Pope Francis has garnered headlines with his simplicity, as well as with his calls for a “Church for the poor.” The surprise his actions have met reflects, among other things, this: that when it comes to the matter of the haves and have nots, Christians these days tend not to rock the boat.
On July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, New Jersey—just across the Hudson River from Manhattan—two longtime political adversaries faced off in a duel. The result: Vice President Aaron Burr shot and mortally wounded the former secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton. (No, Dick Cheney was not the first vice president to shoot someone!)
Dueling, which Benjamin Franklin characterized as a “murderous practice,” was technically illegal in most states.
The Bible miniseries finished this Easter with the grand finale of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Overall it drew more than 30 million viewers, the History Channel’s largest-ever audience. It’s considered a triumph for “in your face” faith films. With a possible sequel (and the current batch of Bible-based films currently in production), The Bible may represent a modern resurrection of Bible-oriented cinema.
The fervent desire to place the Bible on film dates to the very beginning of the Hollywood industry.
Nearly 50 years ago, Bob Dylan romped through a century of American warfare in his song “With God on Our Side.” From killing Indians to developing nuclear weapons, in Dylan’s view Americans acted with the hubris of knowing they had divine approval. After all, “You never ask questions / When God’s on your side.”
Dylan’s verses didn’t mention the Revolutionary War, but they just as well could have.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.