Posts Tagged ‘Volume 35 No. 11’

Homeschooling during COVID sees culture wars flare-up

The growth of homeschooling during the pandemic has encouraged Christian homeschooling leaders and families while opening new fault lines between the Christian orientation of much of the movement and its secular and more liberal newcomers. These new points of division can be seen in an article by Elena Trueba in Religion and Politics (September 10, 2020). Estimates on the growth of homeschooling—and not just remote learning—have reached the double digits in many states; the number of families registering to homeschool in Vermont jumped by75 percent, with states such as Nebraska and North Carolina also showing high growth rates.

New breed of spiritual consultants create new rituals for home and office

The New York Times (August 28, 2020) reports that “a new corporate clergy has arisen to formalize the remote work. They go by different names: ritual consultants, sacred designers, soul-centered advertisers. They have degrees from divinity schools. Their business is borrowing from religious tradition to bring spiritual richness to corporate America.”


Just as there is a Protestant work ethic, a “Protestant family ethic” has emerged which encourages marriage and family formation, particularly among those who have attended Protestant schools, according to a new study. The study, conducted by sociologists Albert Cheng, Patrick J. Wolf, Wendy Wang, and W. Bradford Wilcox, looked at how enrollment in Catholic, Protestant, public, and secular private schools is associated with different family outcomes later in life.

Hindus establish presence in Ireland

Ireland does not look like the country that one would spontaneously associate with Hinduism. But the number of Hindus had grown to more than 14,000 by the time of the 2016 census, and representatives of the Hindu community estimate that the number is now somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 due to immigration.

Puritans verses pragmatists divide global jihadism

A “civil war” being fought between “global jihadis is intensifying,” writes Mohammad Hafez in the CTC Sentinel (September, 2020), the newsletter of the Combatting Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State share enemies and ideological commitments, these movements have fragmented under the stress of conflict and territorial retreat.

Findings & Footnotes

Baylor University historian and prolific author Philip Jenkins’ latest book Fertility and Faith (Baylor University Press, $29.95) plots drastic changes ahead for religious institutions due to a “demographic revolution” of plummeting fertility rates often below replacement rates across much of the globe. Jenkins’ specialty of mining available data and other reports to tease out provocative analysis and forecasts is put to good use as he establishes the intimate connections between fertility trends with changes in religious belief and belonging– that have been too often been ignored by demographers (though there is now an emerging field of religious demography).