Miracle Meter

Former Revealer Kathryn Joyce calls our attention to this startling “miracle” news:Ethiopian lions with feminist tendencies rescue 12-year-old girl from patriarchal folkways!

There’s not really much to add to that, but we’ll take the opportunity to announce a newRevealer project, Media Miracle Meter. The next time you read about a miracle, email us at the.revealer at nyu.edu. We’ll keep count of the types of miracles the press loves to report most, and start developing a picture of the signs and wonders with which a rational press interprets an irrational world.

If George Washington Was Alive Today, He’d Be a Yankees Fan

The blogger responsible for the Ratzinger Fan Club — a name he claimed before the object of his affection became Pope Benedict XVI — presents a short investigation of the Catholic idea of “preferential option for the poor,” from a conservative perspective. Verdict: If Dorothy Day was alive today, she’d be a neocon. This smacks of the approach that argues that MLK would oppose affirmative action. Crass recruitment of the dead for contemporary causes? Sure. Provocative speculative journalism? Definitely.

The Gay Part

We’re late in blogging Russell Shorto‘s fine NYT Magazine piece of this past Sunday, “What’s Their Real Problem With Gay Marriage? (It’s the Gay Part).” If you missed it, too, please read it. Shorto’s doing some of the most honest mainstream press work on religious conservatism, from his piece on evangelism in the workplace to this one on anti-gay crusaders. In a long report, he gives his subjects plenty of room for their views. And he listens for the themes in their arguments, chief among them the antagonism of many toward homosexuality not just as a practice in itself, but as a symbol for all of secularism. The press has been quick to adopt evangelical phrasing such as “people of faith”; religion reporters would do well to follow Shorto’s lead by adopting his unvarnished approach to the ideas that animate religious movements.