A new Pew survey reveals something not-all-that-shocking: people who attend church at least once a week are more likely to say torture is "often" or "sometimes" justifiable. And those who identify as evangelicals are even more likely than mainline Protestants or other denominations.
Considering that evangelicals supported President Bush the Iraq war more than any other demographic, this is hardly a surprise. The popular notion that Christianity is a feel-good pacifist religion that would never support war or torture is obviously silly, but the Christian right's almost cheerleaderish embrace of national violence seems a bit hard to explain. (To be fair, a good 44% of weekly churchgoers say torture is rarely or ever justified, so this is by no means everyone.) Percentages aside, why are Christians always a healthy margin ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to waging war or brutally interrogating prisoners?
After the jump, two half-baked but possible explanations.
I guess now is the time when the Baby Marlins have the opportunity to shut up every Sportscenter and ESPN.com analyst that predicted them to a losing season, or crumble under the pressure of a hot start followed by the realization of every prophecy about them. Moral victories, such as Cody Ross pitching a scoreless ninth inning in an embarrassing loss, don’t get you to the playoffs, and they certainly don’t attract fans to the stadium.
Good morning a little bit late; hope you’ve been getting some work done. At the closing bell on Friday, we were wondering if there was any way to stop talking about torture. Apparently there is: start a global pandemic! Or at least turn all the sick birds to sick swine, and you have something new to talk about for a while. But in all seriousness, the morning’s news and gossip:
—Oh, Mexico. You just can’t get anything right, can you? First civil war over drugs, and now you’re responsible for a swine flu outbreak that is somehow getting us sick all the way here in New York. What were you thinking? Europe is ignoring us in the halls now because we associate with you. Oh well, at least one positive thing always comes out of global viruses: good M.I.A. songs.
—John Mayer had an angsty night last night. “Would you trade not being a genius for not being crazy?” (We would not.)
—Megan McAllister has called off her previous plans to marry the soon-to-be-convicted “Craigslist killer.” Probably a good call.
—The Times still wants you to believe there is an “atheism closet” that people are increasingly brave enough to come out of. Word.
—Steven Curtis Chapman was sort of the Heath Ledger of this year’s Dove Awards.
—Speaking of movies, the Odyssey is being made into one. It’s directed by Jonathan Liebesman, who was responsible for Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, which really gives one confidence in this project. Confidence that we are safe to never mention it again.
—Protestant pastors are evenly split—47% on each side—over whether global warming is “real or man-made.”
Well, people, we have come to the end of another week in which a lot of the same stories we’ve been harping on just refuse to go away. Everything was about torture this week, which is sad, because really, who wants to think about all that awful waterboarding? In today’s completely curse-free edition of The Morning Gossip, we’ve got a one-sentence guide to all the torture torture, a review of what the popular people did, and a few things for you to do in the three days until we meet again.
–Rogue, angsty Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has @#$%ing had it with this torture business: on Fox’s little web TV show The Strategy Room, Shep did some on-air fist-pounding and F-bomb dropping. This is the point we know for sure that Keith Olbermann will lose his show someday.
–Torture Week roundup: Pressure continues to mount for Obama to prosecute Bush administration torturers (especially after the news that we waterboarded one terrorist 183 times). Obama said he didn’t want that, but keeps waffling and contradicting himself; it will be hard to pull off legally, will cost him dearly. Wild prediction: after we get past all the attempts to score political points with this, it probably won’t happen.
–Speaking of President Barack Obama, he’s on the cover of Time this week for the – wait for it – thirteenth time in the past twelve months. At least this time we get to see a different side of him.
–Sad Wasillan Levi Johnston, after saying he might press charges against those baby-hogging Palins, spoke with Larry King last night. He says he’s a “small kind of guy,” which, though we get what he’s getting at, is just not something most guys would say. (Also: he broke up with Bristol because “a lot of people bothered us.” Aw.)
–A dirty little prankster doctored a tape of Beyonce singing “If I Were A Boy,” and Howard Stern and people on the internet who know nothing about singing believed it was really her. Her dad threw a weird hissy fit, and then the whole story came out. Whew.
–Weekend Reading: Go out and buy a copy of Texas Monthly (the one with Joel Osteen on the cover), and read this story about the life of paralyzed high school football player John McClamrock. It will make you a better person. (Slideshow narrated by the author here.)
–If you want to at very least hate America with ever fiber of your being and at worst possibly consider ending it all, then read this here headline.
–Kevin Roose, a 21-year-old Brown University student, went undercover for a semester at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, and then wrote a book essentially saying those Christian college kids are more normal than you’d think. Oh yeah, Kevin, speaking of “having no idea,” you’re mostly right about all this, but your book’s tagline (“America’s holiest university”) is tooootally wrong.
–Note: don’t forget to be-fan the Patrol Facebook page so you can get cool little article links in your news feed and comment on them with us. All of you who beg for article comments, this is your chance.
–Miss California Carrie Prejean stared down gay blogger Perez Hilton at the Miss America pageant this week and defended her belief that marriage “should be between a man and a woman.” Miley Cyrus sweetly consoled the pouting Perez on Twitter, telling him, “Jesus loves you and your partner and wants you to know how much he cares.”
–The Cannes Film Festival has released its official lineup for 2009, and it includes Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi gorefest Inglourious Basterds.
–New Yorkers take note: The roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens next Tuesday, and this looks like a spring art must-see.
Well, that's it for this week. Until we gather again for the latest and juicest, enjoy yourselves, and don't read anymore articles about torture or the economy.
… is if you have something worth saying. Meghan O'Rourke pours some much-needed cold water on the week that turned everyone into a pop sociologist:
Do not take this for a moment to be a blow in the face of ageism. Or a sign that we're becoming a more thoughtful culture. Just listen to the condescension in beautiful, tanned, made-over Amanda Holden's language when she tells newspapers that the moment they give Boyle a makeover would be the moment "it's spoilt." Indeed, it would be. It would mean we couldn't for that moment feel our little hit of catharsis, of canned "uplift," before going to our usual over-valorization of erotic value and celebrity plasticity. In one sense, Robin Givhan was wrong yesterday to suggest we're fooling ourselves if we think Boyle doesn't need a makeover. She does. But my bet is that the makeover will only disenchant us with her over time. We got the hit we needed, and like any stimulant, its effect will decrease as we try to re-experience it.
TagsAndrew Sullivan Atheism Barack Obama Bible Book Review Books Capitalism Catholic Church Catholicism Charles Taylor Christian Christianity Christianity Today Conservatism Conservatives Education Evangelicalism Evangelicals Evolution Facebook Faith Feminism God History Jesus Journalism Mark Driscoll Marriage Martin Heidegger Marvin Olasky Marxism Media New Sincerity New York Times Patheos Philosophy Politics Religion Religion and Spirituality Ross Douthat Same-sex marriage Theology United States Women Young Evangelicals