Century Marks

Century Marks

Lament and celebration

The Advent and Christmas seasons can elicit grief, especially for those who have experienced loss since the previous celebration. Cancer survivor Deanna Thompson reminds Christians to allow space for lament during these seasons. Christians have difficulty accepting lament, perhaps because their faith proclaims the resurrection. “To be able to give voice to our deepest sorrows, to attend to the sufferings that ultimately pass none of us by, is to give ourselves permission to lament,” says Thompson. Lament is a necessary precursor to hope (Grace blog, November 13).


Islamophobic candidates running for the U.S. Congress didn’t do too well in last month’s election. Allen West, who has called Islam a totalitarian theocratic ideology, lost to Patrick Murphy, a Democratic challenger in Florida. Adam Hasner, also from Florida and known for supporting anti-Islamic events, lost, as did represen­tatives Chip Cravaack in Minnesota and Joe Walsh in Illinois. Candidate Charlie Fuqua in Arkansas, who had called for deporting all Mus­lims, failed to unseat the incumbent in his district (Arab American News, November 9).

Role reversal

Churches and clergy are usually at the center of disaster relief efforts, but many churches and synagogues were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and they have needed help themselves. Houses of worship in numerous areas were destroyed. The clergy have had disasters at home to deal with, and many have endured long periods without electricity. Jewish synagogues have had the additional challenge of rescuing and salvaging waterlogged sacred texts (New York Times, November 12).

Unholy gambling

A hacker group calling itself the “moroccan­ghosts” took over the French website of the Euromillions lottery early this month. The hackers posted verses from the Qur’an and warned that gambling would “turn you away from God and prayer.” France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, many of whom come from Morocco and Algeria (The Week, November 9).

Wake-up call

Last summer scientists documented that the sea level is rising faster in the northeastern United States than in almost any other place on the globe. They spelled out a series of risks, including the flooding of the New York subway system—which happened last month during Hurricane Sandy. It’s unclear whether New York City can build sea walls to protect against future storms and higher seas. New York is 17th on a list of cities worldwide that are subject to calamities from flooding due to global warming. Leading the list are Mumbai and Kolkata, which are less likely than New York to be able to hold back rising seas (Bill McKibben at commondreams.org).