- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2006

Faith and fiction

“The clever writers of [the NBC comedy ‘The Book of Daniel’] decided to cast Jesus as a hippie-ish dude who fluffs off the sexual peccadilloes of one character by saying, ‘He’s a kid, let him be a kid,’ and who appears completely untroubled by evil or sin in the world. …

“The biggest Hollywood blockbuster in 2006 will surely be Ron Howard’s ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ the cinematic adaptation of Dan Brown’s wildly successful novel, which posits that Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t so much the Savior of all mankind from sin, but rather a spiritual Jew who married this chick named Mary Magdalene and whose great, great, great, great, great grandkids set up the Merovingian dynasty in Dark Ages France. …

“But all of these folks may have a big problem on their hands. You see, an Italian court will soon decide once and for all if Jesus of Nazareth ever even really existed or whether he was a collective figment of early Christians’ imagination. … The very fact that the court has taken up the case … tells us in advance what the decision is likely to be.”

— Patrick Hynes, writing on “The Days of Our Lord,” Jan. 13 in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Criminal amnesia

“When one has prepared a number of reports on murderers, both for the prosecution and for the defense, one begins to discern certain patterns. …

“Most cases are simply sordid, with no murder-mystery romance to them whatsoever. …

“The culprit often remembers, or claims to remember, very little of the fatal moment. ‘And the next thing,’ he says … ‘she was lying there, covered in blood.’

“Whether murderers have always had such bad memories for the relevant events is an open question. Dostoevsky … mentions that since doctors started to appear in courts on behalf of the accused, murderers and other criminals have lost their memories with increasing frequency, as an alleged symptom of the disease that made them perform the criminal act.”

— Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “Most murderers just need to get a life,” Jan. 14 in the

Australian

GOP sweetheart

“America’s political right is in love with Sam Alito. … Rush Limbaugh tagged the Supreme Court nominee’s performance before the addled Senate Judiciary Committee as a display of ‘pure human excellence.’ … What occasions the praise? Relief that Harriet Miers is long gone?

“It is certainly not any direct indication from Alito that he intends to give conservatives their desired rollback of Roe v. Wade. In fact, in his testimony Alito has found a right to privacy in the Constitution, and he declined to follow Robert Bork in rejecting the Griswold decision, the foundation of the Roe case. …

“Abortion has much more company on the social conservative score card today. Issues like gay marriage, end-of-life decisions, even video game violence all provide an opportunity to draw a line against perceived excesses of a more liberal lifestyle. …

“The brand of modern liberalism embodied by the Democratic Party does not recognize that reasonable people might land at different places on any of these issues. In fact, the left sees differences here as an indication of a character flaw, which explains the fascination with ‘uncovering’ evidence of bigotry or intolerance among judicial nominees.”

—Jeff A. Taylor, writing on “The Death of the Abortion Debate?” Jan. 13 in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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