Are There Any Big-Name Christians You Would Mourn? December 17, 2009

Are There Any Big-Name Christians You Would Mourn?

Oral Roberts died a couple days ago. Atheists had quiet a bit to say about him.

The criticism is deserving — Roberts was a fraud and a liar. For evidence, look no further than a 1987 article from Christianity Today:

This time, according to Roberts, God is taking the initiative. Roberts has stated in a fund-raising appeal letter and on television that unless he raises a total of $8 million above regular ministry expenses by next month, he will die.

“I desperately need you to come into agreement with me concerning my life being extended beyond March,” states a fund-raising letter signed by Roberts.

Hanna Rosin at Slate explains Roberts’ place in Christian history:

It was Oral Roberts who perfected the screaming and begging for money onstage and paved the way for the televangelist hustlers of the ’90s: Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Benny Hinn.

Not everyone deserves respect when they die, and when someone lived to make himself (and his ministry) rich off of gullible religious people, I don’t have much sympathy.

You could say the same thing about Jerry Falwell. I don’t recall atheists saying anything kind about him when he died, and I understand why.

Long after Mother Teresa died, Christopher Hitchens still called her “a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.”

I would think when Rick Warren dies, the focus from atheists will be on his bigoted stance against equal rights for gay people.

When Joel Osteen — probably the least “offensive” of the megachurch pastors — dies, we’ll talk about his promotion of the baseless and deceitful prosperity gospel.

When Ted Haggard dies… well, you know.

So I wonder:

Is there any “full-time” Christian whose death wouldn’t evoke negative commentary from atheists?

Is there any Christian whose death would actually make you sad?

I’m not talking about a great scientist, say, who also happened to be a Christian. I’m talking about people who were best known for their faith.

I’m sure there must be some — but I feel like many atheists, especially online, feel the need to criticize every person who dies who was closely associated with their religion.

Does their strong faith disqualify them from getting respect from atheists?

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  • Mike

    Bishop Desmond Tutu. That is a holy man of class and grace, who truly appears to love all and treat all with respect. I can’t think of a single American religious leader (or of any other nationality for that matter) who can hold a candle to Bishop Tutu.

  • Jen

    No one living today crosses my mind at the moment, but I think that most atheists might agree that the death of Martin Luther King, Jr was tragic. His preaching did a lot more good than it did harm. I’d be curious to hear the thoughts of anyone critical of him.

  • Leviathan

    Fred Phelps!


  • Mr. Rogers already died, although one could argue that he wasn’t best known for his faith. He was an ordained minister, though.

  • Epistaxis


    Can’t think of any after that.

  • sven

    I´d miss professor Kenneth R. Miller.

  • Ben

    Jesse Jackson deserves some respect.

  • Shannon

    I was thinking Mr. Rogers too, but wasn’t sure if he fit the description. He is well known for having been a christian but that wasn’t his job.

    But also I do like Bishop Spong.

  • Sara

    I’m sure there must be some christians one would mourn the loss of. I don’t think it would be a disqualifying thing for me. It seems, though, that most “famous” christians are the kind that are either bigoted or are swindling desperate people out of their money.

    I don’t think I’d mourn Jesse Jackson, his behaviour last year was just weird, but that has nothing to do with christianity. I probably also wouldn’t bother saying negative things about him if he died. Does that count? lol

  • Jessica

    Jimmy Carter

  • Jim Wallis.

    Yeah, these days I disagree with him about stuff, particularly his blather about “people of faith” as if they had some special moral insight to offer. But I read his magazine back in the 80s and 90s, when Sojourners was one of the few voices offering an alternative vision of Christianity — ie. one that actually bore some resemblance to Jesus’ teachings — to the increasingly strident ascendency of the Christian Right. They were also (or so I heard) the only national publication — secular or religious — to come out and state bluntly that then-President Reagan was lying about what was going on in Central America. Which they did, right on the cover, in large print. Truth to power, and all that.

  • Theresa

    Rev. Mel White, of Soulforce: nonviolent, high-profile resistance to homophobia in the Christian community.

  • Dan

    I’d go with Tony Campolo. Not sure how famous he is, but he’s done a lot towards fighting the politicization of religion from within with books like “Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat?”. He’s taken a lot of heat from his fellow believers for his views on politics, social action, and homosexual rights – which is of course a good sign.

  • Aliandre

    I think Jimmy Carter would be a huge loss, and all of the actions he’s taken since his presidency have been at least partly motivated by his faith. I have nothing but respect for him.

    Not a religious leader per se, but still a person led by faith to do great things.

  • Father Peter Davis

  • Does their strong faith disqualify them from getting respect from atheists?

    It certainly isn’t that that makes me lose respect in these characters; it’s usually what a bunch of vile excuses for human beings they are. The ones that spew hate, who wallow in hypocracy, who swindle the clueless. They lose my respect for being awful people, not because of their faith.

  • Jason

    Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson’s death would sadden me. He is a good man who preaches love and tolerance of all. He and the Episcopalian Church are really starting to assist with equal rights for LGBT people. Whether atheists like it or not, we currently need at least some religious allies politically. If all Christianity was like Anglicanism/Episcopalianism then I would be far less adamant against Christianity. I would consider it a silly belief but not an especially harmful one.

  • ImmortalityLTD

    Father Guido Sarducci

  • Martin

    Anyone dying is sad, especially when they have not been able to change their life around and redeem themselves humanly for the intolerance and greed they might have exhibited.

  • medussa

    Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. His church does a lot of work for the homeless and the hungry, advocacy work, domestic violence shelters, etc. And when a Texas mega church came to SF to condemn the queers, and offered Cecil and his church $500K to help them, he turned them down and said he wouldn’t take money from bigots, that that is not what his church is about.
    When he dies, I’ll be very, very sad, and I will be honoring him.

  • dglas

    The question is off target. It is a profound mistake to focus on the person instead of the content of their dogma. The question asked here paints atheists as doing the “there is no evidence that could make me change my mind” error of the deliberately credulous.

    Religion is not something that is being corrupted by the hucksters and monsters; it is corrupt in itself, and specifically designed to be corruptible at will. Anyone who takes part in it is part of that corruption.

    It is not just that there is no god.

    It is not just that there is corruption in the religious ranks.
    It is that religion itself is anti-human. The primacy of god, and the prescription of human metaphysical failure see to that.

    If it weren’t for the death in his wake, I might mourn the Mitred Rottweiler himself, since he is doing so very much to distance people from the church – by promoting the worst parts of the religion. Almost every time he opens his mouth, it is a windfall for those choosing humanity rather than god.

  • Hmm…honestly, no names come to mind immediately. Then again…I tend to ignore those that use their strong faith as an influential factor.

  • suomynona

    Father Bob Maguire of South Melbourne, Australia would be mourned probably more by atheists than the Catholics and hardcore religious.

    He has constantly been at odds with the local archbishop (who tried to force his retirement) and cares little for the orders that come out of the Vatican. He doesn’t talk the talk, he is out on the streets helping those less fortunate and in need (even selling church property for more money to do so), holds multi-religious and ethnic events in his church and describes himself as a pinko leftist.

    Weekly he is rambling incoherently on the brilliant radio show and podcasts with Jewish comedian John Safran (which covers religion, politics and all things ethnic), appears on TV, has a blog and twitters.

    He reminds me that for all the fundamentalist nutbags seen on this blog and Pharyngula, not all preach hellfire, damnation, ignorance and bigotry. Some put in the hard work dedicating their lives to making things better for those with little.

    His faith doesn’t disqualify him from getting respect from atheists as it doesn’t make him say and do things that earn disrespect. The opposite is true. What is sad is that his liberal views and actions doing what Jesus would do has put him out of line with the Catholic church on more than one occasion.

    So yeah, his death would make me sad.

  • Jenea

    Professor Peter Gomes of Harvard University, who came out at a rally after one of the campus conservative rags put out an deeply anti-gay issue of their magazine.

    Also Shelby Spong.

  • Richard Wade

    We are what we do, not what we think or believe. If people who are well known for their religious beliefs do respectable things in their lives, then I respect them for those actions.

    Nothing lasts beyond our death other than the effects that our actions have had on others. Our thoughts, feelings, memories and beliefs, all that nonsense that we become so attached to, become nothing more than a tiny amount of heat spreading out into the universe as entropy.

    Build your life as a series of respectable actions.

  • Well, as I see it, the problem is that most of these people that are famous for their Christian faith are famous because they are controversial.

    Perhaps it is telling that I can’t think of any public Christian that I would mourn. But I will say, it is possible. If they were actually loving, selfless, didn’t condemn people via dogma and showed a real “love thy enemy” sort of empathy, I would be sad to see them go. I am sure there are plenty of Christians out there like this, but as far as public/famous people go, I can think of none.

  • Hmm, and as someone above mentions, Jimmy Carter is an interesting example.

  • Rob
  • Derek

    I think that the Christian leaders who get the most discussion on atheist blogs are the ones who use there faith as an excuse for the deception and evil that they perpetrate.

    This is also what makes them so famous. Fear, division, and exclusivity sell. So we stand against both their values and their ability to influence others to act with an incredible disregard for humanity.

    I, as well as most of my atheist friends, have much less of a problem with a kind caring person of faith who does good in this world. Whether they credit Jesus, Mo, or the FSM for their good works is unimportant to me. But these kinds of leaders are far less well known and have far less clout than the divisive ones. That is why many commenters have not been able to think of one, and even the ones mentioned are not half as recognizable as their disgraceful counterparts.

  • withheld

    Fred Clark, The Slacktivist. Not exactly well known, but proof that you can be a Christian and a good person at the same time 🙂

  • I’d have to agree with one of the first posts…Desmond Tutu… he’s generous, inclusive, kind, polite and a superb example of how christianity (if you really must follow it) should act.

  • Robbo

    The story of Fr. Capodanno, recipient of the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, still touches me. I am a Marine and I appreciate the military chaplains (at least the good ones) who serve those in uniform, even atheists like me.
    Fr. Capodanno went on patrol, unarmed, with the Marines in his unit, and eventually placed his body in front of a wounded Marine to protect him from machinegun fire.

  • I’ll second (or third, or whatever) Desmond Tutu. He’s been a tireless reformer working for equality for everyone regardless of race, class, gender or sexual orientation. He truly would be a loss to the world.

  • Jim Henderson seems like a reasonable chap.

    Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. For the lols.

    When somebody dies it is a sad event and I do think we should take the time to appreciate the gap that is left behind by their absence. There isn’t going to be another person quite like them ever again.

    So when Fred Phelps is dead and I’m doing a dance of joy I’ll keep a mindful thought on how useless Shirley is in comparison as a target of all the worst aspects of Christianity. I mean she’s just sad and deluded but Fred…Fred is an evil bastard.

  • numsix

    The pope; the loss of such an easy source of comedic material will be missed. As the Comedian he tried to have silenced said: “If there is a Hell he will be in it, with gays, and not the friendly ones…”*

    If Oral taught me one thing, it is that god is an extortionist.

    BTW, if what is said is true, is it speaking ill of the dead? After all the truth is not bad.

    *poorly translated from Italian

  • Trace

    Surak? … Oh, never mind.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Um, Mike Clawson.

    Jeez, Hemant, way to dis your co-blogger. 🙂

  • Luther

    I would morn each one.

    They have lost their only chance to actually live. While they are alive, there is still hope that they will actually live.

    But I would not morn very much. As Wally on Dilbert said when they thought the boss died in a plane crash “I have mixed emotions – take the afternoon off or stay here and celebrate with everyone else” (approx quotation)

  • I can’t think of any, but then again, I’ve never understood the point of mourning someone I’ve never met.

  • Revyloution

    I’m not talking about a great scientist, say, who also happened to be a Christian. I’m talking about people who were best known for their faith.

    That line makes it damn near impossible. The religious that I respect are all known for their worldly actions, not their theology. Desmund Tutu is obviously a Bishop, but he never declared to have the ear of God. He is best known for his works. Same thing for Dr. King, he is known for his work on civil rights, not his preaching. When someone makes their church the sole focus of their work on Earth, they earn the contempt of most secularists, as well as the contempt of everyone in all the other religions too.

  • I agree with suomynona, I’d definitely mourn father Bob, he’s an amazing man who does great work. Plus he has a great sense of humour and just seems lovely all round.

  • Ashley Moltzan

    Colbert is a devout Catholic and I will cry when he dies. I love his character on his show.

  • Billy Graham. Despite everything else, he seems like a moderate individual who is more concerned with saving souls than politics or his own pocketbook.

    George Coyne and his successor Jose Gabriel Funes. Coyne was the head of the Vatican Observatory and Funes is the current head.
    Both are very religious priests who have done excellent work in astronomy. Coyne is an especially impressive individual. I think it is fair to say that neither is a “great scientist, who also happened to be a Christian” but people whose religion is intimately interwoven with their desire to do science and approach to science as a whole. And yet, they both have done excellent work.

    I have to say that for the many people listing Tutu and Carter, while I understand where they are coming from, I’m a bit ambivalent. Both have talked quite a bit about issues they really don’t understand. But yes, overall they seem like good people and the world would probably be worse off without them.

  • TheVaultDweller

    Personally, I feel bad for all of them. They live and die believing in an unfulfillable fantasy. Instead of living life to the fullest and without needless, self-induced burderns, they live cloistered from reality. Sure, they may think they’ll go to Heaven and enjoy a new “eternal life” with all the other good Christians, God, Jesus, and their pets, but just because they believe in it, doesn’t make it real. Living and dying for a false purpose and with ridiculous dreams is a much too lamentable existance.

    The only hardcore evangelists I’ll ever truly miss though will be my parents and grandparents. Althoguh we hold diametrically opposed ideas, I still love them and will miss them when they die.

  • llewelly

    Are There Any Big-Name Christians You Would Mourn?

    Desmond Tutu.

    Not everyone deserves respect when they die, and when someone lived to make himself (and his ministry) rich off of gullible religious people, I don’t have much sympathy.

    It’s not about what Oral Roberts deserves. It’s about what the many people who sent him money deserve. They were being robbed; Oral Roberts was no different from a thug who broke into their homes on a regular basis. Those people – and everyone else – deserved to be rid of parasites like Oral Roberts decades ago.

  • Ditto Jimmy Carter. He lives his faith, not pushes it. Challenges the leaders of his denomination when he feels they aren’t living up to what he sees as ‘christ-like’. And he has never even given a hint of hatred for other denominations, religions, non-religious, etc. The world will be much poorer when he dies.

  • Tim Carroll

    First off, there is one “christian” upon whose death I plan to throw a party – Fred Phelps. In fact, I’d like to go picket his funeral.
    There are several christians whode death I would mourn, most of whom have been named in previous responses – Spong, Carter, Tutu among them. It seems striking to me that some, if not most, of these are persons for whom the religious right will probably have little kind to say.
    And of course, there are many people whose deaths I would mourn who are christians, but who are not thought of (by me at least) primarily as christians. These are various friends, family, musicians, actors, etc. They will be remembered for their various characteristics, traits and deeds, but not necessarily because they were christians.

  • mkb

    Desmond Tutu, Shelby Spong, Peter Gomes, Barry Lynn

  • Erp

    I suspect one big difference is whether they act as though they ‘love God’ or ‘love their neighbor (and enemy)’ more. Those who follow the latter path and feed the hungry, console the grieving, visit those in prison, clothe the naked, house the homeless, aid the disadvantaged, reconcile enemies are those who will be missed.

    Personally I would put Desmond Tutu on the top of the list

  • guest pest

    Rev. Barry Lynn.

    And I agree with Revyloution. Ones mentioned all are best known for their works.

  • Tammy Faye Baker.

    Like you didn’t mist up a bit when you heard she passed.

    The Mascara industry hasn’t been the same with out her.

  • billybobbibb

    I’ll be sad when John Shelby Spong passes away. It was by reading his writings that I started to shed my fundamentalist views, and if it were not for him, I would not be the happy atheist I am today.

  • Roger Scott

    Jimmy Carter.
    Quiet a bit?
    Or quite a bit?

  • Mountain Humanist

    Christian Bale? Nah..too angry

    Christian Slater? Nah…just cuz

    Sister Christian? That song WILL NEVER DIE!

    Hayden Christiansen? “Padme..your skin is soo soft Not like the sand!” Nahh.

  • Tammy Faye- Jesse J and the wonderful Cecil Williams of my hometown San Fran.
    Tammy Faye for the fashion of course.
    Jesse J for his passion.
    Cecil for his goodness.

  • Robin

    I actually did sort of mist up when I heard Tammy Faye Bakker dropped dead. I saw a terrific documentary about her, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE. Watch it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll actually like the woman.

    She was deluded, but she was very nice.

  • Spurs Fan

    I’ll agree with most of the above-mentioned, but wanted to say that I would specifically be on board with Jim Wallis.

  • wintremute

    Desmond Tutu.

    “There are certain parts [of the bible] which you have to say no to. The Bible accepted slavery. St Paul said women should not speak in church at all and there are people who have used that to say women should not be ordained. There are many things that you shouldn’t accept.”

  • Parse

    Strong faith does not disqualify people from receiving respect from me. To me, faith lies orthogonal to the respect axis – it matters not if they have strong faith or weak, but instead it is what they do that determines my respect.
    I respect (among many others) Barry Lynn, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu, not for their faith, but for what they have done – and inspired others to do. I do not respect Oral Roberts or Jerry Falwell, not for because of their faith, but because of what they have done and how they earned their income.

  • Steve

    I’ll agree w/ above; John Shelby Spong.

  • We Are The 801

    Desmond Tutu.

    Looking back:
    Thomas Merton
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    Parse, I think you hit it on the head.

  • Oh, a whole bunch of them.

    Probably one I’d mourn the most is Tim Costello (not known in the US perhaps, but very well known in Australia).

    Pharyngula has quoted him as saying stuff I disagree with strongly, but the man has worked tirelessly to improve the lot of people who are suffering. If there were more like him, I think the world would be a better place.

  • Paris Hilton. She found god in her short stay in jail.


  • muggle

    Rev. Barry Lynn and Stephen Colbert. I like that Desmond Tutu quote above. He’d give me pause too but I fear I know too little about him. Maybe it’s time to find out more.

    And, your question is loaded. Asking if we’ll mourn any televangelist types is rather like asking if we’d mourn pedophiles and serial killers. Okay, maybe one notch below those two but still scumbag scam artists.

  • David

    Tony Campolo

    Jim Wallis

  • A few: Bishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Barry Lynn, Reverend Cecil Williams, Reverend Irene Monroe. There may be others I can’t remember at the moment but those are definitely on my list.

  • My grandmother is a big name in my life.

  • Ben said:

    Jessie Jackson

    Yikes!! Ya gotta be kidding. A race baiting , anti-semetic, adulterous, shameless publicity hound who had questionable financial issues with his rainbow coalition, and who called Obama a racist name?? You may as well add Al Sharpton and the good Rev Wright.

    On my list of theists I’d mourn are Rev. Barry Lynn (Exec dir. of Americans United for Sep. of Church and State), and James Carroll (author Constantine’s Sword).

  • Yeah, I’m with the others who’ve mentioned Bishop Spong and Tony Campolo.

  • Twin-Skies

    Not really a big name, but…

    Fr. Raphael Cortina, SJ

    He was the Jesuit priest who was my Senior High School guidance counselor. Despite his age (80 +) and the fact he was a priest, I found it very easy to talk to him, and he always had very practical insight (outside religion to boot) into living as a teen.

    Especially valuable for me since I was always being picked on back then. More than a priest, he was a wise and trusted confidant, and a friend.

    He died a couple of years ago, and we still miss him.

  • Father Lionel Fanthorpe. He used to host Fortean TV and is a pretty interesting guy who happens to be a part-time Anglican priest. But again, he’s not known for his religion but for his other contributions. (Fortean TV is on Youtube)

  • absent sway

    Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, and Brian McLaren.

  • If I respect the person, I will respect their passing.

  • James

    I respect several Christian leaders and writers. First that come to mind are Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, Desmond Tutu, and Gene Robinson.

  • Neon Genesis

    Christians I’d miss include John Shelby Spong, Carlton Pearson, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and Karen Armstrong.

  • I’d go along with some of the aforementioned, esp. John Shelby Spong, J.D. Crossan, and Desmond Tutu. But I’d also like to throw in Burton L. Mack.

  • People already beat me to it: President Carter, Desmond Tutu, Bishop Spong, Bishop Harries (from the Dawkins Root of All Evil), yes, Francis Collins (known for his faith, yes, a scientist), Cornell West.

  • Anonymouse

    Big-name Christian I would mourn…
    Hmmm, probably no one.

    Twin-Skies, xs?

  • Twin-Skies



    Gene Robinson and Soulforce…

    Methinks several of the commenters saw

    For the Bible Tells me so

  • Kourou


  • billybee

    Ned Flanders
    gotta admit it; ned is a pretty good guy.

  • AxeGrrl

    Jason wrote:

    Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson’s death would sadden me. He is a good man who preaches love and tolerance of all.

    I wholeheartedly agree Jason. Gene Robinson is one of the best examples of a truly loving, compassionate and inclusive religious person.

  • The Other Tom

    I too mourned for Tammy Faye Bakker, also because of what I learned from “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”. Whatever her flaws, she was a loving woman, and tried to improve the world.

    I actually mourn for Ted Haggard already. Here is my fellow human, a man who I recognize is probably gay, who has (if you’ll pardon the expression) sold his soul to the right wing so badly that his only hope to make a living is to spend the rest of his life in self flagellation. He must be miserable. He has probably always been miserable. He’ll probably always be miserable. The poor thing.

    A surprising number of my friends are clergy. While I don’t agree with their beliefs, I recognize that they are principled, caring people who have aligned their faith to their moral principles rather than (as happens so often) the other way around. Two of my friends were the first ministers to march, in uniform, in the gay pride parade here. People came up to them in tears, telling them they never thought they’d live to see a minister openly supporting our equality. My friends were floored: it had never occurred to them NOT to support gay equality. They’re genuinely and positively principled people and the world will be a lesser place when they are gone.

  • AxeGrrl

    Robin wrote:

    I actually did sort of mist up when I heard Tammy Faye Bakker dropped dead. I saw a terrific documentary about her, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE. Watch it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll actually like the woman.

    She was deluded, but she was very nice.

    Robin, I was genuinely a little teary-eyed when she passed away as well. Another example of a truly non-judgemental Christian. Tammy Faye Bakker reached out to AIDs patients way back when the disease was first showing itself…..without concern about being critized by other Christians for it.

    I’ve always loved this quote of hers:

    “I refuse to label people,” she said when asked about her attitudes toward gay rights. “We’re all just people made out of the same old dirt, and God didn’t make any junk.”

    And for anyone who hasn’t seen ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’, do check it out.

    I also loved her and Ron Jeremy together on ‘The Surreal Life’ 🙂

  • Randy

    One of my favorite Christians who already has passed on is the late, great, Johnny Cash.

  • Rob

    Does my mom count? She’s quite a devoted Catholic and I’d be devastated if she died.

  • Heathen_Saint

    A Christian I’d miss most would probably be William Lane Craig. You gotta love that guy for his devotion and commitment to his faith. Especially for his intellectual prowess.

    Christians I’d miss least of all would probably be Alvin Plantinga, Dinesh D’Souza, Josh McDowell, JP Holding, Kent Hovind, Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Kenneth Ham and any Mormon profit.

  • Captain Werewolf

    I attended a Jesuit high school and am currently attending a law school attached to a Jesuit university. Through those institutions, I have known many, many priests and nuns for whom faith is the biggest part of their life and whom I would truly mourn in the event of their passing. Almost every single one of them has been thoughtful, understanding, insightful, progressive, and charitable. None of them are famous, but they’re certainly “full-time” Christians.

    Also, I second Johnny Cash.

  • Eupraxsophy

    Anyone who believes in humility and puts the concerns of others before their own are people who I shall miss. The power of the example that they show shall be their legacy. An example for others to follow.

    I’m am not pleased about the passing of Oral Roberts. It was a life that was waisted on his own self intrests. To save the life of another is to give oneself life.
    It is a pityful life that Oral Roberts had lived. The legacy that he has left behind will always be tainted with deception and corruption.

    Humility gives one the wisdom to see the ugliness and beauty that resides in truth.

  • Mike Johnson

    Father Guido Sarducci

  • John Shelby Spong, certaintly. Maybe Marcus Borg. Dan Berrigan (social activist during the ’60s) might be also be a contender, but that’s mostly based on second-hand information, unlike Spong and Borg whose stuff I’ve read or talks I’ve watched.

  • JJR

    Rev. Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

  • I’ll second (or third, fourth, etc) Tony Campolo. To borrow a line from Maher, he is “Christ-like and not just Christian.”

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