Much more than a blog, Frequencies is a treasure trove of deep description and highly creative analysis. The casual observer initially might assume Frequencies to be a motley collection of unrelated reflections on matters ranging from historical figures to chicken sandwiches. Such an assumption could not be more foolhardy, however. The hundred essays that comprise Frequencies could not be more intimately related, as all of them, in their own ways, are part of the same family tree.Read the rest of Spirituality’s family tree.
Laura R. Olson
Laura R. Olson is professor of political science at Clemson University. Her research focuses on contemporary religion, civic engagement, and American politics, with special emphasis on the political attitudes and behaviors of clergy. She is the author, coauthor, or co-editor of eight books, including Religious Interests in Community Conflict: Beyond the Culture Wars (Baylor University Press, 2007); Women with a Mission: Religion, Gender, and the Politics of Women Clergy (University of Alabama Press, 2005); Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture, and Strategic Choices (Westview Press, 2004); Christian Clergy in American Politics (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); and Filled with Spirit and Power: Protestant Clergy in Politics (State University of New York Press, 2000). She is also the author of many scholarly articles and book chapters, and she is currently working on a new book on the Protestant left in American politics.
Posts by Laura R. Olson:
Who are the Americans who identify as “spiritual but not religious”? What unifying characteristics, qualities, and beliefs might they share? And to what extent might their distinctive approach to religion, or to systems of meaning, have relevance to political discourse, electoral campaigns, and public policy? As many other contributors to this blog have noted, these questions elude easy answers, because defining spirituality is, as Courtney Bender aptly puts it in her brilliant book The New Metaphysicals, “like shoveling fog.” Nevertheless, perhaps we can obtain just a slight bit of traction by investigating some of the characteristics shared by SBNR Americans.Read the rest of Who are the “spiritual but not religious”?.
In his 2008 documentary (some might prefer to call it a mockumentary) Religulous, comedian and satirist Bill Maher wonders aloud why religiously unaffiliated Americans are not politically mobilized. Indeed, he issues something of a call to arms to this sector of the American population: “Anti-religionists must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves.” Although neither Religulous nor Maher’s views on religion in general necessarily reflect mainstream American attitudes, the question the film raises about why the religiously unaffiliated are not politically mobilized is well worth exploring.Read the rest of An untapped constituency.