Erresy at Newsweek — Take the Quiz!!!!

Take a look at this error-plagued Newsweek piece and see if you can spot the most embarrassing errors. Then take the quiz.
[Answers below]

1. “The annual convention of the Episcopal Church ended last month in Anaheim, Calif….” Actually, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held
a.) Twice a year
b.) Every other year
c.) Every three years
d.) Once every decade
e.) Whenever a Pope dies

2. “After years of dominance, Episcopalians have become a minority religion in America.” Actually, the Episcopal Church became a minority religion in
a.) 1492
b.) 1776
c.) 1865
d.) 1969 (Woodstock!)
e.) The Episcopal Church has always been, numerically, a minority religion.

3. “There are just 2.4 million Episcopalians in the United States…” According to the church’s own statistical reports, the number of Episcopalians in the United States is
a.) 24 million
b.) 4.2 million
c.) 2,116,749
d.) 12.4 million
e.) the focus of ongoing litigation

4.) “FDR and Ronald Reagan were Episcopalian…” Actually, Ronald Wilson Reagan
a.) attended the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Illinois
b.) was a longtime member of Bel Air Presbyterian Church in California
c.) both a and b
d.) neither a nor b
e.) used to tell crowds: “I’m not a member of any organized religion — I’m a Baptist”

5.) “…As are Gerald Ford and George Herbert Walker Bush.” Technically,
a.) George Herbert Walker Bush is a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church
b.) George H.W. Bush attended, but never joined, Rancho de Pecos Episcopal Church in Sugarland, Texas
c.) On his Presidential Library Web site, Bush lists his religious affiliation simply as Christian
d.) Bush was baptized in the Protestant Episcopal Church (South) before the reunification of the Northern and Southern branches in 1936
e.) (And regrettably) President Gerald Ford is dead

[Correct answers: 1c, 2e, 3c, 4c, 5e]

Updated: August 19, 2009 — 2:50 pm

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  1. I got all the answers right, by the way, mainly because I’m an Episcogeek by birth and experience. Most of the errors I forgive, given that the writer was obviously not an Episcopalian. Everyone ought to know, though, that Reagan wasn’t an Episcopalian. Well, and that Gerald Ford (indeed unfortunately) is dead.

  2. Frank, great blog entry.

    Another error:

    She writes:
    There are just 2.4 million Episcopalians in the United States, down from 3.5 million in 2001

    As you noted the 2.4 million figure is wrong, but so is the 3.5 million figure. Way way way wrong. The 2001 domestic membership was 2,328,235

  3. A “boozy family brawl at a genteel country club?” Another error by the esteemed author. Thanks, by the way, for pointing this piece out.

    No boozy brawl at all. Starting in about 1965, the club president began to drink, then embezzle, and then was arrested for walking down the main street wearing only Saran Wrap. The whole matter was hushed up. Now, he’s been coming up to club members and pouring red paint on them for wearing fur, and calling them “slaveowners.”

    So the club membership–mainly sensible, responsible, decent people–have tried to get him fired. Failing that, a chunk of the membership has left and formed its own club. It’s small, and the digs aren’t as fancy, but it feels better somehow.

    Now the original club has changed its name from the Upper Westchester Country Club to Ubuntu Imani You-mamma aja-malaja-balooga Del Monte Peaches Temple of the People of God, Inc. It still charges white people membership fees, but allows anyone “closer to God’s preferential option” free membership, free food, and first crack at parking spaces. Reparations, dontcha know.

    No caffeine allowed; no refined sugar; no meat; only fair-trade decaffeinated cruelty-free organic free-range ganja, harvested by illegals.

    Membership has declined thirty-one percent, and GOOD RIDDANCE TO THOSE SLAVEOWNERS!

    Boozy brawl? You do injustice to alcholic WASPs.

  4. And, Niall, even if it’s not inerrant in its original text, God, having endowed Newsweek with his deposit of faith, would not allow Newsweek to persist in error.

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