About michaeltracey

Journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Follow me on Twitter at @mtracey.

Franklin Graham Takes on the I.R.S.

Franklin Graham must have rejoiced at the news that I.R.S. officials improperly targeted conservative activist groups for audits.

By way of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association — an outfit which not only pays zero taxes, but effectively receives a public subsidy to carry out its ministerial activities — Franklin has worked out quite a felicitous financial arrangement for his fiefdom.

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Why Twitter is Helping the Pope Improve His Image

Pope Francis‘ pronouncement yesteday on Twitter might come as a bit of surprise:


Benedict XVI made similar gestures during his reign, which predated the now-routine practice of official papal tweeting, but this message seems different in tone. I note a distinct absence of appeals to the supernatural; Francis does not claim that unemployment jeopardizes man’s capacity to walk with God, avoid sin, etc. He likely would have expanded on these points in a forum that allowed for elaboration, yes, but the name of the game on Twitter is concision, and careful thought went into the tweet’s precise composition.

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Will the New Pope ‘Collapse’ the Catholic Church?

Rather than immediately rushing to analyze Pope Francisviews regarding homosexuality — as if they should be any surprise — I have found it illuminating to follow the commentary of traditionalist Catholics on today’s events.

Michael Brendan Dougherty, writing in Slate, has a quite dour appraisal: [Read more...]

Mark Sanford’s Shallow Spiritualism

Mark Sanford is the former governor of South Carolina who infamously disappeared for several days in 2009 to visit his Argentine lover in Buenos Aires; his befuddled staffers were left to proffer a number of excuses for his sudden absence, most memorably that he’d decided to “hike the Appalachian trail.”

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