CNN: Will Christianity Ever Rise Again in Iraq?

The destructive force of  the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the militant Sunni movement, is epitomized in a video released Thursday of ISIS members smashing a tomb in Mosul, Iraq.

The tomb is traditionally thought to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, a holy site for Christians and many Muslims.

Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, is built on and adjacent to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, the setting for the biblical book of Jonah and once the most powerful capital of the ancient world.

Co-authored with Joel Baden of Yale Divinity School. Read the full story here

Daily Beast: ‘Persecuted’ is The Christian Right’s Paranoid Wet Dream

‘Liberal elites’ may be more contemptuous of the fervently religious these days, but it’s the hysterical rants of bad movies like ‘Persecuted’ that fuel this disdain.

Perceptive fiction has always been a venue for society to ruminate on the moral issues of the day. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein gave voice to the concern that science had parted ways with morality at the expense of the soul. The 1978 movie Coma explored deep-rooted fears about exploitation and medical advances in organ donation. And now Persecuted holds up a mirror to the perilous situation facing increasingly disenfranchised Christians in modern America.

Read the whole review here

Politico Magaze: Francis v. Benedict, the Soccer Match

It almost seems a divine referendum on the two living popes: the FIFA World Cup final comes down to a battle of skill between Argentina, home of Pope Francis, and Germany, birthplace of Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

The world’s press was quick to pick up on the unusual confluence of two living popes—itself a rarity—represented by their national football teams. Memes, cartoons and jokes followed. (My favorite: photo-shopped images of Benedict and Francis in national-team colored skullcaps.) Even though the bookish Benedict has demonstrated no interest in soccer and the Vatican has declared that the match falls after Pope Francis’s bedtime, Argentine fans are adding Pope Francis to their roster.

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