Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Religion in 2021: different key but same melody as 2020

Although religion in 2021 was eventful on several fronts, last year’s trends also reflected shifts that were vividly on display in 2020: a continuation of the pandemic and its wide-ranging effects on religious institutions, the religio-political tensions and polarization leading to the January 6 riots, and the battles over teaching gender and race. But there […]

Venture capitalists bullish on religious apps

Religious apps are seeing not only a growing number of customers but also increased venture- capital funding, largely due to the dislocation and anxieties caused by the pandemic, reports Isaac Taylor in the Wall Street Journal (December 21). Startup founders and investors find that the apps are drawing more funding and customers from among those […]

Congregations striking truce on worship wars?

As mixed-use congregations become more common, the longstanding “worship wars” between evangelical congregations favoring traditional services and those using contemporary music and worship are simmering down, writes Thomas Kidd of Baylor University in a blog on the Christian Coalition website (December 13). Kidd reviews a new book by Melanie Ross, who argues that the fading […]

Hindus veering toward the GOP?

The recent Republican upset in Virginia’s gubernatorial race suggests an emerging shift of political views and affiliations among Hindu Indian Americans, writes Maggie Phillips in The Tablet (December 15). She notes that the demographics of Loudoun County, which was important in the victory of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, were largely overlooked by reporters. Asians are the […]

Upcoming generation of jihadists taking notes from alt-right

Young jihadists “are piecing together a new online aesthetic inspired by the world’s most notorious trolls” to sustain their militancy, even as they keep a critical distance from self- appointed leaders and others in their religious community, writes Moustafa Ayad in Wired magazine (December 8). Ayad writes that this generation of young jihadists seems “outwardly […]

Religion-based nationalism as the new normal for Republicans and conservatives

Populism has been positively and negatively associated with religion to varying degrees, but according to recent reports the religion factor is more established in the U.S., both in the Republican Party and in populist conservatism in general. While the religious right is regularly eulogized as a spent force, observers note that conservative religious politics has […]

Mormon influencers dominate the blogosphere with motherhood advice

Blogs on motherhood and family issues started by Mormon women have risen significantly over the last decade, and they are often the most influential sites on the topic on the internet, writes Dawn Araujo-Hawkins in the Christian Century (November 3). These blogs, such as Fun Cheap or Free, which is run by blogger Jordan Page […]

Passing down the plate to younger generations challenges Catholic family foundations

Family-based Catholic foundations are finding it difficult to pass on their faith-based philanthropies to the youngest generations who tend toward non-affiliation, reports America magazine (November). Many of the foundations supporting Christian ministries and institutions were started by wealthy individuals who then passed on the reigns of leadership to succeeding generations of their families, but this […]

The evangelical moment in American prison reform?

Religious groups and volunteers, particularly evangelicals, are becoming a dominant influence in prisons thanks to a new model of incarceration that relies on outsourcing rehabilitation programming to faith groups, write Michael Hallett (North Florida State University) and Byron Johnson (Baylor University) in the online magazine Public Discourse (October 25). Facing unprecedented levels of violence and […]

Charismatic prophets show few signs of recanting after failed prophecies

Leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), who prophesized that Donald Trump would be reelected, show few signs of recanting their predictions, according to scholars assessing the movement at a recent meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, which RW attended. This is even as a formalization of the movement seems likely, […]