Century Marks

Century Marks

Gun violence

A study conducted by the Center for American Progress indicates that states with the weakest gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence. The ten states with the highest rates of gun violence are Louisiana, Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, New Mexico, Missouri, Arkansas and Georgia. Eight of these states are among the 25 states with the weakest gun laws. New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Connecticut have the lowest levels of gun violence, and they all are among the ten states with the strongest gun laws (Progress Report, April 3).

Reservations

Kimberly Ritter is a professional meeting manager, but before organizing a conference for the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph she had never worried about how hotels are used for sex trafficking. The Sisters insisted on using a hotel that had taken a pledge not to tolerate child sex trafficking. Ritter has since become an activist on the issue. The first step is to make hotels aware of the problem and then to get them to train staff to look for the signs of trafficking (Chicago Tribune, April 7).

Natural believers

Muslims and Hindus have the notion that children come into the world already knowing God. A growing body of research suggests that children do have an innate propensity to believe that a God or gods exist. Deborah Keleman’s research team has shown that children naturally believe that the natural world has a purpose and that someone must have created it. Other research has demonstrated that it is natural for a child to believe there is a deity who watches over them and serves as a moral police to make them behave better (Big Questions Online, March 5).

Demanding proof

A California creationist is willing to pay $10,000 to anyone who can prove in court that God didn’t create the world 6,000 years ago. He believes the Genesis account of creation is literally true (The Week, April 5).

Church collateral

With banks in Cyprus on the verge of collapse and the government unable to come to agreement with the European Union over a bailout plan, the head of the Cyprian Orthodox Church offered to help. Archbishop Chrysostomos II offered to mortgage the church’s assets to help get the country out of its financial bind. Although the church is be­lieved to be the biggest landholder in the country, it does not have enough assets to bail out Cyprus by itself. The archbishop urged his country’s leaders to find solutions within Cyprus, and he was highly critical of the European Union’s plans to make bank depositors give up some of their assets. He called on Cypriots to make sacrifices to help pay off the country’s debts (ABC News, March 20).