I accept religious healing as a real biological phenomenon, although one prey to pious exaggeration,” writes Amanda Porterfield, professor of religion at Florida State University. She contends that “healing has persisted over time and across cultural spaces as a defining element of Christianity and a major contributor to Christianity’s endurance, expansion and success.” A book supporting this thesis would probably not have been written 50 years ago, much less published by a major university press. The rigid modernist dichotomies between matter and spirit, mind and body, religion and science have been melting in the postmodern milieu.
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).