"Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion" by Cynthia Ferrell Johnson, Mixed Media (2012).

“Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion” by Cynthia Ferrell Johnson, Mixed Media (2012). Photo courtesy Wesley Theological Seminary Center for the Arts and Religion/Arthur and Marjory Dadian Gallery

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In his filibuster to try to defund the health care reform law, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has been reading just about everything under the sun, from Toby Keith’s country music lyrics to Ayn Rand’s libertarian bible, “Atlas Shrugged,” to selections from “Duck Dynasty.” He has even gone through “Green Eggs and Ham” and the menus from Denny’s, Benihana and White Castle – which don’t have those Seussian offerings, quite.

Of course, he at one point went for the actual Bible — not Ecclesiastes, oddly, but the wisdom of Solomon. Not everyone was pleased:

He does have many supporters, who sent him suggestions, such as Proverbs 10:4:

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

Watching the anger build among members of Cruz’s own party over his tactic, I’d suggest he go to the next chapter for Proverbs 11:29:

“He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

Better yet, Senator, go watch the movie. What verse would you suggest Mr. Cruz read?


And no, journalists don’t come off so well. Atheists do.

The religious right is not about to go quietly. CBN’s David Brody reports that the American Renewal Project has sent an email blast to more than 10,000 pastors declaring that “Unless politicians see scalps on the wall, they will never respect our policies, marches, sermons or prayer rallies.” It goes on to say that, “Registering the Christian constituency to vote, and getting them to vote is the game. Game on.”

Game over for the scandal-plagued Catholic archbishop of Newark, John Myers? Pope Francis has sent him the man who will replace him, a few years ahead of Myers’ sell-by date. Mark Silk says that’s a start, but the pope needs to do more.

The other pope, Benedict XVI, has broken his self-imposed retirement silence to defend his own record on sex abuse. He saves his best stuff for some theological and philosophical jousting with his atheist interlocutor. It’s good stuff.

Both popes might take encouragement that the number of priests is on the rise in the U.S. after years of decline. Cathy Grossman cites several factors that may explain the spike – beyond the Holy Spirit, natch.

If any of those men become chaplains in the armed forces they won’t be able to have anything to do with gay couples, and may not even be able to assist at the funeral of gay service personnel if it could be construed as supporting same-sex marriage. That’s under new rules issued by the archbishop for the chaplains.

Yes, the pope is still Catholic: Francis has excommunicated and defrocked an Australian priest, apparently for advocating women’s ordination (and gay rights, it seems) and for celebrating the Eucharist when he was barred from doing so.

Cool: Father Jim Martin, chaplain to “The Colbert Report,” was on the show last night to talk all things Francis with Stephen. Oh, and he introduced Metallica. Not even Francis has done that. A must-see.

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Equal time: Neo-atheist Richard Dawkins was on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. The question: whether scientific advancement or religious fundamentalism will bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

Creepy: Philly abortionist Kermit Gosnell, convicted of murder in one of the grislier crimes of recent memory, is reading his bible in jail and says he is “spiritually innocent.” He says he was railroaded by Catholics in the D.A.’s office, and he is writing “abortion-inspired poetry.” That’s a kind of revenge. Read it at your peril in Philadelphia Magazine.

Makes me want to turn to “Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion.” Our own Kathleen Burgess has the story on a remarkable new exhibit, featuring icons like the one above.

This just in: Facing regular acts of open defiance to church law, the top court of the United Methodist Church is set to consider rulings challenging church teaching on homosexuality.

The assault on a Columbia University professor is apparently part of a wave of attacks on Sikhs who are mistaken for Muslims. Not that getting the religion right would make it any less terrible, but really…

So the MacArthur “genius grants” came out and I wasn’t on the list. Yes, it still hurts. So to find solace, and some good barbecue, I – and the rest of the RNS team – are heading off to Austin to the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference. Katy, bar the door!

It also means that there won’t be a Daily Religion News Roundup for Thursday and Friday, but we’ll be back first thing Monday. Be sure and sign up by typing your email in the box below so you don’t miss anything.

Arrivederci, y’all.

David Gibson

Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


    • Robert Stewart Tice

      I will not attempt to sum it up in a few words. I suggest that you see and hear what he said to his two daughters. You will learn more about Cruz from those minutes than you (and this was true for me) previously knew of him.

      • You cannot be serious. Cruz is short a few jokers in his deck. He doesn’t have both oars in the water. He’s “thinking” on one cylinder. And he’s completely nuts. But not so nuts that he isn’t in the pockets of big corporate insurance. Puh-leeeeeze!. He’s solid scum.

  1. The conference in Austin looks outstanding! If you decide to take the field trip to the Hindu temple, Radha Madhav Dham, though, it might behoove you to do a little research beforehand on its history as regards child abuse. The founder of the temple, Prakasanand Saraswati, was convicted of child abuse and fled the country. His guru, Kripalu, took over, but he, too, has a checkered history. Of course visitors from the conference will get the white-wash treatment. It’s too bad one of the other Hindu temples in Austin weren’t chosen for this event, as this organization is nothing but a cult.

  2. Robert Stewart Tice

    You can watch it here but this may not have all of his comments to his daughters that you should hear:


  3. Once upon a time, RNS was a respected media outlet specializing in a niche market. Then two years ago it was sold and things went downhill. Declining revenues and its inability to commission more genuine news stories have forced it to become a knock-off aggregator in which off-the-cuff opinions and snide remarks are passed off as actual reporting. Today’s column exemplifies the trend.

  4. David Gibson

    David Gibson

    Article author

    Eric, I’m not sure what you mean. We have increased our reporting and production of original content stories that go out to a growing number of outlets around the country and globally on the Internet.

    This daily roundup is just a service pointing to our stories and other interesting (and sometimes silly) religion developments. It is intended to take a light touch, and isn’t being passed off as standard journalism.

  5. Is that right, The Book of Wisdom? Even though Ted Cruz should culturally be Catholic, it was my understanding that he was Southern Baptist. From the last sentence, I though that was the reason not everyone was happy.

  6. Some other verses (KJV) for Cruz:

    Romans 14:22 “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself …`

    Proverbs 10:18 “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.“

    Proverbs 10:19 “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.“

    Proverbs 18:7 “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.“

  7. David, you’re reporting is fine and so is RNS reporting in general. What your critics mean is that they are unable to recognize as accurate anything that doesn’t support their hateful, right-wing agenda.

  8. David Gibson

    David Gibson

    Article author

    Well, I sometimes think the unforgiveable sin in writing, as in life, is being earnest. Serious, yes. But that allows plenty of room for joy and whimsy — so say I!

  9. So, David, would you say that your whimsical writing for RNS is politically and theologically even-handed, or something that readers could get simply by reading the National Catholic Reporter?

  10. Stacking and angling are well known journalistic devices used to inject implicit bias into a story. Look back at your own summaries, today and for previous days, and compare the ways in which Ted Cruz, Bill Donohue, Diana Bass, and others are framed. You consistently poke run at those right-of-center, while those on the left get kinder treatment. This is an example of what John Allen called “Manichaean journalism,” which he himself disavowed some years ago. If you want to editorialize, you should go right ahead, but editorializing under the camouflage of whimsically summarizing daily events is unprofessional, and really, rather cowardly since you’re inserting judgements without providing evidence. Pieces in NCR, or the Wanderer on the other side, are more honest.

  11. Well, i’m fine with this column as it’s been presented. i generally appreciate it very much. Maybe i’m as biased as critics suggest these writers might be. Maybe what’s presented reflects a reality that some would reject in favor of something else….

  12. The complaints here remind me of righty attacks on good journalism as “that liberal media!” If righty sound bites and equally egregious ‘research’ were debunked by facts and science, then obviously – it was biased!

    David, I like the way you write. Every single religious story is not critical, and some are down right silly. Pundits from all directions have laughed at Cruz. His long speech – it’s not a filibuster – has no point or purpose other than self-aggrandizement. He is pandering directly to those of you who are writing here to defend him. Clearly, it’s working.

  13. I’m fully satisfied with the reporting here on the RNS. If any author chooses to add a bit of levity to a story that is her/his choice to do so. Likewise, the reader has the choice to continue to read the story. Proof of the fact that the RNS writes good stories is in the many subscribers and readers. I’m a little down on religion right now but often recommend this site to others for it’s fair and even handed approach to religion stories. I say to all the writers here good job and carry on! Looking forward to Monday and at least a story or two on your time in Austin.

  14. Wasn’t the Philadelphia DA’s office accused of being anti-Catholic for its prosecution of Monsignor Lynn? It must be hard to work there, having to be so biased in both directions all at the same time… #sarcasm

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