Sunday, December 31, 2006

The top 10 religion stories of 2006
1. ‘Hey, look, Akhmed, a distraction!’ I understand that Muslim authorities dredged up those months-old Danish cartoons because lots of pilgrims to Mecca were accidentally killed.
2. Or ‘these particular Muslims couldn’t understand an academic citation and wanted to kill to cover their embarrassment’. The Pope, who became a professor in 1958, did nothing wrong.
3. The Episcopal row? Sure if like me you’re connected to Anglicanism by an accident of birth. But considering that Roman Catholics (No. 15 — whole dioceses of the US’s biggest church going bankrupt from the priestly underage gay sex scandal*), Southern Baptists (No. 17) and Pentecostals** (No. 16, a faith celebrating its centenary) all far outnumber Episcopalians, those stories probably deserve to be in the top 10 instead. Which is partly why ‘The Book of Daniel’ flopped (No. 14... what, people would rather watch ‘Desperate Housewives’?).
5. Yeah, baby! Morality includes peace issues and financial responsibility, and — like LRC’s Laurence Vance, an orthodox evangelical — I can’t be played any more by politicians using abortion and/or homosexuality. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, clean out your desk.
6. Sì.
8a. Dan Brown’s silly book possibly deserves 10th place along with the film’s colossal failure despite all the promotion from the book selling so well.
10. Whatever his motives he seems to have done the right thing. Deo gratias.

I wonder if/when the Eastern Orthodox convert boomlet will make it into the top 20 or if, as Owen the Ochlophobist thinks, it’s had its day.

*Rod Dreher and Lee Penn agree with me: covering up ‘Father’s problem’ does not serve the church! (Covering up includes refusing to report these stories online or being bullied into not doing so.) A different matter from libertarian freedom, privacy and tolerant conservatism: when it harms somebody it becomes the public’s business and, as the church is supposed to be about doing the right thing, coming clean actually serves it. The Vatican should hand these men, including the bishops who covered this up, over to the criminal-justice system and wash its hands of them.

**You’ve got to give the RC charismatic version some credit: in its orthodox form in many places in the 1970s and ’80s it was the only alternative to Modernism that many people knew about.

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