Category: Column: Sightings

Sightings is an opionion column provided by the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

We include this column as a service to our readers. Publication does not necessarily indicate endorsement.

Sightings: Death Gospel and the Heart of Saturday Night

death gospel The recent release of Adam Arcuragi’s album Like a Fire that Consumes All Before It€¦ has raised interest in the popular-musical category of “Death Gospel,” a metaphysically attuned variety of the Americana genre named by Arcuragi.

Death Gospel is not sonically related to “Death Metal” (a heavier Heavy Metal music); nor is it overtly “gospel” music.

Revolution before Politics in Egypt

Egypt For too long the specter of fundamentalism was used by both the Mubarak regime and its apologists in the West to justify rigid authoritarianism and social control.

This is not to say that the Islamists and their allies should be taken lightly, but that hysteria about their success will only interfere with efforts to make Egypt a more democratic and inclusive country.

Breivik’s Christianity

Martin Marty Q: What do the following have in common? Anders Behring Breivik, killer of scores of innocents in Norway; assassins Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK) and Sirhan Sirhan (RFK); serial killers: Dennis Rader (Kansas, murdered 10); Charles Starkweather (Nebraska, 11); Jeffrey Dahmer (Wisconsin, 17); and Dylan Kiebold (Columbine, CO, 13).

Answer: they were all Lutheran Christians.

Sightings: The French Ban on Full-Face Veils

Sightings opinion column The “burqa ban” and its current popularity in Europe raise several questions pertaining to religious expressions in public, freedom of expression, the future of Islam and the growing Muslim population in Europe, but also, as the quote of Camile points to, national identity and citizenship.

The ban rests on the salient notion of French secularism, laïcité, the separation of church and state and the division between private life and public sphere.

Should the Devout Be Excluded from Politics?

Religion and Politics In his April 1 “Brainstorm” blog post in The Chronicle of Higher Education, University of Washington professor of psychology David Barash offered a “modest proposal”: “Indeed, I propose that it is high time for the electorate to reject anyone who is strenuously devout.”

The substance of the post is a poor attempt at re-inventing the wheel when it comes to arguing that the proper relationship between religion and politics is no relationship at all.

Sightings: American Christians and Capitalism

Sightings opinion column “God has cursed the earth. . . This is the starting point for all economic analysis. The earth no longer gives up her fruits automatically. Man must sweat to eat.” So writes Gary North, “the leading proponent of ‘Christian economics,'” which connects his version of biblical principles with the free market.

North’s radical “Reconstructionism,” invented by R. J. Rushdoony, has family resemblances to and influence on some wings of the libertarianism favored by some conservative churches.