Gwynne Dyer, in the Trinidad and Tobogo Express, laments the state of religion and politics in Nigeria — especially as the two relate to a contentious polio vaccination campaign. The governor of the Nigerian state of Kano suspended the vaccinations last year in response to “rumours” that it was a Western plot to cut the Muslim birth-rate — rumors Dyer says were started by the governor’s own political machine. “This is not ignorant fanaticism,” writes Dyer, “it is cold-blooded political manipulation.”
“‘Some people say these gifts have passed away,’” said Pastor David Fees of the Fountain of Life in Plano, Texas. “‘We have the same human nature as they did in the first century, we have the same enemies and we have the same God.’” Fees claims to have the ability to prophesize, Piet Levy writes in The Dallas Morning News and, while he maintains that prophecy is a calling and not something that can be taught, you can hear him speak on the practice at next week’s “Dreams and Visions” class at Fountain of Life ($15 per person, $25 per couple).
Biking for Christ in Flint, Michigan.
The fourth Parliament of the World’s Religions meets in Barcelona this week, drawing more than 7,000 people from five continents to discuss religiously motivated violence, international debt, the plight of refugees and universal access to clean water.
“‘I suspect that if we do have a settlement on the moon, there will be a Chabad house there.’” Michael Kress, in The Dallas Morning News, talks with the followers of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh rebbe (spiritual leader) of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement.
The New York Times’s Somini Sengupta reinforces Moktada al-Sadr’s thug-life image in a report on the cleric and his die-hard followers, who have taken control of the 10th-century Imam Ali shrine: the “sacred centerpiece of Iraq’s Shiite heartland,” and a “no-go area to the Iraqi police. ” 23-year old Mustafa Jabbar and his wife are two of these followers, ready to serve as martyrs for Sadr’s movement. “If need be,” Sengupta writes, “they will volunteer their first born as well, a baby boy, now 45 days old. ‘I will put mines in the baby and blow him up,’ Mr. Jabbar said. He has named the baby Moktada.”
“Nothing encourages more reverie about the meaning of it all than lives glimpsed from a train window: the poignancy of patio chairs, tilted, as if in prayer, to let rain run off them; figures momentarily looking up from sinks, as if in an Edward Hopper painting; a child’s empty climbing frame. Such sights bring home the simple, uniform melancholy of all our lives and can leave one aching for an answer.” Roger Tugholm, in The Guardian, finds enlightenment in his daily commute.