Illustrative Jews

In a nice obituary appreciation in today’s NYT, Michael Kimmelman calls the New York Review’s fabled illustrator David Levine “one of the great artists of the last half-century,” and then asks: But how so one of the great artists? Every great artist inhabits a genre, and remakes it. Saul Steinberg reinvented the gag cartoon, Jules […]

Catholic divisions on health care

Over at Politics Daily, David Gibson offers a well-balanced assessment of the reported (and partly denied) split over health care reform between the Catholic bishops and the nuns and hospitalers who do Catholic health care. Key graphs: On the other hand, the CHA and the religious orders of nuns that generally operate Catholic hospitals tend […]

Religion story of the decade

What was the biggest religion story of the decade? Unquestionably, the story of how American Catholic bishops, aided and abetted by civil authorities and mental health professionals, had systematically covered up the abuse of children by priests. This was big news locally in every Catholic diocese in the country. It became, because the USCCB was […]

Avatar’s Christian theme

Having just returned from Avatar (something for Jews to do on a day like today), I’d like to pick a bone with the NYT’s callow conservative columnist Ross Douthat, who denounced director James Cameron a few days ago for soft-headed Hollywood pantheism. Yes, the movie does not lack for anti-colonialist, aboriginal people-loving tree-huggery. But strictly […]

Uganda push-back

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Uganda comes out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his Christmas message. Money quote: “The recent tabled Anti-Homosexuality Bill does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue” Likewise, the leade of Uganda’s main opposition party: What two consenting adults do, the state has no business… absolutely! […]

Jimmy Carter’s Al Het

I’ve had a hard spot in my heart for Jimmy Carter since 1988, when he tried to get me fired for writing an exposé of the Carter Center. (Happily, he didn’t succeed.) So what to make of his Chanukah greeting to the Jewish community offering “an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine” […]

WCC GenSec Kobia v. Uganda law

It can’t hurt that the Methodist cleric who serves as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Samuel Kobia, has written a letter to Ugandan President Museveni expressing “concerns” about the proposed anti-homosexuality act. Coming from next-door neighbor Kenya, Kobia can hardly be accused of being just another neo-colonialist seeking to impose Western values […]

Attacking J Street: the old playbook

In 1973, in the wake of the Yom Kippur war, more than 100 Reform and Conservative rabbis plus a number of leading Jewish intellectuals formed Breira: A Project of Concern in Diaspora-Israel Relations. The organization, which at its height numbered over 1,500 members, was dedicated to finding a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the […]

Religiosity by state

Pew has a cool new study out on religiosity by state according to four scales: importance of religion to the individual, worship attendance, frequency of prayer, and belief in God. The national average for those who say religion is very important in their lives is 56 percent. Among the 22 states (plus D.C.) above the […]