Jun 26, 2007
If Americans needed a reminder of how divisive the issue of abortion is, they got one in the recent debate between Republican presidential candidates. When Rudolf Giuliani endorsed the option of choosing abortion but also observed that it would be “OK” if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, his effort to find middle ground on this contentious issue was widely seen as a clumsy attempt to ride the fence.
I’m still amazed,” declared Mary Alice Gran, the soft-spoken national director of children’s ministries for the United Methodist Church, based in Nashville. “Not all our [regional] conferences require background checks for volunteer workers, and there are congregations who are still doing nothing.”
Glen Hansard, lead singer for the Irish band The Frames, has a long, woebegone face pebbled with a rust-colored beard; his eyes are immense, with the peeled look of billiard balls. He suggests a gangly Gaelic version of the young John Lithgow. The character Hansard plays in the enchanting film Once, identified in the credits simply as The Guy, is a Dublin busker who holds down a day job at his dad’s vacuum cleaner repair shop.
The current spate of atheist, antitheist and antireligious books has made me ask myself whether I ought to be working, strictly pro bono, for the defense. Fortunately there are a host of reasonable and well-spoken public intellectuals like Alister McGrath, Keith Ward and John Haldane who are willing to undertake this tedious but necessary job.
Poetic resemblance: Jewish theologian Neil Gillman once asked an Israeli astronomer, “Was the big bang loud?” Somewhat indignantly, the astronomer replied: “Of course not, there was no air so there was no sound.” When he found out that Gillman is a theologian, the astronomer smiled and said, “You know what? Big bang is much more theology than it is science. Both are poetry” (Cross Currents, Spring).