1. Best wishes to Paul Lewis, who was just named as the Pentagon’s envoy charged with shutting down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
2. At Jesus Creed, RJS considers the prose epilogue to the book of Job as discussed by two very different commentaries. She raises — but doesn’t address — the question of whether the “conundrums” and “puzzles” of this ending are because it was a later addition, tacked on to the original “to make sense of the senseless.” I think it probably was (although I think it makes better sense without the coda). But here’s another possible explanation: Maybe it’s a Huckleberry Finn-type situation. Writing transcendent literature is hard. Mark Twain was able to do it for the first two-thirds of Huckleberry Finn before things took an unfortunate slide at the end. Maybe the author of Job was able to keep it up for 41 chapters, but not for all 42.
3. Somewhat related: Justice Antonin Scalia is correct to suggest that many Christians do believe in “the Devil” and a personal, literal, historical Satan. Justice Scalia, alas, needs to brush up on his Bible. “In the Gospels,” Scalia said, “the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot.” Satan had nothing to do with the possession of the Gadarene swine. If you’re going to proclaim your belief in a literal Satan while lecturing those of us who don’t believe that, at least get the details right.
4. I can think of several Jane Jacobs-ish reasons why having 25 local religious congregations participate in “prayer walks” through Cincinnati might have some positive effects on crime in that city. None of those reasons, however, would involve or require the efficacy of their prayers. Getting residents out and engaged, and having a sense of ownership and stake in their community is all good for the city and for the Cincinnati Police Department. They should be encouraging volunteers and urging everyone to participate in their own way. But the Freedom From Religion Foundation is right: the city shouldn’t be sponsoring or funding prayer. I commend these churches for caring about their city and volunteering, but this sort of thing shouldn’t be organized by the police.
Similarly, I like the idea of a chaplaincy ministry for crime victims. Crime scenes are a place, like hospitals, where people who are hurting might benefit from the counsel, comfort and consolation that a trained chaplain can provide. But the kernel of a good idea there seems to have been twisted beyond recognition by this unholy mess of a program in Montgomery, Alabama — where instead of churches sending out chaplains, the city has hired, and paid for, evangelists.
5. Here is Pope Francis on the duty of those in government:
You can’t govern without loving the people and without humility! And every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: ‘Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path.’ If you don’t ask those questions, your governance will not be good. The man or woman who governs – who loves his people is a humble man or woman.
As Congress considers a Continuing Resolution and a debt ceiling bill in the days to come, we reaffirm the vital importance of incorporating the policy of this bill into such “must-pass” legislation.
In other words: Exempt all religious Taco Bell owners from contraception coverage or else shut down the government and default on U.S. payments. Using Francis’ two questions, these destructive clowns are 0-for-2.
6. “35 Classy Slang Terms for Naughty Bits From the Last 600 Years.” To master a new word, of course, you need to use it in a sentence. As in: Don’t be such a Mr. Peaslin, bishop Lori, and stop obsessing over the political conquest of Mrs. Fubbs’ parlor.
7. I didn’t like the idea of a Carrie remake. I didn’t think it was likely to improve on Brian De Palma’s 1976 original, or that it was necessary to try. But regardless of what the new version is like, this hidden-camera publicity stunt for it is pretty terrific: