Sightings

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May 19, 2003
Next week Presbyterians will meet in Denver to kick off the denominational convention season and, as part of their agenda, vote on the findings of a Presbyterian Church (USA)-sponsored report called "Living Faithfully with Families in Transition." My non-Presbyterian colleague Don Browning sees so many public consequences coming from this report that he has critiqued it in various Web and print
May 15, 2003
Jean Bethke Elshtain, ethicist and political philosopher at the University of Chicago, has recently challenged theologians and religiously concerned citizens to rethink the relationship of war to justice in light of the war on Iraq.
May 12, 2003
"Gauging Generosity," a recent headline in The Economist (May 3), assesses how nations rank in respect to their generosity toward others, i.e., "Which rich countries do most to help poor countries?" With its U.K. ("secular") base, the magazine did not think to mention the ("religious") U.S.'s religious impulses in this context. An oversight?
May 8, 2003
In a recent Sightings (April 3), Professor W. Clark Gilpin writes, “It is frequently the case in myth and religious narrative that things are not what they seem. Strangers, animals, even plants, turn out to be gods.” There are plenty of cases in our modern world in which the opposite is true, namely, that gods turn out to be strangers, animals, or even plants.
May 5, 2003
Now that the U.S. proposal, or "road map," for Israel-Palestine futures is unfolding, most columnists, when they discuss American Jews, concentrate on highly-placed figures in the Bush administration. Some Jewish columnists also talk about the nature of the support the administration gets from one element of the Christian right, a "core constituency" of our governmental leaders.
May 1, 2003
The Religion and Values department at Gallup recently initiated a new index called the "Gallup Religious Tolerance Index," which will now be part of Gallup's regular polling. To publicize this new initiative, Gallup organized an on-line seminar led by Al Winseman who described the format of the new index and some preliminary findings.
April 28, 2003
Call this column "Exclusion II." We can't answer your e-mail responses, though we welcome them and learn from them. And we rarely repeat attention to a topic, since there are so many objects of our "sightings" out there to treat.
April 24, 2003
Perhaps no one still believes that photographs exhibit unadulterated reality. Photos, we know, are subject to any number of editorial, compositional, and other strategic effects that might be used not to display reality, but to convey ideology under the guise of factual appearance. That said, photographs nonetheless exhibit a kind of evidential quality.

Author: Jeremy Biles
April 21, 2003
"Exclusion," Carl Sandburg once said, was the ugliest word in the English language. Two kinds of exclusion appear in the sightings we do every week. It's important to keep them apart.
April 17, 2003
I admit to being a bit offended by the U.S. military's use of the words shock and awe to describe the bombing campaign which began the war with Iraq. Not shock so much, since obviously the stunning effect of explosives is part of the process of defeating an enemy. The ones who are not killed by the blast are demoralized by its shocking force.

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