April 29, 1999 |
Many historians dismiss Stephen Girard as a robber baron, a misanthrope, a miser and worse, a godless man without religious values. A clause in his will may have been the source of this unfounded notion. Girard willed most of his money to found a boarding school for poor children. Insisting that their minds be open and free, he set some conditions. The most controversial was barring all clergy. But Girard's restriction of the clergy was widely misinterpreted. "I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect," he explained, "but, as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion . . . I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans . . . free from the excitements which clashing doctrine and sectarian controversy are apt to produce.
July 25, 1986
The writer of a July 18 editorial was obviously suffering from hysteria that resulted in false assumptions and improper deductions. I am concerned with only one: "That religion need not separate one child from another as it does disastrously in Northern Ireland. " This is in itself a false statement and a wrong assumption. Obviously the writer is ignorant of the fact that identical educational systems exist in England, Scotland, Canada and Australia as in Northern Ireland. The systems have existed for more than 100 years without any problem whatever, more than can be said for the system in the United States.
February 23, 1993 |
Here are some selected findings from "The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior: The First Broad-Scale Scientific National Survey Since Kinsey. " Catholics are the most passive sexual partners. (Thirty percent of Catholic women and 27 percent of the Catholic men prefer their partners to initiate sex.) Jewish respondents had their first "full" sexual experience later than any group that identified itself by religion. Of the women who reported having an abortion, 18 percent described themselves as "very religious.
February 3, 2001 |
Sport has become God's country. The word God is ready on the tongues of coaches and athletes, often among the first words in postgame interviews (think of Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis after the Super Bowl last Sunday). God is thanked for the chance to play, for victory, sometimes for mere survival. Boosted by the reigning church-state confusion, many coaches and players at nonreligious high schools and colleges institute prayer before, during and after games. A public high school football coach I know prays with his team before every game, not for victory, but rather for team unity, freedom from injury, humility in victory, class in defeat.
August 13, 1987 |
You won't read many stories like this in a secular newspaper, but there is no way around it. There is no way to write about Reggie White without writing about his religion. You can try, but White will fight you. Ask a simple question about a sack in the third quarter and count on getting a Bible verse in reply - and not just sometimes. Religion is everything to Reggie White. Everything. So this is a story about what White sees in his charismatic visions and the concerns he has about Satanic influences in society.
April 7, 2001 |
As the New York Knicks began preparing for tomorrow's game against Miami, players were dealing with a swirling controversy over coach Jeff Van Gundy's remarks about the negative influence of religion on the NBA. Van Gundy told New York magazine he would like to limit the time the team chaplain, Pastor John Love, spends with his players before games. Allan Houston, Charlie Ward and Mark Jackson attend Love's 10-minute pregame Bible study session. Van Gundy said "the two worst things to happen to the NBA were God and golf.
March 13, 1987 |
Twenty-five years have passed since the Supreme Court set forth its baseline position on religion in the public schools. Now a case is headed for the high court that will test that baseline position, as it were, in reverse. The case involves "secular humanism. " Since the Engel case of 1962, the court repeatedly has held that it is a violation of the Constitution for the schools to promote the existence of a Supreme Being. On these grounds the court has forbidden an official school prayer in New York, halted the reading of Bible passages in Pennsylvania, condemned the posting of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky, and barred a moment of silence in Alabama.
February 13, 1989 |
An addict can be defined as a person who gives himself habitually or compulsively to anything, and in doing so, alters his consciousness. We think an addiction is harmful when a person ingests a substance or injects a drug into his body. It causes him to think in abstract, loose reason, be euphoric and take on strange priorities. In the long run, it stunts developmental growth, shuts out the reality around him and makes him vulnerable to the dangers of everyday life like the oncoming train or the ability to steer a car. But there are dangerous addictions that don't necessarily involve drugs or alcohol, but behaviors.
March 16, 1987 |
Some have been quick to denounce the ruling by U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand that secular humanism is a religion, and therefore cannot be taught in the Alabama public schools so long as other religions are denied equal access. It is a classic example of what might be called the "Frankenstein Doctrine. " Those who worked for 26 years to create a federal court monster that removed religious values and ideals from most of our public institutions now see the monster they created turning on them, tossing out textbooks containing ideas concocted solely from the mind of man. Critics of Hand's ruling pooh-pooh the very idea of secular humanism, saying it is a myth devised by those who are intolerant of opposing ideas.
July 25, 2002 |
E LEVEN MONTHS after the events of 9/11 is no time for a major university to force students to read a book about the Quran. Unfortunately, that is precisely what is occurring at the University of North Carolina. UNC has a summer reading program. The idea is for incoming freshman and transfer students to read the same book as a way to introduce them to intellectual life. This year's selection: "Approaching the Quran: The Early Revelations" by Michael Sells, a comparative religion professor at Haverford College outside of Philadelphia.