Sixteen years and 40 issues ago, the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College launched Religion in the News, the only magazine ever dedicated to looking at news about religion. With this latest issue we’re wrapping up the hard copy version and going entirely online with a new webzine format. I won’t explain it all here, because that would just be repeating what I say in my editor’s column. The bottom line is that the dead tree version (which is also online) is going out in style.
The lead article is, if I may say so, as clear an exposition as exists of the legal back story of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, which the Supreme Court addressed in its Hobby Lobby decision and is likely to take up this session with respect to religious non-profits. The article is based in substantial measure on the fine undergraduate thesis written by Sam Livingston, Trinity Class of 2014 and Greenberg Center undergraduate fellow.
Next comes the latest installment in Andrew Walsh’s long-running series on the Catholic abuse scandal, this one about the tribulations of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Twin Cities. What makes the Niensted story unique are the insider revelations of the archdiocese’s chancellor for canonical affairs from 2008 to 2013, Jennifer Haselberger.
Walsh, who has been managing editor of the magazine from day one, then offers unique insight into the religious dimension of the situation in Ukraine; to wit, the loss the Patriarchate of Moscow is facing from the rise of an independent Orthodox church in what is not only the homeland of Russian Orthodoxy but also the most devout of the former Soviet republics.
Next, Utah State’s Philip Barlow and Scott Marianno survey the complex present and past of marriage law in Utah, focusing on twin court decisions throwing out the state’s bans on polygamy and same-sex marriage. This background is all the more important now that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a same-sex marriage case, permitting SSM to become the law of the land in the Beehive State.
The animus of Buddhist monks towards Burma’s Muslim minority — and the failure of human rights heroine Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn it — has been one of the sadder human rights stories of the past two years. Ingrid Jordt, who in 2008 wrote about the monks’ protest against the former Burmese regime, lays bare the religious, political, and economic dynamics to show why Suu Kyi is caught between a rock and a hard place.
Catholic bishops and evangelical bigwigs talked a big game on immigration reform this year. But as Andrew Walsh (in the issue’s hat trick) makes clear, when push came to shove in the House of Representatives, the church folks were unwilling to call down their wrath on those responsible.
Surveys of American Jews tend to cause heartburn in the Jewish community these days, which helps explain why the latest one was conducted by a non-Jewish organization. Jerome Chanes, who has spent a career running and writing about Jewish agencies, examines the findings and impact of Pew’s 2013 Portrait of Jewish Americans.
For you basketball fans, Knicks fanatic Christine McCarthy McMorris, our trusty associate editor, makes this the one-and-only two-fer Buddhist issue with a look at the ascent of Zen Master Phil Jackson to Sensei of Madison Square Garden. Yoel Cohen of Ariel University offers an Israeli view of Pope Francis’ lightening visit to the Holy Land. And finally Seth Sanders, Trinity’s Bible expert, tells why Darren Aronofsky’s blockbuster Noah may be the most biblical movie ever made.
Oh, and we’ve also included a selection of some of our favorite art by Stephen Alcorn, whose work has graced Religion in the News from the beginning. Happily, it will continue to do so.
Be assured that, in our new format, we’ll keep publishing articles like these, and in something closer to real time. If you would like to be notified when a new article appears, just send your email address to [email protected], and we’ll keep you posted.