Among humanistic and social scientific academic disciplines, history is one of the least secularized, not because historians are necessarily more pious than others, but because so much of the past that they study is so rich in religious resources. Last week 4,000 historians met for the American Historical Association in Chicago.
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January 13, 2003
January 9, 2003
With the media and the political world clamoring to understand why Trent Lott made comments that sent the national conversation about race into turmoil and led to his resignation as Senate majority leader, why is nobody talking about the Mississippi senator's religion?
January 6, 2003
Sightings research begins early in the morning, after four daily newspapers thud onto our porch at 4:45 a.m. Among them is the Wall Street Journal. At our house we think of it as two papers: informative and generally fair-minded news coverage coupled with an (in our eyes) unfair-minded, and often infuriating, editorial page.
January 2, 2003
The assumptions of academics and social commentators about the certain decline of Christianity in the West were challenged at a international conference on the future of Christianity in the West at the University of Otago in New Zealand this past December.
December 30, 2002
This week the various religious periodicals and internet outlets issue their "Top Ten" religion news stories of 2002. Rather than add to the listings, Sightings will end the year commenting on the great increase in the number of stories to rank. The end of the year is also a time when for a minute we seniors are allowed to reminisce in efforts to provide some perspective on our own time.
December 23, 2002
The University of Chicago’s rarely heard alma mater has a redundant line that includes the words “blessings” and “benisons.” I use the latter word increasingly, so: “Christ-mass” benisons to the Christ-massers among you. And all the other benisons to all the other observers of other blessed occasions this season.
December 19, 2002
Christmas this year cannot be like any Christmas in previous years. In the year that has passed, the Church of the Nativity was turned -- for a while -- into a beleaguered fortress. Arab Palestinians forced their way into the Church, and Israeli troops and armour forced them out. War makes horrible things happen.
December 16, 2002
Sighting evidences of religion in American public life is easy, there are so many. Choosing which to highlight is more difficult. Friday last, the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law and an executive order giving a jump-start to federal funding of "faith-based initiatives" vied with two or three other front-page items for notice.
December 12, 2002
Over a year has passed since the disaster of September 11, 2001. During this time, America has been in a state of "heightened alert." Code Orange, even when not officially declared by the government, has become the order of the day. The panic that ensued in the wake of the attacks has thus endured; indeed, it has become "the key psychological mood" of our time (as Arthur Kroker puts it).
December 9, 2002
Sightings attends to public expressions of religion. Not too long ago, that would have left topics such as marriage, residential life, leisure life, and worship safely in the private sphere. The rest of the world then took care of public life: economic, political, social, and the like. That division of labor is no more.
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