- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

The follower

“These weren’t just the candidate’s personal tics. [Former Arkansas Gov. Mike] Huckabee was following his evangelical flock. …

“Up until a few years ago, the typical mainstream evangelical conservative found himself inspired by James Dobson’s daily radio show and Jerry Falwell. … This brand of social conservative signed up with his fellow Christians to fight hard-edge — and hardly uncontroversial — social issues like banning gay marriage and overturning Roe v. Wade.

“New evangelical leaders like Bill Hybels, pastor of the mega-church Willow Creek Community, and Rick Warren, best-selling author of ‘The Purpose-Driven Life,’ and pastor of Saddleback Church, have different priorities.”

Nicole Russell, writing on “Purpose Driven Progressive,” March 7 at Spectator.org

No memories

“The years immediately following a church council tend to be disorienting. The post-Vatican II years were no exception. In the ‘60s even Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was wearing a tie, if that gives any indication. …

“Generation X and millennial Catholics have never experienced a pre-Vatican II church and don’t carry around the baggage of the previous generation when dealing with the issue of religious garb. Habits and collars are not oppressive or clerical, but courageous, especially in the post-scandal era. As a matter of fact, the first time I ever wore my cassock at a youth gathering at my first parish, the young people thought I looked like Neo from ‘The Matrix.’ Rigid seminary formation was the last thing on their minds.”

The Rev. Damian Ference, writing on “Bring Back Men in Black,” at the U.S. Catholic magazine Web site

Best stealers

“1. Charles Bukowski; 2. Jim Thompson; 3. Philip K. Dick; 4. William S. Burroughs; 5. Any Graphic Novel

“This is pretty much the authoritative top five, the New York Times best-seller list of stolen books. … Most used bookstores try to avoid buying unread-looking books from the list above, but they do always sell, and so any crook who figures out how to roll a spine can turn a profit pretty easily. …

“I’ve had hundreds of dollars of graphic novels — ‘Sandman,’ ‘Preacher,’ ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ — lifted from right under my nose all at once. Science fiction and fantasy are high in demand, too: The coin of the realm is now, and has always been, the fiction that young white men read, and self-satisfied young white men, the kind who love to stick it to the man, are the majority of book shoplifters.”

Paul Constant, writing on “Flying off the Shelves,” in the Feb. 26 issue of the Seattle Stranger

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