Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Economic times are tough. Maybe you’re working for a bloated auto company that makes expensive cars no one wants to buy. Maybe you’re a schoolteacher without enough seniority to avoid the latest round of budget cuts. Maybe you work for a Canadian company losing business from “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus bill. Or maybe your job just sucks.

Well, according to the New York Times, you probably shouldn’t consider joining the clergy:

The anecdotal evidence collected by the Association of Theological Schools, which covers 250 graduate institutions in the United States and Canada, has found job listings for ministerial positions down by about one-third at major seminaries serving both evangelical and mainstream Protestant denominations. The Jewish newspaper The Forward reported last month that Jewish seminaries accustomed to placing nearly all their newly minted rabbis were finding jobs this year for only about half.

Also the pay isn’t that good (unless you run a “prosperity gospel” scam), and you have to wear a funny costume.

But if you’re really intent on being a religious leader, there is one option:

Only the Roman Catholic Church, with a well-known shortage of priests, has more openings than applicants. And that, in turn, has led to a round of mordant jokes among seminarians about converting to get a job.

Of course, they don’t bother to tell us any of these jokes, forcing us to speculate. I’m guessing they’re along the lines of

  • Sure, the Catholic Church may be The Great Whore of Babylon, but they do offer a steady paycheck!
  • I don’t agree with their boy-touching policies, but I do agree with their clergy-paying policies!
  • I bet if you pretend you work in a toll booth the days just fly by!
  • The celibacy sucks, but the exorcisms more than make up for it!
  • Taking marching orders from a crazy ex-Hitler-Youth might be cool, just like in Apt Pupil!
  • Maybe I’ll get a free trip to Rome out of the deal. I hear the pizza there is amazing!
  • Come on guys, it’s not like any one of these crazy religions is any less false than all the others!

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Political scientists Neil Malhotra and Yotam Margalit raise the important question: “How much were the Jews to blame for the financial crisis?”

Being good social scientists, they conducted a survey and produced all sorts of interesting results:


Notice that more respondents chose “the Jews” than any other choice offered.

It’s also interesting to look at how the results broke down across demographics:


You can see that Republicans, the college educated, and (especially) doctors were least likely to blame the Jews.

One can imagine all sorts of related problems amenable to the same sorts of analysis:

  • Are “the Scientologists” responsible for the death of Lisa McPherson?
  • Is “Michael Peter Woroniecki” at fault in the murders of Andrea Yates’s children?
  • Are “the Jews” to blame for killing Christ?
  • Is “Father Garcia” responsible for fondling me in the confessional when I was 13 years old, again when I was 24 years old, and a third time when I was 28 years old?
  • Am “I” responsible for fondling him back last summer?
  • Are “reptilian humanoids” controlling the bloodlines of the ruling political and economic families from behind the scenes?

It almost makes me wish I hadn’t been expelled from my career as a social scientist.

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