The politics of fear has hardly abated since 9/11, or since last fall’s election, which was largely a contest of convincing voters about who could best “kill the terrorists.” A simple spin down the radio dial shows how fear is alive and well.
Mainline or liberal Protestants need a better term to describe themselves. Mainline implies cultural and social dominance, which is hard to assert given the numerical realities. Only three mainline churches rank among the ten largest church bodies in the U.S. Only six make it into the top 25.
This summer the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on several cases involving the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government property. Public opinion is fairly clear on this question: according to a Gallup poll, 76 percent say state governments should be allowed to display the Ten Commandments, and only 21 percent disagree.
The Terri Schiavo case highlighted our worst fears: the loss of autonomy, the burden of care put on family members, a painful private decision splayed before the press and the public, and, most profoundly, seemingly needless suffering. Whatever else it does, the case should impel Christians to reexamine fundamental beliefs about care for the severely disabled and those at the end of life.
The Military Advisory Board, representing all branches of the military, has issued a study about the national security implications of global warming. The report says that “climate change impacts are already accelerating instability in vulnerable areas of the world and are serving as catalysts for conflict.” The board calls for “coordinated and well-executed actions to limit heat-trapping gases and increase resilience to help prevent and protect against the worst projected climate change impacts” (Forbes, November 14).