A new report says this year Americans gave record amounts of private charitable donations. Another report says Americans donated nearly $3 billion to post-hurricane relief efforts. Yet nearly four months after Hurricane Katrina, the magnitude of the destruction is still difficult to comprehend. In the midst of it, many people here say the themes of Christmas are echoing in new and poignant ways.
In Germany, several of the concrete slabs at Berlin’s memorial to the Holocaust were defaced by vandals. In spite of anti-semitic incidents and other difficulties, the number of Jews moving to Germany has been going up dramatically. Also growing are the accompanying efforts to help them recover a sense of Jewish identity. More
Forty-six states have what are known as “conscience clauses” that allow health care workers the right to refuse to perform abortions. What concerns many women and men is that several states are now debating legislation that would expand these clauses to include not only abortion but emergency contraceptives as well. More
There is an old but persistent stereotype that some religious believers are so strict and stern they have no time or taste for laughter. Brad Stine is a successful performer who thinks evangelical Christianity and standup comedy can go together, and that humor can help spread faith. More
In Darfur, in western Sudan, a perfect storm of religious, racial, political, military, and environmental conflicts produced warnings of a humanitarian disaster. But that has been averted for now by a massive relief effort. The situation is still dangerous, especially because of marauding fighters called the Janjaweed, but refugees are being cared for. More
Before World War II, 80 percent of the residents Dzialoszyce were Jewish. Then came the Nazi Holocaust, and the few Jews who returned after the war were killed by Poles. Menachem Daum is a filmmaker, the son of Holocaust survivors, who grew up hearing stories about Polish anti-Semitism. Daum visited Dzialoszyce with his two sons to learn about the Jews who once lived there and anti-Semitism today.
Across the political and theological spectrums, religious conservatives, moderates, and liberals all have their own hopes for President Bush’s second term. Some conservatives say it’s payback time for their support in the election. Others say, “Don’t forget the poor.” More