The Most Popular Stories of 2008

Below are, in descending order, RD’s most popular stories of 2008.

Except, that’s not entirely true.

Due to both an unfortunate late-summer virus and our, err, autumn resurrection, the ticker returned to zero on earlier stories, forcing our crack editorial team to recall the most popular items from RD’s debut season.

Suffice it to say that below you have the stories that had readers leaping to their feet and shouting “amen!”

We’d also like take this opportunity to thank you for making our first year a thrilling ride. Here’s to more of the same in 2009 and beyond!


John McCain: No God But Country
Kathryn Lofton

The president’s faith, according to John McCain, is “[the] number one issue.” Having scoured the public record, the author reports back with a startling proposal: John McCain may not believe in God.

Obama’s Divisive Choice of Rick Warren
Michelle Goldberg

In his zeal to appeal to all, the president elect chose a pastor to give the invocation at his inauguration who has compared gays to pedophiles and abortion to the Holocaust. Why did he do it?

Sarah Palin and the Clarence Thomas Factor
Mary E. Hunt

Feminism is not simply about getting women into positions of power, it is a commitment to change the world—and female anatomy does not a feminist make…

Obama’s AIPAC Speech Hardly a Change to Believe In
Stephen Zunes

In his first act as the Democratic nominee for president Barack Obama stood up before AIPAC and triangulated his way into their hearts. Is it good for the United States? For Israel? For the Jews? For Palestinians?

The Religious Right’s Apocalyptic Visions of an Obama Presidency
Bill Berkowitz

Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Action circulates a “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” depicting a doomsday scenario of Bible banning, a disbanded Boy Scouts, taxpayer-funded abortion, gay marriage from coast to coast, talk radio outlawed, God expunged from the public sphere, and, gulp, no guns.

Keeping God Out of Science Class in an Obama Administration
Lauri Lebo

A generation after the infamous Scopes Trial, a biology teacher, Susan Epperson, went to court and won the right to teach evolutionary theory. Even the election of a new, more science-friendly administration, however, does not ensure that the Bible will no longer be used as a science textbook.

Op-Ed: A Few Things I Wish Barack Obama Had Said
Garret Keizer

I deeply regret that some people took, or claimed to take, my use of this metaphor as a reference to Sarah Palin. Let me say categorically that I do not see Governor Palin as a pig…

Even After an Obama Victory, Reports of the Death of the Religious Right are Greatly Exaggerated
Bill Berkowitz

While it won’t be the same as it ever was, an Obama presidency will give the religious right an opportunity to bask in the glow of martyrdom and seize the mantle of underdog, while it raises hundreds of millions of dollars for its political campaigns and the never-ending ‘culture wars.’

Gimme That Old Spice Religion
Frederick Clarkson

The winner of Old Spice’s “Art of Manliness” competition isn’t just any conservative Christian—he’s a card-carrying member of the theocratic Christian Reconstructionist movement that encourages women to submit to their men and to abstain from voting. Does this war on “metrosexual pretty boys” mark the beginning of a political career for Matthew Chancey?

Don’t Blame Black Voters: The Obama Non-Effect
Jonathan L. Walton

It has become common to blame the black community for the passage of California’s same-sex marriage ban. A look at the statistics and logic put the lie to this seductive and simplistic narrative.

RDRoundtable: Welcome to “The Family”
Jeff Sharlet, Anthea Butler, Diane Winston, and Randall Balmer

Is an “aggressively anti-democratic” Christian movement quietly steering us toward a “theocentric” state? Three scholars discuss The Family with the author. Sparks fly.

RDEpistle: Open Letter to Sean Hannity
Candace Chellew-Hodge

Bestsellers by the stars of conservative media were found amongst the belongings of the Knoxville killer. Here is a plea for sanity to the author of “Let Freedom Ring”…

This is Not a Religion Column: Christian Candidate Quiz Bowl
Jeff Sharlet

Let us ask: how does God guide you, exactly?

Misrepresenting Islam
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na`im

A noted scholar of Islamic law explains the apostasy fallacy…

Op-Ed: Liberal Hatred
Laurie Patton

When do seemingly manageable ideological differences within a functioning democracy become something more treacherous?

God and Gays at the APA: A Flawed Debate
Michelle Wolkomir

Recent drama at the American Psychiatric Association reminds us that the arguments on both sides of the gay/ex-gay dispute fall short of the mark…

Why are Nuns and Monks in the Streets? (Parts I & II)
José Cabezón

The strongest Tibetan response to China since 1959 and the media is only getting part of the story…