Thu10022014

News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Despite tech advances, need for religion remains, Morning Forum speaker says


Carroll

A globally recognized expert in the philosophy of religion and the role of religion in public life explained to a Morning Forum of Los Altos audience Jan. 21 the enduring role of religion in world affairs.

Jill Carroll, Ph.D., founding director of the Amazing Faiths Project, discussed “The Challenges of Religious Tolerance,” emphasizing that contrary to the predictions of the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, modernity has not diminished man’s need for religion.

Intellectuals like Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and most academics who followed them embraced the “secularization thesis,” Carroll said, which assumed that science and economic development would render religion obsolete. They believed that man would no longer need religion, as scientific progress would explain the mysteries of life that had led man to create religion.

In stressing how wrong the believers in the ultimate dominance of secularization were, Carroll borrowed Mark Twain’s famous phrase: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

To demonstrate that the anticipated demise of religion isn’t close to happening, Carroll pointed to a number of religious-based developments, including the rise of global fundamentalism, the return of religion in post-communist countries and the spread of evangelical Christianity throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Unfortunately, Carroll said, most Western policy makers in international affairs were until recently heavily influenced by the assumptions of the secularization thesis. Thus, they were unprepared for the developments of the past 45 years. The Iranian Revolution in 1979, she added, took most Westerners by surprise, as they were astounded that such a developed country with a highly educated population could become an Islamist theocracy.

Carroll quoted from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s book “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on God, America and World Affairs (Harper, 2006),” in which Albright acknowledges how she and her academic colleagues thought in secular terms about the dynamics of world politics and overlooked the role religion would play in the “clash of civilizations” that followed the end of the Cold War.

Albright now recognizes the challenge “to harness the unifying powers of religion while containing its power to divide.”

While conceding the logic of what she referred to as “religion bashers” like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, Carroll said they miss the point: “Religion is the most successful, meaning-making apparatus humans have ever developed.”

Carroll also explained how the principle of separation of church and state in the United States is rooted in a respect for the importance of religious freedom. In contrast, separation in France, and until recently Turkey, stems from the belief that government needs to protect its citizens from the ravages of religious conflict. This hostility toward religion and the belief that it should remain private – thus the banning of headscarves – is the result of the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics that devastated Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

According to Carroll, the conversation about religion and politics requires an understanding of the relationship between the secular and the sacred, the public and the private. She contended that “if they are properly separated, they can have a positive influence on each other.”

Carroll concluded her talk with the statement that “as long as religion is part of people’s lives, it will be relevant in global affairs.” We can only save ourselves from the devastation wrought by religious conflict by promoting religious tolerance everywhere, she said.

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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