I sincerely apologize for the lack of posts in recent days. My husband and I are moving to another part of the country, so my time has been completely consumed by that project. I promise that you will be seeing more articles once we get things up and running at our new abode. I wish you all a very happy Christmas season!
Ohio State faces Michigan in the 2013 edition of their annual rivalry game. Photo by Michael Barera
I felt many different things during yesterday’s Ohio State-Michigan game. That is what comes from watching your team put its unbeaten record on the line against its long-time rival in a battle of seesawing scores and emotions. At various points, I felt elated, exhausted, annoyed, anxious – pretty much all of the emotions you would expect a serious college football fan to face during such a game. However, there was one thing I felt more than any other, perhaps surprisingly so: I felt old. Continue reading →
Iran and the United States finally reached an agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program, but it seems this time the devil is in the details.
Over the weekend, the U.S., its allies, and Iran managed to work out a deal in which some of the international sanctions Iran has been experiencing will be lifted in exchange for certain reductions in Iran’s nuclear development. This is a six-month agreement that the Obama administration hopes will lead to a more permanent solution after further talks take place. I know what you’re thinking: “What an amazing diplomatic breakthrough!” Well…
“Last night is not a historic agreement – it’s a historic mistake. It’s not made the world a safer place…This agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place,” argued Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Ok, so we’ll put him down as “still on the fence”: not surprising, since Netanyahu has never gotten along that well with President Obama. He probably is just upset that Barack (the U.S. president, not Netanyahu’s Israeli political rival, Ehud Barak) is going to get all the glory for this one, right? Continue reading →
Jacqueline Kennedy leads her children out from her husband’s funeral on November 25, 1963, followed by other members of the Kennedy family. White House photo by Abbie Rowe
As you have probably heard, today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX. There has been no shortage of material commemorating the event, perhaps most notably the film “Killing Kennedy” which appeared on the National Geographic Channel and was based on the book by Bill O’Reilly (and Martin Dugard, who likely is responsible for more than 50% of the end product, but inevitably gets 5% of the credit). I watched the program, and it made me wonder, whatever happened to some of those people?
Obviously, we all know what happened to President Kennedy. (The clue is in the title.) Lee Harvey Oswald also failed to make it out of that week alive, thanks to Jack Ruby. The rest of the characters in this story went on living their lives, some fading into anonymity and others becoming high-ranking officials. Here now is a review of what happened to a few of the people caught up in the JFK assassination. Continue reading →
An examination of some of the issues raised by director Steve McQueen’s newest film, including its historical, cultural, and spiritual implications.
I did not go to see 12 Years a Slave intending to write about it, but as much for myself as for others, I feel a need to do so now. What I saw was not an ordinary film. I knew before I went in that it would prompt a great deal of philosophical pondering, but perhaps even this expectation has proved to be too small.
The film tells the story of Solomon Northrup according to his 1853 autobiography. A free black man living in New York state, he was deceived and abducted into slavery while on a trip to Washington, D.C. For the next twelve years, he witnessed the horrors of slavery on multiple plantations in Louisiana, until finally a chance encounter allowed him to press his legal case and earn back his freedom. It’s the kind of amazing true story that screenwriters would normally dream about, but the darkness of the subject matter is likely part of the reason that no filmmaker has attempted the feat until now. Continue reading →
The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Guest blogger Shelley Watkins talks about how her life experiences have shaped her views of the U.S. military and her appreciation of our veterans.
Two days ago, I found myself making an unplanned stop at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was a beautiful fall day, colorful leaves swirling midst the verdigris soldiers, frozen mid-step as they walked across the field of battle. There was an unexpected flash of burnt sienna as an anxious fox scurried through the statues, desperate for sanctuary and finally disappearing under a bush. Does he really have a den in this crowded place, the only being allowed to walk among the statues? Continue reading →
The lovely city of Toronto, now home to a truly embarrassing mayor. Flickr photo by John Vetterli
There are increasing calls for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to get ouuuwwwwt of city hall. (“Ouuuwwwwt” is how people from Ontario tend to say “out”.)
Here in the United States, we know all about mayoral scandals. In the ‘90s, there was D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who was sentenced to six months in prison after being convicted on drug charges. In the ‘00s, we had Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose offenses made Barry’s seem rather trivial: he was recently sentenced to 28 years in prison for a laundry list of crimes that included “taking bribes, steering contracts to his friend, extorting businessmen, deceiving donors to his nonprofit, living lavishly on the public’s dime and loading the city’s payroll with friends and family.” Continue reading →
You might have noticed that we now have an ad on the right-hand side of the screen. I always hoped that we could keep this place ad free, and I want you to know that I didn’t cave in for monetary reasons. While it is possible that some day I could see a very small payment in exchange for this advertising space, the only motivation behind this decision was the opportunity to be part of the BlogHer network. They require that I put at least one ad on my site in order to be publicized on theirs, and my hope is that this will prove to be a very minor distraction for those who visit this site. I have made an effort to block less scrupulous advertisements, but if for some reason you see something objectionable appearing in that space, please let me know and I will do what I can to get rid of it. Also, head on over to www.blogher.com, where you can find articles written by females such as myself on a wide variety of issues. Thank you once again for visiting Church & State!
The “Theses Doors” at All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther purportedly nailed his “Ninety-Five Theses” on October 31, 1517. Photo by Wikipedia user AlterVista
It is October 31st, a day which in the United States is associated with Halloween, a celebration that mostly involves dressing up, pigging out on candy, and covering the neighbor’s yard with toilet paper and smashed pumpkins. However, did you also know that October 31st is Reformation Day? What is Reformation Day? Allow me to explain…
Nearly half a millennium ago, on October 31, 1517, a theology professor at the University of Wittenberg in Germany drafted an announcement of an upcoming university debate and posted it to the door of the local church, which in those days served as a kind of town message board. This is the kind of everyday occurrence that normally gets ignored by historians, except that the man’s name was Martin Luther and his announcement contained a list of “Ninety-Five Theses” that laid out what he believed were necessary reforms in the Catholic Church. As it turns out, the typical story of Luther authoritatively attaching his list of demands to the church door is likely apocryphal and based mostly on the account of his friend Philip Melanchthon, who may or may not have actually been in town at the time the event was supposed to have occurred. Continue reading →
Former Saudi King Faisal is greeted by President Richard Nixon at the White House in 1971. The U.S.-Saudi relationship is one of long standing. National Archives photo by Robert L. Nudsen
With Syria in flames and Iran continuing its nuclear development, two Saudi princes have grabbed headlines criticizing Obama administration policies in the Middle East. What does this mean for the future of the bilateral relationship?
In the Middle East, events seem to shift as often as the Arabian sands. Rulers rise and fall, wars come and go, and firm alliances are often hard to achieve. Thus, the longstanding relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has been one of the key driving forces in the region, an alliance based more on common interests than common ideals or ways of life.
The course of this relationship has not always run smooth. The presence of American troops and contractors on Saudi soil has been a source of consternation for those who frown on such things happening on holy Islamic land. The OPEC embargo in the 1970s revealed some distance between the two allies, while the Persian Gulf War opened the door for enhanced military cooperation in defense of the Kingdom and neighboring Kuwait. Another low was reached after the 9/11 terrorist attacks: 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Continue reading →