The long-awaited new book on American religion and its impact from Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell introduces us to complexities and contradictions which often get overlooked public debate, says Martin Marty. Does religion unite or divide? Experience says 'both'. But exactly where, how and why remains important for a rounded view.
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.