John Harris Burt, 91, a civil rights activist, vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and ardent backer of women’s ordination while he was the Episcopal bishop of Ohio from 1967 to 1984, died October 20 at his home on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Michigan.
Bruce Sheiman doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe in religion. Setting aside the question of whether God exists, it’s clear that the benefits of faith far outweigh its costs, he argues in his new book, An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off with Religion Than Without It.
Our common lot: Ethicist Daniel Callahan asks why it is that the U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't provide universal health-care insurance. One reason is that Americans don't have a strong tradition of thinking about the common good. "Suffering, disease, and death are our common lot," argues Callahan. "They ought to be dealt with as our common problem . . . in the recognition that we all have bodies that go awry and fail" (Commonweal, October 9).