Dangerous Education

Hussein Rashid I’ve started with a discussion of Boko Haram and the Taliban, because it is easier to show the foibles of an approach when it is distant from us. However, I fear that many of the rejectionist attitudes of these groups are already operating in the United States.

The Kids Are Alright With Religion

Gary Laderman Now here is the punch line: these were 8th graders! My usual audience is college kids at Emory University, but this was a guest lecture at a nearby middle school, and it was for the “comparative religion” section of their curriculum. These students were getting a carefully designed introduction to the study of religion. In 8th grade. In Georgia even. 

Doomsday Politics

Kelly J. Baker In 2008, some conservative evangelicals declared on email, websites and forums that the future president, Barack Obama, was not a Muslim in hiding, but decidedly more dangerous. They compared Obama to the charismatic Anti-Christ of the of the Left Behind series, Nicolae Carpathia.

Reflections on the Sacred at Year’s End

Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr. The consequences of this decision thus may not be as benign as the majority opinion suggests in the end. “The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths” (27), Kennedy reassures us. But unless I misunderstand him, he has simply authorized religious persons and groups opposed to this decision to continue to speak out against it, in emphatic terms. This culture war is just getting started.

7 Questions for Anthony Petro

I wanted to write something about religion and sexuality for my doctoral work, but I never thought about writing on religion and the AIDS crisis until I watched a film by Gregg Bordowitz, an artist and professor at the Art Institute of Chicago. . . . One of the scenes featured a gay black man standing at a microphone, describing how horrendous the AIDS crisis was at the time – in the 1980s – and then he spoke about God. Not in a negative way, but as a positive force, as a source of grace, even for gay men with AIDS.

Peace, Love, and World Religions?

Brian Pennington In 1893, Presbyterian minister John Henry Barrows opened the inaugural World’s Parliament of Religion in Chicago by inviting the first-ever assembly of religious leaders from across the globe to join him in a “act of common worship” and to sing Isaac Watt’s Trinitarian re-write of the 100th Psalm. This less-than-catholic invocation, which concludes with the call to “Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” was followed by a similar gesture when Cardinal James Gibbons recited the Lord’s Prayer, which Barrow declared the “universal prayer” that would open each of the Parliament’s seventeen days.

Theater as Religion: Luis Alfaro’s “Mojada” at The Getty

Luís León At a time when the bombastic politics of Donald Trump are dehumanizing and vilifying Mexican immigrants, Luis Alfaro’s new play gives audiences a much-needed human perspective on migrants in Los Angeles. Alfaro brings into sharp relief the tragedies undocumented workers face, and the sacrifices they make in order to work in the United States.

“Islam” is Not a Person

Hussein Rashid There is an idea of “Islam,” as a signifier of something foreign and threatening, that continues to plague American discussion of the religion. It is part of the shooting in Chattanooga, and it part of the debate around the Iran nuclear deal. This view of Islam has been part of how America has defined itself since the founding of the country.