The common good is taking a beating. Economic inequality has accelerated dramatically since the early 1980s, and many think nothing can be done about it. But that verdict is a nonstarter for Christian morality.
It's great to see David Beckmann convince Mark Bittman to join the fast against attempts to cut federal programs
that help the poor and the hungry. Bittman's dismissal of the religious element
of the effort by Bread for the World and others--"I doubt God will intervene
here"--betrays his unfamiliarity with Christian thought. (I'm tempted to send him
one of my ELCA "God's work, our hands" fridge magnets.) But thanks to Bittman's
involvement, now even the Nation is
giving the progressive evangelical effort positive coverage.
Tuesday on the CBC interview show Q, Jian
Ghomeshi talked to actor Ed Begley Jr., Hollywood's leading environmental
activist and green-lifestyle enthusiast. Discussing Living With Ed, the reality TV show in which Begley
and wife Rachelle Carson clash over his carbon-footprint obsession, Begley
observed that Carson is the sort of person who cares about the earth but
doesn't go to extremes.
When Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth studied revolutions that
had occurred over a period of more than 100 years and across the globe, they found
that nonviolent revolutions are twice as likely as violent ones to succeed.
that nonviolent revolutions attract a greater range of the population and
create a higher likelihood of defection among supporters of a particular
In 1838 the Jesuits who ran Georgetown University sold 272 slaves in order to keep the school afloat. The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to finance the school, and slaves were sometimes given to the Jesuits by parishioners. The sale of the slaves in 1838 would be worth $3.3 million today. The university is considering what, if anything, it owes the descendants of those slaves. Richard Cellini, a Georgetown alumnus and CEO of a technology firm, has established a nonprofit organization and hired eight genealogists to track down those slaves and their descendants. A university group is also studying how Georgetown could make amends for its involvement in slavery (New York Times, April 16).