Religion and Public Life With Mark Silk

So now we know: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops cares more about its authority than being right. That’s the clear import of a fine piece of reporting by NCR’s John Allen on the split between the USCCB and the Catholic Hospital Association (CHA) over the health care bill (which, you’ll recall, the former…

For some months now, folks concerned about the federal government’s engagement with freedom of religion abroad have been agitating for the White House to get around to naming the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Yesterday, it finally did so, and I’m afraid they are not going to be happy. The nominee is Suzan Johnson Cook,…

That’s the question that the Southern Baptist Convention is not wrestling with as it tries to figure out how to jump-start the Great Commission Resurgence during its annual meeting in Orlando. The guys over at Religious Connections offer their characteristically disabused take, while USA Today‘s Cathy Grossman wonders whether anyone really cares. Her point is…

It’s starting to look as though Elena Kagan may be the kind of Supreme Court justice who fits in very nicely with the post-separationist ideology of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts. In her confirmation hearings to be solicitor general, she threw under the bus the interpretation favored by her then boss, Thurgood Marshall, and his…

Because Americans have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, the government is obliged to provide military personnel with chaplains at public expense. Americans also have a constitutional right to abortion. So the government also should be obliged to provide pregnant military personnel with access to abortion services, no? No. As Elisabeth Bumiller…

It looks to this non-lawyer that the breakaway Anglicans in Virginia (i.e. the Convocation of Anglicans in North America–CANA) were too clever by half in removing the hem of their garment from the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and affiliating with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. In ruling against them today, the Virginia Supreme Court held…

What’s the best word for describing the Religious Left today? Judging by the three-day conference organized by Michael Lerner’s Network of Spiritual Progressives starting tomorrow in Washington, the most charitable one I can come up with is “ambivalent.” Entitled “Creating ‘The Caring Society’: A Progressive Alternative to Tea Party Extremism and Corporate domination of American…

When last we visited the legal wrangle over whether Enfield, CT could hold its high school graduation ceremonies in the sanctuary of a nearby magachurch, a federal judge had granted an injunction to the contrary, backed up by a lengthy opinion laying out why doing so would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.…

What’s the mission of the Apostolic Visitors who, the Vatican announced last week, will be parachuting into the Emerald Isle next fall? According to the official press release, they are supposed to deal with the abuse crisis: The Apostolic Visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse…

Is the Tea Party a religious movement? Over at Religion Dispatches, Louis Ruprecht says no, it’s an old-time rebellion against taxes and centralized government authority–as in the original Boston Tea Party and the post-Revolutionary disturbances in Western Massachusetts (Shay’s Rebellion) and Western Pennsylvania (The Whiskey Rebellion). On the contrary, responds Joanna Brooks; at least in…

Mark Silk
about

Mark Silk

Mark Silk graduated from Harvard College in 1972 and earned his Ph.D. in medieval history from Harvard University in 1982. After teaching at Harvard in the Department of History and Literature for three years, he became editor of the Boston Review. In 1987 he joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he worked variously as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist. In 1996 he became the founding director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and in 1998 founding editor of Religion in the News, a magazine published by the Center that examines how the news media handle religious subject matter. In 2005, he was named director of the Trinity College Program on Public Values, comprising both the Greenberg Center and a new Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture directed by Barry Kosmin. In 2007, he became Professor of Religion in Public Life at the College. Professor Silk is the author of Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II and Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America. He is co-editor of Religion by Region, an eight-volume series on religion and public life in the United States, and co-author of The American Establishment, Making Capitalism Work, and One Nation Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics. In 2007 he inaugurated Spiritual Politics, a blog on religion and American political culture.

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