Biblical material pervades the works of English literature. Bible stories have been retold, recast and reinterpreted. Biblical images have lent their resonance and biblical phrases their rhetorical power to works as various as George Herbert’s devotional poems, John Dryden’s acerbic political commentaries and T. S. Eliot’s verse dramas.
The musical The Book of Mormon portrays two naïve Mormon missionaries in Uganda proclaiming that “in 1978, God changed his mind about black people.” The joke isn’t mere whimsy; the LDS Church is widely perceived as racist. The irony is that had the church followed its initial trajectory, by now it likely would have become the most racially integrated and progressive church in America.
Attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt are spiraling out of control, according to Bishop Angaelos, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. These attacks have been fueled by inflammatory rumors that Christians are building new churches in Egypt and that Christians and Muslims have engaged in affairs. In one instance, a 70-year-old man was stripped and paraded naked through the streets of Minya before he was killed. Coptic churches and the homes of Coptic Christians have been torched. Lack of local law enforcement, says Bishop Angaelos, gives license to more attacks by radicals (Christian Today, July 25).