Josh Levin, senior editor of Slate, wrote an epic series this week on the theme “The End of America.” The series begins here, and rolls on in eight segments and about 23,000 words. That’s not counting Slate’s embedded notes and thousands more words in The Fray. Slate also offered discussions on Facebook and Twitter, so the most obsessive readers easily could have devoted an entire week to debating Levin’s reporting.
First, simple gratitude: Thank you, Vice President Gore, for founding Current and employing such inspiring journalists as Laura Ling and Euna Lee. Thank you, President Clinton, for securing their safe return.
Andy Doyle, who became bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in June, recently granted a substantial interview to Evan Smith of Texas Monthly (free registration required). The conversation rolled along fairly well until Smith raised the delicate question of the Episcopal Church’s decades-long discussion of human sexuality:
Summing up a life as eventful as Corazon Aquino’s is a talented obituary writer’s dream. In these early hours after the death of the former president of the Philippines, I think Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle has done the finest job.
David Barstow of The New York Times has written a 5,600-word report on the decades-long tensions between the late Dr. George Tiller and the protesters who worked to shut down his abortion clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, in Wichita, Kansas. A lone gunman murdered Tiller on Pentecost Sunday while Tiller served as an usher at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.
The New Yorker‘s Joan Acocella writes elegantly. Her recent article on Michael Jackson as a dancer was one of the finest non-mawkish reflections that followed Jackson’s sudden death early this month.
Architecture is one of the more neglected corners of religion coverage, but occasionally a conflict about historic preservation revives the theme. National Public Radio’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported in 2008 about the battle between Third Church of Christ, Scientist, and city officials over the church’s desire to replace its Brutalist-style facility. (That battle rages on, and this website tracks the latest developments, from the perspective of church members.)
If a headline by Time.com sounds too good to be true — “Drug Dealing for Jesus: Mexico’s Evangelical Narcos” — it’s because the article fails to deliver any serious evidence to back its claim. We’re told that members of La Familia Michoacana “purport to be devout Evangelical Christians” (that D-word should set off incredulity meters across the land) and that “They are also made to study a special Bible authored by the gang’s spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno, alias El Mas Loco, or ‘The Maddest One.’”
Our friends at Episcopal Café may be about the only media people to place Walter Cronkite’s faith so high in a story, but there it is, right in the headline: “Walter Cronkite, newsanchor & Episcopalian, dies at 92.”