Sightings Articles

unraveling flag

American religion | culture wars | 9/11 | sociology of religion

On Social Dissolution: Lost Threads and Forgotten Dogmas

From passing conversations on the street to extended news commentaries on air and online, it is hard to miss the pervasive sense of social breakdown.

September 23, 2021
maya ritual

Native Americans | American religion | Death | memorial

Loss and Continuation: Lessons from the Popol Vuh

An ancient Maya tradition on keeping those we've lost alive

June 10, 2021

Billy Graham | American religion | Evangelicalism

They Called Him Billy

Several years ago, my wife, Katherine, and I spent a week researching letters that Americans sent to the evangelist Billy Graham, who died in 2018 at age 99. One day we stumbled on an undiscovered cache of children’s messages. They provide a window i...

September 5, 2019

Thanksgiving | American religion | Native Americans

A Season of Myths

“Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves.”  -Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (Götzendämmerung) This past week people in the USA entered the “season of myths” that runs from Thanksgiving through various religious holi...

November 26, 2018

Alt-Right | American religion | Mormons | racism | white supremacy

Nonwhitesome Mormons

Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, represent only about two percent of the American people, but “everybody” knows something or other about them. Ask your neighbor to discuss the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)...

September 25, 2017

American religion | Holy Week | New York Times | secularization thesis | syncretism

Religio-Secular... Again

A thesis about religion in American public life, which is Sightings’s interest: the “secularization thesis” is helpful when one is explaining change in religious institutions, practices, ideas, and influence. But it has its limits. The presumably con...

April 24, 2017