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Published September 24 2012

Forum editorial: Criticism of scholar wins weed

Leafy spurge: To the religionists who immediately went into apoplectic condemnation mode when a Harvard scholar revealed an ancient papyrus that might be – might be – evidence that Jesus Christ had a wife. That possibility is not new among biblical scholars, although it is not recognized in the canons of most Christian denominations. As soon as news broke of the new research, some church officials went on the attack with the usual canard that the scholarship was an attack on Christians and the faith. The response from some quarters is not surprising, but it seems to prove the notion that some in the church don’t believe their faith can withstand a little scientific research. And what if further research changes the way the generally accepted historical record views Jesus’ marital status? Will the faith collapse? We doubt it.

Prairie roses: To North Dakota higher education Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, who, in consultation with school officials, ended a foreign worker housing program at Williston State College in the Oil Patch. The chancellor made the case that the building was not suitable for housing workers because of safety concerns. Indeed, the structure will be razed. It likely was a difficult decision because many of the workers who were in the relatively inexpensive housing work in the city’s stressed service and retail sectors. Employers expressed high praise for the labor force. Nevertheless, Shirvani and school officials made the right call about an unsafe building that was housing people not directly associated with the university.

Prairie roses: To Delta Airlines and local, state and federal officials who have been working with the carrier to secure regular passenger flights between Denver and Williston, N.D. The twice-daily non-stop flights will begin Nov. 12. The additional flights now mean Williston, in the heart of the state’s booming oil country, will have connections to a hub in the west as well as the connection to an eastern hub, Minneapolis. Increased demand for more air service because of the oil boom made the decision a smart one. To be sure, it was a business decision, and as soon as air service demand drops off (which it might if the boom weakens), Delta will move its airplanes elsewhere. But for now, the additional daily flights are good news for travelers to and from northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.