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  Bob Berne ’60CC, at left, pictured with Columbia College dean Austin Quigley and his wife, Patricia Denison, pledged $5 million to the University recently and in doing so pushed the Columbia Campaign over the $3 billion mark.
Into the homestretch

Alumni and friends have committed more than $3 billion so far to the University’s fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion by the end of 2011. The $4 billion goal was first announced publicly in the fall of 2006, at which point $1.6 billion had been raised.

University officials say that giving totals have held steady in recent months, both in terms of large gifts and in annual fund donations to many of Columbia’s schools, despite the ailing economy. “People admire a great university, and when times are tough they want to help us more, because they care even more about the work that we’re doing for future generations,” said President Lee C. Bollinger at a meeting with Columbia fundraisers on December 17. “They know we’re not raising money for ourselves. We’re committed to a cause that is pure, which is our effort to help create new knowledge and to make society better.”

Two units of the University have already exceeded their campaign goals: the Columbia University Medical Center, which encompasses the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Dental Medicine, and the School of Nursing, has surpassed its $1 billion target. The Graduate School of Journalism, meanwhile, has reached its goal of $100 million. While neither unit has declared a new fundraising goal, they continue to raise money for key priorities. (Read more about the J-school’s campaign.)

Bob Berne ’60CC, one of the University’s most generous benefactors and a former president of the Columbia College Alumni Association, contributed the gift that pushed the campaign over the $3 billion mark. He pledged $5 million recently toward the new Austin E. Quigley Endowment for Student Success, which supports academic advising and career counseling.

Susan Feagin, the University’s executive vice president for alumni and development, attributes Columbia’s fundraising success in part to a commitment — from the University president and trustees to professional staff at individual schools and colleges — to strengthening alumni relations. “Our goal from the beginning of the campaign has been to engage more alumni in the life of the University,” Feagin says. “We don’t want alumni to think that Columbia is only interested in their money. If people do decide to give back, we want that to be one part — and only one part — of an organic relationship between alumni and the University.”

— David J. Craig


 
  Columbia shipshape in rocky financial seas

One of the first terms a student learns in macroeconomics is ceteris paribus. The Latin phrase for “all things being equal” is used to simplify economic examples by eliminating the variables. And all things being equal, Columbia University is doing well financially in the midst of an economic storm that is forcing many other universities to freeze hiring and suspend expansion plans. Most notably, Columbia recently passed the $3 billion mark in its campaign to raise $4 billion.

“We are entering this period from a position of financial strength,” says Robert Kasdin, senior executive vice president. “We have a capital campaign that is well ahead of schedule, annual fund receipts that were among the best in the nation last year, a top-performing endowment, extraordinary demand by applicants for the education Columbia has to offer, and a strong balance sheet.”

Colleges and universities across the country have been rocked by huge declines in the value of their endowments and by reductions in giving. While Columbia does not disclose the value of its endowment other than in its annual report, the endowment “has suffered from the downturn in the markets,” according to Lee Bollinger’s November 11 statement on Columbia and the economy.

That said, Kasdin points out, “The University as a whole is less dependent upon endowment support for operations than are many peer institutions. About 11 percent of the University’s budget as a whole comes from endowment support for operations.” Income from the Harvard endowment, by contrast, funds roughly 35 percent of that school’s overall operating budget, and Yale’s 44 percent.

“In this atmosphere,” says Kasdin, “it is incumbent on us to scrutinize everything and to make sure that the University’s money is being put to work effectively and is being focused on our core mission of scholarship, research, and education.”

— Michael B. Shavelson


 
 
  Professor Martin Chalfie, at right, celebrates being named the 2008 Nobel Laureate in chemistry with Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger, Chalfie’s wife Tulle Hazelrigg, and Columbia neuroscientist Eric Kandel.
A glowing endorsement

You can say Martin Chalfie’s life revolves around roundworms. They’re featured in photographs that adorn his office walls. They squirm inside scores of petri dishes at the geneticist’s lab at Columbia.

The millimeter-long worms, which have a life span of about 19 days, have helped Chalfie demystify how sensory nerves work. Those worms, specifically Caenorhabditis elegans, also played a key role in helping Chalfie, 61, win a Nobel Prize in chemistry this year. The prize came 14 years after he discovered a way for scientists to view the cells in these tiny organisms.

Chalfie, with the aid of members of his laboratory, figured out how to inject the gene that produces green flourescent protein (GFP) into the DNA of roundworms. Under UV light, the GFP glows. When Chalfie successfully inserted the GFP into the transparent roundworm, he was able to view cell structures in living worms using an optical microscope. Until then, even with the most sophisticated microscopes, scientists could not see what was happening inside the worms’ cells, which measure about .002 millimeter.

“Not only is this method noninvasive in the living organism,” says Chalfie, “but we can even look over time, so we have a dynamic view of the biological process.”

Chalfie’s pioneering work has paved the way for other scientists to use GFP, which is derived from jellyfish, for thousands of experiments on other kinds of organisms, including mice. Since the 1994 publication of Chalfie’s discovery in the journal Science, GFP has become an integral part of molecular research.

Chalfie, the Kenan Professor of Biology and chair of the biological sciences department at Columbia, shared the prize with Osamu Shimomura, professor emeritus at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and at Boston University Medical School, and Roger Tsien of the University of California at San Diego. Shimomura, a biochemist, discovered GFP. Chalfie invented a way to insert the protein into a living organism. And Tsien adapted the protein so that it can be illuminated in a rainbow of colors used to mark various cells. Scientists can even use it to see how different parts of a cell change by marking specific proteins within a cell with different GFP colors. The tool helps molecular biologists understand how diseases like cancer spread and how genetic disorders alter development.

Chalfie’s innovative technique came out of a curiosity to see if the protein could yield answers to how nerve and other cells function, which is the focal point of his work.

“I wasn’t studying fluorescence. I wasn’t studying bioluminescence. I wasn’t working in those fields in any way,” Chalfie says. “But I had the opportunity to take this very different path and start studying this protein because Columbia provides the facilities to allow researchers to follow their intuitions.”

— Cindy Rodríguez


 
 
Eric Holder ’73CC, ’76LAW addresses reporters December 1 in Chicago after President-elect Barack Obama announced his national security team, including Holder as attorney general and New York Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.  
Alumnus Eric Holder picked as U.S. attorney general

Eric Holder faces an arduous task. If he’s confirmed as the next U.S. attorney general, he’ll be asked to restore integrity to a justice department that, according to its own inspector general, Glenn Fine, has been politicized to the point of dysfunction, its independent legal judgment corrupted repeatedly to serve the interests of the Bush White House.

President-elect Barack Obama ’83CC announced in November that he will nominate his fellow Columbian as U.S. attorney general; confirmation hearings should begin in January. Holder ’73CC, ’76LAW, who is a Columbia trustee, is widely expected to be confirmed by the Democratic-controlled Congress. He would be the first African American to serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official and he would succeed in that job Michael Mukasey ’63CC. (Mukasey, a Columbia adjunct law professor, has served as AG for about 16 months, since the embattled Alberto Gonzales was forced to step down in 2007.)

Holder is considered a legal centrist, but he is among the harshest critics of the Bush justice department. In particular, he’s ridiculed its legal justifications for warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detainment of terror suspects, and rough interrogation techniques. “Our needlessly abusive and unlawful practices in the war on terror have diminished our standing in the world community, and made us less, rather than more, safe,” Holder declared in a recent speech.

Holder grew up in Queens and attended New York City public schools before studying American history at Columbia College. While at Columbia, Holder spent his Saturdays mentoring underprivileged teenagers, showing them around New York City to expose them to its cultural richness. He loved reading biographies of public servants, and he grew to see the legal system as an agent for social change. He told Columbia magazine several years ago that professors Eric Foner, Hollis Lynch, Fritz Stern, and Dwight Miner “shaped my worldview.” Following graduation, Holder attended Columbia Law School, and while there, he clerked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Holder, in his first job as an attorney, earned a reputation as a fearless corruption buster at the justice department’s public integrity section. He prosecuted FBI agents, judges, a Mafia hit man, a U.S. district attorney, and a Florida state treasurer. President Reagan appointed Holder as an associate judge in Washington, D.C., in 1988 and five years later President Clinton made him the U.S. district attorney. Holder in that job cracked down on child abuse, domestic violence, and hate crimes, and he strengthened support services for victims and witnesses.

Clinton tapped Holder to be deputy attorney general under Janet Reno in 1997. At the justice department, he developed guidelines for prosecuting corporations and he created Lawyers for One America, a program that encourages law firms to do pro bono work and to mentor aspiring attorneys of color.

“Holder is inheriting a justice department that is at its all-time low point in public esteem, so he will have an immense job ahead of him,” said Scott Horton, a Columbia adjunct professor and a liberal legal scholar, in a recent interview on the Pacifica radio program Democracy Now! “He had a reputation while he worked at the justice department as a person who wanted to keep out of politics and keep out of the headlines, do his job, follow the rules. I think he was very, very well-regarded by his colleagues.”

For the past several years, Holder has practiced privately at the prestigious Washington, D.C., firm Covington & Burling LLP. Holder has been very active as a Columbia alumnus, frequently delivering speeches on campus and meeting with students to discuss how he built his career. He received Columbia College’s John Jay Award for professional achievement in 1996 and the law school’s Public Interest Achievement Award in 1998. Holder helped support Columbia’s first chaired faculty position in African-American studies and he has served as a trustee since 2007.

— DJC


 
  Allan Rosenfield, women’s health advocate, dies at 75
Allan Rosenfield, 1933–2008

He was an Air Force doctor stationed in South Korea. And when his fellow cadets were off-duty carousing, he was volunteering in a civilian hospital. He noticed the women: how they lacked access to contraceptives and how they died in childbirth as a result of minor complications.

Allan Rosenfield devoted the rest of his life to improving reproductive health services and maternal care for poor women. As the dean of the Mailman School of Public Health from 1986 to 2008, he created programs that helped millions of women gain control over their own bodies in underserved communities from Harlem to Bangladesh. His leadership helped define Columbia’s emerging strengths in global programming. He died peacefully in his home in Hartsdale, N.Y., on October 12.

The son of an obstetrician, Rosenfield ’59PS completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology after leaving the Air Force. He moved to Thailand in the late 1960s with his wife, Claire Stein Rosenfield ’65GSAS, ’89SW, to advise that country’s health ministry on a new family-planning program. Thailand was experiencing explosive population growth at the time and Western development agencies were pressuring its government to launch a mass sterilization program. Rosenfield had a different idea: give every woman access to birth control pills.

“Allan was among a very small number of men in the development community who advocated for women’s rights,” says Ellen Chesler ’90GSAS, a historian of women’s health issues and a professor at Hunter College. “Many social scientists and policy makers back then considered mass sterilization a magic bullet for population problems in the third world. They didn’t want to hear an ob-gyn talking about women’s empowerment and gender equity.”

Other advisers to Thailand doubted that uneducated women would remember to take birth control pills. But the young doctor convinced the country’s health officials to give it a shot. A pilot program proved effective and birth control pills were made available at 3000 sites. Unwanted pregnancies declined dramatically in the ensuing years.

Rosenfield came to Columbia’s public health school in 1975 to direct its Center for Population and Family Health. He soon expanded the center’s reproductive and maternal health programs into dozens of countries across Africa and Asia. He also launched new sexual health programs for adolescents in Harlem and Washington Heights.

In the 1980s, Rosenfield became one of the most influential advocates for emergency obstetric care in underserved communities. He co-wrote an article in The Lancet in 1985 arguing that 500,000 women in poor countries were dying of pregnancy-related complications every year because health groups were overly focused on caring for infants, at the expense of their mothers; the article is widely regarded as having galvanized international health groups to improve maternal care worldwide.

Rosenfield became dean of public health in 1986, at a time when experts in the field were struggling to respond to AIDS. Among Rosenfield’s contributions to that debate was to focus attention on the fact that treatment strategies that saved babies but not mothers were creating a generation of orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. He and Columbia professor Wafaa El-Sadr eventually launched a major AIDS treatment program in Africa that saves mothers’ lives, as well as prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV. (Read about El-Sadr’s project in our features section.)

Under Rosenfield’s leadership, the Mailman School grew from a small institution to the third-largest school of public health in the nation. It now has programs in 50 countries addressing such issues as infectious diseases, environmental health, and disease surveillance, as well as maternal and child health.

“Allan’s legacy at the Mailman School includes the infusion of a human-rights and social-justice perspective across all disciplines,” says Linda Fried, an expert on aging who succeeded Rosenfield as dean last May. “The medical model of care that’s conventional in this country isn’t adequately focused on social justice, and Allan’s stamp here is that he merged medical knowledge with the needs of entire populations and human rights.”

Rosenfield was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2005. He is survived by his wife, Claire; his son, Paul; his daughter, Jill; his brother, Jim; and five grandchildren.

— DJC


 
 
Members of the University’s Military Veterans Educational Foundation (MilVets) attended the unveiling of the Columbia War Memorial at Butler Library on December 12. Pictured are Columbia MilVets president Peter S. Kim ’09GS, treasurer Erika Gallegos ’09GS, vice president Angel Quiles ’10GS, and communications director Sean O’Keefe ’10GS.  
Honoring our fallen

Since the Revolutionary War, 460 Columbia students and alumni have died in combat. A plaque honoring all of them was unveiled recently at Butler Library. The University also launched a Web site with information about every student and alumnus killed, images from battles in which they fought, and instructions on how to submit additional information about Columbia’s war dead.

The Columbia War Memorial is mounted at the entrance of Butler, a prominent spot where visitors can see it, explained Toni Coffee ’56BC, who helped plan the memorial and whose brother- in-law, Joe Coffee ’41CC, fought in World War II. A computer kiosk will soon be stationed nearby, enabling library patrons to visit a related Web site, Roll of Honor.

The plaque reads: “We remember with enduring gratitude those who attended the colleges and schools of Columbia University and lost their lives in the military service of our nation. As we celebrate their lives, let us honor them by guarding peace.”

Trustees chair Bill Campbell ’62CC, an Army veteran who donated to the memorial, gave a salute at the unveiling, which was attended by Columbia veterans, students, faculty, and 20 trustees. All wore poppies in their lapels, a way to honor war dead since World War I. “This is an emotional night,” Campbell said. “We should all be proud of those who served and the people who worked so hard to make this memorial a reality.”

— CR


 
  Libraries acquire papers of poet Baraka
Amiri Baraka

Columbia’s Libraries have purchased the papers of poet, playwright, jazz essayist, and activist Amiri Baraka.

Baraka was born Everett LeRoi Jones in Newark in 1934. As a young poet in the late 1950s, he became involved with the Beats in Greenwich Village, and later launched the Black Arts Movement and founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem. His 1964 play Dutchman first brought him to public attention; since then he has published some two dozen books. He became involved with Black Nationalism, which he later denounced, and subsequently turned to Marxism. Baraka, who has taught at a number of colleges and universities, is professor emeritus at SUNY Stony Brook.

Baraka and controversy have gone together for decades. He is both admired and deprecated for works that stridently express anger toward the racism of mainstream white America — yet his writings also contemn entire groups. Baraka was named poet laureate of New Jersey in 2002, and he infuriated many when he published “Somebody Blew Up America,” a poem that suggested Israel had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. Public outrage at the poem prompted the New Jersey state legislature and then governor James McGreevey ’78CC to eliminate the position of poet laureate in 2003.

Baraka stood at the center of his time and in the middle of a number of important cultural movements. “Anyone interested in postwar American literature, theatre, poetry, music, or the dramatic social and political currents of the African American community from the 1960s through the present will find this material to be uniquely valuable,” says Michael Ryan, director of Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “The collection includes tens of thousands of items, with material as varied as Baraka’s notebooks, a large collection of photographs, and audiotapes of jazz performances recorded at his home.”


 
 
Jisung Park ’09CC
Hitting the Rhodes

Jisung Park, a senior majoring in economics and political science, has been chosen to receive a Rhodes Scholarship, one of 32 awarded to U.S. college students this year. The award will allow him to pursue a master’s degree in nature, society, and environmental policy beginning next fall at Oxford University, with all of his expenses paid for two to three years of study.

Park is particularly interested in environmental economics, the international political dimensions of environmental problems, and sustainable development. He credits a class called Challenges to Sustainable Development that he took with economist Jeffrey Sachs, the director of Columbia’s Earth Institute, for piquing his interest in the subject. Park also spent three months on a parcel of protected land in northern Australia in 2005 studying tropical rain forests. In his essay for the Rhodes, he describes how spending a day with several colleagues planting two hectares of trees in Australia made him appreciate the importance of conservation, considering that 19,000 hectares of forest get destroyed around the world every day.

“It seemed somewhat obvious to me that tropical rain forests would be worth more to society intact — as water purification systems, carbon sinks, and storehouses of immense biodiversity — than converted into timber or pasture,” he wrote. Park wants to understand the market forces that deplete natural resources. He plans eventually to enter a doctoral program in sustainable development and to work in public policy.

Michael Pippenger, associate dean of Columbia College’s fellowship programs and study abroad, says a team of advisers, including faculty, staff, and colleagues, helped Park refine his application and prepare for interviews. For that, Park says, he is grateful. “I’m thrilled, honored, and still a bit in disbelief,” he says. “Really, the best part about the scholarship has been being able to share it with my family and all of my friends here at Columbia.”

Park was one of 769 applicants endorsed by 207 colleges and universities for the Rhodes this year. Last year, two Columbia students, Jason Bello ’08CC and Mark C. Olive III ’08CC, won Rhodes Scholarships.

— CR


 
 
  The Columbia Alumni Association hosted a panel discussion on globalization October 17 featuring, from left, John Corigliano ’59CC, a composer; Peter Farrelly ’86SOA, a filmmaker and author; Merit Janow ’88LAW, a member of the appellate body of the World Trade Organization; Lewis J. Frankfort ’69BUS, chairman and CEO of Coach, Inc.; and Kai-Fu Lee ’83CC, president of Google Greater China. Columbia president Lee C. Bollinger ’71LAW moderated the discussion.
CAA hosts globalization panel as part of alumni leaders weekend assembly

Comedy filmmaker Peter Farrelly ’86SOA isn’t exactly laughing about the global economic downturn, but he figures he’s lucky to be in the escapism business.

Farrelly was one of five panelists and 600 alumni who convened at the Morningside Campus on October 17 and 18 for the fourth annual Columbia Alumni Association’s Worldwide Alumni Leaders Assembly. Moderated by President Lee C. Bollinger, the panel’s theme was “Exploring Global Possibilities for Our University.”

When the economy came crashing down, Farrelly said, he realized that it was time to dust off a project that he’d been sitting on for years: “It’s The Three Stooges. And the reason is, physical comedy travels. Hugely. It plays in all countries.”

Others had a more sobering view. Kai-Fu Lee ’83CC, president of Google Greater China, touched on the effects of the global recession in Asia, while Merit Janow ’88LAW, of the World Trade Organization, said, “There will be coming out of this period, clearly, a lot of regulation.”

To view the panel discussion, please go to http://alumni.columbia.edu/caa2008assembly/.

— Paul Hond


 
 
An endowment named for Columbia College dean Austin E. Quigley, seated here next to Columbia benefactor John W. Kluge ’37CC, ’88HON, will support academic advising and career counseling. Quigley and Kluge are pictured at last fall’s Hamilton Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History.
 
New endowment supports academic advising and career counseling

In recognition of Austin Quigley’s enduring commitment to student life at Columbia College, alumni and parents have established in his honor an endowment for academic advising and career counseling. University officials hope to raise $50 million for that purpose.

The Austin E. Quigley Endowment for Student Success supports a strategic plan to hire additional academic advisers and to establish a new academic advising center in order to provide students more individual guidance. Columbia also plans to hire additional career counselors and staffers to build relationships with companies that hire student interns. In particular, the University aims to increase student internship opportunities in the nonprofit, arts, engineering, and government sectors to complement the large number of internships typically available in business and finance. An endowment of $50 million will generate about $2.5 million in payout annually to support these endeavors; it will benefit undergraduates both at Columbia College and at the engineering school.

“It is vitally important that we provide comprehensive cocurricular programs that enable our very talented students to make the most of their many abilities,” says Quigley. “Our overall goal during their four years with us is to advance significantly their personal, intellectual, and professional development. Advising programs and career services are essential both to the achievement of this goal and to the success of every student. A substantial endowment for student success will enable us to enhance considerably our advising programs and career services and sustain their quality for the long term.”

The new fundraising goal is one focus of the ongoing $865 million Columbia Campaign for Undergraduate Education, the largest campaign ever for Columbia undergraduates and the faculty who teach them. Donors have given generously to the other main target areas, financial aid and faculty support, inspired in part by matching programs launched by benefactors John W. Kluge ’37CC, ’88HON and Trustee Gerry Lenfest ’58LAW.

The new Endowment for Student Success was announced at the College’s annual Hamilton Dinner, held November 13 at the American Museum of Natural History. More than $26 million has already been raised toward
the $50 million goal, said Columbia Trustee Richard E. Witten ’75CC, who is among the lead donors.

At the dinner, Quigley, who will step down as dean in June, was presented with the Alexander Hamilton Medal, the College’s highest honor. About 700 people attended the event, which was emceed by ABC News reporter Claire Shipman ’86CC and raised $2 million for the College. Said Kluge to the crowd: “Austin Quigley was much more than a dean. He befriended every student in the school . . . he gave of himself.”

— DJC


 
  Funding journalism’s future
  The new Toni Stabile Student Center opened last semester at the Graduate School of Journalism.

The Graduate School of Journalism announced in October that it has surpassed its $100 million fundraising goal, as part of the University’s $4 billion campaign, a full three years ahead of schedule. Donations to the J-school’s Second Century Campaign now exceed $110 million.

As newspapers continue to shrink, Dean Nicholas Lemann is focused on strengthening the school’s multimedia curriculum. That is one of three main goals he has set for the remainder of the campaign. He also wants to increase financial aid to a level where the average scholarship covers half of tuition for all students and create an academic center focused on the coverage of race and ethnicity. The campaign has already made possible the construction of the 8000-square-foot Toni Stabile Student Center, the founding of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, and the recruitment of several faculty members.

The school hasn’t announced a new fundraising goal, but Lemann said his staff must raise at least $10 million within the next year to create the Tow Center for New Media Journalism. This summer, Leonard Tow, a former chief executive of Citizens Communications Company and Century Communications Corp., pledged $5 million to create an endowment to support the center. His gift is contingent on the J-school raising an additional $10 million by the fall of 2009 for that purpose. With that money, the school would hire two more full-time faculty members to teach Internet journalism, Lemann says.

Among the other big contributors to the Second Century Campaign are John W. Kluge ’37CC, ’88HON, who allocated $20 million to the J-school for financial aid as part of a $400 million pledge he made to the University, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which gave $4.4 million to advance health and science journalism.

— CR


 
 
Author Salman Rushdie discussed his art with English professor Gauri Viswanathan at the launch of the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life on November 6.  
Chapters and verses

“All literature began as sacred literature,” Salman Rushdie told a packed house in the Low Library Rotunda on November 6. “The oldest stories, the oldest written material that we have is all the product of one or other religious experience, and it’s a long time before literature separates itself from that articulation of religion.”

Rushdie’s appearance was part of an afternoon of public lectures on religion in contemporary society to mark the launch of Columbia’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life (IRCPL). Moderated by President Lee C. Bollinger, the event featured opening remarks by Nobel Prize–winning novelist Orhan Pamuk. Professor Gauri Viswanathan of the department of English and comparative literature served as Rushdie’s interlocutor.

Rushdie, the Indian-born British author whose 1989 novel The Satanic Verses prompted death threats from across the Muslim world, was asked how he personally reconciles the elements of rationalism and mysticism found in works such as The Ground Beneath Her Feet and his 2008 novel, The Enchantress of Florence. Rushdie said that both ideas were present within him, though “the bit of me that is sitting here is quite rationalistic, and I would argue that religion comes after reason.”

Religious texts, he said, “were invented by human beings,” and that “the one thing you can say about every religion ever invented is that they are wrong. The world was not created in six days by a sky god who rested on the seventh, the world was not created by the churning of primal material in a giant pot, the world was not created by the sparks unleashed by the friction of udders of a gigantic cow against the boulders of a bottomless chasm. All these things might be pretty, but that are not true. And so it seems to me that religion just doesn’t have anything to say on the question of origins. And on the question of ethics, it seems to me that whenever religion has gotten into the driver’s seat on that question, what happens is inquisition and oppression.”

But, he said, “I think it’s true that we can listen to great religious music, look at icon painting, read Milton or Blake, and easily see the power of religious belief to create beauty.”

— PH

 
 
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