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.

Fasting for the Poor

fasting “Why We’re Fasting” is the title of columnist Mark Bittman’s essay in Wednesday’s New York Times, the “we” being himself and David Beckmann, here described as a “reverend,” and “this year’s World Food Prize laureate.” The pastor heads “Bread for the World.”

Yes, why fast?

Secular Power in Swedish Schools

Sweden Sweden, by some standards one of the world’s most secular countries, passed a new education law stipulating that public schools must teach their subjects in a “non-confessional” and “objective” manner.

The law applies to all schools, including independent Christian and Muslim schools, because they, too, receive funding from the state.

Newt Gingrich’s Comic Repentance

Newt Gingrich After a week of tsunamis, earthquakes, Libyan horrors, Philadelphia clerical sex scandal news, National Public Radio disasters, and National Football League lock-out threats, we the people look for some comic relief.

Celebrity politician Newt Gingrich provided this as he gave the Christian Broadcasting Network audience a rationale for his having committed a plethora of adulteries with, evidently inter alia, three wives. “artially driven by how passionately I felt about this country. . . . I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate,” he said.

Sightings: Hell’s Bell

Hell Americans may have thought that cracks in the façade and framework of evangelicalism would show up most visibly when serious evangelicals argued whether Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee would be the better presidential candidate.

But now we have a chance to see that other divisive issues among evangelicals beg for attention. The topic? Hell, and a punishing God’s use thereof.