Armageddon Outta Here!

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spiritualiy Forum on September 25, 2006.  It also headlined the religion section on UPI’s main page that day.


In Southern California, the marketing empire that has arisen to promote Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ wildly successful Left Behind books has found a way to earn money by packaging religious bloodshed as entertainment in the form of a video game due out in November, just in time to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Over the weekend I played a demo version of the forthcoming game. It was, in a word, cheesy. Continue reading

God Isn’t Afraid of Science

This column was published by UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on September 18, 2006.

This week’s column is dedicated to Al Vogel, Jane Orbuch, Bob Miller and Robert Jamgochian, my science teachers at Mendocino High School. With gracious good humor they indulged me as I attempted to discredit the legacy of Charles Darwin, equipped as I was, with a mere middle school diploma.

If starting at the very beginning is, indeed, a very good place to start, then September is the time when high school biology classes grapple with the origins of life. For many teachers this means facing the objections of students and parents who consider evolutionary science to be an offense against God. Continue reading

Wedding in Maine, Part 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about attending the wedding of two women in Maine, and about how the union of my friends was not a threat to the honorable estate of marriage. It turns out that I had more to say about the wedding, another story to tell, so I went on KQED FM’s Perspectives series to say more. You can listen to my comments here:

Or, You can read a transcript of my comments below:

Continue reading

America’s Empathy Deficiency

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Fourm on September 11, 2006

Thanks to my friend Randy Shadoe for passing along the video of Kyra Phillips and for our many enjoyable conversations and correspondences that keep me on my toes!


You too may have seen this one. The President is giving a speech to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and something goes terribly wrong in the CNN sound department. Suddenly we, the viewing audience, are hearing CNN anchor Kyra Phillips in the bathroom. We hear the zip of a garment, the flush of a toilet, and a conversation in which Ms. Phillips dishes some dirt on her sister-in-law.

It wasn’t long before this behemoth of a technical blunder was a momentary cultural sensation as video of the mishap bounced around cyberspace. To her great credit, Kyra Phillips went on Letterman to read a self-deprecating top ten list of excuses for what went wrong.

When I first saw the clip with Kyra Phillips’ private moment drowning out the President’s somber platitudes I laughed. It was great fun until the rusty cog wheels of my recollection began to turn, and through the fog of nearly twenty years of memory I recovered a bit of forsaken knowledge: I went to college with Kyra Phillips. Continue reading

Katherine Harris on God and Politics

This piece was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on September 4, 2006. It also headlined the religion section of UPI’s homepage.

Thanks to Judy Brooks for alerting me to Katherine Harris’ views on the separation of church and state.


On August 24th The Florida Baptist Witness published an interview with Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State (she of the butterfly ballot and dangling chad). Now, she is a member of the United States House of Representatives, and is a candidate in this week’s primary election for the Senate.

The interview is worth reading for its presentation of Ms. Harris as a startlingly inarticulate religious fanatic. Contained in Rep. Harris’ musings, as recorded by the Witness are dozens of ideological and rhetorical blunders that are tempting fodder for a religiously progressive pontificator, but none is so inviting as her suggestion that the separation of church and state is a lie. Continue reading