November 12, 2003

Allen Brill has already noted this article from The Guardian by the Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, an Anglican vicar. (With a name like "Giles Fraser," you pretty much have to become an Anglican vicar.) Fraser takes issue with the way charities like Samaritan's Purse spin Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. Don't dismiss this as an intramural, parochial squabble affecting only Christians. Samaritan's Purse is run by Franklin Graham, who, as Fraser points out, was "chosen by George Bush to… Read more

November 12, 2003

I spend a lot of time in this space chronicling the cluelessness and disheartening self-righteousness that characterizes a disturbingly large portion of evangelical Christianity in America. American evangelicals are a frustrating bunch. More than most, they have the means, motive and opportunity to make a real difference in their communities and the world, but rarely choose to do so. Surrounded by a world of pain and need, American evangelicals do what most Americans do. They circle the wagons and try… Read more

November 12, 2003

Winston Churchill noted that one mark of an educated person is the ability to be moved by statistics. I would add that a mark of an over-educated person is the inability to be moved without them. Via Cursor, I find this BBC report on this study by the British medical charity Medact, which "estimates that between 22,000 and 55,000 people — mainly Iraqi soldiers and civilians — died as a direct result of the war." Here, for those who need… Read more

November 11, 2003

Jerry B. Jenkins, co-author with Tim LaHaye of the Left Behind series, is promoting his new book, Soon, which was written without having to split the profits with the valued assistance and spiritual guidance of LaHaye. Soon isn't set during a dispensationalist's "tribulation" period, but Jenkins is still sticking closely to his lucrative winning formula. Debra Pickett describes it in The Chicago Sun-Times: Soon is set 35 years after the end of World War III, and religion has, indeed, been… Read more

November 11, 2003

Let's try to remember, first of all, that the schools in Iraq have been reopened. Don't forget about the schools — that's what this war has always been about, the centers of mass instruction. And the Good News is that the schools are open. Mission Accomplished, schools-wise. And but so, keeping said schools always at the forefront of our minds, how else is the war going? Not well. Or at least so says: 1. David Rieff in The New York… Read more

November 8, 2003

Left Behind, pp. 21-25 Here we read with greater detail — although less detail than we might like — of how LaHaye and Jenkins envision the bodily rapture of believers, but not of their clothes. Thus: Harold’s clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks. L&J seem to envision a great gathering in the clouds of all… Read more

November 7, 2003

Left Behind, chapter 1 The remarkable thing about LaHaye and Jenkins’ description of the rapture in this first chapter is how very creepy it isn’t. The events they’re attempting to describe are so audacious, so potentially unsettling, that this chapter should make your flesh crawl and the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. But it doesn’t. And that’s not just because L&J are bad writers. Left Behind, despite its religious trappings, is part of a larger… Read more

November 7, 2003

That's the headline the paper I work at ran yesterday above this AP wire story: Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger will hire a private investigator to look into allegations that he groped women, but he may keep the results from the state attorney general, a spokesman said Thursday. Schwarzenegger's reluctance to turn over the results of the investigation stem from remarks Attorney General Bill Lockyer made earlier Thursday. The Democrat said he advised Schwarzenegger that the misconduct allegations "are not going to… Read more

November 6, 2003

I'm not sure why someone thought I'd be receptive to the following invitation, but it arrived today in my mailbox. Anybody else get this? A message from blogsforbush@yahoo.com: As a noted conservative blogger, we'd like to invite you to the virtual Blogs for Bush community, a low-traffic, invitation only e-mail list for bloggers who support reelecting President George W. Bush — plus a group blog you're welcome to join coming soon at http://www.blogsforbush.com/. Our mission at Blogs for Bush is… Read more

November 5, 2003

I have to thank Amy Sullivan of political aims for the link in the previous post to the Hal Lindsey comic. She reviews Alan Wolfe's The Transformation of American Religion in The Washington Monthly. In the course of that review, she describes the old Spire Comics versions of Archie comics: In the days before VeggieTales, we read Christian versions of Archie comic books, in which Betty, Veronica and the whole gang traveled the world proselytizing. Mainly what I remember from… Read more

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