Sightings

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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.
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.
September 22, 1999
Today and tomorrow the Public Religion Project holds a summary conference that effectively completes its three years of work. Then on Friday, those of us responsible for the Project, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, will close our office and hand over many of its workings--including Sightings--to the new Martin Marty Center at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.
September 21, 1999
Counting may not be the most exciting thing we do, and reading about counting may not give receivers of "Sightings" much to develop into editorials, talk-show topics, or lecture and sermon illustrations. But keeping track of news everywhere goes with the job, and it informs our venture if now and then we report on statistical reckonings. To the point:
September 17, 1999
In the constant efforts, over the definition of American culture as "secular," "religious," or, as we prefer (though we'd look for a better word), "religiosecular," religious apologists regularly point to the academy and politics as the most secular spheres of public life.
September 16, 1999
In our business of monitoring the press coverage of religious themes, we find that from time to time it is in place not just to make news about news but to reflect upon reflection. This we now do in reference to an important column on a neglected theme.

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