Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Cinch Review

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Swing Low Sweet ChariotIn many Christian churches this morning, the first reading would have been from Second Kings, chapter two, where the prophet Elijah is taken by God while his assistant and successor Elisha (who had repeatedly refused to leave him) looks on. They are walking by the river Jordan when it happens.

And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

That image of chariots of fire coming for Elijah inspired the widely-beloved spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” which is credited to Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman who is believed to have composed it sometime circa 1860. Continue reading Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

The Cinch Review

Youcef Nadarkhani: A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran

Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian and a Christian pastor, was sentenced to death after being convicted of apostasy from Islam in November of 2010. Since then, international pressure and attention has kept him alive.

Amnesty International has taken up his case. Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

It is shocking that the Iranian authorities would even consider killing a man simply for exercising his right to choose a religion other than Islam.

(Later he was overheard expressing shock on learning that slot machines had been discovered in Las Vegas.) Continue reading Youcef Nadarkhani: A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran

The Cinch Review

In memory of Whitney Houston, please party on

I’ve been trying to suppress the reflex to write anything on the death of Whitney Houston, but one’s stomach can only take so much before the need to expel becomes overwhelming.

It has become tiresome in the extreme to repeatedly witness the whole sordid pattern of a celebrity going from unbelievable levels of success to becoming drug-addled and universally mocked, and then very predictably dying of his or her bad habits and finally having his or her corpse raised up like a trophy by the same ravenous entertainment industry that had both built and consumed him or her in a new wild orgy of profit, schlock and revolting cynicism.

Hours after Whitney Houston’s pathetic and lonely death in a bathtub, Sony music mogul Clive Davis went to the stage of a pre-Grammy party, and, with her corpse in the process of rotting upstairs while surrounded by police investigators, he said this to the overpaid self-important revelers:

“She graced this stage with her regal presence so many times. Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked us to carry on.”

Continue reading In memory of Whitney Houston, please party on