- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2002

Unifying cause
"Sexual trafficking is one of those rare causes that brings together right and left, evangelical Christian and secular humanist.
"'You've got soccer moms and Southern Baptists, the National Organization for Women and the National Association of Evangelicals on the same side of the issue,' the Hudson Institute's Michael Horowitz says. 'Pro-family issues are usually controversial, but on this one, you've got everyone in agreement. Gloria Steinem and Chuck Colson together. Doesn't the White House get it?'
"Bush administration officials insist they do get it, but that the go-along, get-along culture of the State Department makes it difficult to achieve any sort of consensus on which countries should be sanctioned. Beyond the normal 'walk softly' attitude at the State Department, critics say the trafficking law is being hijacked by a committed band of ideologues intent on advancing an agenda too radical for mainstream feminists like Ms. Steinem. They want to legalize prostitution, viewing it as a potentially empowering career option for poor women who voluntarily choose to sell their bodies."
Bob Jones, writing on "Trafficking Cops," in the June 15 issue of World

Koranic culture
"When officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill anointed a book on Islam for a summer reading program, they raised eyebrows as much as cultural awareness. The university is requiring its 3,500 incoming freshman to read 'Approaching the Quran: The Early Revelations' by Michael Sells, a professor of religion at Haverford College.
"An academic book, it explores the Islamic scriptures and contains 35 suras, similar to psalms or parables in the Bible. That has the American Civil Liberties Union worried that the assignment will violate the separation of church and state. Other North Carolinians say the university should not tempt impressionable freshmen into viewing Islam as a harmless faith that they might embrace.
"The book's selection was a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, although campus officials wanted to avoid books on terrorism, says Harry L. Watson, a history professor who served on the [selection] panel. 'With terrorism, everyone has the same view we're all against it,' he says, so the focus has moved to Islam, the religion of 'one-fifth of the world, and we don't know anything about it.' He dismisses the ACLU's concerns: 'We teach the Illiad and the Odyssey without getting students to worship Zeus and Athena.'"
Richard Morgan in "Beach-Blanket Bookworms" in the July 19 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education

Car culture
"To understand U.S. culture in the 21st century, don't start with pop music icon Britney Spears. Definitely don't start with pop intellectual icon Jacques Derrida. Start with the highways. While Jacques and Britney have affected our culture in significant ways neither can take credit for literally changing the way Americans see their country.
"The grid of highways now defines our landscape. From 'the 5' in the west to I-95, which the New York Times recently called 'the Mississippi, the Nile and the Euphrates of the East Coast rolled into one,' interstates are our rivers. Today, the United States' fastest-growing commercial areas are at the intersections of interstate highways.
"Could [President] Eisenhower have envisioned the growth of suburbs and exurbs? Or the sprouting of cloverleaf culture, that instantly recognizeable collection of gas stations and restaurants that minister to us in the name of convenience and speed? Or the commercial success of Cracker Barrel restaurants, which offer a nostalgic small-town, old country store environment, exclusively at interstate exits? Culture always generates more culture, often in surprising forms. And once we make culture, it turns around and makes us."
Andy Crouch, writing on "Interstate Nation," in the June 19 issue of Christianity Today

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