A list of Top 10 lists – “it was the election, stupid”

January 8, 2009

“Top 10 Stories” lists are a perennial feature,  especially in the United States (which explains a lot of the picks below). Now that they’re all out there, I took a quick look at the “Top 10 Religion Stories 2008″ lists to see if any pattern emerged. Of course one did: “It was the election, stupid.” Even a website dedicated to pagan news found a “pagans and politics” angle to top its list.

The Religion Newswriters Association, which polls member religion reporters, has been drawing up such lists for about 30 years. Election-related stories swept the top three slots last year. They did the same in 2004 as well, but the election shared the top spot back then with Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ movie. The election-dominated lists show some divergences, but the most interesting compilations were the more specialised ones down in the second list below.

Here’s a quick list of the Top 10 lists, first those dominated by the U.S. election and then others I actually found more interesting:

Christianity Today’s Top 10 News Stories – Democrats woo evangelical voters
TIME Magazine’s Top 10 Religion Stories – Economy trumps religion in U.S. election
Baptist Press Top 10 list – Obama elected president
Crosswalk’s Top 10 Christian News Stories – Rick Warren’s Civic Forum
Church & State Magazine’s Top 10 list – the role of religion in the U.S. campaign
Michael Paulson 10 reflections on 2008 – U.S. election dominates the year
Top 10 Pagan Stories of 2008 (1-5, 6-10) – rise in news about pagans and politics
Christianity Today’s Top 10 Theology Stories – Publishers make 2008 the “Year of the Study Bible”
The top 10 good news stories of 2008 from altmuslim – Obama wins, Islamophobia loses
Progressive Revival blog on 10 Worst Religion Stories – faiths fail to stop world hunger
Google hasn’t been very helpful finding Top 10 lists from outside the U.S. Do you have any from other countries with a different take on what the most important stories were?

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Thanks for linking to my top ten Pagan stories of 2008, I just wanted to note that the link for 6-10 is incorrect (it’s just the link for 1-5 repeated). The proper link is:

http://wildhunt.org/blog/2008/12/top-ten -pagan-stories-of-2008-part-one.html

– Jason

Posted by Jason Pitzl-Waters | Report as abusive


1. Christian Persecution: India, Pakistan,
2. The Vatican & Dialogue
3. Burma’s Disaster, Buddhist Monks Respond
4. Religious Accommodation: Making room for other faiths
5. Humans Rights Challenges
6. Anglican Troubles
7. US Election & Religion: Obama’s Religion, Mitt’s Religion, Palin’s Religion, Huckabee’s religion
8. China, Olympics, Faith
9. Polygamous Sects
10. Islam Under Scrutiny: Aqsa Parvez, Somalia, fringe Imams

Others, Noteworthy
1. Religion’s absence from the Canadian federal election
2. UN Finally Stumbles into Interfaith Dialogue
3. The Return of the Taliban

Posted by Richard Landau | Report as abusive