What Is Sightings?
The cliché about polite conversation is that there are two things never to discuss: religion and politics. We at Sightings know better (at least about religion). We seek out and comment on the events, agents, and trends in public life where issues of religion are writ large, in plain view—or are simmering under the surface.
Under the sponsorship of the Martin Marty Center, Sightings reports and comments on the role of religion in current events via e-mail twice a week to a readership of over 7,000. Through the eyes, ears, and keyboards of a diverse group of writers, Sightings displays the kaleidoscope of religious activity: a reflection of how religious currents are shaping and being shaped in the world.
In today's world, the force of religion is active and increasingly obvious. In the last year, we monitored the movement of religious groups and persons as they surfaced in national and international politics, including the Bush and Obama administrations, the courtroom culture wars of “under God,” the very real war of “good and evil” in Iraq, charitable choice, religion and the Sotomayor hearings, and the question of gay marriage, to name only a few.
We also, of course, have kept tabs on the world of religion—rituals, doctrines, and holy intrigue—as it has spilled out into the public square (for better or worse) in columns on atheist bus ads, the economic crisis, communications from the Vatican regarding the classification of miracles, evangelicalism and environmentalism, kosher food regulations, and more.
True to our calling, we have sighted religion in unlikely places, including pop music (Michael Jackson), literature (from John Updike and Anne Rice), retellings of Indo-European myths in popular horror films, and religious discourse in the swine flu epidemic; and we have offered fresh interpretations of religion in obvious places, like "hyper-muscular Christianity" and the Jewish American Girl doll.
We offer Sightings on “hot” topics as they arise at the intersection of religion and politics, art, business and education. Our hope is to provide a resource for members of the media and general public who seek analysis of and opinions about religion in the news. Check back every Monday and Thursday as we add Sightings on new topics to this site.
Click here to subscribe to Sightings as a twice-weekly email, or here to subscribe to the Sightings RSS feed. You can also follow us on Twitter. Author guidelines can be found here. Contact the editor, Myriam Renaud, at DivSightings@gmail.com.