Overheard

Ashcroft . . . as quoted by conservative columnist Cal Thomas on his radio show on November 9 (and belatedly denied by a Justice Department spokeswoman): "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." Not to get too wound up in theology here, but if the Christian God sent his own son to die doesn't that make him, according to Ashcroft's definition, a Muslim? --Katha Pollitt The Nation, March 4, 2002 I think what you have to recognize is I've never gotten a death threat from an atheist or a Buddhist, only bible-quoting, true believers. Most people don't know that there's this dark and hostile side of religion. I think they saw it on Sept. 11. --Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong Chicago Sun-Times, Nov. 23, 2001 No matter what you believe about abortion, a procedure that more than a million women choose in this country every year, those who believe in human rights have to be repelled by the notion of religious fanatics who believe they can harass, injure or murder people on the say-so of a direct pipeline to God, or Allah. There's no real ideological difference between these people and the people who flew planes into the World Trade Center. --Anna Quindlen "The Terrorists Here at Home" Time, Dec. 17 2001 Where has God been since 1973 regarding the New York Knicks? I'd like to know. If one wants proof that God does not side with someone who merely invokes his name frequently, take point guard Charlie Ward (please). --Roger Rosenblatt "God Is Not on My Side. Or Yours" Time, Dec. 17, 2001 Utah is the nearest the western world gets to a functioning theocracy. --Matthew Engel "British Visitor to Utah Finds 'Strangest' State [London] Guardian, Jan. 27, 2002 God almighty will give the United States a pill that will puke them to death. --Brigham Young, late 1850s New York Times, Feb. 3, 2002 Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six. --Tolstoy on his deathbed After being urged to rejoin the Russian Orthodox Church ("Passage," by Connie Willis) So far, that list [of Roman Catholic officials who knew that an area priest was molesting and raping children for years] includes a cardinal, five bishops and several parish priests. In the real world, we send guys who rape children to prison. In the world that is the Roman Catholic Church, guys who rape children get transferred to another parish. Again and again and again. --Columnist Regina Bretta Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 31, 2002

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