John Leland’s New York Times report on Christian rap is about as embarrassing as you might expect (explaining that a youth pastor’s exaltation, “‘Yo, God is so ill,'” is in fact “a hip-hop term of praise”), but The Revealer is square too, and we won’t hold that against him. We will, however, take issue with the substance of the story, or rather lack thereof: Leland wastes so much time on novelty quotes (“‘Grace and peace to you, a’ight.'”) that larger questions, such as his one-time mention of the “conservative evangelical preaching” that gets mixed in with the music, go unexplored. Mentioned so cursorily, it’s unclear what “conservative” means: whether the churches are actually conservative, or just in comparison to the world of gangsta rap. A lot hangs on the distinction — the generational conflicts between hip-hop political activists and more traditional black church movements; the political divisions between liberal black churches and conservative ones; how both votes are courted by (mostly) white politicians — but the many conflicting ambiguities that would make this a fascinating story end up steamrolled-flat like so many Harlem CDs.
September roughly marks the 350th anniversary of Jewish history in America, and will be observed with numerous seminars and celebrations, the AP reports. According to an early Dutch document, the first Jews in the U.S. came to New York after fleeing persecution in Brazil, landing with a French ship in 1654.
Dems beat the GOP on the Mention-o-God scale, 7 to 4.
A Democratic Senatorial candidate from South Carolina, Inez Tenenbaum, has begun running ads “subtly” identifying her as a Christian; in previous election campaigns, opponents made use of misconceptions about Tenenbaum’s faith, referring to her in campaign fliers as an “anti-Christian Jewish Democrat.” Read more.
Right-wing talk show host Sharon Hughes explains what’s really wrong with environmentalists and Al and Tipper Gore: Pagans, all of ’em!
Tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis rallied in Jerusalem on Sunday, protesting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plans to withdraw Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. The protest was one of many recent mass actions, which Sharon has characterized as “incitement by right-wing activists…’aimed at inciting a civil war.'” Read more.