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Anthony Heilbut on MaryBeth Hamilton’s ‘In Search of the Blues’

What accounts for the strange need of some white scholars—from the plantation nostalgists of the late 1890s to the “Blues Mafia” of the 1960s—to honor African-American culture by trying to save black people from themselves?

Posted on Mar 21, 2008 READ MORE


On His Own Terms

Let’s ask the hard question about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Is he as far outside the African-American mainstream as many of us would like to think?

Posted on Mar 21, 2008 READ MORE



wikimedia.org / Ali Mansuri

Saudi Arabia Thinks Big

The House of Saud clearly takes a top-down approach to ruling. Under mounting pressure from the West to confront religious fundamentalism, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs plans to retrain some 40,000 imams.

Posted on Mar 20, 2008 READ MORE


Too Big to Fail

The government spread out a nice, soft net to catch the collapsing financial firm Bear Stearns. But if you’re a little guy who gets in trouble, expect to meet up with a somewhat harder surface.

Posted on Mar 20, 2008 READ MORE


The Two McCains

Liberals who have sung the praises of John McCain in the past confront a fascinating test of consistency, integrity and political commitment now that McCain is the virtually certain Republican nominee. It could be an amusing moment. I should know, since I’m one of them.

Posted on Mar 10, 2008 READ MORE


Christ the Redeemer
pastorandpeople.wordpress.com

News Flash: Obama, Clinton Claim Christian Faith

There’s been plenty of innuendo and chatter about Barack Obama’s religious affiliation and beliefs lately, but both Obama and rival Hillary Clinton have described their faith with little room for extrapolation in recent months. Here’s what they had to say.

Posted on Mar 6, 2008 READ MORE


McCain’s Very Own Farrakhan

Whatever their true private beliefs, presidential candidates in America are constantly required to provide proofs of faith, often through their connections with various religious figures. Benedictions from the pulpit bestow an aura of righteousness—except, of course, when the pastor or minister is a disreputable kook whose endorsement should be an embarrassment.

Posted on Mar 5, 2008 READ MORE


Shopping the Spiritual Mall

Just below the text there was a Google ad inviting me to take a quiz. “Christian? Jewish? Muslim? Atheist? See which Religion is Right for You.”

Posted on Feb 28, 2008 READ MORE


Micahel Moore

Michael Moore Gets Religion Against Hillary

A short while into this Larry King interview with Michael Moore, the filmmaker explains why his Catholicism morally prohibits him from voting for Hillary Clinton, and why religion, whether Mitt Romney’s or Tom Cruise’s, should be off-limits.

Posted on Feb 7, 2008 READ MORE


Metamorphosis

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Posted on Jan 23, 2008 READ MORE


Prayers Will Be Answered in the Order They Are Received

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Posted on Jan 7, 2008 READ MORE    


God and John McCain

As he addressed a room full of members of the Iowa Christian Alliance in the small city of Cedar Falls, the senator demonstrated how hard it is for him to find his way through the tangled forest of Christian right doctrine.

Posted on Jan 1, 2008 READ MORE


Mitfords cover

Carla Kaplan on ‘The Mitfords’

A new collection of letters between the fascinating Mitford sisters offers unparalleled insight into one of the 20th century’s most famous families.

Posted on Dec 28, 2007 READ MORE


An Enabling Virtue

Hope is an overused word and an underrated virtue. We “hope” for all kinds of things, from the trivial to the profound. But hope is both a habit and a discipline. It is an orientation toward the future based on the conviction that we live in an ultimately trustworthy universe.

Posted on Dec 24, 2007 READ MORE


Huckabee
AP photo / Steve Mitchell

The Evangelical Rebellion

Mike Huckabee represents a new and potent force in American politics, and the neocons and corporate elite, who once viewed the yahoos of the Christian right as the useful idiots, are now confronted with the fact that they themselves are the ones who have been taken for a ride.

Posted on Dec 23, 2007 READ MORE


ron paul

Ron Paul Doesn’t Accept Evolution

The one and only anti-war Republican presidential candidate didn’t raise his hand when asked who doesn’t believe in evolution, but it turns out he may have wanted to. In this clip, Paul responds to a question about the incident by saying that it was an “inappropriate question,” but that “I think it’s a theory—theory of evolution—and I don’t accept it.”

Posted on Dec 22, 2007 READ MORE


book cover

Zachary Karabell on Mark Lilla’s ‘The Stillborn God’

With religious passions inflaming and complicating politics worldwide, the very project of a secular future is threatened.  In “The Stillborn God,” Mark Lilla reveals the roots of the age-old quest to bring political life under God’s authority.  He also explores how modern Western thinkers found a way to free politics from theological power and build barriers against destructive religious fanaticism.

Posted on Dec 20, 2007 READ MORE


Romney
dallasnews.com

Romney’s Religious Dodge

In the first of a new Truthdig series on religion and politics, the Rev. Madison Shockley analyzes Mitt Romney’s recent landmark speech and finds that America’s most famous Mormon is trying to have it both ways.

Posted on Dec 13, 2007 READ MORE


Huckabee Doesn’t Cut It

Is the thought of him as president just vaguely scary? Or have we learned enough about the man that we should be hair-on-fire alarmed at the prospect, still pretty remote, that he could actually win?

Posted on Dec 13, 2007 READ MORE


Misguided Mercy

Some killers apparently were able to get out of prison by letting then-Gov. Huckabee know they had “found Jesus.”  The terrible aftermath may say something important about the presidential candidate. 

Posted on Dec 12, 2007 READ MORE


Huckabee
motherjones.com

Huckabee’s Sermons Off Limits

The Huckabee campaign has refused to give the media much more than scraps of the candidate’s religious speeches, leaving his 12 years as a pastor relatively shrouded in mystery. We already know he doesn’t believe in evolution, thought at one time that AIDS patients should be quarantined and isn’t ashamed “to let you know that I believe Adam and Eve were real people,” so what is he hiding?

Posted on Dec 12, 2007 READ MORE


Religious Wear (and Tear)

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Posted on Dec 12, 2007 READ MORE


A Bumpy Detour

Romney’s “religion speech” was touched by brilliance, but it turned off onto a wrong road.  Parts of it were frustrating and transparently political, the words of a man with his eye on a prize.

Posted on Dec 6, 2007 READ MORE


Romney’s Walk on a Tightrope

The former Massachusetts governor must stop the advance of presidential rival and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee, but he has to tread a careful line in addressing religious issues.

Posted on Dec 6, 2007 READ MORE


Romney
AP photo / David J. Phillip

Romney Woos Wary Voters With Faith-Based Appeal

Now that rival Republican presidential hopeful (and Baptist minister) Mike Huckabee is getting traction in Iowa polls, Mitt Romney has attempted to pull a JFK by giving a speech Thursday targeting voters concerned about his Mormonism. Romney pledged that church authorities wouldn’t influence his presidential decisions, while also declaring that he endeavors to “live by” his faith and be “true to” his beliefs.

Posted on Dec 6, 2007 READ MORE


A Little Friendly Advice From One Mormon to Another

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the nation’s other big-shot Mormon Republican, has publicly urged Mitt Romney to give a speech putting the issue of his faith to bed. Romney’s advisers, on the other hand, have cautioned him to keep quiet, though they may change their tune in light of a poll indicating that roughly a quarter of Republicans have some reluctance to back a Mormon.

Posted on Nov 28, 2007 READ MORE


Tony Blair

Blair’s Closeted Christianity

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveals why he kept a lid on his “profound” religious faith while in office: “You talk about [faith] in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

Posted on Nov 27, 2007 READ MORE


Cadet Chapel
usafa.af.mil

The Cancer From Within

Retired Air Force Col. David Antoon investigates the evangelical Christian takeover of the military, where proselytizing has become institutionalized and religious ideology threatens to supersede the values of the Constitution.

Posted on Nov 7, 2007 READ MORE


Selective Charity

The Onion targets religious hypocrisy with this satirical interview with the head of a mock Christian charity that provides relief to heterosexual Africans: “As long as you’re not gay, we welcome you with open arms.”

Posted on Nov 1, 2007 READ MORE


Moral Minority

Those who went to the Values Voter Summit left without a candidate to call their own. But the lack of a golden boy isn’t their only problem: There are signs of ideological rigor mortis among the old guard.

Posted on Oct 24, 2007 READ MORE


Bush and Cheney
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

On the Eve of Destruction

The former intelligence officer and weapons inspector argues that the president’s recent World War III comment offers some rare insight into the highly secretive world of George W. Bush’s White House, where the leader of the free world gets advice from reckless neoconservatives, “war criminal” Dick Cheney and “God.”

Posted on Oct 22, 2007 READ MORE


MRI scan
boingboing.net

Finding God in the Brain

Is having a religious experience a matter of stimulating a particular area of the brain?  The God-o-thalamus, perhaps?  (Er, sorry.)  Neuroscientists at the University of Montreal are studying functional MRI (fMRI) scans to see if they can locate such an area and then, perhaps, artificially induce a heavenly state of mind.

Posted on Oct 8, 2007 READ MORE


McCain
democrats.georgetown.edu

McCain: ‘Constitution Established a Christian Nation’

John McCain’s campaign is in dire straits, which may be why he told Beliefnet that he would prefer a Christian president who would “carry on in the Judeo-Christian principled tradition,” and that “the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

Posted on Sep 30, 2007 READ MORE


Bill Maher

Bill Maher: ‘We’re Not the Crazy Ones’

The “Real Time” host argues that it’s about time for the growing “rationalist” minority to challenge the ubiquity of religion in politics.

Posted on Sep 23, 2007 READ MORE


Chris Hedges on Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia

In his book “Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia,” John Gray warns that as the era of liberal intervention in international affairs wanes, it is being replaced with “primitive versions of religion” that will be used to fuel apocalyptic violence.

Posted on Sep 18, 2007 READ MORE


Bill Maher

Bill Maher on Bush’s Missionary Zeal

The “Real Time” host compares the arrogance of missionaries to that of the president, who claims certainty as a virtue: “And the message you hear from Bush apologists these days is,  ‘Oh, sure, short-term Bush may have f—ked everything up, but he’s thinking long-term—hundred years into the future.’ Well, thank you George W. Nostradamus, America’s first science-fiction president.”

Posted on Sep 9, 2007 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

Send In the Clergy!

KSLA News of Shreveport, La., is standing by its report on “Clergy Response Teams,” trained by the federal government to pacify an angry citizenry in the event of martial law. The idea being, as far as we can tell, that religious leaders are ideally suited to the task of explaining to people why they should give up their freedom for the “better good.”

Posted on Aug 20, 2007 READ MORE


Gul
news.bbc.co.uk

Political Danger in Turkey

Turkey’s Abdullah Gul says he will once again run for the presidency, which could lead to a crisis in the politically and religiously complex nation. Turkey’s avowedly secular military has already announced its willingness to intervene should Gul win the post, because of his Islamist background.

Posted on Aug 14, 2007 READ MORE


Obama
rawstory.com

Obama Defends Religion Remarks

In an interview with a Christian Broadcasting Network blog, Barack Obama stood by his assessment that conservative Christian leaders have “hijacked” religion. The candidate went even further, declaring that America is not exclusively a Christian nation.

Posted on Jul 30, 2007 READ MORE


The End of Faith

Posted on Jul 19, 2007 READ MORE


Phony Piety on the Far Right

One of the most durable myths of American public life is that conservatives are more authentic in their religious faith than liberals and progressives.  Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is just the most recent in a long line of fallen conservative Christian moralists to explode the myth.

Posted on Jul 13, 2007 READ MORE


Mike Jones
AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Mike Jones on Ted Haggard and Hypocrisy

The former escort who blew the whistle on Ted Haggard’s homosexuality explains why he felt morally compelled to come forward, what the fallout has been and what he feels is the real tragedy of the situation.

Posted on Jul 7, 2007 READ MORE


Mike Jones
AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Mike Jones on Ted Haggard and Hypocrisy

The former escort who blew the whistle on Ted Haggard’s homosexuality explains why he felt morally compelled to come forward, what the fallout has been like and what he feels is the real tragedy of the situation.

Posted on Jul 3, 2007 READ MORE


arrest
news.bbc.co.uk

Plot Against Gay Pride March in Israel Alleged

A man has been arrested in Jerusalem on a charge of attempting to bomb a gay pride march through the city. The Israeli supreme court recently overturned a ban on the parade, sparking violent protests from religious groups.

Posted on Jun 22, 2007 READ MORE


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