Posts Tagged ‘Volume 35 No. 5’

Coronavirus disrupts organized religion, raising issues of religious freedom and responsibility

The fast-moving nature of the coronavirus pandemic defies easy forecasts about how religious institutions and even patterns of religious beliefs and practices may change from this crisis. But the disruptive nature of the virus on congregational life as well as the more long- term implications for religious freedom stand out as recurring themes.

Prophetic LDS subculture face divisions over leadership scandal

The prophetic subculture within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is experiencing new strains and divisions over the alleged crimes scandal involving teachers Chad and Lori Daybell, according to the e-newsletter Sightings (February 27, 2020).

Women gain entry into the Jewish bris ritual marketplace

Along with women gaining more leadership positions in synagogues and Jewish education, they are also assuming new ritual roles, most recently that of the “mohel,” those who perform circumcisions, according to the New York Times (March 1, 2020).


Contrary to their reputation as proselytizers, evangelicals tend to de-emphasize their religious beliefs, new research indicates that evangelicals actually downplay religious expression when working with religiously diverse and secular groups. In a study of multifaith initiatives in Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon published…

Liturgical, bodily Christianity draws young Brits

Greater numbers of young people are being drawn to Anglo-Catholic and other liturgical churches, according to the Catholic Herald (February 7, 2020). British media have reported that young people are “flocking” to these liturgical parishes of the Church of England, such as St. Bartholomew the Great, in the City of London.

Russia’s spiritual turn becomes official, with broad approval

While the Russian Federation continues to define itself as a secular state, it has come a long way from the earlier atheist Soviet system, with forthcoming amendments to the Constitution expected to include a reference to God. While there are indeed a number of Western states who keep the reference to God in their respective constitutions, it is less frequent to see a contemporary state adding it when it was not already present.

Russian Protestants move to the fringes of traditional denominational life

Russian Protestants are increasingly experiencing “atomization and decentralization,” closing the curtain on an early Soviet era, where the million member Union of Evangelical Christians and Baptists (UECB) was unifying force of Protestantism, writes William Yoder in the online journal Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe (March). The change can be seen in the state of the Russian Baptist Union, once the mother church of the UECB, now reduced to no more than 70,000 members, with many members and congregations on its fringes holding conflicting teachings and practices.

Religious dissidence challenges Iran’s Islamic Republic

In the Journal of Democracy (Spring, 2020), Ladan Boroumand chronicles the significant religious and social transformations taking place in Iran, something that the coronavirus pandemic may intensify. Last year the Islamic Republic celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution but by last December, there were demonstrations filling the streets of the Tehran against the clerical government and Islamist ideology ruling the country.

Findings & Footnotes

As the journal Religion (January 2020) turns fifty, it has seized the opportunity to welcome several articles dealing with “futures.” The issue mixes prospective observations about the future of the study of religion and its various subfields along with more general views on the future shape of religion in the contemporary world.