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Ordinary Radicals Film Premieres Sept. 4

by Becky Garrison 08-28-2008

On Sept. 4, I'm going to Philadelphia to attend the premiere of The Ordinary Radicals, a documentary directed and produced by Jamie Moffett, co-founder of The Simple Way. The trailer gives a sense of this project.

While I can't speak for the others who were interviewed for this film, I felt my role was to serve as a cheerleader [...]

New Yorker Obama Cartoon Controversy

by Becky Garrison 07-16-2008

While Ben Franklin penned the first American political cartoon in 1776, Thomas Nast ushered in the gilded age of the modern political cartoon when he toppled Boss Tweed. Since then, no political party or scandal has been deemed off limits, as evidenced by the cartoon coverage given to the

Jesse Helms' Passing -- the End of an Era?

by Becky Garrison 07-07-2008

Jesse HelmsAs a former North Carolinian, I have very mixed feelings regarding the death of Senator Jesse Helms. When my late grandfather Roy B. Clogston was the athletic director of NC State from 1948-69, he became good friends with Helms. At that time, Helms was the general manager of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, and they worked on the contracts to televise NC State basketball games. So, [...]

Jesus for President: Declaring Independence from Partisan Politics

by Becky Garrison 07-03-2008

Soccer moms, NASCAR dads, and now holy hipsters have been touted by political pundits and the mainstream media as the group du jour that political candidates must court in order to win the coveted presidential prize. Using select books and blogs, they conclude that these missional millennials have abandoned the political party of their parents and will be casting their ballots for Obama [...]

Hope, in Perspective

by Becky Garrison 06-06-2008

Here in Manhattan, the city streets hum with hope following the announcement of the first African American to be nominated for president by a major political party. According to news reports, similar scenarios are taking place across the world. As we celebrate this historical moment in electoral politics, Sarah Cunningham, author of

'Footprints' Marches into Court

by Becky Garrison 06-03-2008

Some days the material writes itself. As reported by The Washington Post , Mary Stevenson's son claims that as his mother penned the infamous poem, "Footprints in the Sand," he seeks any royalties earned from said literary [...]

'Pray the Devil Back to Hell'

by Becky Garrison 05-09-2008

The following is an interview with Abigail Disney, producer of the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which recently won the award for best documentary feature at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

What sparked your interest in wanting to make a documentary about Liberia?

The fact that the newly [...]

Which Jesus? The Horror (and Hope) of Religion and Politics

by Becky Garrison 05-06-2008

During the New York City leg of Brian McLaren's empowering Everything Must Change tour, Jay Bakker and I were asked to give a short reflection based on Brian's talk on "Which Jesus?" When I saw Brian's insightful slideshow presentation that contrasted the empire of Caesar with the kingdom of God, I had a sudden flashback to my Jan. 2007 trip to Israel.

In an [...]

Expelled: Is Ben Stein Serious?

by Becky Garrison 04-17-2008

Motive Entertainment, the maverick marketers behind The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia bills Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed as" a controversial new satirical documentary [in which] author, former presidential speechwriter, economist, lawyer and actor Ben Stein travels the world, looking to some of the best scientific minds of our [...]

Interview with Bob Abernethy

by Becky Garrison 04-03-2008

Following is an excerpt from an interview with Bob Abernethy that will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Wittenburg Door.

GARRISON: When you reflect over your years of doing Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, how would you assess the role of religion in [...]

Searching for Jesus' Bones

by Becky Garrison 03-24-2008

Throughout his book, The God Hypothesis, Victor Stenger appears to be obsessed with the need for concrete proof that the son of God was a real man. He feels that if Jesus of Nazareth really walked on the earth, someone would have unearthed his actual bones.

Now, I don't want to get medieval here, but frankly, how many Christians in the 21st century need the bones of Jesus as proof of their faith? After all, according to the resurrection story, Christ transcended matter as Mary [...]

A Giant Religious Rummage Sale

by Becky Garrison 03-20-2008

When I interviewed Phyllis Tickle for Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church, she reflected on the seismic changes she sees occurring in contemporary Christianity. "Evangelicalism has lost much of its [...]

Struggling With a 'Purple State of Mind'

by Becky Garrison 03-12-2008

When I got an invite to attend a screening of the documentary, Purple State of Mind, I went in expecting to see a blue state v. red state dialogue/debate with some quest to find political common ground.


Instead, I was treated to an honest and humorous dialogue between Craig Detweiler and John Marks, two former college [...]

Carrie Newcomer's Songs for Change

by Becky Garrison 03-06-2008

On Jan. 22, 2008, I headed down to Joe's Pub in New York City to celebrate the launch of Quaker singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer's CD The Geography of Light. Newcomer's lyrics, grounded in her faith formed by a Midwestern sensibility, reminded me of

A Slippery Church-State Slope

by Becky Garrison 02-18-2008

In the 2008 election, "change" has emerged as the new catch-all buzzword. I reported on the God's Politics blog a few of the positive signs of social change I've been observing recently as a religious satirist. When I was interviewed in a [...]

A Dose of Sanity in Archbishop Willams' Sharia Controversy

by Becky Garrison 02-12-2008

As reported by the BBC, the Archbishop of Canterbury has attracted widespread criticism after appearing to back the adoption of some aspects of Sharia law in the U.K. This article goes on to explain that "under English law, people may devise their own way to settle a dispute in front of an agreed third party as long as both [...]

With Romney Out, Will Coulter Campaign for Clinton?

by Becky Garrison 02-07-2008

(Note: This post was updated on February 7, 2008, at 1:35 p.m. following Mitt Romney's decision to suspend his presidential campaign.)

Conservative pundits and Religious Right power-brokers went into extra innings to ensure that Mitt Romney would score [...]

Signs of Real Hope for Social Change

by Becky Garrison 01-25-2008

John Sayles' comments about how film can be a vehicle for social change got me thinking about the positive signs of social change I've been observing recently as a journalist. Simply put, a global spirit seems to abound these days that infuses religion, politics, and the culture at large and transcends organizations and individuals.

On Jan. 21, I attended a lunch hosted by

Interview with John Sayles on Religion, Race, and Rock and Roll

by Becky Garrison 01-23-2008

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview John Sayles about his movie Honeydripper, a multilayered and complex account of the birth of rock and roll in the Deep South. Following is an excerpt from our conversation. (The full interview with John Sayles will be published in a forthcoming issue of The [...]

Maher's Mass Mishap

by Becky Garrison 01-08-2008

This past Friday Bill Maher crossed the WGA picket line to offer this witticism on Late Night with Conan O'Brien:

You can't be a rational person six days a week