Century Marks

The Christian Century, October 9, 2002 | Go to article overview

Century Marks


GIVE WOMEN A CHANCE: After the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks failed in July 2000, President Clinton said, "If we'd had women at Camp David, we'd have an agreement." Swanee Hunt and Christina Posa agree, and can cite cases in which the presence of woman helped achieve peace. The women of the New Sudan Council of Churches, for example, organized their own summit to help end the bloody hostilities between the Dinka and the Nuer, negotiating shared rights to water, fishing, and grazing land. Also, the Sudanese Women's Voice for Peace talked with military leaders of the rebel armies in order to gain access to rebel-controlled areas, which was necessary for humanitarian relief And it was women who helped ensure that humanitarian aid got to families who needed it rather than being diverted for personal gain. "Given their roles as nurturers, women have a huge investment in the stability of their communities," say Hunt and Posa. When talks would break down in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations, "the women would come and talk about their loved ones, their bereavement, their children, and their hopes for the future," one British participant observed (Foundation for Global Community, July/August).

LOSSES AND GAIN: Lynda Taylor was eight-months pregnant when her car was struck by truck driver Billy Turnbow, who had been behind the wheel for 20 hours straight. Lynda was killed and her three-year-old twin daughters were injured. The Taylor family had just cause for seeking the maximum penalty for Turnbow, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter. But the family asked for leniency for the driver, who is married with two young children. Taylor's brother said: "Lynda's children have lost their mother, and we couldn't find a constructive reason for the Turnbow children to lose their father" (EthicsDaily.com, September 30).

DIVESTMENT DIVIDE: To protest Israel's human fights abuses against Palestinians, some Harvard and MIT faculty, students and staff have signed a petition urging their universities to divest from Israel and from U.S. companies that sell arms to Israel. The action has created fault lines in the academic world. Jacob Neusner, prolific Jewish scholar who coauthored a book with William Graham, the new dean of Harvard Divinity School, wrote to Graham, saying: "Had I known you signed that infamous petition to divest Harvard's investments in the state of Israel, ... I would never have wanted to write a book with you." Neusner accused Graham of signing on with Israel's enemies, adding that the fact Graham later withdrew his name from the petition "does not change the picture one bit." Paul Hanson, Harvard professor of Near Eastern languages and civilizations, also had his hand slapped by Hershel Shenks, editor of Bible Review, for having signed the petition. Hanson is a Bible Review advisory board member. Shenks said he was more saddened than angered by Hanson's signing the petition, calling the act naive and misguided (Bible Review, August).

FAT CATS: All the attention given to corporate malfeasance has not put a crimp on CEO compensation packages, according to an analysis done by USA Today (September 30). Despite a slumping economy, "many CEOs are getting double-digit salary increases, fat bonuses, large stock option grants and lavish perks more reminiscent of the bull market 1990s than a 30-month-long bear market." All this at a time when the average workers' salaries are rising just 3.6 percent. In some cases, these boosts in CEO compensation are rewards for good performance, but some non-performers are being handsomely rewarded as well. Much of the blame for lofty pay packages and perks goes to directors with long-term ties or consulting deals with management who, according to one CEO headhunter, "just want nice relationships with their CEOs."

BATTLE OF THE AIRWAVES: Donald Wildmon, supporter of conservative causes and founder of American Family Radio, has successfully knocked two National Public Radio stations off the air in Lake Charles, Louisiana. …

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