Execution ends the chance for redemption Victims cannot heal

The upcoming execution date for Stanley “Tookie” Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang, has generated a lot of commentary on the subject of killing people. Some think killing people is appropriate in certain circumstances, like war and the death penalty. Others think killing is never appropriate. Both sides bolster their arguments with clippings […]

Global warming: the high cost of doing nothing

Slabs of ice cave off arctic glaciers and plunge into the ocean. Glaciers disappear from Switzerland to Montana. Record high average temperatures and more severe storms everywhere. These are but a few illustrations of the reality of global warming. Whether the earth’s climate is changing is no longer seriously debated. Scientific skeptics now largely agree […]

The Ted Haggard scandal: implications for the church

I have followed the Ted Haggard scandal closely since it broke November 2, waiting for some distance and perspective. As was predictable, we now have confirmation from the New Life Church board that “without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct,” as well as Haggard’s own confession. As a professor of contemporary Christian […]

The tragedy of slavery: it isn’t over

Slavery. The very word conjures up images of pain and suffering, oppression and subjugation, sin! More than 500,000 black Africans were kidnapped, sold like livestock and forced to perform backbreaking work. Families were torn apart as young children were removed from their parents and husbands and wives were separated. Slaves were forced to endure beating, […]

Dropouts . . . who cares?

Dropout crisis. What crisis? In California, officially, the graduation rate is 87 percent and climbing. New accountability measures like the High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) help teachers get students through to graduation. If there was a crisis, there would be extensive media coverage and politicians would be demanding action. The state and local districts have […]

Incomprehensible forgiveness: lessons from the Amish

Forgiveness is not usually the lead story on national news, but lately it has been because of the murder of Amish children in their one-room school in Pennsylvania. The demented actions of a milk truck driver have thrown open a window into a closed community where forgiveness is as natural as breathing. Hate and revenge […]

Corn is not the answer Ethanol: more hype than hope

Driving. Nothing is more American. Nothing is more central to our lives. Since the first cars rolled off Henry Ford’s assembly lines, the car has been integral part of our lives and economy. One in six jobs revolves around the car. We are dependent upon the car which makes us dependent upon oil . . […]

Sexual harassment training makes the workplace safe for all

In 1909 Rose Schneiderman, a worker in a New York City ladies’ garment factory, approached the factory foreman. He had been pinching the young women who worked for him and they were unhappy about it. Like most women at the time, they (being mostly young, recent immigrants and poor) believed their only option was to […]

Friends and family

You know there’s nothing interesting on television when you find yourself watching DVDs of your favorite shows rather than trying to find something worthwhile on the air. My summer viewing this year largely consisted of past seasons of Friends, the ultimate television experience of my thirty-something generation. While I have always loved the humorous way […]