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.
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).