At a recent lecture by eminent sociologist Robert Wuthnow, I was introduced to the speaker by one of my colleagues, who mentioned my three-year study of the first Charitable Choice legislation -- the precursor to President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative. Wuthnow responded: "Based upon what you have learned so far, what would you tell President Bush?"
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October 29, 2003
October 27, 2003
There being so many things to cover, Sightings seldom allows itself to focus too long or too often on a single subject. So, having recently devoted 16 lines to the recent California election, I apologize for returning to the scene.
October 23, 2003
Among contemporary America's many media spectacles, professional wrestling is perhaps the most spectacular. Indeed, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the most prominent "all-star" wrestling outlet, can hardly be matched for its sheer grandiloquence.
October 20, 2003
Social scientists and news people who report on religion often get asked whether they are "pro" or "con" religion, or pro or con this or that religion. If they are fair-minded, as we expect them to be, they report on the highs and lows, the ups and downs, and the positives and negatives of religion in its effects on public life.
October 16, 2003
In the aftermath of September 11th, journalists and commentators are often at a loss to describe the complex interaction of religion, culture, and current events. As "moderns," it was assumed that we could describe events using the value-neutral vocabularies of sociological, economic, and cultural analysis.
October 13, 2003
Business and commerce may represent the most secular sector of our common life, but the daily paper that covers business and commerce has "got religion." Especially on Fridays, the Wall Street Journal notices faith and the faiths, and we like to monitor it for Sightings.
October 9, 2003
Thomas Jefferson's metaphor of "a wall of separation between church and state" has become for many the source and summary of American religious freedom. Indeed, many within and beyond these borders think Jefferson's words are enshrined in the First Amendment itself.
October 6, 2003
The New Anti-Catholicism, a book by Philip Jenkins, (Oxford) is occasioning some finger-pointing. Who is guilty? Mainline Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, Fundamentalist Protestants, Pentecostal Protestants, and African-American Protestants. Just kidding. They are off the hook.
October 2, 2003
What difference does it make to include women's stories in our narratives of American religious history?
September 29, 2003
"Pluralism" is a word with plural meanings. In America it refers mainly to the way citizens live with a polity and with practices that recognize diversity and assure civil peace in the face of it. However, in theology in recent years there is also a different, international movement, which finds significant support and impetus in the United States.
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