Posts Tagged ‘Volume 36 No. 7’

A cultic revival without the cults?

“Cults are in style again. Or at least it’s trendy to call things cults—everything from QAnon to SoulCycle,” writes Jesse Walker in Reason magazine (June). Up until recently, “cults,” or new religious movements (NRM), were thought to have little appeal for Americans, especially as compared to the decades of the 1960s to the 1990s. But J. Gordon Melton, an NRM specialist at Baylor University, says that while we may not be reliving the early 1990s, there has been an intensification of cult and anti-cult rhetoric in American culture.

“Successor ideology” putting the squeeze on Western religion in elite colleges?

Is “woke” identity politics squeezing out religious practice at elite American colleges? That is the contention of Anna Keating, a former Catholic chaplain at an unnamed elite college in New England, in a controversial blog article in the Hedgehog Review (May 4). Although only focusing on one college, Keating has subsequently said in a video interview [see below] that what she witnessed is fairly common at other elite institutions.


A new survey of U.S. Jews finds that, while holding their own numerically, they are increasingly split between secularism and Orthodoxy, especially among the youngest adults. The survey by the Pew Research Center is a follow-up to its landmark 2013 study.

Women challenge ultra-Orthodox authorities on work and reproductive issues in Israel

The view of ultra-Orthodox Judaism as a conservative force in Israeli society is only half the picture and does not account for the changes taking place among ultra-Orthodox women on reproductive and work decisions, writes Michal Raucher of Rutgers University in the online magazine The Conversation (May 17).

Buddhist response to Covid-19 proceeds under watchful eyes of Chinese state

Facing disease and death, many in China have found solace in Buddhist teachings and practices during the pandemic, while the state has been careful to curb large gatherings at religious places, possibly not only for health reasons but also because of their potential for sparking criticism of the state’s handling of the crisis.

Findings & Footnotes

The journal Mormon Studies Review devotes most of its current issue (Vol. 8) to politics among Latter-day Saints, both on a global scale and in the American context. The lead article looks at how the rapid global expansion of Mormonism has had some impact on members’ political commitments. Laurie F. Maffy-Kipp writes that the LDS church has lived in the tension of maintaining an American uniformity of teachings, practices, and structure throughout the world (which non-Western converts value) while increasingly adapting to and innovating in different societies.