Today’s most often e-mailed article on the WaPo site is Harold Meyerson’s column, “Hard-Liners for Jesus.” Meyerson, one of the best mainstream pundits out there, charges that there is a huge gap between the teachings of the gospels and the preachings of the “Gospel’s Own Party.” The GOPers tout the old-time religion while violating its biblical precepts, or—to be more exact—the particular biblical precepts that Meyerson approves. He has an easy time finding contradictions between Republican policies and particular verses in the Bible—who wouldn’t? And of course Meyerson skips those verses in the Bible that Republicans could cite, which contradict his own political preferences.
Just about the first quote from Shakespeare I ever committed to memory is “The devil can cite scripture for his purpose.” Later on, I learned that the angels can cite scripture for their purpose too—an equally important lesson. I’m not sure there’s much point in yet another cry of “Hey, they claim they’re Christians but they’re not real Christians.” I’ve spent a lot of years pointing out to students that no one can have an objectively “true” view of “real Christianity” because there ain’t no such thing. Christianity, like any religious tradition, is constantly changing into whatever its adherents make out of it. Let them all throw the charge of “not a real Christian” at each other, and may the best advocates for their particular view win. But that’s surely not what Meyerson thinks he’s doing. No doubt he, like those many students I’ve taught, naively believes that he knows what “real Christianity” is. Is this really useful political punditry?
Perhaps a more interesting article for those who follow things religious is the most viewed piece on the WaPo site, “Jet from Supermassive Black Hole Seen Blasting Neighboring Galaxy,” described as “an act of galactic violence that astronomers said yesterday they have never seen before… Any life forms would likely die as the jet’s radiation transformed the planets’ atmosphere.” The event “began no more than 1 million years ago and could continue for 10 million to 100 million more years.” Talk about cosmic drama! That’s the stuff genuine myth is made of.
More on that black hole jetting out radiation. According to the AP it’s the “death star galaxy.”
“It’s like a black-hole bully punching the nose of a passing galaxy,” said astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. But ultimately, this could be a deadly punch. If earth were in the way, the article tells us, it would be “decomposed.” Fortunately, the AP assures us, Earth is not in the way. Whew! The article ends with a physicist pronouncing “two main lessons to be learned from what the telescopes have found: This is a reminder that you are not alone in the universe. You are not isolated. You are not an island.” And “avoid black holes when you can.”
Oh, and a third lesson: Enjoy the stuff of cosmic myth, but play with it. Don’t take it too seriously.