THE JILL CARROLL AFTERMATH
Time Magazine has some interesting thoughts about the ways in which Sunni Muslims in Iraq will exploit the safe release of freelance journalist Jill Carroll. Do you agree?
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CAN YOU GET YOUR RELIGION BY PODCAST?
More congregations are turning to podcasts to get their messages out, it's reported. If you are a participant in this, tell me how you like it.
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A DATE LIVING IN INFAMY
What immediately comes to mind when you think of the year 1492? I bet 105 percent of you thought of Christopher Columbus because 1492 was the year he landed in the New World, as we all remember from that little ditty we sang as children, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety-two."
But ask well-educated Jews or Spanish Christians that same question and surely some of them would say that 1492 was the year that Jews were exiled from Spain. Indeed, it was on this date, March 31, 1492, (some date it on March 30) that Spain's Catholic rulers issued an edict saying that all Jews must convert to Christianity or be expelled from the land. It's more proof that issues of conversion (see the recent Afghanistan story) aren't new.
Historians say most Jews elected to leave Spain rather than renounce their faith. One result was a major hit to the Spanish economy as skilled workers and brainpower departed. Imagine that. Prejudice has economic costs.
Many of Spain's Jews came to America, north Africa and the Netherlands, and integrated quite well into the cultures and the economies. Among the Jews who stayed in Spain, many continued to practice their religion in secret, though many true converts nonetheless were ill-treated by the Spanish Inquisition and its relentless search for heretics.
More than 500 years later, we still haven't figured out how to live together in harmony. Sigh.
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (By the way, my column tomorrow will be about what it takes to be a good teacher of religion.)