Several months ago, it seemed religion might be a notable factor in the 2012 presidential election.Read the rest of Religion and the election.
Grace Yukich is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Quinnipiac University and a contributing editor at the The Immanent Frame. She is an editor in chief of Mobilizing Ideas, a scholarly blog publishing interdisciplinary perspectives on social movements, social change, and the public sphere hosted by the Center for the Study of Social Movements at Notre Dame. From 2010-2011, she was the Religion & Public Life Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University's Center for the Study of Religion. She is currently working on a book on the intersections of religion, politics, and immigration in the New Sanctuary Movement, an interfaith pro-immigrant movement in the U.S.
Posts by Grace Yukich:
The scholarly blog Mobilizing Ideas recently posted an exchange on religion and activism that may interest readers. (Full disclosure: I am one of the Editors in Chief of Mobilizing Ideas, and I wrote one of the essays, so of course I think they are worth reading!) Mobilizing Ideas publishes interdisciplinary perspectives on social movements, social […]Read the rest of Essays on Religion and Contemporary Activism.
At the end of August, the two of us joined approximately 30 scholars from around the world in Antwerp, Belgium for the 2012 Universitair Centrum Sint-Ignatius Antwerpen (UCSIA) Religion, Culture and Society Summer School. UCSIA annually invites select early-career researchers (doctoral and post-doctoral) and senior scholars for a weeklong program designed to stimulate interdisciplinary and international discussion on a theme, this year’s being “secularism(s) and religion in society.”Read the rest of The secular as space, the secular as process: The 2012 UCSIA summer school.
One of the most exciting scientific discoveries in human history occurred earlier this week with the long-awaited confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson (or Higgs particle) by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).Read the rest of Believers tout Higgs boson discovery as evidence of God.
The past few months have been a wild ride for church-state issues in the U.S. The Hosanna-Tabor decision upheld the “ministerial exemption,” the Obama administration required Catholic hospitals to cover birth control for employees (and then, due to outcry, required insurance companies to cover the costs instead). And in New York City, February 12th marks […]Read the rest of NYC religious groups vacate public schools and march in protest.
In its Room for Debate forum, The New York Times recently published a debate on the state of religious freedom in the United States.Read the rest of Debate on the state of U.S. religious freedom.
In the hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, Elder Price sings about how he believes that “ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America” and “in 1978 God changed His mind about black people.”Read the rest of Mormon ad campaign and the 2012 election.
Where does the line lie between constitutional protection of religious exceptionalism and the need to enforce state laws ensuring fair treatment of employees?Read the rest of Regulating religion.
In The New York Times, Eliyahu Stern, assistant professor of Religious Studies and History at Yale, argues that current efforts to outlaw Shari‘a interfere with the ability of Muslims to govern their own communities. More importantly, perhaps, these efforts discriminate against a religious group using the same arguments often used to deny Jews full citizenship during Europe’s pastRead the rest of Arguing against anti-Shari‘a legislation.
For some Americans, the response to the religious fears created by 9/11 was increased hatred of difference, particularly of Islam and Muslims. In contrast, others responded by reaching out across lines of religious difference to learn, share, and heal. Interfaith groups formed around the U.S. as venues for people of different faiths to get to know each other more deeply, challenging stereotypes and forging new community connections.Read the rest of Interfaith groups blossom after 9/11.
SOCREL, the British Sociological Association’s study group on Religion, is now accepting abstract submissions for its 2012 annual conference. The conference will be held at the University of Chester, UK, March 28-30, 2012. Plenary speakers include Tariq Modood (University of Bristol), Elaine Graham (University of Chester), and Sean McCloud (University of North Carolina). According to the call for abstracts, the conference is on religion and (in)equalities.Read the rest of Sociology of Religion Study Group Annual Conference.
A post at the New York Times philosophy blog “The Stone” reflects on the differences between religious and secular underpinnings of human rights. The author, Anat Biletzki, critiques the argument that human rights are impossible without religion, or, particularly, belief in God. Instead, she asserts that the secular basis for human rights is in fact more faithful to humanity than religious justifications, which she defines as rooted in the authority of a superhuman creator (i.e., God) rather than in the value of the human.Read the rest of Religious and secular foundations of human rights.
Should the state be in the business of marriage, or is it inherently a religious union that should be performed solely by religious groups? Will the religious exemptions to recent same-sex marriage laws influence their viability in the long run? Last week, The New York Times posted a debate on its website, in which five public figures, scholars and writers, argue about the ways in which the religion and marriage debate draws out perennial questions about the appropriate relationship between religion and the state.Read the rest of Religion and marriage debate.
Should the state be in the business of funding private religious projects, even if they could boost the well-being of local economies? According to an editorial published yesterday in The New York Times, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority recently allocated more than $40 million in tax incentives for a planned expansion to the controversial Creation Museum. . . . Even Kentucky’s Democratic governor supports state funding for the project, arguing that it will bring 900 jobs to the area. Of course, as the editorial points out, “public money is not supposed to pay to advance religion.”Read the rest of Kentucky approves state funding to expand Creation Museum.
This week, Claremont School of Theology in California announced that a large financial gift will allow them to transform the seminary into an institution that will train Christians, Jews, and Muslims. According to The Los Angeles Times, the new university—which will be called Claremont Lincoln University, in the couple’s honor—will serve as an umbrella for three largely separate programs: the existing program for Christian pastors-in-training, another program for rabbis, and a third for imams.Read the rest of Claremont School of Theology to train Christians, Jews, and Muslims.
How might schools play a role in encouraging or discouraging civil discourse across religious and political lines? The National Endowment for the Humanities announces a two-year project designed to explore these issues, housed in the Philosophy Department at Fresno State. The department has issued a call for papers for an inaugural conference for the program, which will take place October 13-15, 2011, and will be followed by an edited volume and a workshop for teachers on how to cultivate civility in an increasingly religiously diverse classroom environment.Read the rest of CFP: “Ethics, Religion, and Civil Discourse”.
The Committee for the Study of Religion at CUNY Graduate Center in New York is holding a conference on Islam in Europe and America, May 4-6, 2011. Conference papers and workshops include, “Can Muslims Live in a Liberal Society?” (Christian Joppke) and “Is Critique Secular?” (Saba Mahmood). Speakers will include Ulrich Beck, Saba Mahmood, and Bryan Turner. Social Science Research Council President Craig Calhoun will give a lecture entitled “The SSRC and The Study of Religion.” Admission is free.Read the rest of Event: Islam in Europe and America, CUNY, May 4-6, 2011.
On April 11th, the hotly debated “burqa ban” went into effect in France.Read the rest of “Burqa Ban” takes effect in France.
Shanghai University and The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, are holding a Summer Institute at Shanghai University from August 22 to August 26, 2011. The program is open to M.A. and PhD. students in the social sciences, media studies, architecture, and urban design who want to work on research on Shanghai.Read the rest of Summer Institute on Religion & the Urban Environment, Shanghai University.
Recently the European Court of Human Rights decided to allow the display of crucifixes in public school classrooms (Lautsi and Others v. Italy, March 18). As Justin Reynolds noted here a few days ago, this decision applies not only to Italy, where a lower court previously reached the opposite verdict, but to all 47 member nations. In a New York Times piece, Stanley Fish outlines the reasoning of the court and analyzes the implications of its decision.Read the rest of Crucifixes: cultural or religious?.
A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that, while a majority of Americans (56 percent) support the upcoming Congressional hearings on radicalization in American Muslim communities, seven in ten believe that Muslim communities should not be singled out.Read the rest of Poll finds mixed support for hearings on Muslim radicalization.
In an article at Religion Dispatches, Kim Bobo, the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice, describes the religious presence at some of the recent protests in Wisconsin. . . . Of course, there is disagreement over what actually counts as religion. Many Tea Party supporters of Gov. Walker’s legislation are themselves religious and would likely disagree with the assertion that religion looks like marching on behalf of workers. Stories like this one are important for that very reason.Read the rest of Religion in Wisconsin.
Twice a year, Muslims from around the country gather in Queens for a speed dating event, with parents watching from the sidelines, hoping that their sons and daughters will find a spouse. The events are a peculiar mix of religious and secular, East and West, freedom and restriction.Read the rest of Muslim speed dating.
The UCSIA in Antwerp, Belgium, is calling for applications for its 2011 Summer School in Religion, Culture and Society. The one-week program will take place from August 28-September 4, 2011. The summer school brings together a group of thirty Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers from around the world for classes taught by established scholars. Faculty in past years have included Steve Bruce, Robert Hefner, and Tariq Modood. Participants also have the opportunity to present their own research. This year’s topic is Religion and International Relations. Room, board, and tuition are covered for participants. While participants must pay for their own travel to Antwerp, a limited number of partial travel grants may be available. Applications are due by April 17, 2011.Read the rest of 2011 UCSIA Summer School in Religion, Culture and Society.
Following recent increases in violence against Christians in Pakistan and other parts of the Middle East, many Christians are feeling increasingly fearful. . . . As an article in the Toronto Star chronicles, in Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy law is being invoked to settle disputes that may have little to do with the content of religion, other than the fact that one of the parties involved is Christian. In such an environment, some Christians feel that the only way to protect themselves and their families is to convert to IslamRead the rest of After violence, Pakistani Christians convert to Islam.
Recently, the newly-elected governor of Alabama made headlines by making a public statement in a church following his inauguration, in which he said that only Christians are his “brothers and sisters,” and that he hopes that people who are not Christians will become his brothers and sisters (in other words, will become Christians). While we might disagree with the exclusive nature of his religious beliefs, they are hardly uncommon. Still, one wonders why he felt the need to share these private beliefs in a public venue and how he thought they were relevant or helpful in his claim to serve as governor to “all of the people of Alabama,” regardless of their religion.Read the rest of Religious statements by government officials.
The Hemispheric Institute of New York is holding a conference this Thursday-Friday (Nov. 4-5), called “States of Devotion: Religion, Neoliberalism and the Politics of the Body in the Americas,” on “the changing role of religious discourses and practices in the wake of the transformations wrought by neoliberal globalization upon communities, societies, and polities across the Hemisphere.”Read the rest of “States of Devotion” conference, Nov. 4-5, Hemispheric Institute, NYU.
The tendency in recent years of some U.S. evangelical and Pentecostal Christian preachers to celebrate immense wealth, rather than critique it—what is known as the “prosperity gospel”—is not unique to those forms of Christianity or to the United States. According an article by Mary Fitzgerald in The Irish Times, Meera Nanda’s new book, The God Market, chronicles a similar movement emerging in India.Read the rest of Hinduism, prosperity, and India’s rising middle class.
In many large cities around the world, religious people and secular people tend to live in separate neighborhoods. This has often been the case in Istanbul, where religious and secular differences frequently correspond to differences in class. But in the neighborhood of Fatih, Muslim and secular Turks are living together, though not without conflict, writes Borzou Daragahi in The Los Angeles Times.Read the rest of In Turkey, religious and secular living side by side.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting—of getting by with less. Traditionally, this has meant abstaining from things like eating, drinking, or sex from dawn until sunset. In recent years, these more traditional practices have been supplemented by a desire to get by with fewer resources as well. As part of the focus on moderation, some Muslims are intentionally focusing on their influence on the environment, making a special effort to limit their waste and to treat the earth well.Read the rest of Celebrating Ramadan by going green.
In a New York Times opinion piece, Linda Greenhouse raises questions about how today’s Supreme Court might take a different approach to church/state issues compared to past courts.Read the rest of Religion, the state, and a changing court.
Rural Vermont is a place known for its natural beauty—trees, rolling hills, and open green space. Recently, a Catholic couple who live on a hilltop in Vermont constructed a cross alongside a chapel on their land. So far, fine. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of religious expression give them the right to do this. However, this is no small cross. It is huge, and its owners want to light it up at night, believing that they have been divinely instructed to do so. Many of their neighbors are unhappy and want it to come down.Read the rest of Religion and place.
Ruthie, Grace and David here, reporting live from the IWM International Summer School in Philosophy and Politics in Cortona, Italy. We are here with forty graduate students and post-docs and an inspiring group of faculty from over 20 countries to explore a range of issues related to religion in public life. And over the next two weeks, we look forward to sharing some of our discussions with the readers of The Immanent Frame. Today we would like to talk about an issue we discussed in the first session of our course on “The Role of Faith in Public Discourse,” taught by Nilüfer Göle and Michael Sandel.Read the rest of Discussing mosques, minarets, and crosses.
In a recent article for Mother Jones, Suzy Khimm asks whether a right-wing schism may be developing over immigration reform. In recent months, many evangelical leaders- including conservative Christians like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention- have voiced support for immigration reform that would include a pathway to legalization for many undocumented immigrants. While Land’s group has supported a comprehensive approach to reform for several years, he has become more adament in his support since the passage of Arizona’s contentious immigration law. These increased efforts by conservative Christians on behalf of immigrants have created conflict between their groups and right-wing groups opposed to immigration reform, making former allies into possible political enemies.Read the rest of Religious views on immigration don’t mirror party politics.
In a recent article, the director of Religion Dispatches draws our attention to what might be the most significant religious display of the yea: the rituals, beliefs, and passions surrounding the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Unlike many commentators, he is not interested in condemning these displays for their supposedly misplaced allegiance.Read the rest of The World Cup and the sacred.
The events of September 11th, 2001, changed the image of Islam for many in the world. The religion that, most Muslims argue, is one of peace came to be seen by many as inherently violent and backwards. Naif al-Mutawa, a Kuwaiti psychologist with several degrees from American universities, wanted to counter this image, one he saw as confusing Islam as a religion with the extremism of a few of its followers. As reported recently in an interview with The Atlantic, al-Mutawa responded in an unexpected way—by creating a comic book series.Read the rest of Reshaping Islam’s image with… comic books?.
An op-ed by Stanley Fish in Monday’s New York Times discusses a new publication comprising the proceedings from a course of dialogues between Habermas and four Jesuit academics in 2007. They have previously appeared in German, but they are now being published in English for the first time under the title An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-secular Age.Read the rest of New Habermas dialogues on religion and secularism.
Like many of the other participants in this discussion on the current state of the sociological study of religion, we have spent much of our early careers engaging in broader conversations regarding culture and politics. As scholars who bring deep interests in religion to these conversations, we have found that the default position in these sub-disciplines is often either to ignore religion or to see it as a dangerous force in society. In this regard, we greet the “strong program” that Smilde and May see emerging in the sociology of religion with a modicum of relief, as it seems to show clearly that 1) more researchers are taking religion seriously, and 2) they are finding that religion’s influence is not always negative—rather, its effects are varied. But while a small part of us is relieved by the emergence of a strong program, a larger part shares Smilde and May’s concerns about the increasing focus on religion as an autonomous, independent variable. This emphasis seems to rest on the assumption that religion consists primarily of a set of fixed beliefs, preferences, and dispositions that exist deep inside of individuals, which they will reveal to us if only we ask the right questions.Read the rest of Toward a sociology of social religion.
According to Christian Scientists, the answer is yes. A New York Times report states that “[t]he church has been lobbying in recent years to convince lawmakers that its approach is an alternative way of tending to the sick, and that its costs should be covered by insurance companies and included in health care legislation.” Still, they are moving beyond their traditional view that members should only use prayer to combat illness. Instead, their position is increasingly to see prayer as one form of health care among many, encouraging members to see a physician when they deem it necessary.Read the rest of Should prayer be covered by health insurance?.
According to a recent story in Time magazine, there is a new type of Muslim activism brewing across the globe. Nonviolent and antijihadist, this new cohort of activists is still profoundly religious, and its members seek a way to combine religious identity with the modern world of Facebook.Read the rest of A new generation of Muslim activists.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are not an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. If this doesn’t constitute religion, then what does?Read the rest of ‘Under God’ not a prayer, rules Appeals Court.