Many TV network executives, advertisers and producers would sell their souls to get the kind of audience God has. But giving religion a starring role in prime time? Not so much.
Religion, God and spirituality have made cameos across the dial from "The Sopranos" to "The Simpsons" -- though usually as a prop or walk-on role. But shows where religion is a central part of the premise are rare, and the ratings are generally far from heavenly.
Five years ago, the Rev. Teresa K.M. Danieley had an epiphany of sorts. If people can grab breakfast on the go or pay a bill from their cell phone, she thought, why shouldn't they be able to get their ashes in a flash?
That's why, on Ash Wednesday 2007, Danieley planted herself in full priestly regalia at a busy intersection in St. Louis, smudging the sign of the cross on the foreheads of bicyclists, drivers and bus passengers.
Note to believers everywhere: God apparently wants a do-over.
The first couple was Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve, according to a new divine memoir. The Book of Mormon is "a preposterous, laughable and absurd series of fairy tales," and Jesus -- well, there's no easy way to say this -- pleasured himself as a teenager.
Blasphemous? Most definitely. And that's exactly the point.
Former "Daily Show" executive producer David Javerbaum has assumed the voice of God in his new book, "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God." As might be expected, it's already too hot to handle for some major retailers.
Released on All Saints' Day by Simon & Schuster, the satiric faux tell-all has its own Twitter account, The Tweet of God, which has amassed 53,000 followers with such comic bits as, "The pope just sent me a friend request. Dammit! I hate it when employees try to suck up."
Javerbaum isn't shy about his intentions.
"This book was not written primarily to be polemic," he said. "It was written to sell a lot of copies and become a best-seller."
But there is a bit of a higher purpose -- creating a comic tome that his fellow unbelievers can get behind.
The fierce budget battle in Wisconsin that’s pitting unions against Republican Gov. Scott Walker has also pitted the state’s top Roman Catholic bishops against each other in a series of public exchanges over the church’s historic support for unions.
The war of words—however polite—has exposed a longstanding rift between the church’s progressive and conservative wings, reopened in the birthplace of the modern labor movement.
Walker’s budget-repair bill requires public employees to pay more for their pensions and health care, and restricts collective bargaining power for most. The plan has prompted impassioned protests by thousands at the state capitol in Madison, and sent Democratic lawmakers into exile to prevent a vote.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki kicked it off with a statement on Feb. 16 that, quoting Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, said it was “a mistake to marginalize or dismiss unions as impediments to economic growth.”