Century Marks

Century Marks

Repressed desires?

Two researchers from Brock University analyzed Google Trends data over a two-year period and discovered that residents in states that tend to be more religious and politically conservative produce the most searches using words like sex, gay sex, porn, XXX, free porn, and gay porn. A 2009 Harvard state-by-state study also showed a significant correlation between social conservatism and subscriptions to online porn sites (Washington Post, October 7).


Louisville Presbyterian Seminary theology professor Shannon Craigo-Snell and student David Wigger were arrested last month during a protest rally in Ferguson, Missouri. Wigger said his faith fuels his passion for social justice. He said he went to the Moral Monday rally that protested the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in order to support the leaders in the movement and the local youth who are trying to get justice for the unarmed youth shot by a Ferguson policeman back in August. At a rally with big-name speakers like Cornel West and Jim Wallis, youth leaders stood up and de­manded to be heard (WFPL, October 17).

Payroll boost

Raymond Burse, interim president of Kentucky State University, is giving up $90,000 of his $350,000 annual salary to increase payment to minimum-wage earners on campus. Their pay will increase from $7.25 an hour to $10.25 an hour, more than the $10.10 minimum wage President Obama is advocating. The increase will stay in effect even after a permanent KSU president is put in place. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, other college presidents have made similar moves. At Hampton University the president donated over $100,000 to boost low-wage earners to $9 per hour (Vox, October 15).

Best books

Church Times (August 16) has published a list of the 100 best Christian books of all time, drawing on nominations from their book reviewers, with the final decision made by a panel of judges. Enduring value was a key criterion. The judges acknowledged a dearth of female authors. The top ten: Confessions, by St. Augustine; The Rule of Bene­dict, by St. Benedict; Summa Theologica, by St. Thomas Aquinas; Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich; the Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri; Pensées, by Blaise Pascal; The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan; City of God, by St. Augustine; The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis; and The Complete English Poems, by George Herbert.

How doctors die

At the 50th reunion of his medical school class, Dr. James Sabin said his classmates were able to talk freely about death. One noted that only half of them would be present at their 60th reunion. The dominant tones in their death talk were a matter-of-factness, gallows humor, and curiosity about the future of the human species and the planet. Doctors typically don’t talk much about death, despite dealing with it routinely. When they do, they call attention to the limits of modern medicine and eschew any heroic measures at the end of their own life (Hastings Center Over 65 blog, September 1).