While liberal do-gooders have found it difficult to hide their satisfaction and glee over the priest abuse scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church over the past several years, a similar humiliation is unfolding much closer to their own doorstep. The Presbyterian Church (USA), one of the most liberal of the nation’s mainline denominations, has found itself in the middle of a scandal over sexual abuse of minors that occurred for a number of years at overseas missions facilities run by the church. The most high-profile instance so far involves a California man who is suing the denomination, alleging that he was molested by an older boy in 1988 at a church-operated boarding house in Africa, and that church authorities on site allowed it to occur.
Over the past year and a half the researchers at Gallup have been taking the spiritual pulse of America, and their findings confirm what has been commonly understood for generations: Individuals who embrace a faith in God that inspires their daily behavior and attitudes are healthier, happier, and better adjusted to their environments than their nominally religious or non-religious counterparts.
In the art and science of perfumery, it is understood that a precise admixture of the right oils makes the perfect perfume. The master perfumer selects the desired smells from the palette of aromas known as head chords, heart chords, and base chords. Once chosen, the skilled composer harmonizes these raw notes of odor into a seductive olfactory symphony.
It is sometimes said regretfully that many Americans today get their “slant” on the news from TV’s late-night comedians. But today’s “baby boomers” and Generation X-ers and Y-ers are not among the first Americans to find their politics strained through the filter of humor. More than a century before Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert began coming into people’s living rooms via broadcast and cable television, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to readers around the world as Mark Twain, was infiltrating the same sanctuary via newspapers, magazines, and books. In a 2008 article for Time magazine, humorist Roy Blount, Jr. showed just how topical, yet timeless, Twain’s humor was and is.