The Greening of the Papacy [ Supplement 9 ]
Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and John J. O'Keefe, Creighton University
“I Object to the Names Deism and Infidelity”: Theodore Parker and the Boundaries of Christianity in Nineteenth-Century America
Anti-Islamic Sentiment and Media Framing during the 9/11 Decade
Family Life Cycle Revisited: Age and Life Course Effects on Church Attendance at “Conventional” and Middle Age
The Harvest of Ministry: Exploring the Ministry of Catholic Sisters
Religion, Politics, and Beyond: The Pussy Riot Case
The recent case of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, their performance in Moscow Cathedral and the subsequent legal actions against them, have highlighted many important issues that Russian society faces today. However, this case can also be the basis for a more general analysis of the relations of religion and politics and the political dimension of Orthodox Christianity.
Examining the relationship between religion and politics can point to two important elements that both religion and politics, in their institutional manifestations, share: 1) the "will to power," and 2) the communitarian dimension of human existence. In order to fully understand the paradoxical position of Christianity in respect to politics and state, it is necessary to differentiate between "eschatological" and "historical" Christianity.
This article examines the debates surrounding Theodore Parker's controversial theology as a case study for three purposes. First, it seeks to engage how Christianity's boundaries were challenged within the "spiritual hothouse" of the early republic. Second, it explores how personal and religious identities were constructed during nineteenth century America. And third, it argues that while the late-antebellum period has been characterized as an era of individualism and innovation, validation and legitimacy – especially in the religious market – still hinged on the ability to tether oneself to traditional categories, especially the important, if ambiguous, title of "Christian." Together, the paper explores the tensions of identity construction in the tumultuous atmosphere of nineteenth century Christianity.
Americans' opinions of Islam were at their most favorable immediately after 9/11, when the sense of threat was highest, and grew less favorable even as the fear receded. This counterintuitive outcome apparently resulted from a bipartisan effort by government and media to avert discrimination by framing Islam in a positive way. A gradual increase in animosity thereafter was due to a shift away from this framing, especially by right-leaning talking heads. In 2006 the framing of right-leaning media shifted again, toward nativism. This analysis illustrates the influence of media framing and suggests opinion-makers should choose their frames with care.
We examined the effects of marital status and parenthood on church attendance using panel data from the 1975 and 1992 Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Consistent with prior research, both cross-sectional and fixed effects ordered logit models indicated that marriage and parenthood were positively associated with church attendance. However, prior research has examined only adults in more "conventional" ages of family formation, and our findings indicated that the effects of parenthood extend into middle age. We also found support for prior notions that divorce/separation has negative effects on church attendance and that this effect is present among adults in their thirties as well as those in their fifties. However, using models that analyzed change over time while holding constant individual differences and prior church attendance, we found that the act of getting divorced had a significantly stronger negative impact on Catholics than Mainline Protestants. Similarly, with regard to parental responsibility, the act of becoming a parent was associated with increased church attendance while holding constant individual differences. Thus, our work builds on existing research by utilizing a methodology that allowed us to assess the effects of both family structural status and changes to family structure on church attendance.
Women religious serve in a range of ministries, often with the most disenfranchised in society. The nature of sisters' ministries has often been reduced to its external character – providing education, health care, or social services. What has been less understood is the enduring nature of the forces underlying these ministries. This study draws on six focus group conversations involving 33 Catholic sisters. The study surfaces key themes that frame a better understanding of the work of today's women religious. These themes can be adapted for others who seek to work with people in need.