On 13 August, the main floor of the New Haven People’s Center was characteristically hot and unusually crowded for a late summer evening. About half a dozen lawyers, nonprofit workers, and labor union staff were there for a meeting of the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance.
In this week’s edition of QUICK TAKES, we take a hard look at the race crisis in America in light of the death of Freddie Gray and the turmoil in Baltimore. We posed the following questions to our contributors: What do the seemingly regular reports of deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers as well as the resulting protests tell us about the conditions of race and race relations today?
For the past two weeks I have made my annual pilgrimage with university students to Vienna, which because of the strong United Nations presence and the hundreds of NGOs specializing in international humanitarian services and outreach is often known as the “gateway city” for globalization.
We always end the course with a two-hour train ride west of the city along the Danube to the Denkstätte (“memorial”) that is the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, an originally preserved site of the monstrous brutality and anti-human obscenities inflicted on a vast diversity of different peoples now at least 70 years ago by the Third Reich.
Two questions stand out: Why was Michael Brown killed and why are police units increasingly militarized so that they resemble soldiers in a war zone more than cops on a beat? The answers to these questions do indeed lead back to government–not simply to “big government,” but to a bureaucracy directed to wage war on a class of its citizens, driven by a political culture that ironically champions law and order.
. . . Here, I focus on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology of friendship. My underlying proposal is that Bonhoeffer’s particular approach to friendship which emphasizes concrete, personal encounter with “the other” in community is uniquely suitable for Christians in an increasingly pluralistic, politically polarized, and techno-social world. My hope is that Bonhoeffers theology and praxis can challenge us to think more deeply and comprehensively about what is required for Christian witness in the 21st century.
The controversy surrounding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, defeated in the U.S. Senate on December 4, demonstrates the tension in Catholic teaching between the need for effective international institutions that promote human rights and the need for international institutions that respect a proper balance between their own authority and the authority of states.
Last month’s presidential election was characterized by unprecedented rancor and bitterness. With the election over and Obama still in office, the partisan posturing has shifted to the “fiscal cliff” debate and the prognosis that huge spending cuts and an increase in taxes could send the American economy into a tailspin. The issue seems to have changed, but the political climate has not. Even worse than the puerile behavior of elected officials is the level of acrimony displayed by American citizens toward those who disagree with their political affiliation…