A memorable phrase from church history has come to mind since the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire. The fourth century biblical scholar Jerome once wrote of his church's recent history: "The whole world groaned and was astonished to find itself Arian."
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November 13, 2003
November 9, 2003
Sightings sometimes sights the sighters, people who write on religion in newspapers, magazines, and the like as members of the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA). To cite them may seem like shop-talk, something that should concern the professionals in religion coverage and no one else. That is not the case.
November 6, 2003
Mel Gibson's upcoming film "The Passion of Christ" (formerly "The Passion") portrays the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus, opening with a quote from the prophet Isaiah and an image of Jesus crushing a snake beneath his heel. Gibson believes that the world is a battlefield for the cosmic forces of good and evil, and he sees his film as a weapon in that war.
October 29, 2003
At a recent lecture by eminent sociologist Robert Wuthnow, I was introduced to the speaker by one of my colleagues, who mentioned my three-year study of the first Charitable Choice legislation -- the precursor to President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative. Wuthnow responded: "Based upon what you have learned so far, what would you tell President Bush?"
October 27, 2003
There being so many things to cover, Sightings seldom allows itself to focus too long or too often on a single subject. So, having recently devoted 16 lines to the recent California election, I apologize for returning to the scene.
October 23, 2003
Among contemporary America's many media spectacles, professional wrestling is perhaps the most spectacular. Indeed, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the most prominent "all-star" wrestling outlet, can hardly be matched for its sheer grandiloquence.
October 20, 2003
Social scientists and news people who report on religion often get asked whether they are "pro" or "con" religion, or pro or con this or that religion. If they are fair-minded, as we expect them to be, they report on the highs and lows, the ups and downs, and the positives and negatives of religion in its effects on public life.
October 16, 2003
In the aftermath of September 11th, journalists and commentators are often at a loss to describe the complex interaction of religion, culture, and current events. As "moderns," it was assumed that we could describe events using the value-neutral vocabularies of sociological, economic, and cultural analysis.
October 13, 2003
Business and commerce may represent the most secular sector of our common life, but the daily paper that covers business and commerce has "got religion." Especially on Fridays, the Wall Street Journal notices faith and the faiths, and we like to monitor it for Sightings.
October 9, 2003
Thomas Jefferson's metaphor of "a wall of separation between church and state" has become for many the source and summary of American religious freedom. Indeed, many within and beyond these borders think Jefferson's words are enshrined in the First Amendment itself.
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