Phil Robertson is one of America's pop icons. It's an amazing story: college quarterback to barroom brawler to "Bible-thumping Christian" (as he calls himself) to duck call inventor to founder of a Dynasty. His television program is the highest-rated cable reality show in history. He and his family made Barbara Walters' "most fascinating people of 2013" list; you can't check out of a grocery store without passing their calendars and other paraphernalia.
"Shea should just have one of her seizures and die." Shea Shawhan, an 18-year-old high school student, recently received this anonymous text. She has the mental capacity of an eight-year-old, as the result of a brain injury she suffered at birth. Nonetheless, she plays softball and is a cheerleader.
This headline caught my eye: "Believers consume fewer drugs than atheists." A Swiss National Science Foundation research team found that young Swiss men who say they believe in God are less likely to smoke cigarettes or pot or take ecstasy pills than young Swiss men who say they are atheists. Their findings were reported this week in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.
Yesterday afternoon, "government shutdown" took on a more ominous meaning as shots were fired at the Capitol. For half an hour, we watched as government employees were sequestered inside their offices. We eventually learned that a woman struck a barrier near the White House, refused to pull her car over, and was chased by police to the Capitol. She was shot and taken to a hospital; a young child was found in her car.
A billboard on Interstate 30 in East Texas pictures a young blond woman and the words, "Get out of Prostitution. Be a SUGAR BABY!" I didn't know what a "sugar baby" was. It turns out, this is a woman who is paid by a man to have an ongoing sexual relationship with him. Advocates say it's not prostitution, since it's not a one-time encounter. Critics call it "an online pimping service on a billboard."
Consider this: last May, Pope Francis excommunicated a pro-gay marriage priest. Greg Reynolds of Melbourne, Australia had been advocating views on women clergy and gay marriage that clearly contradict Catholic doctrine. However, the pope's action is only now making news. Why? Perhaps because, as one commentator notes, "he's not the liberal the media wants."
At least another 1.75 billion years, according to scientists. However, be warned that between 1.75 and 3.25 billion years from now, Earth will no longer be habitable—our planet will move so close to the sun that our oceans evaporate. At that time we should probably move to Mars, since it will remain habitable until the end of the sun's lifetime, six billion years from now.
David Brooks, my favorite New York Times columnist, identifies "the biggest threat to world peace right now" as "the possibility of a wave of sectarian strife building across the Middle East." Others go even further. One British politician is warning that the conflict in Syria raises "the spectre of a third world war." Another news outlet headlines: "Could Syria ignite World War 3?"
In honor of today's Labor Day holiday, here are nine "interesting office facts": 1. Americans spend at least 1,896 hours a year at work. 2. One percent of U.S. employers allow employees to take naps during working hours. 3. Women business owners employ 35 percent more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
When Angelina Jolie was 14, her boyfriend was allowed to live with her. The actress plans to raise her children the same way. This fact introduces USA Today's column titled, "Let teenagers have their romantic sleepovers." The subtitle explains: "As youthful cohabitation rises, parents should see it as an opportunity to teach." The writer cites research indicating that by age 18, nine percent of women have cohabited. By age 20, the number rises to 26 percent.
Kutcher recently sounded "really smart" on his own when he won the "Ultimate Choice Award" at the Teen Choice Awards. After he accepted the award, he told the audience that he felt like a fraud. "My name is not even actually Ashton," he said. Ashton is his middle name; his first name is Chris. He changed it to Ashton when he became an actor at the age of 19.
Paul Marquez is a 23-year-old New Yorker. He is in jail today, charged with attempting to sell the baby of a woman he dated on Craigslist for $100. He has pled not guilty; a friend says, "he probably did it as a joke." He reportedly faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
As everyone in the galaxy knows, Kate had her baby. But not everyone knows the following facts (at least I didn't). One: We may not know the boy's name for some time. It was a week before William's name was announced, while Charles's name remained a mystery for a month. He is officially "His Royal Highness Prince (insert name) of Cambridge."
The American hero who authored our Declaration of Independence died on this day, exactly 50 years after its signing. "This is the Fourth of July," Thomas Jefferson noted on his last day. John Adams, patriot and second American president, passed away on the same day.
The Supreme Court has announced that it will deliver its much-anticipated rulings on same-sex marriage today at 10 AM EDT. We don't yet know what the court will decide, but here are the options.
James Gandolfini was known to the world as Tony Soprano, the mythical mob boss who won three Emmy Awards. The announcement of his death made global headlines yesterday. He was only 51 years old.
Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez live together in Lansing, Michigan with their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Lucas. They volunteer with the Family Equality Council, an organization that promotes families for homosexuals, and worked with the Michigan Pride Festival last year. As a result, they came to the attention of the Obama administration. Last week, they were invited to the White House for a Father's Day event. They will be on the South Lawn today at midday and hope for a photo op with the president.
Dan Brown's novels have been published in 52 languages, with 200 million copies in print. This son of a math teacher and a church organist has frustrated theologians like me for years with his misleading attacks on the historicity of the Christian faith, most notably in The DaVinci Code. I read his latest novel, Inferno, with much apprehension. To my surprise, there is not a single line attacking the Church or the faith of its members.
Their latest ad depicts an adorable little girl asking her mother if Cheerios is good for the heart. She explains that it is. The girl then pours Cheerios on her sleeping father's chest. What's the problem? The mother is Anglo, the father African-American.
France's first same-sex wedding was held this week. The latest New Yorker's Mother's Day cover pictures a lesbian couple reading a card from their three children in their kitchen. Since last March, when the Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage, three more states have legalized gay marriage.
As we watched the news coverage, many of us asked faith's hardest questions: Why did God allow such a tragedy? Why didn't he prevent it, or at least shelter these innocent, helpless children? What do we do now? And the question we'll address today: What happened to the children when they died?
Tim Tebow is America's most famous unemployed athlete. Since his release from the New York Jets, the Heisman Trophy winner has been without a team. What are his plans?
You probably attended church services yesterday. It's possible that an atheist you know did as well, in a way. The rise of "atheist churches" is an oxymoronic fact in our culture.
According to a new survey, only 17 percent of adults in the U.K. believe the church has "their best interests at heart." This "trust rating" ranks religious institutions with Google and behind supermarkets. However, young people rank Google much higher than churches, giving the search engine a trust rating of 28 percent.
And "the pill" has produced other significant consequences. Seen as "one of the cornerstones of the sexual revolution," it led to a marked increase in the number of women who were sexually active before marriage. By the mid-1970s, the majority of newly married American couples were not virgins. Today America leads the industrialized world in teenage pregnancy; three out of 10 girls in our country become pregnant before the age of 20, 81 percent out of wedlock.