List-making is a peculiarly modern obsession. The top 20 basketball teams. The top ten best sellers. Ten ways to trim your thighs. Time magazine recently listed its choices for the 25 most influential evangelicals. The article seemed designed partly to let readers know about some of the folks who have political clout in the world of the Religious Right and perhaps some influence at the White House. The importance of Bush’s speechwriter Michael Gerson cannot be denied. Richard John Neuhaus doubtless has influence, though to call this Lutheran turned Roman Catholic priest an evangelical seems to stretch the category beyond reason.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).