March 12, 1993 |
The recent Hindu-Muslim conflicts have reduced modern India to an oxymoron. If the country's secular character is lost, it will cease to be either modern or Indian. India's strength is its secularism. That is also its weakness, because India's secularism does not come from a political document. It comes from the Hindu religion. The religion, now called Hinduism, has evolved as a way of life, an ethics of harmony between diverse forces in nature. In that context, Hinduism does not suffer from the theology of exclusivity and intolerance that are essential for organized religions to survive and to perpetuate themselves.
November 12, 1986 |
Secretary of Education William J. Bennett seems out to educate the country about the danger of sectarian politics. A good thing, what with Pat Robertson about to offer up his dangerous mix of religion and politics in the form of a presidential campaign. Secretary Bennett, who is no slouch at pushing religious values himself, draws the line at anybody's campaigning as though he had the Deity's endorsement. And he's been saying so, which has been enough to inspire the Reverend Robertson to demand an apology.
April 25, 1988 |
When Gov. Kean's name appears in news stories about the presidential campaign, it's usually in a discussion of his chances to be Vice President Bush's running mate. But even if he doesn't join the Republican ticket, the New Jersey governor could play a key role in the race for the White House. Kean recently offered an insight that could be of great help to the Bush campaign - he sounded a strong warning against mixing religion and politics in ways that promote intolerance. If Bush heeds the warning, he will improve Republican prospects in November while strengthening our political system.
October 5, 2008 |
A free DVD containing anti-Muslim propaganda recently appeared as an advertising supplement in newspapers, including The Inquirer, in electoral swing states across the country. Obsession: Radical Islam's War on the West was filled with scenes of Muslims flying planes into buildings, bombing people, burning U.S. flags, and screaming with rage. Although the video offered a disclaimer that most Muslims are not fanatics, its horrific images and sinister music conveyed an emotional message about Muslims that was unmistakable.
September 14, 1998 |
On election eve a few years ago, the Rev. Carolina B. Ramsue made a last-minute call to fellow Democrat John F. Byrne. She said she wanted to take a crew of volunteers out on the street before dawn to distribute sample ballots to all the houses in the borough. All she wanted in exchange, Byrne said, was some coffee and doughnuts. At 4 o'clock the next morning, 15 people struck out from the Democratic headquarters on Church Lane, campaign literature in hand. "Two hours later, they were back," Byrne said.
October 5, 1993 |
I am an infidel. One without faith. It's from the Latin, fides. No faith. That's me. I have been without faith for so long now - since about the age of 13 when I began slipping out the back door early at Sunday Mass - it has become almost impossible to understand those who remain faithful, those who still believe. In God, I mean. It is not that I don't believe. I believe in a lot of things, some of them startlingly close to things that religious people believe in: I believe in the redemptive quality of love, for example.
December 26, 2007
U.S. in the way I am not surprised that delegates at the U.N. climate change conference in Bali booed and hissed the American delegation. I had exactly the same reaction, with some screaming in anger and frustration thrown in, when I read of the EPA's decision to prevent California and other states from enacting stricter vehicle emission standards ("Pa., N.J. to join suit over EPA rule," Dec. 21). The federal government's claim that such local initiatives are unnecessary and interfere with the federal government's national efforts is laughable.
October 22, 1987 |
When Robert McAfee Brown looks over the landscape of modern Christianity, he sees a territory that is shrinking but a responsibility that is expanding. As time goes by, Christians will make up less and less of the global population, according to Brown, one of the best-known Protestant theologians in the United States. "We will . . . represent a way of life that will not commend itself to the masses in the world," he said. But whether the world accepts the Christian message or not, Christians "must have a very central concern" for the well-being of the world, he said.
May 11, 2001 |
Two new studies, each with an entirely different set of findings, have refueled public debate over whether or not gays can go straight. The resulting controversy reminds us that this conversation is not about science but about religion and politics. On one hand, research conducted by Robert L. Spitzer, a Columbia University psychiatrist, suggests that some "highly motivated" gay men and lesbians are able to change their sexual orientation through psychotherapy or religious counseling.
October 6, 2011
By Penn Jillette Because I wrote a book with atheist in the subtitle and go on TV shows to hawk that book, well-groomed meat puppets frequently ask me why politicians like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry are saying bugnutty Christian stuff. I have an idea why these politicians have gone all religious, but I haven't found a way to explain it in a sound bite, which is why I'm writing this. I think the whole problem comes down to the word Christian and what it has come to mean in my lifetime.