Nov 29, 2005
A 21-day Pennsylvania trial on the teaching of evolution in public schools—which lasted 13 days longer than the 1925 Scopes trial—turned out to be an extended argument over the meaning of certain key words—theology, science, politics, education and especially creation. Having heard the testimony of nine experts and 25 other witnesses, a federal judge will rule on whether a religious belief in “creationism” motivated the Dover school board to require students to hear a statement about intelligent design along with the teaching of evolution.
I have been thinking about the ways in which the Bible is a critical alternative to the enmeshments in which we find ourselves in the church and in society. I have not, of course, escaped these enmeshments myself, but in any case I offer a series of 19 theses about the Bible in the church.
Could Mali become the next Cuba? The folks at Putumayo—known for their attractive world-music compilations—think so, and make a compelling case. From Habib Koite’s forlorn, percussive “Kanawa” to Issa Bagayogo’s “Bana” (with a swing that recalls the Bee Gees in their Saturday Night Fever prime), this collection is rich in variety, depth and musicality. The only disappointment: no cut from Tinariwen, the stunning ensemble of Tuareg refugees that performed at the Cornwall, England, Live 8 concert.
The war in Iraq grinds on, now at the cost of over 2,000 American lives and uncounted thousands of Iraqi lives. Few are reluctant to attack the way the Bush administration has managed the war, but fewer still are willing to say that this war should never have been waged. The U.S. should make what amends it can to the Iraqi people for the damage it has done and let them decide their own fate. Our task is not to “complete the mission," but to abandon it.
In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God's Presence in a Scientific World
Death to the death penalty: Polls show that support for the death penalty among lay Catholics is declining. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., acknowledges that theology doesn’t seem to be driving this trend. Rather, it is more the consequence of the number of cases in which convicted inmates have been proved innocent after DNA testing (USA Today, November 8).