Christianity has a long tradition of encouraging people to meditate on the lives of the saints. That tradition has foundered somewhat in this egalitarian age, in which we resist the notion that some lives are worthy of emulation. We have also been schooled by modern journalism and psychology to suspect that virtue is never unblemished.
How do you get admitted to one of those small, highly selective liberal arts colleges? Of course, you need excellent grades in high school and an impressive SAT score. But lots of kids bring those credentials. How can you make sure you stand out among the crowd?
It’s a painful irony: congregations in mainline churches—which have long made racial reconciliation one of their highest priorities—are no more racially integrated than other churches, and in fact tend to be somewhat less integrated than independent and theologically conservative churches (see John Dart’s "Hues in the pews").
Last month two fertility specialists, an American and an Italian, announced plans to clone a human being in the next two years. If they don’t get the job done, it’s very likely that someone else on the planet will. Margaret Talbot, writing recently in the New York Times, reports that many scientists expect a cloned human to be introduced within five years.
Let a thousand lawsuits bloom. That’s pretty much what John DiIulio Jr. said after being selected to head President Bush’s new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. DiIulio cheerfully acknowledged that the government’s plan to encourage partnerships with religious groups raises First Amendment questions.
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).