While We Mourn Prince, Let’s Not Forget His Severe Christianity… Or His Door-to-Door Proselytizing

Prince Rogers Nelson — that’s just Prince to you and me and millions of other music fans — escaped these earthly bounds today, and, according to his beliefs as a longtime Jehovah’s Witness, drifted up to heaven to be with his Creator forever and ever.

I loved Prince, at least up until the brilliant double album Sign o’ the Times, whose title track is as dark and searing an account of natural and man-made disaster, and temptation, and human frailty, as any certified genius could possibly cram into five minutes. Even the overtly Christian “The Cross,” from that same album, was a strong musical statement, although I never could get on board with the devout lyrics.

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By the early 90s, though, Prince seemed to have lost the drive or the ability to soar that high, coinciding with a pronounced U-turn back to his religious roots. He was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, and, after years of steamy musical exploits that included songs about masturbation, orgies, and brother-sister incest, eased back into Christianity’s fold by joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

That meant he sometimes went door to door to convert people. Really.

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Christopher Hitchens Didn’t “Contemplate Conversion” on His Deathbed

A new book by Larry Alex Taunton, called The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, suggests that Hitchens was “contemplating conversion” near the end of his life, though he never actually made that leap:

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Don’t believe the lie.

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Gina Makes the Case For Death With Dignity With Just Four Utterly Convincing Words

Gina is an agnostic woman in New Zealand who has has a genetic order that’s severely weakening her muscles. She is completely bed-ridden and can no longer speak. Sounds hurts her ears, and light does the same to her eyes, so she lies in the dark, in silence, waiting for the end.

A three-minute mini-documentary about Gina shows her communicating by touch alphabet. And though she has lost her physical voice, she gets her message across with startling clarity.

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Obituaries of Russian LGBT People Can Hold Heartbreaking Clues About Why They Died

When a reasonably prominent Russian man dies in a crime, writes Masha Gessen in the New York Times, there can be a certain art to reading the victim’s obituaries. If they mention that he was found murdered in his own home, and there was no sign of a break-in, that can be code for something disturbing.

When this happens to someone well-known enough to warrant numerous written remembrances, the writers usually refer not to a killing but to a “tragic death” — as though it were not a criminal but a personal trait that caused the person’s demise. What they mean is that the deceased was gay and apparently died at the hands of someone he brought home.

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An Obituary for Jesus

Sam Roberts, who normally writes obituaries for the New York Times, decided to write one for Jesus.

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