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What Trump gets right

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | December 15, 2015

How does one make sense of a US presidential candidate calling for the banning of Muslims entering the country and the tracking and profiling of those who live here? How does one make sense of a US Supreme Court justice suggesting that Blacks should not go to top-tier universities? We live in strange times and … Continue reading »

The transformation that a common man seeks: Thoughts on Pope Francis

Cristobal Madero, Ph.D. student, education | September 29, 2015

A few years into the World War II, the famous American composer Aaron Copland was commissioned to work on a musical piece to honor the first soldiers returning from the war. Copland composed “Fanfare for the Common Man,” not only thinking of those returning from the war, but of those who remained in the U.S. … Continue reading »

Jeb, the Pope and climate change

Dan Farber, professor of law | June 10, 2015

Jeb Bush’s environmental views seem to be evolving. In a recent speech at Liberty University, he had this to say about environmental protection: “America’s environmental debates, likewise, can be too coldly economical, too sterile of life . . . Christians see in nature and all God’s creatures designs grander than any of man’s own devising, the … Continue reading »

Searching for Equality in Indiana and Beyond

john a. powell, director, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society | April 2, 2015

Throughout the history of our nation, many faith traditions have led on social issues. Religious leaders and faith-based communities played a critical role in the abolitionist movement, suffragist movement, and civil rights movement. Even today, there are vigorous and active communities of faith that speak out publicly to the issues of our time, from #blacklivesmatter … Continue reading »

Bible readings

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 14, 2014

A recent story noted that president of the Hobby Lobby company, the company that took its religious objections to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) all the way to the Supreme Court, is a leader in a campaign to put Bibles and Bible classes into American public schools. As you would expect, this move is getting push back … Continue reading »

Atheist evangelism: ‘Nothing new under the sun’

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | November 19, 2013

Atheists are getting evangelical and congregational, bemused press reports would have it. There are the international bus ad campaigns – “Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness’ sake,” in the U.S., and “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” in Richard Dawkins’ Britain. More recently, a global effort, perhaps tongue … Continue reading »

Declaring you’re a ‘none’

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | August 20, 2013

In 2002, Mike Hout and I identified a new trend in Americans’ relationship with religion. Around 1990, the percentage of respondents to the General Social Survey (GSS) who, when asked their “religious preference,” picked the “no religion” option starting rising, doubling from about 7 percent, where it had been for many years, to 14 percent by … Continue reading »

Robert Bellah

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | August 13, 2013

The great scholar Robert N. Bellah, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at UC Berkeley and winner of the National Humanities Medal in 2000, died July 30. (He was also a colleague and friend.) Bellah’s seminal contributions range from analyses of Japanese society to a recent, epoch-spanning book on the history of religion. For many, and for … Continue reading »

America’s religious market

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | July 9, 2013

America has long been the most religious of the affluent, western nations, having the most professing and practicing population. (A couple of the nearly 100% Catholic countries are close, but only Canada otherwise.) Explaining this aspect of American exceptionalism has preoccupied many scholars of religion. Part of the answer is that since the early 1800s … Continue reading »

Catholic schism

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | March 13, 2013

With the resignation of Pope Benedict and election of a new pope, amidst what seems an unending turmoil over sex abuse by priests, pollsters have understandably thought this a good moment to inquire about American Catholics’ attitudes on religious matters. The results describe a major disconnection between the Roman Catholic Church and its American adherents. … Continue reading »

Pope Benedict XVI on crisis, development, and truth

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | February 11, 2013

Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will resign from his ministry at the end of the month, citing declining strength in his advanced age. His Papacy began in 2005 and many of his written messages reflect upon the global economic and financial crisis that characterized the world to which he ministered. Most notably, his 2009 encyclical Caritas in veritate (Charity … Continue reading »

Religion, politics and the Sunday mail

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | December 6, 2012

Saturday mail delivery may in the near future be a thing of the past. All the more surprising that Americans once had not only Saturday delivery but Sunday mail delivery as well. The century-long struggle that ended postal service on the Sabbath, a campaign to protect both the Lord’s Day and American workers from the ceaseless demands of commerce,  illuminates … Continue reading »

Confidence, leadership, and the apocalypse

Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business | May 22, 2011

In a world full of uncertainties, it is comforting to find someone who knows the truth and the courage to speak it. That is what his followers found in Harold Camping, a Christian minister in Oakland, California. Camping preached that the Bible foretold the end of the world on May 21st, 2011. The compelling certainty … Continue reading »

Faith Endures

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 27, 2011

In 1907, a delegation of ministers from the New York City Federation of Churches visited President Theodore Roosevelt to ask his assistance in halting an alarming decline in the churches’ “hold on the people.” Roosevelt promised “to aid the cause in every way possible.” Ministers in the early 20th century frequently raised such alarms. They … Continue reading »