The Social Science Research Council has just announced the launch of a major new project and grants program entitled “New Directions in the Study of Prayer.”
Posts Tagged ‘prayer’
My dissertation is a comparison of the use of prayer, scripture, science education, and “high technology” in four religious high schools, and I’m rather provocatively labeling these four categories “moral technologies”: that is, tools created by (or provided to) humans that are used to accomplish certain moral goals. This definition builds upon Mitcham’s more expansive understanding of technology, and it is obviously deeply indebted to Foucault.
Concluding a class trip to the Supreme Court, Maureen Rigo and her class from Wickenburg Christian Academy, Wickenburg, AZ, stopped to pray on the Oval Plaza in front of the Court steps. The Supreme Court police ushered the teacher and her class from the steps, having deemed their behavior unlawful—actions that bring to the fore questions of the religious neutrality of public space and the application of the First Amendment.
The health of Christopher Hitchens, an outspoken atheist and critic of religion, has become a major news story. Hitchens is in treatment for esophageal cancer and his debilitating health has caused many to ask: should one pray for an atheist? Courtney Bender, professor of religion at Columbia University, discusses the question and whether “atheists have joined a religiously plural grid as another ‘religious’ minority, taking up a place alongside the Muslims and Sikhs and Zoroastrians.”
Today marks the 59th annual National Day of Prayer. The day was enacted by Congress in 1952 (36 U.S.C. § 119) after being initiated by Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels (Paris Hilton’s great grandfather, if you appreciate irony) and Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas. A flashpoint for debates over the separation of church and state, the National Day of Prayer was recently ruled unconstitutional by a United States District Court in Madison, Wisconsin.
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.