No one needs binoculars to do sightings of religion in American public life when a new president comes into view. Presidents signal something of their and the nation's acknowledged needs and chosen images by bringing their clergy along to inaugurations. The choice to take the oath of office on the Bible -- often open to a particular verse -- or to cite the Bible in an inaugural address signal
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January 22, 2001
January 16, 2001
When "high culture" folks -- the well-educated and the well-off -- knock" organized religion" and "the institutional church," they and the media they favor (and who favor them in turn) do tend to give a free ride to nonmainstream, New, New Age, non-Western expressions and movements.
January 8, 2001
The United States Census has not collected religious data since 1936. Some religious groups do not want to be numbered or to release numbers, so counting or not became a religious issue.
December 14, 2000
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.
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.
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