Please, everybody, do read this by Samuel G. Freedman, who seems to be splitting the “On Religion” weekly feature in The New York Times with Mark Oppenheimer. To my knowledge, no one else in the mainstream NYC media, not the Times, not the WSJ, and particularly not WNYC (the otherwise estimable NYC NPR station) has caught on to this all-important theological angle (The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books have done better, somewhat obliquely).
The Roman Catholic journalist, academic, and serious theological thinker Peter Steifels wrote “On Religion” for years. He and I admired each other from afar, and I was desolate when he retired from writing it. But I must admit that these two more recent columnists, presumably both Jewish, are doing a very good job. I haven’t caught either one of them in any egregious misunderstandings of Christianity–though to be sure they are not covering it in real depth.
For years (literally) I have been pestering Brian Lehrer, the superstar of WNYC, to interview George Hunsinger and he has ignored the request (though he has always responded courteously). Hunsinger and David Gushee, both quoted by Freedman, were prominent in a powerful anti-torture conference held in Princeton in 2006. At that conference, I preached a sermon (at Trinity Church) which was part of the conference. The sermon and all the addresses were later published by Eerdmans in a volume called Torture is a Moral Issue. My sermon can be found here: