1. Ana Yelsi Sanchez has been hosting a terrific series at her Brown-Eyed Amazon blog called “Out of the Closet and Into the Pews.” The whole series, featuring a collection of thoughtful guest posts, and the rest of Sanchez’s blog are worth a look.
2. It’s not surprising that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now lying about his opposition to legal contraception. But it is encouraging that the Republican candidate for governor realizes that he needs to lie about this — that his aim to criminalize birth control is a vote-losing obstacle to his chances in November.
3. I didn’t write about Miley Cyrus yesterday because I didn’t watch the VMAs, because hitting someone while they’re down is unseemly, and because 90 percent of what I saw written about her performance reminded me of the Anti-Kitten-Burning Coalition. And I didn’t initially write anything in response to the latest delusional rantings of the Rev. Pat Robertson, because kooky, vile Pat saying something vicious and delusional isn’t exactly remarkable anymore. But this time it probably was newsworthy, since Robertson’s latest claim is, even for him, especially dishonest and especially cruel. Pat Robertson told an extravagant, deliberate lie — saying that HIV+ gay men used to go around with special rings that would cut people’s hands and thereby deliberately spread the disease. Later, forced to backtrack a bit by the audacity of his lie, Robertson qualified his earlier claim by explaining that it wasn’t most HIV+ people doing this — just an elite squad of gay ninjas who were trying to assassinate him personally. OK, then.
4. RIP Russell Doughten. Doughten produced the “Bible prophecy” movie A Thief in the Night — a literal cult classic which features some genuine chills along with its low-budget camp and earnest attempts at evangelism. Doughten’s dubious attempt to scare audiences into Heaven may have been misguided, but it was motivated by his sincere desire to rescue those he was convinced were bound for Hell. That makes his movies far less offensive than Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series, where the message for those LaHaye sees as Hell-bound sinners is “I’m right, you’re wrong — neener neener.” Doughten was also an Iowan committed to making movies in Iowa, which was quixotic, but kind of charming. His one foray outside of such local film-making was local for me — he was a producer and assistant director on The Blob, filmed right here in Chester County.
5. On a related note, here’s the latest cast updates for the upcoming Left Behind movie reboot: Ashley Tisdale is out as Chloe Steele, replaced by Cassi Thompson of Big Love; Olympian Lolo Jones has a cameo as an airport gate attendant; American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher in The Blind Side) will be playing passengers on the plane. The movie seems to focus mostly on the plane and the immediate aftermath of the Rapture, adding lots of passenger characters who weren’t in the book. I’m hoping for cameos from Julie Hagerty and Robert Hays.
6. Christian Piatt has posted a list of “25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading,” voted by his readers. It’s a pretty good list. If that’s not enough to keep your RSS reader full of interesting stuff, try this list of the “1,560 Best Blogs by Christian Women.”
7. Harold Pollack:
For 45 years, 300,000 American GIs provided a thin green line protecting Western European democracies from the Soviet Union. Our troops weren’t there to preserve low capital gains tax rates, or to hold back the menace of subsidized day care, universal health care, or school lunch programs. They were there to defend the structures of constitutional democracy, the rule of law, respect for individual rights, freedom of speech and assembly, protections against racial and ethnic discrimination, respect for religious and cultural pluralism.