In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
The Barna Group's recent religious freedom poll is pretty interesting. Evangelicals overwhelmingly support religious freedom and are concerned about its possible demise—yet a majority of them also believe that "traditional Judeo-Christian values should be given preference."
My first year in college, I had a friend who was going through a bit of a Goth stage. He dressed in all black and spent a lot of his time with his guitar, playing really intense (and often really good) original music. For his birthday, another friend of ours shot a goofy video (on VHS, I think!) about him. She asked me to appear as his bizarro-world self, so I dressed in all white (can't believe I found white pants somewhere on my dorm floor!) and showed up with my guitar. Then I improvised a major-key adaptation of "The Sound of Silence": "Hello lightness my new friend..."
Rush Limbaugh: If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma? . . . If John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge? Rep. John Lewis: African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to.
Lots of great moments from the Inauguration. Some of them serious, like Obama's full-throated support for LGBT rights. (Though contrary to some reports, it wasn't the first time he used the Seneca Falls/Selma/Stonewall line.) Some of them fun, like watching the First Family behave like a regular, happy, un-self-conscious family. (It's not likely you missed this, but just in case: Malia Obama's amazing photobomb.) My personal favorite: the president's decision to start using DC's "Taxation Without Representation" license plates on his limo.
Here are some things I read recently but didn't get around to blogging about: Bluths and Karamazovs, bloody good television, more.
This graphic from the Wall Street Journal is amazing. The article does point out that tax increases coming out of the fiscal-cliff deal will affect all workers—because of the end of the payroll tax holiday—not just those whose taxes on wage income and investments are going up. But the graphic sticks with the six-figure folks, all drawn to look rather put upon.
The National Cathedral’s going to start doing same-sex weddings! Here’s what prominent conservative blogger Allahpundit has to say: [The cathedral is] nominally Episcopal but I’ve always thought of it as the beating heart of ceremonial deism, so no surprise that it would shift as the wider public does. Say this for [Dean Gary Hall], too: He makes no bones about his political intentions. Although if you’re head of the National Cathedral and reaching out to press a hot button, why bother doing that? Why pretend it’s a purely religious decision when it’s not? Allahpundit is obviously right about the ceremonial deism part. And I’ll be the first to admit that this strange American habit is bad for church and state alike. But it’s absurd to suggest that the National Cathedral is only “nominally Episcopal.”
It turns out Louie Giglio won’t be giving the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. Who will? Jack Jenkins is right: Minerva Carcaño, Otis Moss, Gary Hall and Brian McLaren are all fine options. Joanna Brooks is right, too: so are Pratima Dharm, Sharon Braus, Sanaa Nadim, Anapesi Kali and Valarie Kaur. Ed Kilgore suggests his own pastor, who’s related to Ron and Rand Paul. Sounds okay, too.