Boss Man. In two benefit concerts, Bruce Springsteen, solo on acoustic guitar, raised
nearly $1 million for Robert Coles' DoubleTake Magazine, whose mission is to
encourage community-service efforts, saving it from ruin. Thanks, Bruce!
Class Act. "This union and its members do not laugh," wrote United
Steelworkers president Leo W. Gerard to the president of media giant Viacom, "...at
your plans to produce The Real Beverly Hillbillies, a show which hopes to pluck an
impoverished family from rural America, plop it down in a ritzy mansion, then ridicule the
family's efforts to survive in their new surroundings."
Take the First. Religious freedom in Afghanistan is perilously at risk unless the U.S.
government presses for greater human rights protections, warned the independent U.S.
Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The Plus Side. An HIV-positive Zambian woman talked with President Bush during a private
meeting in April to address his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Princess Kasune Zulu, a
World Vision AIDS worker, started a school for children orphaned by AIDS and hosts an
educational radio show called "Positive Living."
Operator? Jim Carrey's recent movie, Bruce Almighty, published God's
direct telephone number; unfortunately God appears to be on a party line. Homes and
businesses with the same phone number were deluged with calls from jokesters and soul
Bright Ideas. More than 20 Iraqi religious leaders, representing Christians as well as
Shiite and Sunni Muslims, recommended in May that international institutions increase
their humanitarian assistance by cooperating more with Iraqi religious groups and social
institutions, including women's and youth organizations.
Write Stuff. Swedish journalist Agneta Lagercrantz won the 2002 John Templeton Award for
the "European Religion Writer of the Year." Her award-winning articles included
a story on Christian retreats for long-term prisoners and an article on the development of
"spiritual counseling." The Templeton Award honors journalists who write about
religion in the secular media with accuracy, impartiality, and with a spirit of ecumenism.
New South. The North Carolina Senate was the first state legislative body in 2003 to
pass a moratorium on death row executions. The vote calls for a halt to state executions
for two years while a thorough examination is made of its death penalty system.
Bum's Rush? Police officers in Kissimmee, Florida, dressed up as homeless people to
catch drivers committing traffic offenses. Homeless advocacy groups have proposed that the
police should help solve the local homeless problem rather than using it as part of