Aug 25, 2009
For Muslims, the Qur’an is revered as God’s own art. Islam is essentially an aural religion; God’s word came to the Prophet Muhammad as a voice, instructing him to iqra’, “Recite!” In fact, iqra’ is the word from which we get qur’an, the “reciting.” Reciting or chanting the Qur’an is the highest human art form for Muslims, and over the centuries lusciously melodious chanting styles have developed. But the beautiful writing of God’s word followed close behind.
One of the high-water marks of popular music, certainly of jazz music, is Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue (1959), which almost by itself jolted jazz out of the bebop era. A Davis biographer said that with Kind of Blue he was “trying to evoke the sound of a gospel choir he had once heard on a dark road in Arkansas.”
I’ve studied papal encyclicals for over 30 years, and Caritas in veritate (“Charity in Truth”) is the first one I was eager to be finished with. Clearly Pope Benedict XVI wants his message about “integral human development” in the context of global economics to be understood in continuity with Paul VI’s Populorum progressio (“On the Development of Peoples”) of 1967, a document considered the high-water mark of Catholic social radicalism.
Phil Harmon was a successful business executive with deep roots in the Quaker community of the Northwest. By the 1990s the Oregon man had several homes in Oregon and Washington State. In his early career, he sold insurance. He gained widespread trust as a businessperson and garnered clients such as George Fox University, a Quaker school in Newberg, Oregon, and the Northwest Yearly Meeting, an organization of 67 Quaker churches in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. But he began to collect premiums without buying the insurance and using the premium payments to cover his clients’ claims.
Racial profiling: When President Obama was in the Illinois Senate, he worked on a racial profiling bill that led to state traffic studies on who gets pulled over by police. The latest study reveals a consistent pattern: 24.7 percent of white drivers who consent to a search of their vehicle have contraband, while only 15.4 percent of minority drivers do. Yet minority drivers were twice as likely to be asked to consent to a search of their vehicle (Chicago Tribune, July 26).