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

Daily Beast: Deconstructing David Brat’s Scholarship

The Tea Party economics professor who shocked Eric Cantor has an astonishing body of academic work—and that’s not a compliment.
Perhaps even more shocking than David Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday was the news that he’s a professor—hardly a profession common to university-hating Tea Party candidates. Brat’s victory is an impressive feat considering that to most of the people who voted for him, “professorial” is a deadly insult.

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Daily Beast: This Could Be Pope Francis’s Masterstroke

Meeting the head of the Eastern Orthodox church, the pope set a date for a third historic meeting of Christian factions—a savvy move to control how his successors lead.
After all the speculation surrounding Pope Francis’s ability to engineer peace on his big Middle East trip, the biggest news from the visit came from his visit with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the primary leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Not to gloat, but we totally called it.

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Daily Beast: Pope’s Middle East Game of Shrines

Pope Francis hoped he might help bring peace to the Middle East, but set off a firestorm over a contested holy site. Maybe he should try healing the rift with the Orthodox church instead.
Pope Francis is off on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week in search of reconciliation and peace. His tour of the Middle East includes meetings with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, a visit to Bethlehem, trips to the Wailing Wall and the Holocaust museum, and meetings with both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Daily Beast: Careers Too Deadly for Christians

Conservatives claiming their careers are “threatened” by gay rights should check out St. Hippolytus, who wouldn’t have let them get those jobs in the first place.
In a recent fundraising email, the president of the American Family Association, Tim Wildmon, warned his mailing list that the number of careers available to conscientious Christians “is quickly shrinking as homosexuals pro-actively seek opportunities to wreck the personal business and career of any Christian who declines to support the gay lifestyle.” The professions now prohibited by homosexual activism? Photographer, Baker, Florist, Broadcaster, Counselor, Innkeeper, and Teacher. (Not included: Host on Bravo.)

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Daily Beast: Who Died and Made Him Pope?

Catholic tradition claims that the pope’s authority extends directly back to Saint Peter. But a new book argues Peter never even set foot in Rome.


Everyone loves Pope Francis. The statement is at this point so banal that it makes you want to stop reading here. Forget Time and Rolling Stone; President Obama is a Francis fan-boy. But if Francis’s popularity is rooted in his down-to-earth humility and man-of-the-people mentality, his authority is rooted in his position as occupant of the throne of St. Peter.

Read about the history here.

Daily Beast: The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ is Still as Big as Mystery as Ever

Scholars had concluded that a papyrus referring to Jesus’s wife was a clever forgery—until new evidence re-opened the case. Is there any way to figure out the truth?

In September 2012 Karen King, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the discovery of a new Coptic manuscript that she titled The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (GJW).

The revelation was met with a firestorm of media attention. The mobile-phone-sized scrap of papyrus contained the words “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife…’” before breaking off. In a subsequent line the fragment refers to a “Mary” and says that she “is worthy.” Worthy of what? To be a disciple? And, if so, is this about women priests? Is this Mary Magdalene? Do we finally have independent evidence to confirm the groundbreaking findings of The Da Vinci Code?

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Daily Beast: Spain’s New ‘Holy Grail’: Jesus Couldn’t Afford That Kind of Bling

Two historians claim they’ve identified the legendary cup—a relic made of gold and precious stones. But where’d a poor carpenter get that kind of money?

This week news emerged that two Spanish historians have identified the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank the night before he died. And wouldn’t you know it, they found the darned thing right before Easter, too! This is more than just your average Christian relic. According to some later legends, it was also used to catch the blood that flowed from his side at the crucifixion and bestows immortality on those who drank from it.

Full story here.

Daily Beast: Diogo Morgado Puts the Carnal in Incarnate, But Was Jesus Really A Babe?

Hollywood gives the son of god chiseled cheekbones and buns of steel. But what if—based on anthropological study of first-century Galilean males—Jesus had the build of a teenage girl?

How many new and different versions of the Jesus story can the medium of film accommodate? Judging by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s new film Son of God, not too many: this is the traditional, predictable, stripped-down niceness taught in Sunday schools and nativity plays. But for a bare-bones presentation of Jesus, there sure seems to be a lot of flesh on screen—and what attractive flesh it is. With carefully styled hair, omnipresent smile, and sparkly eyes that say, “I see into your soul,” Diogo Morgado’s Jesus really puts the carnal in incarnate.

Read more here.

Daily Beast: Bible Passages that Could Get You Killed

A pastor died trying to charm a snake because it says so in the Bible. Professor Candida Moss look at other Biblical directives that could get you killed.
Pastor Jamie Coots, a snake-handling minister from Middlesboro, Kentucky and former star of the National Geographic reality show Snake Salvation, died after being bitten by a snake in church
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Read more here.