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The German city of Trier offered commemorative “zero euro” notes to celebrate the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, its most famous son (Newsweek, Apr. 19). The author of The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital might not have liked the price of his zero euro: three euros ($3.71). The notes, which were authorized by the European Central Bank despite being souvenirs and labeled so, proved so popular that the first batch of 5,000 quickly sold out, forcing the city to order another 20,000 to meet the demand in the weeks running up to the May 5 celebration. “The souvenir plays on Marx’s criticism of capitalism and of course the zero euro note fits perfectly with Marx as a motif,” said Norbert Kaethler, managing director of Trier’s tourism office. The Chinese government, another fan of overthrowing capitalism, gave Trier a 4.4-meter, three-ton bronze statue of Marx in honor of the big day.
San Francisco’s Grace Episcopal Cathedral hosted a special liturgical service devoted to pop singer Beyoncé at which parishioners sang along to her songs and, according to the Rev. Jude Harmon, director of innovative ministry, learned how her music “opens a window into the lives of the marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females” (San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 17). The liturgy also featured readings from Scripture by “women of color” and a sermon by the Rev. Yolanda Norton, who teaches a course called “Beyoncé and the Bible” at San Francisco Theological Seminary. “I know there are people who will say using Beyoncé is just a cheap way of trying to get people in the church,” Harmon said. “But Jesus used very provocative images in the stories he would tell to incite people to ask hard questions about their own religious assumptions. He regularly provoked. We’re following in the way of Jesus.” The Beyoncé Mass is one in a three-part series at Grace Cathedral, the third largest Episcopal church in the country, that started with a program on Mary Magdalene called “The Original Nasty Woman.”
Four days after Easter, George Washington University hosted a workshop explaining that Christians in the U.S., especially white ones, enjoy “built-in advantages” and therefore have an easier life than their non-Christian counterparts (The College Fix, Apr. 3). The workshop was presented by the Multicultural Student Services Center and titled “Christian Privilege: But Our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?!” It discussed how Christians receive “unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country,” as well as the “role of denial when it comes to white privilege.” It was hosted by Timothy Kane, interim associate director for inclusion initiatives, who has a master’s degree in divinity and theology and describes himself as a “proud gay member of the LGBT community” at the university. He also hosts workshops on heterosexual privilege, cisgender privilege, abled-body privilege, and socioeconomic privilege, which are among the 15 “free training opportunities” the center offers to “equip students and staff with the necessary skills to promote diversity and inclusion in the different environments.”
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