The "Great Dissenter" Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote that, in America, "we live by symbols." These words came to mind as I scanned a cluster of recent church-state stories.
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December 14, 2000
December 11, 2000
Having barely mentioned here this year's presidential campaign, an explanation is in order.
December 4, 2000
It's been well over a week since a New York Times Magazine article by Eric Konigsberg portrayed Knicks point guard Charlie Ward as a crypto-anti-Semite. By now the story's details are probably familiar.
October 30, 2000
*Sightings* has chosen to keep blinders on concerning the overdone, overcovered, overtreated presidential election campaign, full of religious nuances and blatancies though it be. But as Auction Day -- a.k.a. Election Day -- nears, it is time to be responsible. David C. Leege, veteran Notre Dame polltaker and polling-booth watcher, helpfully asks once again, "Is there a religious vote?"
October 26, 2000
Excommunication is very rare in American religious bodies. Can you think of an instance in which a lay person was ever excluded from membership?
October 19, 2000
Graphic and deeply disturbing images of violence, motivated in part by religious animosities, emanated from the Middle East last week. Such images, whether beamed from Israel, Palestine, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Northern Ireland, or the United States, overshadow a subtler trend gradually transforming contemporary religious sensibilities.
October 16, 2000
How does secularization occur? What speeds up the process? Instead of pointing to some massive secular humanist conspiracy as the major cause, many social thinkers urge us to watch the subtle improvisations made by individuals and publics.
October 12, 2000
On the first day of the course I teach on "Religion in Colonial America" at the University of Chicago Divinity School, I often ask students to tell me what they already know about early American religious history. Since many of them are new to the field, they know relatively little about religious leaders or worship practices, but almost all of them have strong assumptions about the past.
October 9, 2000
We do our sightings in all kinds of corners of American life. Anyone who stays in a hotel receives, willy-nilly, *USA Today*. Whoever receives *USA Today* will find little colored graphs in the lower left-hand corner of a section page. Recently one drew on a source: "Gallup for the John Templeton Foundation."
August 23, 2000
With Joseph Lieberman on the Democratic ticket, this political season may offer a chance to measure anew the dimensions of American prejudice. Another recent test of the limits of religious tolerance can be found in south-suburban Chicago. Having outgrown its worship space, in April the Al Salam Mosque Foundation contracted to purchase the Reformed Church of Palos Heights, Illinois.