A blessed Easter to all and sundry–let today remind us that there’s more to life than death. Here are a few high and low points where faith and politics intersect around the blogosphere:

1. The New York Times Magazine has a long, surprisingly sympathetic article on Pope Benedict XVI. While they try to make him out to be more progressive than his predecessor–they would say he was “growing in office”, if he were a Supreme Court Justice–what I’ve gotten through so far lays out quite honestly one of the great themes of his papacy: warning of the menace of secularism, and of a fundamentalism of dry, empty reason.

Benedict is one of the most intellectual men ever to serve as pope — and surely one of the most intellectual of current world leaders — and he has pinpointed the problem of the age, as well as its solution, at the level of philosophy. His argument… reduces to something like this: Secularism may be one of the great developments in history, but the secularism that holds sway in much of the West — that is, in Western Europe — is flawed; it has a bug in its programming. The mistaken conviction that reason and faith are two distinct realms has weakened Europe and has brought it to the verge of catastrophic collapse. As he said in a speech in 2004: “There exist pathologies in religion that are extremely dangerous and that make it necessary to see the divine light of reason as a ‘controlling organ.’ . . . However . . . there are also pathologies of reason . . . there is a hubris of reason that is no less dangerous.”

2. But don’t think they Gray Lady is taking religion seriously. It’s still mainly a political prop, as shown by this Robert Wright column titled “An Easter Sermon”, which manages to be both blasphemous…

Of course, Mr. Bush is more in the shoes of the Roman emperor than of Paul. America isn’t a small but growing religious movement. It’s a great power threatened by a small but growing religious movement — radical Islam.

…and trivial…

The ultimate in viral marketing was Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice.

…in the course of telling George Bush to love our enemies and make it hard for them to hate us, but that doesn’t mean sending Osama a Hallmark card, but Abu Ghraib was bad. Nothing about the possible complicity of the New York Times and similar mainstream in gleefully sowing doubt, hatred, and contempt for America all across the globe.

This is the kind of thing you’re missing every day if you don’t pay for Times Select, you poor sucker.

3. Meanwhile Michael at Innocent Bystanders takes Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams to task over his recent remarks that Easter is about political reconciliation–missing the personal sin-and-forgiveness thing.

And also over his crazy Vulcan eyebrows.

Is Michael too hard on the guy? Not about the eyebrows, that’s fer dang sure.

4. Enough Christianity: Here’s a fun new New Agey faith where you have to be thankful for everything that happens in your life, even the really crappy stuff. It’s like if Alexander Pope founded his own happy-time cult. And made himself Pope. Pope Pope. Get it?

What? Yes, Allahpundit will be back later today, why?

Anyway, if that one doesn’t fill your spirit with joy, there’s another charlatan’s web you can buzz right into. It’s approved by Oprah, and it’s just called…The Secret. The secret being, of course, that it’s all just a slimy fraud, and Oprah’s helping to sell it.

5. Or how about the creepiest New Age creed of them all–radical environmentalism? Knut the Adorable Panda must die for your sins!

If you only click one link out of these, check that last one. Doug Kern is the best conservative columnist you’ve never heard of, and the dude is relentlessly funny. In a just world he’d be the one in the New York Times, but until then, here’s a link to his TCS archive. Happy hunting.

AS for me, I’m hippity-hopping back over to Junkyard Blog. Thanks for reading.