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.
Posts Tagged ‘religion in the U.S.’
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
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.
At Foreign Policy, Molly Worthen examines the sentiments and commitments that inform many American evangelicals’ ambivalence towards the democratic possibilities of the Arab Spring.
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.”