Leveraging the marketing possibilities of Easter, television executives unleash a host of bad biblical films around the second week of April which provide a quick study in the decline of Christian culture and, occasionally, real entertainment.

Consider the Feast of the Annunciation. This scene from the Gospel of Luke in which an angel reveals to Mary that she is pregnant with the Son of God was a popular subject for Renaissance and Baroque artists.

Keep reading Show less
Politics & Current Affairs

After two months, it seems safe to say that the Obama presidency is off to a rocky start. And while lots of his nominees–or prospective nominees—turned to be duds, Obama’s biggest headache is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

While Geithner survived Senate confirmation despite tax problems, the current AIG bonus controversy will do serious damage to the Treasury Secretary and his boss. Now, as he unveils the latest incarnation of a bank rescue plan, it’s going to be a rough few days playing defence.

Keep reading Show less
Culture & Religion

Old politicians never die. Now, they don't even have the courtesy to fade away. Are you ready for the has-been campaign of 2010?

As the rest of the world recovers from the lengthy 2008 campaign season, a number of washed-up politicos gear up for the 2010 races. President Obama cruised to the White House talking about "change." Apparently scores of these charachters haven't gotten the memo. 

Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

While nearly everyone knows that March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, nobody seems to know that March 19 is St. Joseph’s Day. While there have been some traditional Italian celebrations in honor of the father figure of the Holy Family, Joseph remains a puzzlingly minor figure in the U.S.

While there are plenty of universities and colleges named after Joseph, the man has not left much of a mark in American popular or religious culture. Part of the reason stems comes from the evangelical tradition in America and its strict adherence to the Bible since Joseph barely pops up in it. While the Gospels of Matthew and Luke share the familiar events of the Nativity and the Flight into Egypt, Joseph is not mentioned in either of those two books after Jesus is twelve. In the Gospels of Mark and John, which start with Jesus’ public ministry, Joseph does not even appear.

Instead of embracing the various apocryphal accounts of Joseph’s life or the traditional Catholic view of Joseph as a much older man, America seems to be turning Joseph into a soap opera hero. Marjorie Holmes portrayed Joseph as the all American boy next door in her horrid bestseller “Two from Galilee: a Love Story." Perhaps to ward off the ghosts of Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, the book is also subtitled “The Story of Mary and Joseph."

Keep reading Show less