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March 4, 2002
There are three related debate topics that just won't go away this winter: are "they" totally evil and "we" simply good; is "their" religion murderous and "ours" benign; is "their" Book a manual and license for war and "ours" a sourcebook for peace and peacemakers? That a terrorist who is a Muslim is evil is obvious. This is not a subject that requires much debate.
February 28, 2002
The Dr. Pepper company decided recently to market their soda pop in a special patriotic can. They were hoping to combine some creative marketing with a show of national unity. The design featured an image of the Statue of Liberty with words from the Pledge of Allegiance running along the top edge of the can.
February 25, 2002
Barbara Crossette's story "A Tough Time to Talk Peace" in the New York Times (February 12, 2002), reports that in New York City, Buddhism -- described as a philosophy, but who does not also find it among the religions in every encyclopedia? -- has come upon hard times.
February 18, 2002
America's cardinal Cardinal, Cardinal Bernard F. Law of the Boston archdiocese is at a crossroads of media coverage on today's most devastating churchly topic, priestly pedophilia. Law's experience, his warm relations with the Vatican, and politicos and reporters, and his visibility through the years places him in the forefront.
February 15, 2002
Where does one begin to discuss the actions of Mayor Carolyn Risher of Inglis, Florida? She is the public official who, last Halloween night, used official stationary to write a proclamation banning Satan from her town. Her story appeared in the St.
February 11, 2002
"I propose, fellow citizens, a new sort of union, or, if you please, a Christian party in politics." Speaking was Ezra Stiles Ely, who rounded up evangelicals' votes for Andrew Jackson. Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and head of the American Sunday-School Union, he was big time. (He won political points for his party by beating back anti-Jackson attacks by Baptists in 1823.)
February 7, 2002
Those who watched Sunday's Super Bowl were treated to a seemingly miraculous game. After appearing to fall apart in the game's final two minutes, the New England Patriots, fourteen-point underdogs, defeated the St. Louis Rams on a last-second field goal.
February 4, 2002
It is one thing to speak of pluralism in scholarly fashion, and another to deal with its outer reaches when confronted with its manifestations. It is one thing to advocate governmentally-supported "faith-based" ventures, and another to deal with the outer reaches of faiths that get supported.
January 31, 2002
Of the many images associated with the year now past, the one that haunts me most is the box cutter. It is such a familiar object, one that I associate with the pleasure of unpacking books. The scenes of collision, fire, and rubble are so extreme that they seem distant by comparison. But the box cutter is everywhere: in supermarket aisles, offices, and household mail baskets.
January 28, 2002
Commentators have begun to assess the new phase of responses to terrorism. One hears and reads in many places stories matching what Jon Steinman noticed in his recent article "Enthusiasm Wanes for Flags" (Chicago Tribune, 24 January). Flags have been seen in superabundance since September 11.


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