Susan Jacoby Both Democrats and Republicans are doing harm to society by invoking religion, author Susan Jacoby argued in a November 29 lecture at Augustana College.

Jacoby's lecture, "Whose God, Whose Trust? Religion, Secularism, & American Patriotism," offered a historical perspective on what she called the "great American paradox" - the separation of church and state. She said that the conflict between secularism and religion is at an all-time high, and that both liberals and conservatives cross a moral boundary when using religious rhetoric to influence the general public or public policy.

AmeriCorps "Help! Help! This stranger is not my father!" was the cry of nearly 40 children at summer camp last month.

The children were safe, but the scene is a normal, almost weekly event for Cindy Richard, an AmeriCorps member at the American Red Cross in Moline. She was teaching children the "Stranger Danger" program so they would know how to protect themselves from people who might be trying to abduct them.

Richard helps teach health and safety to both children and adults in the Quad Cities area, on topics ranging from weather safety to HIV/AIDS to first aid.

She's scheduled to end her service in October. So are 23 other AmeriCorps members in the Iowa Quad Cities.

In spring 2003, Trinity CEO Bill Leaver hosted a breakfast for the leaders of 30 local companies. That meeting has helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Quad Cities nearly triple the number of children it mentors.

"Out of that one breakfast, and Big Brothers Big Sisters' follow-up with the CEOs, we have been able to recruit around 350 additional volunteers," said Jay Justin, CEO of the Quad Cities organization.