Century Marks

Century Marks


Chris Baker is a tattoo artist who sports tattoos on his legs and arms. He also is a Christian minister. Baker has started a not-for-profit organization dedicated to removing tattoos for people who no longer embrace the lifestyle that the tattoos represent—which is often gang membership, drug addiction or prostitution. In a recent case, Baker volunteered to remove the tattoo from a reformed prostitute who had been enslaved in sex trafficking. She was branded with a tattoo by her former pimp, who is now in prison. “Anytime I can get rid of a trafficking tattoo is a good day,” Baker said. “Trafficking is not a choice people make” (Chicago Tribune, December 27).

Misplaced faith

Pryor Creek Community Church in Oklahoma is one of a number of congregations that sponsor classes on using concealed weapons. Pryor Creek and the others see it as a way of reaching out to new people and gaining members. These churches are facing sharp criticism in the wake of the school shootings in Connecticut. Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good says he grew up in gun country and isn’t opposed to the Second Amendment. But “the gospel should be ‘Put your faith in Christ,’” Cizik says. These church programs teaching people to use guns seem to suggest “Put your faith in Glock” (RNS).

Sister’s song

Last spring, when the Vatican issued a sharp criticism of American nuns, Sister Kathy Sherman did what she’s often done: she wrote a song. Titled “Love Cannot Be Silenced,” the song is not so much a protest song, she says, as a song of affirmation. “I wasn’t protesting anything. I was saying, ‘This is our story.’” Her song has become an anthem for other nuns and for laypeople who have shown up at vigils across the country to show their support for American nuns (New York Times, December 1).

Warning signs

“Our Earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common. Children no longer obey their parents. Every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching.” This doomsday prediction is almost 5,000 years old, dating to an Assyrian clay tablet of 2800 BC (Chicago Tribune, December 9).

Killing us

The U.S. has more guns per capita—about nine guns for every ten people—than any other country. It has nearly twice as many guns per capita as Yemen, which ranks second. The U.S. also ranks first in total number of guns, with 270 million of them privately owned. The second highest total is in India, which has 46 million guns—and a population three times that of the United States. The U.S. ranks second only to Mexico in its gun-related murder rate. Mexico’s gun-related murder rate is driven by drug wars (Washington Post, Decem