- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mel to the rescue

“Robert Downey Jr. is lucky.

“It may sound odd, since we’re talking about a guy whose every misstep — every arrest, perp walk, detox, and blackout in a neighbor’s kid’s bedroom — was chronicled in the press back in the late ‘90s. But it’s true. …

“Because after all of the hazy, half-remembered coke-fueled nights, and the too-too-early mornings desperately trying to score more, Robert Downey Jr. should be dead. …

“Even when he was killing himself, Downey never lost the support of his friends in the business. His biggest champion was Mel Gibson. … [P]roducer Joel Silver … says Gibson called him to vouch for Downey, just after he’d come out of … rehab. … ‘He said, “Look, this guy is clean, and if he ever needed help in his life, now is the time.”’ …

“When I ask Downey why he thinks people like Gibson want to help him so much, he seems confounded. ‘I can’t figure it out. … But maybe people sense that my heart’s in the right place.’”

— Chris Nashawaty, writing on “Marathon Man,” in the Oct. 28 issue of Entertainment Weekly

Deadly ethics

“Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer … is well-known for his longtime advocacy of infanticide, euthanasia, assisted suicide and bestiality.

“He now predicts that, by 2040, ‘the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse’ under the weight of science and technology, and ‘only a rump of hard-core, known-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life … is sacrosanct.’

“When asked if it is ethical for parents to have a child just so they can kill her and use her organs for their ill, older child, Singer replied, ‘It’s difficult to warm to parents who can take such a detached view, [but] they’re not doing something really wrong in itself.’”

— from “Peter Singer: Sanctity of life will be destroyed,” in the International Task Force


Church ladies

“At many Protestant seminaries, women pastoral students now outnumber men, and between 1983 and 2000 the number of women who identified themselves as clergy tripled. It seems that Catholic scholar Leon Podles’s prediction of a few years ago, that ‘the Protestant clergy will be a characteristically female occupation, like nursing, within a generation,’ may soon prove true.

“Pulpits aren’t the only places that women dominate. According to a recent survey, the typical U.S. congregation is 61 percent female. …

“[A]mong the major Christian denominations, it is the mainline churches that suffer the largest gender gaps in church attendance. These churches, still pilloried by feminists for their patriarchal pretensions, have in fact become spiritual sorority houses.

“It is the more conservative denominations, such as the Southern Baptists, that have the most even ratios. In these more traditional churches, many of which do not have female clergy, parishioners hear less about cooperation and feel-good spirituality and more about spiritual rigor and the competition to win souls.

“Churches that embrace male leadership, including the Roman Catholic Church, remain the largest in the country, and the Mormon Church, which also does not have female clergy, is the fastest-growing.”

— Christine Rosen, writing on “Church Ladies,” Friday in the Wall Street Journal

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