June 17, 2011
In an article on Sunday ("Separating church and state takes wisdom"), Robert Benne said that there is no reason to think that "religion . . . will likely lead to some form of theocracy if it has its way in the public sphere. " I grew up in Spain during the Franco regime. Spain was not a theocracy in the way that Saudi Arabia is, but the Catholic Church exercised power over people's lives. To work on Sunday wasn't just a religious offense. It was against the law. If one wanted to hold a decent job, one made sure that the official record showed that one complied with the precepts of the Church.
June 12, 2011
Robert Benne is director of the Roanoke College Center for Religion and Society and author of Good and Bad Ways to Think about Religion and Politics Could you ever imagine that an American government would order the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not to use Christian rhetoric to fuel the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s? That is precisely what some militant atheists, secularists, and even some religious leaders want to have happen today. These folks are what I call "separationists," those who believe that religiously based moral values ought to have no place in public discourse or policy-making.
May 1, 2011
By Gerard O'Donovan Scribner. 323 pp. $25 Reviewed by Peter Rozovsky Good stories run through The Priest , Gerard O'Donovan's debut novel about a rash of sex assaults in Dublin, though some of the stories are marred by the telling. One story is an ambitious reporter's ruthless pursuit of a hot lead. O'Donovan's own journalism background presumably shields him from allegations of media-bashing, and those parts of the novel feel right and credible. Another, likely foremost in O'Donovan's mind, given the book's title, is the putting of "the crucifix back at the heart of Irish writing," as he told an Irish television interviewer.
April 18, 2011 |
To those of us who like science, the difference between science and religion can seem pretty self-evident: Religion requires faith, for one thing, and science demands evidence. But that doesn't always satisfy the true believers. "You can't prove there isn't a God," they say, "and if scientists can't prove God didn't create people, how can they claim their 'belief' in evolution is any less religious than religion?" In 2005, with the country watching, the task of answering that question fell to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, who had to untangle the nature of science and religion to decide whether "intelligent design" theory could legally be taught in public-school science classes in Dover, Pa., near York.
April 9, 2011 |
Catherine Coppari and Max Lipkin's wedding will include elements of both of their faiths. In keeping with Coppari's Roman Catholic background, the minister will bless the rings. Lipkin will break a glass at the end of the ceremony, as is customary at Jewish weddings. Coppari, 26, and Lipkin, 27, hope their married life also will be a blending of both religions. It's a topic the Brooklyn, N.Y., couple have spent hours discussing. "It's always better to have the conversation" before the wedding, Lipkin said.
April 2, 2011 |
GOD IS not dead. But he might just be sick with worry about us. If a team of respected scientific researchers is right, religious belief is headed for extinction in at least nine nations. This projection, somber to some and soothing to others, got a lot of play during the recent annual meeting in Dallas of the American Physical Society. First reported by the BBC, the findings came in the form of a highly technical account of group dynamics based on a mathematical model. They would spark little public interest if the subject were bowling leagues or bocce enthusiasts.
March 27, 2011
Taylor recalls 'Golden Era' The headline "The last goddess" on the story about Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor accurately describes her and her stellar career (Thursday). She was undoubtedly the most beautiful actress of motion pictures in any era. Taylor came from the generation of actors and actresses who comprised Hollywood's "Golden Era," and many of those icons have been rapidly passing over the last several years. Their replacements in Hollywood are mediocre at best. When I think of the most talented people in movies today I think of the people who do special effects and makeup.
March 23, 2011
One of the most enduring and least flattering perceptions of Walt Disney, who died in 1966, is that he was a virulent anti-Semite. Not so, said composer Richard Sherman, one of only two songwriters - with his brother, Robert - who were under contract to Disney's studio. "That is b-------," insisted Sherman, who is Jewish. "That is a terrible rumor. He was a wonderful man. " As Sherman sees it, the anti-Semite label probably stemmed from a 1940 strike against the Walt Disney Co. "Somebody must of heard [Disney]
March 22, 2011
The holiest day in Christendom approaches, and my little girl is anticipating coloring Easter eggs. She doesn't know from crucifixion or resurrection, and she has no clue of who Jesus, Judas, and Pilate were. That's because I never told her. I force vegetables, reading, and baths. But not God. As an agnostic, I haven't figured out what to say. Of course, if it's not cool to dictate faith, it's not cool to dictate nonbelief, either. Still, we religiously avoid church every Sunday.