Jun 21, 2000
When Allan Boesak entered Pollsmoor prison last month, even some of the prison guards demonstrated on his behalf. Before entering the gates, the theologian, antiapartheid activist and onetime leader of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches again asserted he was innocent of theft and fraud involving donations to his Foundation for Peace and Justice (FPJ).
It looks like Ohio will have to celebrate its bicentennial in 2003 without its longtime motto “With God All Things Are Possible.” A federal court ruled in April that the motto is tantamount to a state endorsement of Christianity and so violates the First Amendment. The court noted that the motto “repeats, word-for-word, Jesus’ answer to his disciples’ questions about the ability to enter heaven and thereby achieve salvation,” and therefore offers a “uniquely Christian thought not shared by Jews and Muslims.”
When I moved back to the Southwest, the first thing I noticed was color. Green is not a dominant color in New Mexico. The landscape is brown and red and sometimes golden at sunset, but not green. There is very little that reflects the Christian hymnody of “field and forest, flowery meadow, flashing sea.” This is a land of little rain, and of life that adapts to that scarcity.
Many of us feel a little silly if we react strongly to the death of a pet or the plight of an animal. “Well, it was just a cat,” we say, embarrassed by our grief. Where does this attitude come from? It’s certainly not biblical. Our modern view of animals can be traced primarily to such Enlightenment philosophers as René Descartes, who argued that animals are biological machines unable to feel pain or experience emotion and unimportant except as they affect the lives of human beings. In the Bible, by contrast, value and redemption extend not only to humans but to all animals.
Watching Time Code is akin to going into an appliance store and observing a wall of televisions tuned to different channels. Director and writer Mike Figgis divides the screen into four quadrants, each showing a different, but related, 93-minute uncut shot. Is it any good? Let’s put it this way:
It was not what was predicted by mainstream sociologists who followed in the footsteps of Karl Marx, Max Weber and Émile Durkheim, but it has happened. Instead of slowly withering away or lodging itself quietly into the privacy of worshipers’ hearts, religion has emerged as an important player on the national and international scenes.