Gov. Robert Casey (profile)

[World, March 12, 1994] It was ”almost providential." This is a cautious man speaking. Governor Bob Casey is not given to effusive pronouncements. His lengthy form is folded behind the ornate desk, but his long arms sometimes escape to chop the air in emphasis. White hair and black eyebrows lend him an intense appearance, but his manner is plain-spoken and unaffected, and always marked by caution.

Good News, Bad News

[World, February 26, 1994] Good news on the pro-life front recently: both Pennsylvania and North Dakota have overcome judicial hurdles to putting abortion laws into effect. Pro-life victories are rare enough that activists are celebrating. The Pennsylvania laws were enacted in 1990, but abortion advocates brought repeated challenges that carried them all the way to the Supreme Court.

Let God be God

[World, January 29, 1994] The book's title was The Power of Their Glory; its subhead described Episcopalians as “America's Ruling Class.” The Episcopal church was just one of several mainline denominations that rocketed in membership, prominence, and influence in the years after World War II. The horrors of war had been such a foretaste of hell

Do-It-Yourself Deity

[World, February 5, 1994] During my college years I lived on ”Olympia Hill," a site less heavenly than its name suggests. Our southern city had once been host to a booming textile industry, and a hundred years ago a ramshackle collection of unheated wooden houses for employees had been thrown together beyond the railroad tracks. By the time I arrived, Olympia Hill had developed a mixed population:

Christmas Shopping Blues

[Religion News Service, November 28, 1995] Is everybody happy? I'm not sure. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Christiana Mall in Christiana, Delaware was crowded and bristling with festive decor, but the people waiting around the base of the fountain looked dazed and glum. The fountain was dry, so its circular field of brownish rocks sat idle,

Futile Utilitarian Religiosity

[Religion News Service, November 14, 1995] Pick a page, any page, in your daily paper and you're likely to find one of two things. Either there's a horrific story of violence and evil, or there's a politician or pundit decrying such and telling us America is going to hell in a handbasket. All around us we hear the predictions of catastrophe. What we don't hear is what to do about it.

The Weeping Icon and Eugene

[Religion News Service, October 31, 1995] All day long Eugene Nahum prays in a church on the outskirts of Chicago. At night, he sleeps in the basement below the church offices. ”This is my life now,“ he says. ”I have no other life." Both the man and the church are remarkable. Before moving here permanently, Eugene made several day-trips from his home in Ohio to this church in the grimy suburb of Cicero, Ill., because it is the site of an unusual phenomenon: a weeping icon.

War, Peace, and Bumper Stickers

[Religion News Service, May 7, 1995] I can't get the bumper‑sticker out of my mind; it's stuck there like a wad of gum under a theater seat. “World Peace,” read the message on the back of the Dodge, in faux‑childish crayon scrawl. It had a smiley‑face in the middle. No doubt the woman toting this sticker likes world peace, and wanted to suggest it as an option the rest of us had not yet considered.

Against Capital Punishment

[Religion News Service, October 3, 1995] When Jane's fiance, a tugboat engineer, disappeared at sea, there were many theories about the cause of his death. When his best friend suggested that he had been murdered after stumbling across a drug deal, the idea electrified her. “It caused such a rage it was almost a physical reaction,” she told me.