Monthly archive February, 2010

The Invisible Particularity of the Secular

Adam H. Becker: Cries of discrimination have been raised in France over the decision by a private restaurant chain to serve only halal meat (i.e., ritually slaughtered and drained of most of its blood). Presumably someone thought it would be good for business, but now those who enjoy the savory taste of meat with blood...

Stoned Out of Their Ivory Tower

18 February 2010 By Peter Bebergal In 1964, a year after he was fired from Harvard University, Timothy Leary, together withRichard Alpert and Ralph Metzner, published The Psychedelic Experience, a how-to-manual for taking LSD. Key to a positive undertaking is what Leary calls “set and setting.” Make sure you are in a safe and comfortable place with someone you trust who...

When Plans Backfire

Elissa Lerner: In case you’ve missed it, Uganda has been proposing anti-gay legislation (“inspired” by American evangelicals, according to Time). The latest in the saga: an anti-gay Ugandan clergyman tried to garner support for the bill by showing a gay porn film – a means to educate some 300 people on the physical activity of...

More Oversight for Missionaries

Stephanie Butnick: Sarah Posner writes on The Daily Beast that the “media scrum”surrounding the 10 Baptist missionaries from Idaho charged with child trafficking in Haiti is drawing attention to the problem of undersupervised American missionaries abroad. The highly publicized incident illustrates the need for mission organizations to administer more rigorous volunteer background checks, familiarize volunteers with...

Best Buy's Best New Market?

Elissa Lerner: It couldn’t be more American. The LA Times reported Best Buy’s recent initiative to engage in marketing to Muslims this past Eid-al-Adha. Although naysayers point out that for some, “Muslim” is synonymous with “terrorism” and could lead to bad brand association, it’s hard to imagine that supporting the economy could be an act...

Sweating Out the Details

Stephanie Butnick: Judith Weisenfeld writes that mainstream media coverage of the October 2009 “sweat lodge deaths” at self-help counselor James Arthur Ray’s Arizona retreat has failed to adequately examine responses by Native American communities to the incident or discuss the commodification of Native American spiritual practices. “The significance of this story lies not in Ray’s...

The Puritan's Dilemma


What do Tea Partiers and Jonathan Safran Foer have in common?

By Scott Korb

One afternoon last week, I read both Ben McGrath

God and Groundhog Day

Nicole Greenfield: Center for Religion and Media co-director Angela Zito discusses religion and Danny Rubin’s 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” on NPR’s The Takeaway.