No matter how you interpret the separation of church and state, it is clear that the president's new faith-based initiatives cross an old, well-established line. The question is not whether religious groups can get government money: they can and have for years. The question is whether they must keep their state-funded practices separate from their "sectarian" ones.
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March 24, 2003
Sociologist Henri Desroche in Jacob and the Angel* offered "a triptych corresponding to three functions" of religion in society: "attesting," "contesting," "protesting." A self-affirming society that confirms its own existence has religion "attesting," serving an integrating function. That's the normal state of affairs.
March 20, 2003
Recently, a restaurant in North Carolina changed the name of french fries on their menu to "freedom fries," a response to ongoing French resistance to the American and British push for war in Iraq. The restaurant owners described the change as a patriotic act, recalling sauerkraut's "liberty cabbage" moniker from wars of decades past.
March 17, 2003
Sightings does not normally do book reviews, I cannot write jacket blurbs for books, and we editors have to be careful when we "have an interest." This is not a review of Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms Around the World, but it treats that new University of Chicago Press paperback as news. The quotation from me on the jacket is excerpted from my report to the Press.
March 13, 2003
A snide comment here, a pot shot there. Some academic and clerical huffing and puffing. So often of late, this is the stuff of Catholic-Jewish relations nationally and internationally. Such is not the case here in Florida; this month marks the sixth year of the St.
March 10, 2003
Editorial Note: Many of you who have followed Sightings over time may recall the recent tenure of Jonathan Ebel, former managing editor of Sightings. This week, we have learned that Jon has been recalled and will be stationed in Germany serving under the Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe.
March 6, 2003
For the past month or so, partly out of fear about a coming war, partly because I've wanted to find some silence, and partly because my sabbatical research project is a book on violence and religion in America, I've been attending Sunday meetings of the Society of Friends around Philadelphia.
March 3, 2003
When a liberal arts college adapts a new behavior code, other local colleges and the press yawn. But when Wheaton College in Illinois, the flagship of evangelical colleges, issued their "New Community Covenant" recently, the "allowing dancing" clause made its way to metro newspapers' front pages.
February 27, 2003
Even a cursory reading of the day's news will turn up frequent references to wounds. Whether they occur in military combat, in nightclub disasters, or on city streets, wounds are sites of heightened interest, and too often the visible reminders of unwilled and incomprehensible misfortune.
February 24, 2003
"Is There Any Non-Religious News Anymore?" Provocative, hyperbolic, ironic? Yes. But also my assigned topic at the Journalism School at the University of Nebraska some months ago. Both university professors and journalists, as well as other media professionals, get paid to be alert to cultural change.
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