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"Secular"

The word "secular" has become fashionable. To me it sounds slightly euphemistic. To say that Howard Dean, for example, is a "secular" person is a way that a polite person can avoid saying he's a heathen destined for the eternal agonies of The Pit. But it also sounds slightly pathological, like "tubercular." Pope Benedict XVI (can we call him Ben16?) is not secular but he is, as noted in yesterday's post, a bit avuncular in appearance, if not in his enforcement of doctrine. President Bush is not very secular, but as he gets older he'll become more avuncular, in particular when he talks about going nucular while riding to the top of a mountain on a funicular.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 20, 2005; 11:14 AM ET
 
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