Current Issue: Volume 36, No. 9

Politics driving new divisions among Catholics and evangelicals

Both Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism have been seen as the more stable segments of Christianity in the U.S., but political pressures, such as the growth of populism, and the loss of Christian influence in the country are leading to new divisions and even fragmentation among these Christians, according to two reports.

Pope’s move to limit Latin Mass testing church’s unity within diversity?

Pope Francis’ recent motu proprio letter, Traditions custodes, which puts new restrictions on the celebration of the Latin Mass, will weaken the role of traditionalists in the church, though there is some debating just how large and influential the Latin Mass community really is.

January 6 as both a political and Christian revolt

Although it is unlikely that the January 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol will be explained to everyone’s satisfaction, even after late July’s public hearings on the issue, the role of religion in the revolt is becoming clearer, at least as far as who the actors were and the dynamics driving them. In the Washington Post (July 6), Michelle Boorstein reports that many religious observers see the Capitol attacks as an example of the religious ferment that presaged movements such as Mormonism and Pentecostalism.

Facebook’s post-pandemic religious moment

Facebook is making a concerted effort to reach out to religious groups following the pandemic, reports Elizabeth Culliford for Reuters (July 22). A major component of the outreach is a new prayer feature that allows users to request and receive prayer.

Pandemic likely to leave some lasting marks on American Orthodox parishes

The pandemic has forced American Orthodox parishes to adopt amazingly quick innovations but has also led to fierce arguments over the restrictions in some parishes, writes Alexei Krindatch in a newly-released report on the pandemic’s impact on these parishes that extends and updates observations shared in a previous report last year (see RW, Vol. 35, No. 10).

Identity politics drives Buddhist turn among younger Asian Americans

There has long been a division between Asian American Buddhists and mainly white converts to the religion, and while there have been recent efforts to reconcile the two groups, recent political developments are reasserting ethnic Buddhist identity among young members, according to a report by NBC News (July 9).

Luxury apartment developments offering spiritual space and services

Luxury apartment complexes are offering spiritual services as part of “wellness” amenities to residents, especially in the wake of the pandemic, reports Candace Jackson in the New York Times (July 18).

CURRENT RESEARCH

The most recent data on Generation Z shows a higher rate of non-affiliation and secularism compared to Millennials and preceding generations, writes Ryan Burge in the blog Religion in Public (July 15). Burge analyzes the 2019 and 2020 waves of the Cooperative Election Study and finds that those belonging to Generation Z (born in 1996 or later) have secularized in significant ways as they have gotten older and moved into adulthood.

Christian Zionism faces new political hurdles in post-Trump and post-Netanyahu era

A changing of the political guard both in the U.S. and Israel is challenging the power and influence that evangelical Zionists had exercised during the administrations of President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reports Colum Lynch in Foreign Policy magazine (July 19).

Eco-friendly sorcery helping to regenerate natural resources in Cameroon

Instead of relocating to nearby cities as a response to resource scarcity, some rural communities in Cameroon are reinstating various traditional strategies, including sorcery as an effective tool for bolstering a policy of resource regeneration, writes Hugues Morell Meliki in the 2021 issue of Tsantsa, the annual journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association. Land grabs by multinational firms and local business tycoons are encouraged by state-promoted policies of agricultural modernization in a country where large fertile areas are not exploited.

Findings & Footnotes

The French Catholic conservative magazine La Nef devotes its July–August issue to an overview of the traditionalist milieu, a movement that has gained wide interest after Pope Francis issued a recent document restricting Latin Masses.

On/File: A Continuing Record of Groups, Movements, People, and Events Impacting Religion

The American Solidarity Party (ASP), which describes itself as “based in the tradition of Christian democracy” has been gaining members and has even won some election victories since the 2020 election cycle. Started in 2016, the party sees itself as espousing much of Catholic social teachings, even though it is open to those of all religions and to nonbelievers.