A Comprehensive and Complete List of Every Instance of Humans Transcending the Bounds of Mortality and Touching a Divine Presence

(I wrote the first six items on this list a week ago and have been desperately trying to think of items to expand it since; my imagination has run dry. I can only conclude that the list is therefore complete and cannot be added to.)

  1. The key change in “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
  2. The part in Return of the King where Eowyn pulls off her helmet and tosses her head a little bit so her hair comes over her shoulder and you’re like oh shit, it’s Eowyn! and then she’s like I AM NO MAN and you’re like oh shit that’s Eowyn
  3. Pretty much every way to cook a potato.
  4. That one dress Grace Kelly wears in To Catch a Thief.
  5. When the opening chords of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” come on the radio and every person in range instantly develops a telepathic bond with every other person to decide who’s going to sing DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART and who’s going to sing I COULDN’T IF I TRIED.
  6. Scholastic book fairs.

That’s about it.

Congress, Culture, and a New Year’s Resolution

American religion has been in the news lately, specifically regarding federal partisan politics: we’ve seen stories about Democrats’ “religion problem” (as code for a problem with middle-American white Christianity), Congress’ increasing religious diversity but stable amount of Christian members, and just yesterday, an explanation for the latter phenomenon: the complex place of religiously unaffiliated voters within American religious politics.

It’s the last story that I’m interested in. The author is seeking to explain the “demographic mismatch between Congress and the rest of the country” – specifically, the underrepresentation of the “religiously unaffiliated”, who make up 23% of the country but are only represented by one religiously unaffiliated member of Congress.

The explanations for this are sensible and coherent: that religiously unaffiliated Americans tend to be young and therefore rarely vote; that they aren’t a demographically coherent group – they’re made up of atheists and agnostics, but also converts-in-progress, people in mixed-faith homes, and people who just don’t care very much about their religious identity – and are therefore unlikely to organize with each other; that it’s also difficult to organize based on a lack of identity, an unaffiliation.

It is these factors, the author suggests, which keep Congress’ religious demographics standing as they do – and if religiously unaffiliated voters are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, “they can vote”.

The article is an excellent exploration of why the religiously unaffiliated are unlikely to be specifically represented in Congress. However, it does not explore what seems to me to be the more pertinent question: why this 23% of unaffiliated Americans should be almost universally represented by Christian members of Congress, instead of members of a variety of faiths.

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