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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Religion in 'The New Republic.'

A lot of my Unitarian Universalist friends have expressed something between amusement and dismay that I'm so fond of The New Republic, which is supposedly only "liberalish." But I still think ministers and anyone else with an interest in the unshallow waters of American culture should be reading it. Take these recent articles on religious subjects, for example:

  • "Under God and over: What America can learn from its atheists" by literary editor Leon Wieseltier, paired in a "God Bless Atheism" issue with Alan Wolfe's review of two biographies of nutty atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair and two new histories of free-thought and doubt, "Among the unbelievers: The strange career of atheism in America" (4.12.04, sub req'd).

  • "God's realist," theologian David Tracy's review of The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War and the legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr (4.26.04, sub req'd). I'll be clipping this one for future reference.

  • "The resurrection of the body: Medicine and the pursuit of happiness in America" by Jackson Lears (4.26.04, sub req'd), an extraordinary review of recent books on medical technology and the impact of technology on the human body.

  • "Like a prayer: Kabbalah goes to Hollywood" by Yossi Klein Halevi (5.10.04, sub req'd), in which we find out what Madonna and Britney's little red wrist-bands mean, and how the Los Angeles-based kabbalists of The Centre are on a quest for physical immortality.

  • "Foreign minister: Dr. K.A. Paul versus American Christianity" by Michelle Cottle (5.17.04), in which we meet someone I simply can't believe we haven't heard about before:

    Over the past two decades, Kilari Anand Paul, a self-described "Hindu-born follower of Jesus," has cultivated a peculiar specialty as spiritual adviser to the scum of the earth. Liberia's Charles Taylor, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic, and Iraq's Saddam Hussein are among the more infamous butchers to talk with Paul about the moral implications of running a brutal, repressive, and occasionally genocidal regime. In fact, Dr. Paul, as everyone calls him (thanks to an honorary degree from Living Word Bible College in Swan River, Manitoba), has counseled scores of corrupt political leaders at all levels of government, as well as warlords, rebels, and terrorists from Mumbai to Manila to Mogadishu. By Paul's estimate, he has gone mano a mano with the leaders of every significant terrorist and rebel group in the 89 countries where his ministry operates. 

And those are just the highlights in the last month. You don't need to subscribe to the print edition to read the online content; the magazine also offers a cheaper digital-edition subscription.

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 11 May 2004 at 9:18 PM

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May 12, 2004 10:04 AM | Permalink for this comment

Douglas LeBlanc at Get Religion has more on K.A. Paul, including a New Yorker story I now dimly recall reading.

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