So sudden have been the marked trends showing disaffection from organised religion that leaders have not internalised the evidence, says Martin Marty. They need to wake up. “Being spiritual” alone is not going to help keep the stories, the language of ethics, and the pool of volunteers embedded in religious bodies thriving.
Two interesting things happened last week that directly affected my neighbours – those whom the biblical message enjoins me to love. First, the California Affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) endorsed Proposition 19. This is a ballot initiative to legalise recreational use of marijuana. Second, the Economist magazine published an article on mass incarceration in the United States entitled ‘Rough Justice,’ with the subheading “America locks up too many people, some for acts that should not even be criminal.”
The curious case of "King James" LeBron, US basketball player, has produced not just manufactured outrage over disloyalty, but a veritable religious marketplace of allegiances connecting fans, idols and saviours, says M. Cooper Harriss. It can be seen as a peculiarly modern American version of idolatry.
Cheaply produced (if expensive to consume), Sarah Palin is a popular commodity whose religious saleability is evidenced by the merchandise generated around her, says Jeremy Biles. He compares and contrasts this phenomenon with that of the destroyed 'Touchdown Jesus' statue and asks what the iconography of faith says about actual belief.
The decline and problems faced by The Crystal Cathedral and other mega-churches has been an occasion for Schadenfreude for those inside and outside the Christian community, says Martin Marty. This is too simple and too judgmental a view.
Catholics in the United States are asking a question that touches on demographics and culture: what will the church look like in the coming years when at least 40 per cent, and perhaps even a majority, of US Catholics are Latino?