In case you haven’t yet heard, Annuntio vobis aenigma magna: the Huffington Post has inaugurated a religion section!
Should it choose to take the Washington Post’s “On Faith” as a model, the project would make about as much sense as pre-Yeltsin Pravda launching a section devoted to capitalism.
The increasingly visible Thomas Peters has registered fierce umbrage at Sr. Joan Chittister being the most “orthodox” contributor on the HuffPo roster. In fairness, my initial scan found others who don’t seem compelled to flagellate religion as a matter of principle. They would include James Martin, SJ, who First Things’ readers will recognize as a favorite of The Anchoress. Unfortunately, these examples hardly lift the scale toward something resembling balance.
The biggest ad on the page I first viewed looked very much like a headline, calling attention to “Religion’s 7 Biggest Lies.” It was impressively high-tech—with a loop of changing images, all of them Christian. Needless to say, it wasn’t generated by Ignatius Press.
The first article I randomly clicked on opened to a column forced to compete with a pop-up featuring a curvy young woman. In a continuous slide-show, the model, with shirt (the product) completely unbuttoned, squeezes her “assets” to varying degrees of amplitude, all on behalf of American Apparel, the Victoria’s Secret for the Polanski set.
In a kind of mission statement, Ms. Huffington declares, “HuffPost Religion will bring you the latest news—in this case about all things religion-related—served up in the HuffPost style. . . . beyond the tired assumption that God is a card-carrying member of one political party or another.”
I too believe God exists beatifically card-free. What I wonder is, just how many thoughtful mortals who do carry cards or views which diverge from something at least akin to the Democrat line, will get fair shake on the site. These introductory impressions don’t inspire much confidence they will.
In any event, the role of yeast is to leaven, not bicker with, the batter. Besides, a case could be made that even a negative engagement of religious faith is better than sheer indifference to it. And, with our current president invoking the deity so often he makes his predecessor look like Barry Lynn by comparison, such indifference seems obliged to defer. In the vigilant meantime, I don’t see the harm in sincerely wishing HuffPost Religion, Godspeed.