Friday 20 August 2010

Where's Harry?

Across at First Things ("the most delusional pretentious important journal of religion and public life in America") you can find a list - fresh from the steamy depths of writer Joe Carter's subjective judgment - of the fifty most influential religious figures in American history. By 'American' the writer means US (rather than Canadian or Brazilian for example), a restricted usage that always puzzles a mere Antipodean like myself. Carter is also unwilling to include people like Carl Walther or Aimee Semple McPherson who were born outside the country, which seems more than a bit strange (by that criteria neither Samuel Marsden nor E. M. Blaiklock could be included among the most influential figures in New Zealand religious history.)

Of the fifty I recognized thirty-two, but could only make a semi-intelligent comment about twenty six, even if my life depended on it. Mary Baker Eddy makes the list but not Ellen G. White. Carl Henry is there but not Robert Funk. Gordon Hinckley gets the nod but Hal Lindsey is consigned to pre-rapture oblivion. Funk and Lindsey aren't hugely influential? Go figure.

And how on earth could anyone overlook Harry Emerson Fosdick?


  1. People from the United States call themselves "Americans" because "America" is part of the name of their country. What else are they supposed to call themselves? "United Statesians"? That sounds eloquent.

  2. And little further down on the influential religious figures list:

    1051. Herbert W. Armstrong

    1052. Garner Ted Armstrong

    1053. Roderick Meredith

    1313. Gerald Flurry

    1331. David Pack

    1954. Joseph Tkach

  3. Perhaps we residents of the USA should just say "We're from United."


    How about identifying one's self as "from(or a resident of) the United States"?
    [That shouldn't be too hard, unless you are mad at South America or some other America]

  4. Why a virulently non-religious person like O'Hair is on a list of religious people makes no sense to me.

    God apparently hasn't blessed HWA with a large enough movement, the way Satan may have "blessed" folks like Brigham Young.

  5. Ahahahaha, ElWrong and William Miller made the list, and Armstrong didn't!

    Now that, friends, is POETIC justice.