September 20, 2005 |
Growing up Jewish, I always felt like an outsider as a religious minority. As a grade-school student, I couldn't understand why we were forced to sing Christmas carols during school assemblies. I wondered why we couldn't sing Hanukkah songs or spin the dreidel. Thus, despite my belief in God, I empathize with Michael Newdow, the atheist who brought suit in California federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance because of the phrase under God. I have no problem reciting the pledge.
March 25, 1998 |
If the modestly gifted 18th-century composer Antonio Salieri did - as he does in Amadeus - avidly seek fame, he has Peter Shaffer's popular 1979 play and the subsequent film to thank for the renown he has today, nearly 175 years after his death. It is, however, not the kind of fame the historical Salieri likely envisioned. Instead of acknowledging the once securely obscure composer as a musical creator, Shaffer presents him as the destroyer of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the genius Salieri could never be. Did Salieri, as legend and Amadeus propose, have something to do with Mozart's death?
July 26, 1994 |
A year ago, residents of Cedarbrook celebrated the closing of the raucous Ivy Hill bar. The patrons of the nuisance bar packed guns and drugs, and trashed the streets with beer bottles and crack vials. When the bar closed, residents did what they hadn't done in years: Sat outdoors in the summer. On Sunday, a little more than a year after their victory, the community celebrated again with the dedication of the Brand New Life Christian Center. Greg Wicks, of Wadsworth Neighbors Against Drugs, said his group, a nightly town watch that had worked with neighbors and law enforcement to close down the Ivy Hill, welcomes the church.
December 22, 2006 |
I'M A JEW who has experienced moments of transcendence that I think must be God. I don't believe in miracles, but I pray for people who are sick, and I want health care for all. I believe God doesn't take sides - on sports teams and on nations. I don't believe God blesses only America, land that I love, but I sing the song anyway. I believe with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel that when torture and "extraordinary rendition" are committed in a free society like ours, "some are guilty but all are responsible.
April 26, 1990 |
"They that wait upon the Lord . . . shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary . . . " - Isaiah 40:31. Bill Starrs, 62, sat among the hanging models and pictures of airplanes and talked about the addiction to flying. A large crucifix hung on the wall behind the airplanes. "Flying is an obsession," he said. "If you love to fly, you are constantly thinking about the next time you can go up. "You know, Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic the year I was born.
March 6, 1991 |
Erica Lee, my 6-year-old daughter, asked to go to church, so off we went to SS Peter and Paul Cathedral. We parked near the towering green dome kissing the ice blue sky. The dark red walls rose like hands in prayer. The stained glass windows sparkled in the winter sun. All in all, you'd have to say God is alive and living very well on the Parkway. But He's the only one - for right there on the corner, under a statue of Christ with outstretched arms, sat a man on steam vent, buried in swaddling rags.
October 14, 1990 |
The meeting began with a prayer. The 12 women who sat in a circle facing one another joined hands as the group's leader asked God for help and strength during the gathering. After the prayer, there was a moment of silence, and then the leader informally explained the program. Most of the women in the circle were strangers to one another, but in the course of the next 12 weeks many would pour their hearts out to the group, telling of their feelings of boredom, depression, lack of discipline and sense of inadequacy.
June 27, 2002 |
TWO WORDS, two federal judges and a second-grader pulled off the impossible yesterday: Rally every Democrat and Republican in Washington and three-fourths of the American public together behind a single cause. The two words, of course, are "under God," and when a three-member federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because Congress inserted them in 1954, the reaction blew east like a tornado. President Bush called the panel's 2-1 ruling "ridiculous;" the Senate voted, 99-0, within minutes to condemn the decision, and about 100 members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol to recite the Pledge.
January 9, 2005 |
When I was asked recently, during a guest appearance on an ABC radio call-in show, "Where was God during the tsunami?", my first response was to say, as I've said about God during the Holocaust, "Isn't this an attempt to avoid the more pressing question of 'Where was humanity? Why have we been so unwilling to take serious responsibility for the well-being of others on the planet?' " It's quite amazing to behold, actually, how many people responded to the question on last night's show by calling in to give messages that were roughly of the following sort: "I am really angry at God, and this is precisely why I don't believe in Him. " I don't know any being who, despite "not existing" according to some people, still gets such a bad rap. It's as if people need to invent God to blame Him for something about which they are justifiably in despair.
November 30, 1993 |
A HISTORY OF GOD Karen Armstrong Knopf / $27.50 People who yearn for "old-time religion" might be surprised by the faith of their fathers. Karen Armstrong, 48, a British scholar specializing in religion, examined Jewish, Christian and Moslem beliefs about God. In her new book, she shows that the three faiths have frequently modified their understanding of a supreme being. "The idea of God is constantly in a state of flux," Armstrong said in a recent interview.