Signs and Wonders
People wait in line outside the Supreme Court over the weekend in anticipation of this week's cases.
Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin
People wait in line outside the Supreme Court over the weekend in anticipation of this week's cases.

Signs and Wonders: Marriage, Madness, and finding romance among the Amish

Newsworthy

DOMA and SCOTUS. All eyes are on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) as California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex “marriage” and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) come before it on Tuesday and Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, “The justices might come out with rulings that are simple, clear, and dramatic. Or they might opt for something narrow and legalistic.” Or, of course, since the job of the courts is to interpret the law and not make the law, it could argue that what the lawmakers have in mind is pretty clear, and they could simply let these two laws stand. In any case, it will likely be July before we get a decision.

March Madness. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament always provides some great stories. With 68 teams competing over a three-week period, stories of perseverance, personal triumph and tragedy, and underdogs prevailing are inevitable and have become a big part of this annual national obsession. The big story is Florida Gulf Coast University, the first 15th seeded team in NCAA history to make it to the Sweet 16. But I think the more interesting story is that of Duke’s Seth Curry. Curry, son of former NBA great Dell Curry and younger brother of current NBA star Stephen Curry, was—like his brother—a late bloomer. Both Curry boys went to Charlotte (N.C.) Christian School, an authentically Christian and academically rigorous school. Seth went to Liberty University before transferring to Duke. According to NCAA rules, he had to sit out a season, so while lots of talented basketball players are trying to get to the NBA as soon as possible, Seth actually put on the brakes. He’ll have another year of eligibility at Duke even though he’s already 22 and by some measures ready for the NBA. Curry’s maturity and leadership shows: His 17 points last night helped lead Duke to a 66-50 win over Creighton. Duke will play Michigan State in Indianapolis Friday.

Amish amore. One of the hottest book genres these days is something that might best be called the “Amish romance novel.” According to Valerie Weaver-Zercher, writing recently in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “In 2012, a new Amish romance novel appeared on the market about every four days. Sixty more were published in 2012 than in 2009, and 83 more than in 2002. The top three Amish-fiction authors—Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Cindy Woodsmall—have sold a combined total of more than 24 million books.” Evangelical Christians, not Amish writers, are generally the authors. According to Weaver-Zercher, “A typical Amish heroine traveling two vectors as her story unfolds: one from the works-based religion of her people to a more warm-hearted and evangelical spirituality, and another from loneliness to love.” I have attempted to read a few of these books and have found them to be, well, terrible. But I was raised on Walker Percy, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor. So what do I know?

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Changes ahead. FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell will step down from the commission in the weeks ahead. I’ll be the first to admit that the work of the Federal Communications Commission is a little “inside baseball” and has a tendency to make the eyes glaze over, but McDowell’s resignation is significant. He has been on the FCC for seven years and has fought for conservatives on a number of issues, including the repeal of the mis-named “Fairness Doctrine,” which—if enforced—could have required even non-profit Christian stations put dissenting views on the air. But even setting aside these ideological concerns, the work of the FCC has become massively important in recent years. It is the main regulatory body with oversight of phone, cable, and wireless providers. McDowell’s resignation, and its timing, comes during the same week as the resignation of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, so look for big changes at the FCC in the months ahead.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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