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November 24, 2003
The Economist (November 6) brought new life to old debates about American exceptionalism by devoting a whole supplement to "A Nation Apart." Thesis: "Americans are becoming more religious, but notnecessarily more censorious" reads the headline for a section on "Therapy for the Masses." Face this "more religiou
November 19, 2003
The sci-fi thriller The Matrix reached its conclusion last week with the release of Matrix Revolutions, the third and final installment in the series. The basic story chronicles a futuristic battle between humans and computer-driven machines. Along with some unbelievable visual effects, the films also seek to engage some spiritual and philosophical concerns.
November 17, 2003
Sighting religion in public demands attention to money and giving, a theme that is as old as any measure in scriptures. In November we give particular attention to this subject, as this is the month when charities make their final pitches for the year and churches engage in "stewardship" and promote giving. So, how are we doing? Arthur C.
November 13, 2003
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."
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.

Author: Spencer Dew
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.

Author: Jeremy Biles
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.


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