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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October 9, 2003
October 6, 2003
The New Anti-Catholicism, a book by Philip Jenkins, (Oxford) is occasioning some finger-pointing. Who is guilty? Mainline Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, Fundamentalist Protestants, Pentecostal Protestants, and African-American Protestants. Just kidding. They are off the hook.
October 2, 2003
What difference does it make to include women's stories in our narratives of American religious history?
September 29, 2003
"Pluralism" is a word with plural meanings. In America it refers mainly to the way citizens live with a polity and with practices that recognize diversity and assure civil peace in the face of it. However, in theology in recent years there is also a different, international movement, which finds significant support and impetus in the United States.
September 24, 2003
Besieged by requests for my reaction to The Da Vinci Code, I finally decided to sit down and read it over the weekend. It was a quick romp, largely fun to read, if rather predictable and preachy. This is a good airplane book, a novelistic thriller that presents a rummage sale of accurate historical nuggets alongside falsehoods and misleading statements.
September 22, 2003
Sightings sights surveys. Opinion polls are attractive to social scientists, who are attractive to us. They provide one means at least of measuring what people think and do on the "public religion" front. All surveys are flawed, but we won't go into that today. Let's just treat them as "partial," "finite" and "limited" but still helpful.
September 18, 2003
While national attention focused on Alabama and a granite monument of the Ten Commandments, a recent Washington state court case exposed government confusion over the academic study of religion. In Locke v.
September 15, 2003
Go to www.jewishdatabank.org to consult the National Jewish Population's latest, much-publicized survey and you will have access to the same data Sightings has. The United Jewish Communities people, who count many Jewish federations under their umbrella, made the decennial assessment.
September 11, 2003
Not prone to patriotic sentiment, I was surprised to be nearly moved to tears when I first visited the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The museum, located on the Independence Mall near the Liberty Bell and dedicated on the 4th of July, communicates both the promise and fragility of U.S. institutions.
September 8, 2003
"Anything anybody can say about America is true," said 60's countercultural figure Emmett Grogan. "Anything anybody can say about American religion is true," an 00's figurer about culture could also say. Whoever monitors the scene weekly, as Sightings does, could find evidence to support that thesis.
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