Never let it be said that the Catholic Church doesn’t embrace change. They lifted a ban on publishing Galileo’s works only 76 years after he died, and they lifted their general prohibition on works advocating heliocentrism only 40 years after that. And only a year after the Cadaver Synod they forbade any future prosecutions of corpses.
So it should be no surprise that the Pope plans to join Facebook in 2009, only a couple of years after your mom:
The Church wants to emulate US President Barack Obama’s use of the internet, both during his election campaign and since he took office.
Hopefully, in addition to Facebook, it will include some of the following:
You can keep track at the unfortunately-named Pope2you website once it goes live (I am guessing that “Pope2U” wasn’t available, or maybe they were afraid of violating a Prince trademark).
And let me be the first to say, “Welcome to 1998!”
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As President, Barack Obama faces tough choices every day. What should we do about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons? What’s the best way to kill Somalian pirates? How can I funnel more taxpayer money to my wall street friends? And, um, what’s the President’s church going to be?
White House aides and close friends of the family have been quietly checking out D.C. churches on a shortlist – maybe a dozen in all – and attending services, speaking with pastors, reverends and rectors and reporting back to the Obamas, said one White House source familiar with the search.
Wait a minute, you’re thinking to yourself, it’s already been three months since the inauguration, and he hasn’t chosen a church yet? What the heck is he doing on Sunday mornings? When’s the last time he ate a piece of Jesus? What if he’s … not right with god? Luckily, he’s been getting personalized attention:
Mr. Obama has not attended a public church service since the Sunday before he was inaugurated. But the president has quietly kept up his faith, talking by phone with a handful of evangelical pastors, including Bishop T.D. Jakes and the Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, both of whom once served as spiritual advisers to former President George W. Bush, and the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a pillar of the civil rights movement.
The article is silent on whether his telephonic spiritual advisors also include Miss Cleo, Harold Camping, or Rod Roddy, so we can only hope.
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Over the past year, I have encountered a number of “non-religious” types who were not only avid supporters of Barack Obama, but who also insisted that he was a “closet atheist”.
Although all evidence points to the contrary, they offered a number of plausible reasons like
- I like him, so he’s got to be
- sitting through years of Jeremiah Wright nonsense would make anyone an atheist
- he’s only pretending in order to get elected, same as Sarah Palin
I found none of these reasons compelling, but articles about Obama’s “faith-based office” (“hey, do we have any stamps?” “not sure, why don’t you pray on it?”) are working harder to assuage my fears:
While the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been around for eight years, the Obama White House is very keen to stress that their version of the office will have an entirely different mission. Whereas Bush established the office to “level the playing field” for faith-based service organizations that he argued were unable to compete for federal grants, Obama intends to use his faith office more for policy matters:
I mean, as long as they’re only working on “policy”, I don’t see anything that could go wrong with that. I bet that people chosen for their religious affiliations have all sorts of policy insights that people chosen for their competence or experience would never come up with:
- “Now that we run GM, let’s put electronic Mecca-finders on every dashboard!”
- “Let’s teach kids about Ganesh in biology class, so they’ll know that it’s possible to transplant an elephant’s head on a human’s body!”
- “We should fund a NASA mission to visit heaven!”
- “Can we make it so that churches don’t have to pay any income tax?” “We already do that.” “Oh, sweet!”
I look forward to the broadening of the policy discourse.
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