Century Marks

Century Marks

Sacred sounds

Though one may not share Deal W. Hudson’s conservative theological and political views, he’s compiled an interesting list of the “100 best recordings of sacred music.” The list includes not only what he considers the best compositions of all time, but the best recordings of those works. Sacred music lovers will quibble with some of his choices (Elgar and Vaughn Williams have as many entries as Bach) and will point out some omissions. Among his choice of 100 top recordings, Hudson marks those that he considers indispensable (www.catholic.org).

Gays and the fighting Irish

The University of Notre Dame has agreed to create a gay-straight alliance student organization. The move comes in response to a call for greater on-campus resources for gay and lesbian students. But the school has rejected the recommendation from its office of student affairs that sexual orientation be added to the university’s statement on nondiscrimination (InsideHigherEd.com, December 6).

Bricks, mortar and books

When the two bookstores in Nashville, Tennessee, shut down, writer Ann Patchett and a friend cooked up the idea of starting an independent bookstore. People scoffed at the idea, saying that there is no future for bookstores—and perhaps not for books in a digital world. Patchett knew, however, that the bookstores that had closed had been profitable. They closed because of actions by their parent companies. “People still want books,” Patchett said. “I’ve got the numbers to prove it.” She said she hadn’t counted on one benefit of starting a bookstore: “I could talk strangers into reading books that I love” (Atlantic, December).


Blake Page decided to quit the U.S. Military Academy only six months before graduation because he said he could no longer be part of a culture that promoted prayer and religious activities. In a Huffington Post column, Page charged that prayers were routinely included at mandatory school events and that nonreligious cadets were jokingly referred to as heathen (Chris­tian Science Monitor, December 7).


Social scientists from University of Southern California, the University of Virginia and New York University investigated the moral stereotypes that political liberals and conservatives have of each other. Not surprisingly, they discovered that liberals and conservatives tend to exaggerate the tendencies of their polar opposites. Each extreme tends to exaggerate their own moral commitments. Surprisingly, their study showed that liberals are less accurate in describing both themselves and their conservative opposites than conservatives are. Liberals, for example, tended to underemphasize conservatives’ commitment to the protection and fair treatment of individuals (PLOS One, December).