If I had not heard it on the BBC World Service first, I would have assumed that discussions of “canonizing Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible”:http://washingtontimes.com/world/20030209-5611752.htm were some kind of silly joke.
Not so. In fact this apparently represents a significant schizm in the Russian Orthodox Church.
This weekend I went to an “exhibition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the North Carolina Museum of Art”:http://ncartmuseum.org/exhibitions/exhibitions/gaudens/gaudens.shtml with my wife and some friends. One of the larger installations is a bas-relief commissioned on the death of “Henry Whitney Bellows”:http://www.allsoulsnyc.org/whoweare/history/historymiddle.htm, a Unitarian minister.
One of my friends remarked that this was from the time period when Unitarians actually believed in something–and I chipped in with my standard line about Unitarians, “Well, something other than ‘Be Excellent to one another’.”
I hope, in retrospect, that it was obvious I didn’t intend to actually denigrate Unitarians by this–Bill and Ted references aside, I have a great deal of respect for people who maintain some sort of faith but don’t seem to see it as an “us vs. them” contest for dominance and hegemony. As an agnostic myself, I don’t begrudge people their faith except when they are unable to see that I do not choose to share it, and respect my ability to make that choice.