marauding Arab militias that have terrorized the black population in western Sudan.
While visiting Istanbul this summer, an American pastor stopped to look an outdoor display of photos depicting American soldiers’ abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The pastor noticed that a Turkish man viewing this gallery of atrocities was getting visibly agitated.
Talk about unity amid diversity in the church can seem hollow, especially as people confront deeply controversial issues. The gossip in the halls of denominational assemblies recently has been about possible schisms over the issue of homosexuality. Fragmentation, not unity, seems the experience of our times.
How do you marginalize religion and trivialize moral argument? Ron Reagan, son of the former president, offered a textbook example in his speech in July to the Democratic National Convention in which he called for more expansive research using embryonic stem cells.
What the 9/11 Commission accomplished is a minor miracle in this era of partisan politics. Operating on the premise that it is better to fix the problem than to fix the blame, the bipartisan panel issued a unanimous report analyzing the failure of the U.S. to prevent the 9/11 attacks and recommending steps to forestall future acts of terrorism.
A global survey by National Geographic indicates that people are eating better—more local food, less meat—yet diets in many countries are still unsustainable environmentally. The best country is India, since many people are vegetarians and those who aren’t tend not to eat beef, the most environmentally detrimental meat. Americans eat the most packaged and convenience foods and the least fruits and vegetables. Mexico ranked last in the rankings due to a diet high in chicken and beef. Japan, which eats the most seafood, is the most resistant to dietary change (National Geographic, September 29).