Century Marks

December 27, 2005
Jeff Parker, Florida Today

“When I went to Washington as the pope’s envoy just before the outbreak of the [Iraq] war, [President Bush] told me, ‘Don’t worry, your eminence. We’ll be quick and do well in Iraq.’ Unfortunately, the facts have demonstrated afterward that things took a different course—not rapid and not favorable. Bush was wrong.”

—Retired Cardinal Pio Laghi, recalling a conversation with President Bush on March 5, 2003

“I don’t know what to feel other than pain, agony. They didn’t teach me how to deal with anything like this at the seminary.”

—Lutheran pastor Michael Clark of Wichita, Kansas, on the arrest of his congregation’s president, Dennis Rader, the alleged “BTK serial killer,” charged, tried and convicted of torturing and killing ten people

“Terri’s memory might be best honored by conversations we have with each other about our end-of-life decisions—what we want and what we do not want, the care we choose to receive and the caregivers who provide it.”

J. Donald Schumacher of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, commenting on the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman in Florida whose parents fought to keep her alive against the wishes of her husband

“Pope John Paul II was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years. His extraordinary gifts, his strong Catholic faith, and his experience of human tyranny and suffering in his native Poland all shaped him, and yet he was respected by men and women from every conceivable background across the world. He was truly one of those rare individuals whose legacy will endure long after he has gone.”

—Evangelist Billy Graham, upon Pope John Paul II’s death

“There has been a great deal of talk lately about the role of religion in politics. Yet, if the religious voice were truly a factor, then 45 million Americans—and 8 million children—would not be uninsured.”

—Rabbi Marla Feldman, director of the Joint Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis

“My faith and religious beliefs do not play a role in judging. I look to the law books. I don’t look to the Bible.”

—Judge John Roberts, newly appointed chief justice of the United States, answering questions about his Catholic faith during Senate hearings

“God is a good God and doesn’t have or need to throw temper tantrums like a spoiled and undisciplined child, in order to get his way or because he appears not to have it. We should not attempt to reduce God to such mundane human variables.”

—Bishop Carlton D. Pearson of Higher Dimensions Family Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, saying that Hurricane Katrina was not an act of God

“As we continue to try to politicize God, or market God, or say that America is Christian, or that God is with one [political] party, or that God is here and not there, it only further points to the fact that we don’t understand how big God is and how great God is.”

—Bishop T. D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter’s House in Dallas, speaking at a plenary session of the National Association of Black Journalists

“Surely Mrs. Rosa Parks was sent to us by God, because few among us were so well prepared to play such a momentous role in history.”

Coretta Scott King on the death of Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, launched the civil rights movement 50 years ago