Robert Solow on his friend Milton Friedman: “One difference between Milton and myself is that everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper” (New York Review of Books, February 15). We keep many things out of M.E.M.O. Money? Sex? No—only war.
On a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I visited the historic complex of Buddhist and Hindu temples at Angkor, near the city of Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia. The temples are spread out over 40 square miles; on a two-day look-see, one can do scant justice even to the major ones, such as the 12th-century Angkor Wat, generally considered the greatest masterpiece of Khmer architecture.
It happens every time a U.S. soldier or marine dies in Iraq. Internet connections are shut down. Commanders don’t want word of the death to reach the soldier’s family before military officials can personally deliver the news.
While doing research for a talk on religion and violence, I kept running into accounts of people who selectively quote the Qur’an to show how it commits Muslims to killing “us” infidels. That research inspired dour thoughts of the sort that I do not often let intrude on this page.
During the first Iraq war, after the United States started dropping bombs as a prelude to Desert Storm, homiletics professor David Buttrick surveyed mainline churches around the country to see if the war had been mentioned on the previous Sunday, whether in the sermon or in the voicing of prayers and concerns. In the vast majority of cases the answer was no.
CREDO: I am a Christian for the reasons stated in the Letter to the Ephesians, especially wherein “Christ is our peace.” I believe that the Bible as a whole (see Second Isaiah) and the New Testament especially culminate in a vision of reconciliation.
One-third called greed and materialism top moral problem
Nov 30, 2004
The war in Iraq was the most important “moral issue” for voters in the national elections—far outpacing abortion and gay marriage as top-shelf concerns, according to a poll supported by progressive groups.
Walter Russell Mead is one of the most compelling interpreters of American foreign policy. Mead, who is the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, helps make sense of complicated matters in an engaging way, and he also takes religion seriously.
A proposal: Let us stop fighting one another, for a season, about issues of sexuality, so that we can focus on what God is saying to the church about our complicity in the violence that is the deepest moral crisis of our time. And let us call the church to fasting and prayer in repentance for the destruction our nation has inflicted upon the people of Iraq.