Tag: Religion

The history and gravity of Hanukkah in the White House

The Biden White House will hold a Hanukkah party on Wednesday. The story of the Jewish holiday “teaches us that even a little bit of light, wherever it is found, can dispel the darkness and illuminate a path forward,” President Biden said in a statement. Yet the brightest light of this holiday season came earlier this week. On Sunday […]

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Christian nationalism is real. The way you talk about it might make things worse.

What is Christian nationalism? Unless you’re a devoted student of religion and politics, you’d be forgiven for wondering.  The concept has circulated for decades in scholarly circles, where it was more often used in an international context than applied to the United States. But since 2016, it’s become a popular term of art for Christian conservative […]

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U.S. Catholic bishops approve document on the Eucharist that avoids confrontation with Biden, Pope Francis

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 222 to 8 on Wednesday to approve a document on Catholics and the Eucharist, the central rite of Catholic religious observance. Three bishops abstained. The 30-page document, titled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” is the fruit of a contentious yearlong debate on […]

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The Case of the Fitness Instructor Who Spied on California Muslims—Then Helped Them Sue the FBI

Fazaga and the other plaintiffs told the Supreme Court that despite the government’s efforts to dismiss the religious-discrimination claims on state-secrets grounds, the plaintiffs don’t actually need any state secrets to prove their case. “Only they possess the information they seek to keep secret, and Plaintiffs have not sought it to establish their entitlement to […]

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The Failure of American Secularism

Movement visionaries remained captivated by the idea of replicating the full institutional experience of Christian worship in a wholly secular setting, founding new temples of rationalist communion and societies of ethical culture. But the larger pattern still held: As a subordinate form of organized religion, secularism lacked devotional and spiritual power; as principled skepticism, it […]

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Sicilian Catholic diocese bans godparents. Yes, it’s partly due to Mafia godfathers.

Earlier this month, the Roman Catholic dioceses of Catania, in Sicily, put a three-year pause on godparents, Jason Horowitz reports at The New York Times. “Church officials argue that the once-essential figure in a child’s Catholic education has lost all spiritual significance,” and that god-parenting has “fallen to earth as a secular custom between relatives […]

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Jonathan Franzen, America’s Next Top Moralist

Crossroads brings back the mystery and dispenses with many of the manners. While the characters sport painter’s pants and long hair, and occasionally allude to “women’s lib” and Gloria Steinem, the novel doesn’t investigate the social world of the 1970s. Franzen has shifted his attention to more existential concerns: How can people be good if they’re […]

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America Still Hasn’t Reckoned With Its Own Catholic Child Abuse Scandal

Since then, however, those investigations have yielded few public results. A federal probe launched by the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia after the grand jury report’s release, for instance, wrapped up after resulting in just one prosecution. One major complicating factor is that reports of abuse often come years or even decades after the crime itself. […]

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The Baffling Legal Standard Fueling Religious Objections to Vaccine Mandates

When people apply for a religious exemption from a COVID-19 vaccine, they are stepping into a legal world shaped by Seeger. Even though that case was technically just about the interpreting the draft act, it quickly began to influence religious freedom in many other arenas. For example, when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) evaluates […]

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