Time magazine will celebrate its "Time 100" tonight in New York City, complete with the keynote from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Six athletes, four comedians, many politicians made the list, but one person stood out for many: Oprah didn't make the list. The lady who is a network all by herself isn't noteworthy enough for the list, but perhaps keeping her off says as much as including her would. Generally, Time's list is rather fleeting from year to year, noting the people who this year did something unusual or noteworthy. Last year, an actor from Glee made the list and the year before that Lady Gaga was on the cover.
Does the list measure real influence? Depends who you ask. And the profiles are a little strange, written by people who tend to have their own message to send. The profile of Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards says more about the author Sandra Fluke than it says about Richards.
Of the people Time did include, religion as a force for influence was barely included. Of course, the pieces could have mentioned Mitt Romney's Mormonism, Tim Tebow's evangelicalism or Stephen Colbert's Catholicism, but the list barely includes anyone who is mostly known for being religious. The notable except? New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who wrote on his blog:
While the only list I really think about is the scroll of heaven, I must admit appreciation at this selection, and being counted among such influential people. The only “influence” I might have comes from faith, prayer, family, friends, and the ones I serve.
Dolan, though, comes with a political twist. Here's a portion of the entry by Jon Meacham:
Yet in 2012, this priest with a mien dating back half a century did something few other American Roman Catholic leaders have managed in recent times: he put himself and his church back in the center of the national political conversation, a public square long dominated by Protestant evangelicals. In leading the opposition to a proposed Obama Administration rule that would have required Catholic organizations like hospitals to pay for contraceptive services for female employees, Dolan successfully argued that such a policy violated the nation's principles of religious liberty.
Even Dolan's profile has to have some sort of political angle for him to be included, it seems. Whether he leads an entire Catholic region in the U.S. seems irrelevant to the magazine.
A few professional athletes have noteworthy faith backgrounds. Even then, the profiles might not go too in depth on that angle. Arne Duncan's profile of Jeremy Lin doesn't touch on Lin's faith, and Lin's profile of Tebow touches briefly on religion:
He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out.
So who's missing? Perhaps the Pope? The Dalai Lama, who just won the Templeton Prize? Please weigh in.