For months the American flag has been showing up on cars, porches, football helmets and basketball uniforms. The display has made us wonder about the meaning of this unprecedented—for this generation—expression of patriotism. It is, of course, a display of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks and with the firefighters and police officers who tried to rescue them.
President Bush has told Congress to stop its “partisan bickering” and pass his economic stimulus package. But of course partisan politics is alive and well in Washington, however muted it is by the nation’s war on terrorism, and Bush himself is practicing it shrewdly, even a bit imperiously.
I believe in God and I believe in free markets,” Kenneth Lay told a religion editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune early last year. Not surprisingly, Lay’s devotion to deregulated markets became an article of faith for Enron, the Houston-based energy company he heads.
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree . . .” With those words the writer of Luke’s Gospel acknowledged the political backdrop of Jesus’ life. The Roman Empire was the world’s unrivaled superpower. Its influence extended throughout the Mediterranean, and it had developed the capacity to enforce its will in such remote outposts as Judea.
Mubarak Awad, a Greek Orthodox Catholic influenced by Quakers and Mennonites, could have become the Palestinian Gandhi. After his father was killed by Jewish freedom fighters in 1948, his mother taught her children to turn the other cheek. In 1983 Awad opened the Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, with the aim of fomenting mass nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation. His peaceful efforts got him kicked out of the country in 1988. He now teaches nonviolence at American University. He remains optimistic about the prospects of nonviolent resistance in the Middle East, but fears the current conflict between Israel and Gaza is driving more people into the extremist camp (Newsweek, August 11).