What is Sightings?

Under the sponsorship of the Martin Marty CenterSightings reports and comments on the role of religion in current events via e-mail twice a week to a readership of thousands. Through the eyes, ears, and keyboards of a diverse group of writers, Sightings displays the kaleidoscope of religious activity: a reflection of how religious currents are shaping and being shaped in the world.

In today's world, the force of religion is active and increasingly obvious. In the last year, we monitored the movement of religious groups and persons as they surfaced in national and international politics, including the Bush and Assad administrations, the stance on global poverty of the newly-elected Pope Francis, North Carolina's attempts to establish a state religion, the impact of Evangelical pastors on immigration reform, and the question of same-sex marriage, to name only a few.

We also, of course, have kept tabs on the world of religion—rituals, doctrines, and holy intrigue—as it has spilled out into the public square (for better or worse) in columns on Jewish women seeking equal prayer rights at Israel's Western wall, communications from the Vatican regarding the fate of non-Catholics after their deaths, conservative Protestants and environmentalism, interfaith marriage, and more. 

True to our calling, we have sighted religion in unlikely places, including klezmer and country music (Ricky Skaggs), literature (Iran's Shahnameh), the pending destruction of ancient Buddhist sites in Afghanistan, and the Catholic Left in the media; and we have offered fresh interpretations of religion in obvious places, like the relationship between violence and religion, and the idea of "nature."

We offer Sightings on “hot” topics as they arise at the intersection of religion and politics, art, business and education. Sightings is written in everyday English by informed citizens, religious leaders, and academic specialists including the University of Chicago Divinity School's fifty-eight professors, more than 150 graduate students, and an alumni network of over 3000. Our hope is to provide a resource for members of the media, the general public, and teachers who seek rigorous analysis of, and research-based opinions about, religion in the news.