The 2004 presidential race is shaping up to be as much an old time religious revival as it is a political contest. Informed by consultants that sixty-two percent of American voters prefer candidates with religious convictions, Democratic presidential hopefuls are boning up on their pious platitudes.
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January 15, 2004
January 12, 2004
No metropolis makes our mission of "sighting" religion in public life easier than Indianapolis. Decades ago, the BBC, for their classic world-religion TV series "The Long Search," chose the U.S. for its Protestant program (with me as the American consultant) and chose Indianapolis for the close-up.
January 8, 2004
There has been interest, recently, in the religious faith of the current crop of Democrats running for the presidential nomination. Howard Dean, the frontrunner, was interviewed on "Hardball" on MSNBC, by Chris Matthews and asked about his faith.
January 5, 2004
Today is the Twelfth Day of Jesusmas, a.k.a. Christmas. The word Christmas, or "Christ"+ "mass," gives many citizens problems today. The mass part, an issue when anti-Catholicism was prime, is no scandal: Americans are patient with each others' rituals. But Christ means anointed, as in the Anointed of God. That is what offends many.
December 29, 2003
In three more days Kwanzaa will end. If you are not an African-American, it will mean little to you. Ron Karenga, the inventor in 1966 of this "family, community, and culture" event timed to overlap and compete with Christmas observance, devised it as a "whites'-hands-off" celebration. If you try to be wholly enclosed in African-American culture, you will be wholly for observing Kwanzaa.
December 22, 2003
All is well in America at Christmas. The Wall Street Journal (December 19) cheers the superabundance of Christmas lighting around American homes. "Energy Puritans may denounce the inessential use of electricity," but aesthetic pleasure and low costs, thanks to consumerist economics, should and do win out. Joy to the world!
December 18, 2003
Experts estimate that there are at least four million problem gamblers in the United States. As signs of gambling-related problems are not well known, nor understood, it is vital that faith communities be informed about the impact of gambling addiction on individuals and their families.
December 15, 2003
"Clergy As Political Activists" takes up most of the December 2003 Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (JSSR), a special issue edited by Corwin Smidt. Smidt lined up 30 social scientists to survey and report on clergy: Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, African-Americans, "Willow Creekers," rabbis, Unitarian-Universalists, Catholics, and Latter-day Saints.
December 11, 2003
As a University of Chicago Divinity School alumnus and ordained PC (USA) minister, my views place me in a certain context in the range of thought present in such a diverse religious group as the US Navy and US Navy Chaplain Corps where I serve as chaplain.
December 8, 2003
Conservative evangelicals, one-fourth-plus of Americans, do not make up a solid, changeless bloc. Monitoring them, observing their fluidity, is an occasional task for Sightings. One of their voices, the weekly magazine World, offers two glimpses that signal some change and surprise within the camp.
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