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It may be owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch, but the Times (London) is still able to report in a free way about politics in the United States that is forbidden to Murdoch’s domestic empire. And today, Times religion columnist Libby Purves comes through with an article well worth reading all the way to the end. My take: if the word “blasphemy” doesn’t come to mind at least once as you read this, then I’ll wager you’re either agnostic or a lapsed member of your congregation. Here are the first five entries out of fifty:
I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.–Sharm el-Sheikh August 2003
I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.–Statement made during campaign visit to Amish community, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Jul. 9, 2004
I’m also mindful that man should never try to put words in God’s mouth. I mean, we should never ascribe natural disasters or anything else to God. We are in no way, shape, or form should a human being, play God.–Washington, D.C., Jan. 14, 2005
God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear.–Los Angeles, California, Mar. 3, 2004
I tell people all the time, you’re equally American if you’re a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. You’re equally American if you believe in an Almighty or don’t believe in an Almighty. That’s a sacred freedom.–Washington, D.C., Mar. 10, 2006
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”