3:33 PM, Apr 20, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Amid the usual news stories this Easter Sunday – accounts of the president’s family attending church and the pope addressing multitudes – there is this startling and vastly hopeful headline:
China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years
According to Tom Phillips, writing in the Telegraph:
Christian congregations ... have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
China is, of course, still a one-party state following the transition from Madman Mao to the more technocrat totalitarians of today. While they may be less ferocious than the Dear Leader, they still recognize a threat when they see one:
China's leadership worry about how the religious landscape might shape its political future, and its possible impact on the Communist Party's grip on power, despite the clause in the country's 1982 constitution that guarantees citizens the right to engage in "normal religious activities".
As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable.
They may also be wise enough to realize that they are on the losing side of something even larger than history.
'It’s not even close.'7:01 AM, Apr 16, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former New York City mayor is pledging to spend $50 million this year to push gun control, the New York Times reports. For this and other deeds (such as taking on obesity and smoking), Bloomberg believes he's going to heaven.
On Twitter, he attacks and belittles those with different views. 4:28 PM, Jul 30, 2013 • By OREN KESSLER
Fox News’s now infamous interview with Reza Aslan last week has rallied much of the media to the Iranian-born and now Hollywood-based academic’s defense, and catapulted his recently published Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Explaining the connection between family and religion. Jun 24, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 39 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
'Time was when the whole of life went forward in the family,” the historian Peter Laslett once wrote, “in a circle of loved, familiar faces. . . . That time has gone forever. It makes us very different from our ancestors.” Laslett was writing in 1965, as he lamented the decline of the family over the course of England’s industrial age. But even then, after a century and a half of upheaval, families in Great Britain and the rest of the West were relatively large, divorce was rare, and illegitimacy was frowned upon.
Apr 15, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 29 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Even though it’s only April, the New York Times may already have run the most embarrassing correction that will appear in any major newspaper in 2013. In their story on Pope Francis’s first Easter message, no less than the Times’s Vatican reporter informed readers, “Easter is the celebration of the resurrection into heaven of Jesus, three days after he was crucified, the premise for the Christian belief in an everlasting life.”
9:13 AM, Feb 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Cardinals will not allowed to access their Twitter accounts during conclave, according to Catholic News Service. This restriction is applicable to the 9 cardinals who have Twitter accounts. In all, there are "117 red-vested princes of the church who are eligible to vote for a new pope."
3:02 PM, Feb 11, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Responding to a question about the retirement of the pope, U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon thanked the pope for his "profound commitment ... to interfaith dialogue."
12:19 PM, Feb 11, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement marking the pope's retirement, President Barack Obama said, "I have appreciate our work together over these last four years."
"[B]asically didn't stop."10:15 AM, Feb 7, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry yawned through the morning's prayer breakfast. Via the pool report: