Religion and Public Life With Mark Silk

Can religion save America’s inner cities? On his blog over at the American Interest, Walter Russell Mead makes a plea that harks back to the last millennium, when Clintonian welfare reform was new under the sun and the Bush faith-based initiative but a glint in its progenitor’s eye. Mead, a liberal expert in foreign policy,…

I figured that when New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt sought an audience with Manchester archbishop John McCormack to apologize for calling him a pedophile pimp, it would kind of chill things out between the state GOP and the Catholic Church. But Tea Party hard heads up there in the Granite State seem to…

Anyone who wants to know how Catholic prelates should be addressing the abuse crisis should read the remarks that Dublin archbishop Diarmuid Martin delivered a couple of days ago at the Marquette University International Dialogue on the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal. Martin has walked the walk to deal with the crisis in his own diocese;…

What to do about people burning Korans? Lindsay Graham’s idea of restricting First Amendment rights seems to have gone over like a lead balloon, and good riddance to it–though it’s tempting to wish an evil end to the whole cast of characters, from Terry Jones to Hamid Karzai to the rioters in Afghanistan. As for…

When we left D.J. Bettencourt, the majority leader of the New Hampshire House was sticking to his guns, but late yesterday came the news that he had sent a letter to Bishop John B. McCormack apologizing for calling him a pedophile pimp. “Upon humble reflection,” he’d decided that the characterization had been “at best undiplomatic…

Pardon me while my head explodes. On Thursday, the 75-year-old Catholic bishop of Manchester, NH, John B. McCormack, turned up at a rally at the statehouse in Concord to decry proposed budget cuts. “We urge the legislature and the governor to place the poor, the unemployed, and our most vulnerable citizens first,” he said. Whereupon,…

There’s been a lot of chatter, including in this space, about the relationship between social and economic and foreign policy conservatives and how their relationships with each other create problems for the Republican Party as it seeks to recover control of the federal government. The unstated assumption is that such a diversity of policy concern…

Relying on Associate (not Chief) Justice Joseph Story‘s recasting of the First Amendment’s approach to religious establishment and free exercise, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is continuing to press his case that the Framers merely intended the clauses to keep Christian sects from fighting amongst each other, and that therefore Muslims have no First…

Amy Sullivan, may her blog posts increase, has a fine one up on Swampland explaining why the Gingrichian outreach to evangelicals is likely to go nowhere. Among other things, the guy seems incapable of showing remorse (read: repentance) for his well-known sins (ah, those adulteries), and unaware that evangelicals really like to be told your…

In his 12th-century chronicle, The Two Cities, Bishop Otto of Freising retells the story of Bishop Tiemo of Salzburg, who as prisoner of the Emir of Memphis in 1100 was said to have broken to pieces idols that he’d been ordered to worship and was tortured to death for his pains. Otto, who had gotten…

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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