Posts Tagged ‘religion in the U.S.’

March 10th, 2015

CFP: Freedom of (and from) Religion

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The Department of Religious Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara, with support from the Cordano Endowment in Catholic Studies, will host a conference on “Freedom of (and from) Religion: Debates Over the Accommodation of Religion in the Public Sphere” from April 30 to May 2, 2015.

June 12th, 2014

With Cantor loss, only Christian Republicans in Congress

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Lecture by Congressman Eric Cantor | Image via Flickr user Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan's PhotostreamThe unexpected primary defeat of Virginia Representative and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last night is already having seismic effects on the Republican leadership and Congress as a whole.

May 28th, 2014

The imaginary “war on religion”

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Over at The Atlantic, Peter Beinhart recounts the results of a new survey on religious observance in America.

September 5th, 2013

Catholic bishops on immigration reform

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has undertaken a coordinated effort to preach the message of immigration reform in diocese across America as reported by The New York Times.

August 28th, 2013

The civil religion of “I have a dream”

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This Wednesday will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s landmark “I have a dream” speech and the 1963 March on Washington. In commemoration of the great moment in American civil rights history, scholars and commentators have dedicated much of this past month to recognizing Dr. King’s legacy. At Religion News Service, Yonat Shimron and Adelle M. Banks offer insights from academics of religion and discuss the speech’s continued relevance.

August 23rd, 2013

Ascetic faith in a modern world

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Jainism, a religion from India that emphasizes a disciplined adherence to non-violence, is one of the oldest religions in the world. Modern-day Jains, including those born in the United States, are learning to adapt and reinterpret their faith in a modern world.

August 16th, 2013

Engaging whose religion?

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In late July, The Immanent Frame published a set of reflections on the Department of State’s plans for a new office dedicated to engaging religion. Following an official announcement by Secretary Kerry on August 7th, scholars and policy commentators have continued to weigh in on the implications, challenges, and potential of the new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives.

August 14th, 2013

On the passing of Jean Bethke Elshtain

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Well-known ethicist and scholar Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago recently passed away on August 11, 2013.

August 9th, 2013

CFP: The Book of Mormon: Americanist Approaches

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Professors Jared Hickman and Elizabeth Fenton have put out a call for papers on The Book of Mormon for potential future publication.

July 22nd, 2013

Religious progressives in the US

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The new Economic Values Survey carried out by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institute has surveyed the American religious landscape according to a new set of criteria and found a significant number of religious progressives, particularly within younger generations, suggesting an increase over time.

July 10th, 2013

Is the increase in the non-religious a “bad thing”?

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A new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that an increasing number of American adults identify as religiously unaffiliated, and nearly one half of respondents said that the increase in non-religious individuals is a “bad thing” for American society.

June 26th, 2013

SCOTUS roundup: Rulings on DOMA and Prop 8

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Wednesday that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. The Court also declined to rule on Proposition 8, a California case that banned same-sex marriage, on technical grounds, deciding that the case was improperly before the Court. The following roundup presents a range of reactions from both sides, with a focus on the religious aspects that have long influenced this debate.

June 25th, 2013

President Carter calls upon the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter calls upon the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests as part of an interview discussing religion, faith, and women’s rights with Time Magazine reporter Elizabeth Dias in order to promote The Carter Center’s upcoming Mobilizing Faith for Women conference

June 21st, 2012

Social eugenics, unintended consequences, and dropped balls

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These essays provoked me in a number of ways, especially with their combined penchant for probing raw nerves. Indeed, I didn’t fully understand how raw—let’s say conflicted—I was about religious freedom discourses and practices until this intervention was staged. In the spirit of therapy, then, we can begin: “Hi, my name is Greg, and I’ve led a carefree lifestyle, all along assuming religious freedom is a good thing. I’ve been drinking this cocktail for years; it has become part of my identity. Thanks to these scholars, I’ve been sober for three days.”

June 15th, 2012

Muslim group sues NYC

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Last Wednesday, a group of New Jersey Muslims filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, accusing the NYPD of taking unlawful and discriminatory surveillance measures against them.

June 11th, 2012

Is technology good for religion?

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At The Washington Post, Lisa Miller argues that, contrary to the beliefs of religious figures and political pundits, technology is good for religion.

June 4th, 2012

Gallup poll on sin

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At The Atlantic, Molly Ball reports on Gallup’s recent poll on Americans’ attitudes about sin. According to the poll, Americans find birth control, divorce, and gambling the most morally acceptable, at approval ratings of 89%, 67%, and 64%, respectively, and polygamy (11%), cloning (10%), and adultery (7%) the most morally reprehensible.

May 30th, 2012

American attitudes toward religious minorities

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At last week’s 67th annual conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Daniel Cox, director of the Public Religion Research Institute, presented a paper on American attitudes toward religious minorities in 2012.

May 16th, 2012

The bishops, the sisters, and religious freedom

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At its March 2012 meeting, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty,” a document drafted by the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.

May 9th, 2012

Backlash against Muslims?

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At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf attempts to prove wrong writers, political commentators, and politicians who claim that post-9/11 Islamophobia is a media-conceived, unsubstantiated hoax.

May 1st, 2012

Evangelicals support Romney

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At The New Republic, Eg Kilgore explains why the Christian Right will overcome its apprehensions about Mitt Romney’s religion.

May 1st, 2012

New online journal: Religion & Politics

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Today marks the launch of Religion & Politics, an online journal from the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

April 25th, 2012

Problems with new Gallup poll?

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Gallup’s latest poll, released today, breaks down presidential candidate support by voter religiosity and religious identity.

April 24th, 2012

War on nuns

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At The Nation, Norman Birnbaum, professor emeritus at Georgetown University Law Center, rebukes the Catholic Church for its historical “unyielding insistence on the rule of men”; and more specifically, for its decision to reorganize the Leadership Council of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that represents eighty percent of American nuns.

April 19th, 2012

Catholic bishops on religious liberty

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Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and its Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty released a lengthy statement entitled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the latest manifestation of the tensions between the USCCB and President Barack Obama’s administration.

April 17th, 2012

Modern Mormons and socialism

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At Salon, Troy Williams retells an old Mormon tale and chastises likely Republican candidate for president, Mitt Romney, for abandoning his religion’s socialist roots

April 16th, 2012

Muslims and the Republican party

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Nona Willis Aronowitz, at GOOD, discusses the impact that Republican, anti-Islamic rhetoric has had on Muslim voters.

April 12th, 2012

Looking at religiosity and the Bible Belt

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Richard Florida follows up on what exactly the recent Gallup poll on differences in religiosity by state tells us about America. He compares the poll’s findings with his own socioeconomic data, which confirms correlations identified by the longstanding World Values Survey:

April 11th, 2012

The power of pluralist thinking

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It is hard to remember, but religious pluralism meant something quite different fifty years ago. We have, I would argue, so shifted our collective understanding of religious pluralism, and this transformation has been so naturalized, that we have little common conception that this shift even happened and much less sense of its consequences.

March 27th, 2012

Rising alternatives to organized religion

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In a recent issue of TIME, Amy Sullivan writes of a 2009 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and an example of American expats in Mexico that both suggest Americans may prefer to grow their own when it comes to religious congregations.

March 27th, 2012

Religious freedom between truth and tactic

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In the last issue of First Things, a self-described coalition of “Catholics and Evangelicals together” defends religious freedom. The coalition includes a number of notable Americans, like Charles Colson and George Weigel, with endorsements from the archbishops of Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, along with many others. According to the statement, the situation is unexpectedly urgent. After the fall of the Soviet Union, “throughout the world, a new era of religious freedom seemed at hand.” But, now it is blatantly clear that the scourge of intolerance—especially secularist intolerance—persists.

March 2nd, 2012

The naked public sphere?

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In light of Rick Santorum’s recent comments on religion and the public sphere, we asked a small handful of scholars about the status of such claims regarding religion in American political life. Just how “naked” is the American public square? What is the appropriate place of religion in the public sphere?

Read responses by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Michele Dillon, John L. Esposito, John H. Evans, Philip S. Gorski, R. Marie Griffith, Cristina Lafont, Nancy Levene, Nadia Marzouki, Ebrahim Moosa, Justin Neuman, and John Schmalzbauer.

February 24th, 2012

The contraception mandate

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In what is latest in a series of conflicts between the Obama administration and the Roman Catholic Church, a recent regulation announced by the Department of Health and Human Services mandating that all employers—including religiously affiliated institutions such as Catholic universities and hospitals—provide health care that covers the cost of contraception has provoked widespread outcry from religious leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, as well as from many politicians, both Republican and Democrat. President Obama has outlined a compromise whereby employees at religious organizations would be given access to free contraception directly from health insurers themselves, yet this has done little to quell criticism and ongoing debate.

We’ve invited a small handful of scholars to comment on how the debate highlights enduring and nascent issues involving claims to multiple rights made in the context of American public life.

February 21st, 2012

Do candidates need the Catholic vote anymore?

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Ed Kilgore argues that American Catholics no longer represent a voting constituency that is significantly different from non-Catholics.

November 16th, 2011

Catholic bishops take aim at White House

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On Monday, November 14th, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met in Baltimore to begin day 1 of its national meeting in the wake of increasing tensions between the USCCB and the White House over a range of issues.

October 25th, 2011

Tony Judt on Religion in America

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In addition to an excerpt from the introduction to Denis Lacorne’s Religion in America, as well as Joseph Blankholm’s response to Lacorne’s recent presentation of the book at Columbia University, you can also read the book’s foreword by the late Tony Judt, available from Columbia University Press.

October 12th, 2011

America’s “faith-friendly secularism”

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At the Rethinking Religion blog of Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, Joseph Blankholm responds to Denis Lacorne’s recent presentation, at Columbia, of his latest book Religion in America (Columbia University Press, 2011), which explores the multiple and divergent narratives situating faith’s place in the foundation and ongoing life of the American republic. Lacorne also examines how the United States’ seemingly peculiar mixture of principled secularism and overt public religiosity has been understood, and misunderstood, by French philosophers and other observers of the American scene.

September 26th, 2011

Taking theology seriously

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What we need is a bird’s eye view, and that requires taking theology seriously, and considering a longer view of the history of Western civilization than any sociological survey can provide. […] American Grace adopts a position of respectful skepticism toward theology. The authors dutifully reproduce the questionnaire of “measures of theological belief and religious commitment” included in their survey, but they express surprise that many Americans “have stable views on such seemingly arcane theological issues” as whether a person is saved by faith or by their own good deeds. (Calling this fundamental question “arcane” is a bit like expressing confusion at that obscure rule in baseball that allows a player to score a run by crossing home plate.)

September 19th, 2011

A historian’s reaction to American Grace

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David Campbell’s and Robert Putnam’s American Grace left me historically puzzled on my first reading, and my second didn’t clear things up. Its 550 pages of text, plus 97 pages of appendices and notes, probe the range and complexity of contemporary American religiousness with remarkable patience and detail. Although American Grace doesn’t leave historians on the whirling dime, wondering “So what?” it does raise questions about historical context. In other words, how do the changes that Campbell and Putnam retrace fit three centuries of evolution in American religion, politics, and culture?

September 14th, 2011

Nothing is ever lost: An interview with Robert Bellah

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Both an influential scholar and a public intellectual, Robert Bellah is one of the foremost sociologists of his generation. His books and articles have set in motion lasting conversations about the role of religion in public life, both in the United States and around the world. Since retiring from thirty years of teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, Bellah has been at work on his most ambitious book yet, the recently released Religion in Human Evolution (Harvard University Press).

September 13th, 2011

A discussion on religious freedom, Islam, and American Muslims

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On September 15, New York University will hold a discussion on “religious freedom, possibilities for reform in Islam, and the paths being taken by American Muslims in the context of a post-9/11 rise in bias against Muslims” with U.S. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Irshad Manji.

September 2nd, 2011

More on religion in the presidential race

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At The Daily Beast, Micheal Medved joins the current discussion, set off by Bill Keller’s recent Times article, on religion’s role in the presidential race.


August 29th, 2011

Questioning religion’s role in the presidential race

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At the Scoop, Maura Jane Farrelly rounds up some responses (and adds her own) to Bill Keller’s Times Magazine editorial appealing for closer scrutiny of presidential candidates’ religious backgrounds and beliefs.

August 26th, 2011

Fear, Inc.: a report on the roots of Islamophobia

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The Center for American Progress has a new report out on the groups and individuals fomenting the rising tide of Islamophobia in the U.S.

August 24th, 2011

Wanted: two of every animal

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The Creation Museum in Kentucky has been stirring up controversy with its plan to create a 500′-long and 80′-high “replica” of Noah’s ark. In early August a town meeting of sorts was held to discuss local concerns, specifically issues of state funding and tax incentives. One attendee recounts the exchange.

August 8th, 2011

American evangelicals and the Arab Spring

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At Foreign Policy, Molly Worthen examines the sentiments and commitments that inform many American evangelicals’ ambivalence towards the democratic possibilities of the Arab Spring.

June 1st, 2011

Kentucky approves state funding to expand Creation Museum

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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.”

May 25th, 2011

After Oprah

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On the occassion of the final broadcast of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Kathryn Lofton reflects, in an On Faith article, on what Oprah was.

May 25th, 2011

Matters of Ultimate Concern

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As the 2012 election season draws ever closer, Scott McLemee considers the essays collected in The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere (ed. Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen).

May 25th, 2011

Every moment an Aha! Moment!

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Kathryn Lofton’s Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon is a work, first and foremost, of cultural anthropology. The back cover confirms this fact. Yes, the book is about the incorporations of Oprah. But more significantly, it is an ethnography of “American astonishment,” of what it feels like to live before screens that enlighten and advertise and encompass (the virtual counterpart of living within the effervescent glare of studio lights and perpetual applause). Lofton captures, as few writers can, the everyday magic of our viral time—what, in the ritual grammar of Oprah, are referred to as “Aha! Moments.”