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Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

A Little Museum in Each Blog

Each of Historian Barbara Wells Sarudy's six blogs contains a wealth of esoteric treasures: "President John Adams declared, “History is not the Province of the Ladies.” Oh well, I'll give it a try." [more inside]
posted by whimsicalnymph on Jan 5, 2014 - 6 comments

Hell Houses

Evangelical churches across the country run "hell houses" on Halloween. These attractions show how "sinful" activities can ruin young lives. Some churches are trying to be more positive in their messaging. For those who are interested, you can now buy your own "hell house" outreach kit. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 31, 2013 - 68 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

"Stopping bad things is a significant public service."

"Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas"
posted by zarq on Sep 23, 2013 - 348 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Who gets to speak, where, in front of whom, and about what  

Why the controversial (and somewhat backfired) Lauren Green interview of Reza Aslan is is about more than just Fox News idiocy.  
posted by Artw on Jul 31, 2013 - 162 comments

"There was no return from apostasy."

Leaving the Witness. "In one of the most restrictive, totalitarian countries in the world, for the first time in my life, I had the freedom to think." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 21, 2013 - 26 comments

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show.

'Homeland,' Obama’s Show. The award winning TV show does little to alleviate the myths and misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims, writes Joseph Massad, a scholar at Columbia University. "The racist representation of Arabs is so exponential, even for American television [..] that one does not know where to begin." [more inside]
posted by kiskar on Dec 12, 2012 - 84 comments

The End of the Christian Right?

Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
posted by reenum on Feb 14, 2012 - 128 comments

"Jews and Christians should be allies; and allies are equals."

In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2011 - 13 comments

30 Mosques. 30 States. 30 Days.

30 Mosques in 30 Days, 2011 [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 7, 2011 - 22 comments

Lest we forget

"A pious, peaceful man, York had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1 On this day let us remember Sergeant York.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
posted by unliteral on Nov 11, 2010 - 14 comments

Religion à la Carte – Threat or Menace?*

A major survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that most Americans have a non-dogmatic approach to faith. A strong majority of those who are affiliated with a religion, including majorities of nearly every religious tradition, do not believe their religion is the only way to salvation. And almost the same number believes that there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion. The survey finds that constant movement characterizes the American religious marketplace, as every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents. (.pdf of full report (268 pages) or watch the video of Pew Forum Director Luis Lugo giving an overview of the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey and talking about some of its key findings.) [more inside]
posted by ServSci on Dec 11, 2009 - 37 comments

Can you find Satan?

"This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century." The McNaughton Fine Art Company presents "One Nation Under God" [cache], an... interesting take on American history in a nifty zoom interface. Artist John McNaughton, who calls himself "the only living artist in the world today" to practice the Barbizon School of French Impressionism, has an extensive body of less opinionated work for you to admire. Interview. Character list.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 6, 2009 - 305 comments

Since when does Hollywood shy away from controversy?

The Producer Cites Religious Controversy. The Director points to a recessionary trend against "serious" movies. A new film about Charles Darwin's life ("Creation") is reportedly having difficulty finding a US distributor. ( Creation: IMDB / Official Site / Trailer / Spoiler-laden review from Roger Ebert / LA Times review // Darwin: Previously on MeFi).
posted by zarq on Sep 13, 2009 - 70 comments

"Greetings from Idiot America"

Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

Jesus who?

The End of Christian America. The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2009 - 223 comments

When Atheists Attack

The days when America’s leading intellectuals contained a strong cadre of serious Christians are over. There is no Thomas Merton in our day; no Reinhold Niebuhr, Walker Percy or Flannery O’Connor. In the arguments spawned by the new atheist wave, the Christian respondents have been underwhelming.

American Religious Identification Survey, 2008
posted by leotrotsky on Mar 15, 2009 - 166 comments

A nation of nonbelievers

"The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
posted by 0bvious on Jan 20, 2009 - 270 comments

3 to 10 classroom hours

16% of US science teachers believe human beings have been created by God within the last 10,000 years. 25% of science teachers spend some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. 12.5% teach it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species". 2% say they do not cover evolution at all. Teachers who have taken more science courses themselves devote more time to evolution - "This may be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject."
posted by Artw on May 19, 2008 - 205 comments

... the replacement of my secular education with a curriculum guided by God. ...

Through a Glass, Darkly How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history--from Harpers. ...producing a flood of educational texts with which to wash away the stains of secular history. ...
posted by amberglow on Jan 12, 2007 - 111 comments

Life & Liturgy Artifacts

A collection of American Catholic paraphernalia, including mysterious (for me, a non-Catholic) objects like; aspergills, clappers and Sick call sets. There are also more rosaries, medals and pins than you can shake a stick at.
posted by tellurian on Oct 20, 2006 - 20 comments

Reframing the values debate.

Democrats of Faith. Jesse Lava, co-founder, says the site is attempting "to help reframe the values debate to be beyond wedge-issue politics, beyond fear and division and more focused on justice and the common good."
posted by footballrabi on Sep 6, 2006 - 63 comments

A Nation of Saints

One in five Americans consider themselves "holy", according to a recent poll by the Barna Research Group.
posted by bcveen on Feb 24, 2006 - 52 comments

Acts of sacred violence

What’s "Sacred" about Violence in Early America? Susan Juster discusses the "oversized colonial martyr complex" with its attendant paradox: "colonial martyrs were everywhere, religious violence... in short supply." She begins:
One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637. Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will. "We must burn them!" the militia captain famously insisted to his troops on the eve of the massacre, in words that echo the classic early modern response to heretics. Just five months before, the Puritan minister at Salem had exhorted his congregation in strikingly similar terms to destroy a more familiar enemy, Satan; "We must burne him," John Wheelwright told his parishioners. Indians and devils may have been scarcely distinguishable to many a Puritan, but their rhetorical conflation in these two calls to arms raises a question: Was the burning of Fort Mystic a racial or a religious killing?
She avoids easy answers and makes some interesting connections. If you want to find out more about the Pequot War, there's good material in the History section of this site. (Main link via wood s lot.)
posted by languagehat on Jan 9, 2006 - 35 comments

Harold Bloom, Jesus and Tanakh

"It is absurd to talk about a Judeo-Christian tradition".
I had been born in the United States but didn't know any English because none was spoken at home or in the streets. We were a solid enclave of some 600,000 Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking Jews. But I still remember one day that a missionary came to the door with what I still have my copy of: a Yiddish translation of the New Testament. There's a kind of grim joke in that, isn't there? In the mere existence of it.
Harold Bloom on religion in America, God smoking a cigar, and who really is the King of the Jews.
posted by matteo on Dec 4, 2005 - 72 comments

Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

Faith based prisons... Can Gov. Jeb Bush's new drive to introduce God to the inmates make a difference, or was Jesus 'dying for our sins' not enough already? Is Jesus a solution or an excuse?

"Night has fallen. He has died now. A fly crawls over the still flesh. Of what use is it to me that this man suffered, If I am suffering now?" - Jorge Luis Borges
posted by 0bvious on Nov 25, 2005 - 36 comments

Will the real Thanksgiving please stand up?

Thanksgiving sucks. The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.
posted by j-urb on Nov 24, 2005 - 55 comments

His almost chosen people?

Americanism—and Its Enemies
Puritanism did not drop out of history. It transformed itself into Americanism.
David Gelernter is a contributing editor of The Weekly Standard and professor of computer science at Yale. This essay helps to explain American religiosity..to the rest of us.
posted by dash_slot- on Jan 18, 2005 - 49 comments

If America were Iraq, what would it be like?

If America were Iraq, what would it be like? Private armies totaling 275,000 men; platoons of Christian Soldiers Militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery; the grounds of the White House constantly under mortar fire; the Secretary of State, President, and Attorney General all assassinated in the past year; and the Air Force routinely bombing Billings, Flint, Philadelphia, and parts of LA and DC to destroy "safe houses" of "criminal gangs."
posted by johnnydark on Sep 27, 2004 - 34 comments

American Taliban, sans condoms, extra brimstone

American Taliban plans theocracy - soon Theocracy Watch reports on the religious right's takeover of the Republican Party. The Bush Administration's proposed Federal Marriage Amendment is but one ploy of the new American Taliban : "with one amendment the religious right could wipe out access to birth control, abortion, and even non-procreative sex" ["...behind this amendment: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, Robert Bork, Rick Santorum" - via Andrew Sullivan]. Maureen Farrell chronicles the power centers of the newly powerful religious right. Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series, has the President's ear and this concerns more than jamming Creationism into your school's curriculum.

On the agenda - "The civil government of our nation, its laws, institutions, and practices must therefore be conformed to the principles of Biblical law as revealed in the Old and New Testaments." Writes Farrell - "How did this happen? - Voter apathy is the key to the phenomenal ascent of the Religious Right in the U.S. government." Pat Robertson, 1990 : "With the apathy that exists today, a small, well-organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree."
posted by troutfishing on Mar 10, 2004 - 142 comments

New religion?

Ready for a new religion? Or maybe not so new. But it may explain a few things.
posted by donfactor on Jul 29, 2003 - 11 comments

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church

Know-Nothings, Bible Riots and the Catholic Church Take a break from priest abuse news with this detailed history of anti-Catholic bias in the United States. In 1834, an angry Boston mob burned down a convent after Harriet Beecher Stowe's father preached that Catholic immigrants were a threat to democracy. In Philadelphia, the 1844 Bible Riots lasted for days, destroying Irish-Catholic churches and neighborhoods. In 1855, Louisville Know-Nothings went on a "Bloody Monday" rampage that left dozens of Catholics dead. Even telegraph inventor Samuel Morse got into the act with a series of anonymous anti-Catholic letters. Fascinating stuff, but oops, break's over. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
posted by mediareport on Jun 13, 2002 - 25 comments

Americans edge away

Americans edge away from organized religion two University of California, Berkeley, sociologists say.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on May 28, 2002 - 16 comments

Five Pillars of Islam

Five Pillars of Islam Bradley County, one of several Tennessee counties to vote recently to post the Ten Commandments, has been asked to extend its endorsement of religious documents in public places to include the Five Pillars of Islam. Smith (the commission chairman) said he respects Cate's beliefs but believes that, particularly since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that have been blamed on extreme factions of Islam, it would be inappropriate to post the Five Pillars. Would it be appropriate to post if there had been no 9-11 or is it just inappropriate.
posted by onegoodmove on Apr 3, 2002 - 42 comments

Charting the unchurched in America

Charting the unchurched in America "Americans almost all say religion matters, yet more people than ever are opting out. " I thought the trend was in the other direction What's Up
posted by onegoodmove on Mar 7, 2002 - 35 comments

From 1972 to 1998,

From 1972 to 1998, the number of American voters claiming to attend church regularly has stayed stable at 37%. The number who say they never attend church at all has risen from 14% to 33%. What affect will this have on American politics?
posted by Steven Den Beste on Jul 8, 2001 - 31 comments

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