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Peter Berger
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Religion & Other Curiosities
March 13, 2013

Policing Moral Boundaries

As usual, I was struck by two seemingly unrelated items reported by Religion News Service on February 28, 2013. I think they are worth being reflected upon together. The first story is about an action by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, which has decided to charge seven ultra-Orthodox Jewish businesses with gender […]

February 20, 2013

Misuses of the Holocaust

On February 8, 2013, The Christian Century carried an article by Lauren Markoe entitled “Did gun control prevent Jews from stopping the Holocaust?” It reported on what must be one of the most bizarre misuses of the Holocaust. As the debate over gun control has moved to the forefront of policy debates in the wake […]

February 6, 2013

Abortion – Again

January 22, 2013 was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision by the Supreme Court which declared that abortion was a woman’s constitutional right. The occasion, as every year on that date, was observed by the annual March for Life in which many thousands converge on Washington to protest the legalization of […]

January 30, 2013

Hallelujah, I’m a Bum!

As readers of my blog have discovered (perhaps with a measure of irritation) my favorite cognitive style is free association. The following post is an exercise in putting together bits and pieces—in the event: flea markets, cowboys, hobos and the root insight of anarchism. This exercise was triggered by the issue of The Christian Century […]

January 2, 2013

Just in case you failed to notice: The world did not end on December 21, 2012

About the same time, in early December 2012, that the media went into high gear discussing the putatively catastrophic consequences of a “fiscal cliff” on January 1, 2013, they also reported quite extensively about another looming date, that one a little earlier, on December 21, 2012, when according to some calculations the so-called Long Count […]

December 12, 2012

The First Amendment: An Icon Sometimes Erected in Curious Places

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is an icon of religious freedom, and rightly so. It contains a double prohibition: no establishment of religion and no hindrance to the free exercise of religion. The two clauses often grind against each other. Adopted by Congress in 1791, the Amendment still comes up […]

December 5, 2012

Two Sets of Keys

My last two posts had the quality of academic mini-lectures. I don’t want my readers to suspect that I have gone into the business (a growing one, judging by ads all over the place) of long-distance education, so this post will break the pattern. It is somewhere between an intuition and a meditation. There were […]

September 26, 2012

An Instruction Manual for the Radical Transformation of Identity

In the October 2012 issue of First Things there is an article by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, respectively on the faculties of Wheaton College and Regent University (two banner institutions in the vanguard of the Evangelical intellectual resurgence). The article deals with a curious event in the world of “reparative therapy”, which seeks to […]

September 12, 2012

The Politics of Language

My attention was riveted by a story in The Jerusalem Report of September 10, 2012, because it dealt with a topic that has fascinated me since my childhood (for a reason I will briefly mention momentarily). The story reports on a move to revive the Aramaic language in a Christian Arab village in Israel. Aramaic, […]

August 22, 2012

Judaism and Christianity: Embracing the “Other”?

There cannot be two other religious traditions whose historical relations have been as awful as those between Judaism and Christianity. For centuries Jews suffered discrimination and persecution in countries that defined themselves as Christian, culminating in the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust (while the Nazi ideology which legitimated the latter was anything but Christian, it […]

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