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March 29, 2002
It is not unusual for classical music compositions to be adapted to serve purposes other than those originally intended by the composers. Madison Avenue and Hollywood do it all the time, often very effectively. Few were bothered when they heard Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz in the movie 2001, or Barber's Adagio for Strings in Platoon.
March 24, 2002
April Fool's Day is still a week off, but I am in the mood for a day off today. Pedophilia. Anti-Semitism. Al-Qaeda. Recent front-page words relating to religion deal overwhelmingly with devastations. So we turn for a moment to a more positive experience, in the paperback The Faith of 50 Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture (ed. Christopher H. Evans and William R.
March 21, 2002
In legal circles these days, there is much talk about tensions between the Establishment and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. If a public school allows the Dungeons and Dragons club to distribute flyers at recess, can it bar the Bible Club?
March 18, 2002
Cathy Grossman's story in the March 7 edition of USA Today carried the headline: "Charting Unchurched America: 14% profess no religion. For them, spirituality is found elsewhere." Grossman was reporting on assessments by American Religious Identity Survey 2001 and National Religious Identification Survey 1990, both from the Graduate Center of City University of New York.
March 14, 2002
In "Where are the Women?" (The Nation, 22 October 2001), Katha Pollitt called attention to the plight of Afghan women under the then ruling Taliban.
March 11, 2002
Judaism is not all and only about war in Israel, controversy over the Nixon-Graham conversations, and other headline items. Serious Jews ponder the fate of Judaism in "ordinary life." So the February 22 issue of Forward excerpts a speech by Steven M. Cohen of Hebrew University. He points to trends that lessen the odds for the survival of meaningful Judaism.
March 7, 2002
The high holy days of the NCAA basketball tournament -- "March Madness" -- approach. The team I will cheer on, from Valparaiso University, once again joins the sixty-four team field. The team is talented, and could repeat or even exceed the wonderful "miracle" of their 1998 season, when they made it to the "Sweet Sixteen" and became the Cinderella story of the tournament.
March 4, 2002
There are three related debate topics that just won't go away this winter: are "they" totally evil and "we" simply good; is "their" religion murderous and "ours" benign; is "their" Book a manual and license for war and "ours" a sourcebook for peace and peacemakers? That a terrorist who is a Muslim is evil is obvious. This is not a subject that requires much debate.
February 28, 2002
The Dr. Pepper company decided recently to market their soda pop in a special patriotic can. They were hoping to combine some creative marketing with a show of national unity. The design featured an image of the Statue of Liberty with words from the Pledge of Allegiance running along the top edge of the can.
February 25, 2002
Barbara Crossette's story "A Tough Time to Talk Peace" in the New York Times (February 12, 2002), reports that in New York City, Buddhism -- described as a philosophy, but who does not also find it among the religions in every encyclopedia? -- has come upon hard times.


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