The radical actors of the Muslim world, in destroying the troublesome symbols of free thinking, are destroying their own cultural vitality and dynamism. In truth, their Islamist culture of death has resulted in a death of Islamic culture. The urgent task for Islamic pluralists is to lift the shadow of violence from the Islamic culture and recall Muslims to their traditions of an empathetic civilization that feels another's sorrow and does not need an enemy for its sustenance.
In Richmond, a new alliance of social justice activists and historic preservationists has formed to protect Shockoe Bottom against incompatible development. Leadership of the alliance includes Preservation Virginia; Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; and a working group of preservationists from nearby Church Hill.
How fitting that just before Martin Luther King Jr. weekend our Supreme Court justices agreed to decide whether our constitution requires all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriages. As Dr. King said the night before he died, "All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper." Equal means equal.
Every MLK Day, the Reverend Doctor's sage wisdom and booming voice seem like echoes of a past farther and farther away. Had he somehow escaped assassins' bullets, I can imagine him grey and dignified, bringing his prophetic wisdom to today's crises. More than ever, we could use his help to remember how to live together.