Jerry Springer sympathizes with the Christians who protested the BBC’s recent airing ofJerry Springer: The Opera, and said he wouldn’t have written it himself as “‘I don’t believe in making fun of other religions.'”
Get Godly, Get Paid
Who says moral values don’t pay? Yet another conservative columnist has been outed as having received undisclosed payments from a government program he fluffed in his column. Mike McManus, whose column appears in around 50 newspapers, received $10,000 for “consulting” on “healthy marriage initiatives” (i.e., not gay) with the Department of Health and Human Services. Another $49,000 of guvmint gravy went to Marriage Savers, an organization helmed by McManus.
Amid the overabundance of articles on religion and the tsunami — who has an interpretation of the tragedy as God’s will; who’s taking advantage; who’s purely offering help — Peter S. Goodman of The Washington Post narrows his focus to a group of Scientologist “volunteer ministers” offering “touch assist” therapy to help victims regain communication with their bodies. The resulting article is a good example of what religion reporting can be — open, aware and detailed, and with room enough for a story about real people who’ve thought about what they’re doing and why — and a smart consideration of what a belief-system often mocked at home looks like when transported to “a nation that amounts to a rich stew of overlapping faiths spiced up with animism and beliefs in the arcane, the sublime and the bizarre.”
Duke ISO Pugilist
Kerry Duke, dean of Tennessee Bible College, has apparently intimidated his neighbors at Tennessee State University out of hosting a free course on Islam. After hearing of the planned course — which, according to the would-have-been professor, wasn’t proselytization but an academic introduction to the faith as occurs in most universities that offer religious studies — Duke challenged TSU on two counts: first, that the school was using government money to promote a single religion and that they should allow him to lecture on Christianity; and second, that Islam wasn’t “a religion of peace” after all. Said Duke: “‘I’ve been to the mosque several times and I’m well aware of the teachings of the Quran. I disagree with their claims that their religion does not promote violence, and I can show there are statements in the Quran that encourage violence to non-Muslims.'” According to WorldNetDaily, Duke is currently looking for someone to debate the true nature of Islam with him.
Faith-Based Investment Bankers?
The South Florida Business Journal reports, without comment, that Jeb Bush has namedseveral insurance, investment and business executives as advisors to the state’s faith-based initiatives program. The Revealer’s no M.B.A., but it seems worthwhile to ask what this means. If the “faith-based” designation is malleable is the “initiatives” part, with its social-service aims, likewise open to interpretation?
Every Woman Loves a Crusader
Wild At Heart — the new book and Christian men’s movement, not David Lynch’s dark and violent love story — takes off in Britain, where churches are reportedly recommending it to their flocks. The Times’ Ruth Gledhill does better than endorse the book with a report that forces the comparison: are you a WAH man or a meek, mild-mannered Christian, a wimpish man of the cloth? WAH-men exalt work, marriage and family life — and presumably household chores — “as heroic quests rather than chains that bind.” Might not a women get weary of having the recycling turned into a weekly crusade? Maybe some, but not Gledhill, whose report comes complete with an appendix listing of Christianity’s alpha-males — Bono, Gibson, the Pope as a Young Man and Richard the Lionheart, whose crusading kept him out of the house for 9 1/2 of 10 years.