Archive: Martin Marty
In the best of all possible worlds, or even in worlds slightly better than the one we have, citizens would pay attention to the U. S. Constitution's rejection of religious tests for office. However, since "everyone else" is violating the Constitution, "everyone" plays the game of keeping score.
By Martin Marty | May 10, 2010; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (2)
Would all the Christians and the churches which accept any benefits of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tax exemption and other such programs cut them off tomorrow? They all involve the government and all were backed by "social and economics minded" leaders and followers in churches, often against the odds raised and symbolized by the Glenn Becks of their past.
By Martin Marty | April 13, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (6)
It did not take a Karl Marx to see that dreams of the afterlife could be an "opiate of the people," an enslaver instead of an inspirer of work and, if need be, of revolution. Just as often hope of heaven, however, has challenged people to endure prisons and death camps or take risks which benefited others.
By Martin Marty | March 23, 2010; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (1)
Some congregations may want as preachers some wind-up robots who are never assailed or enriched by doubt, people who can spout the "defining doctrines" and go hunting for and purging others who they think deviate a bit. Millions of others like to be ministered to by real men and women who share their doubts and faith and see God working through both in a world where the lines are never totally and unwaveringly clear.
By Martin Marty | March 16, 2010; 12:20 PM ET | Comments (4)
Task Force Members in their report succeed in showing is that U. S. Foreign Policy leadership is more and more coming to understand that religion is already in the mix in conflict. They provide reasons for the nation(s) to recognize anew that religion is a waxing, not a waning force globally, and that not to understand this or to misunderstand its role, can be paralyzing and lethal.
By Martin Marty | February 24, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (3)
Those of us who try to keep an eye on and have a heart for suffering Christians have to log horror stories weekly. What, then, do we make of commentator Brit Hume and others complaining of persecutions inflicted on them and fellow Christians in the United States?
By Martin Marty | January 11, 2010; 03:53 PM ET | Comments (8)
The Elders have much to learn--and to teach. While they pursue this cause we picture them not settling for the rocking chair or the souvenir books, but finding other themes.
By Martin Marty | July 21, 2009; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (3)
The state marries people. The clergy blesses the marrying couple.
By Martin Marty | June 10, 2009; 05:18 PM ET | Comments (5)
We are nation with a couple hundred million Christians, and if they live up to their charter in the gospels, they will be good and generous and free and value-rich citizens, who will contribute to the public good "in church and state"
By Martin Marty | April 14, 2009; 04:17 PM ET | Comments (6)
Being generous through governmental social policy -- ouch! even when we weren't asked -- can leave the nation better off.
By Martin Marty | March 5, 2009; 05:27 AM ET | Comments (0)
Happily, to people of my outlook, the inaugural events were not used to fire up the "culture wars." Notably in the swearing-in ceremony, we did not hear words like "abortion" or "same-sex marriage" or the couple of other incendiary terms for issues and, sometimes, non-issues.
By Martin Marty | January 25, 2009; 09:03 AM ET | Comments (6)
It is ironic that apocalyptic groups in U.S. Christianity and Islamic Hamas engage in the same kind of militant and willful misreadings of their holy books. These texts speak to many kinds of situations, and one can find in both passages which are militant and reconciling.
By Martin Marty | January 8, 2009; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (26)
You can with some contrivance make a scriptural case against same-sex marriage, but not FOR most things we practice and cherish in other marriages, as Lisa Miller so well pointed out.
By Martin Marty | December 15, 2008; 01:03 AM ET | Comments (2)
Where should a president and his family worship, which means to many, which church should they join?
By Martin Marty | December 1, 2008; 06:38 AM ET | Comments (4)
Someone in the White House spends hours crafting the proclamations which no reads with care. Quick, now: can you quote one line or refer to the substance of any of them? But let them keep calling for it. Giving thanks is such an intrinsically valuable thing to do, that any doing of it is probably better than not doing it
By Martin Marty | November 19, 2008; 02:37 AM ET | Comments (2)
Obama's reading of Niebuhr and his experience and observation of life as it is lived in complex times will show up in his "realistic" activity. Or am I too hopefully naive even to hope that this will be the case? Realistically: no.
By Martin Marty | November 11, 2008; 07:38 AM ET | Comments (8)
When politicians of any party or persuasion claim to know the will of God in any detail and to be following it in such detail, "better duck!" would be the best advice. Trouble ahead. Obsession, self-righteousness, and fanaticism follow.
By Martin Marty | September 9, 2008; 04:13 PM ET | Comments (58)
While I wish that all church bodies (and, by analogy, synagogue and such communities) did ordain women, it is not hypocritical to say that women can "do" ministry but not nation, or nation but not ministry.
By Martin Marty | September 8, 2008; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (6)
Faith as faith cannot be enlarged upon in the public forum without coming close to exploiting religion and making God part of campaign slogans.
By Martin Marty | August 22, 2008; 09:03 AM ET | Comments (63)
Religions of most sorts either helped people invent prejudice or it gave them ammunition for hitting out at 'the other." Most lines in most scrolls, most pages in most holy books gave reasons and inspiration for being prejudiced in all sorts of ways.
By Martin Marty | July 31, 2008; 05:42 AM ET | Comments (8)
George Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest had a profound impact on me. I have always looked for religious meaning far from centers or celebrations of power.
By Martin Marty | June 24, 2008; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (0)
To claim to "effect" good health," to bring into being such cures, however, is an invitation to false advertising, to license false hopes (acknowledging that there can be "true" hopes), and even guilt or worse health among the hyper-religious for whom their prayer disciplines were ineffective.
By Martin Marty | June 13, 2008; 09:54 AM ET | Comments (4)
The most helpful, though not original, feature of the Manifesto is to show that the Evangelicals represented in it are more and other than scrubbed-up and toned-down ex-Fundamentalists.
By Martin Marty | May 16, 2008; 02:49 AM ET | Comments (62)
How Catholics and Muslims choose to relate will have consequences in a world threatened by aggressions, war, and terrorism and in a world where many recognize the need for reconciliation across the boundaries of faiths.
By Martin Marty | April 9, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (9)
Denouncing, renouncing, and distancing have become such common activities that they lose their effect.
By Martin Marty | April 7, 2008; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (1)
One of the most impressive, profound, and deft aspects of King's approach was his employment of the scriptures of America's two major religions to further reconciliation and justice.
By Martin Marty | April 7, 2008; 10:12 AM ET | Comments (0)
If we would drop the "isms" and forget about lumping others into despisable camps we could address actual problems and work toward actual solutions, leaving stereotypes and myths behind.
By Martin Marty | March 28, 2008; 07:59 AM ET | Comments (7)
(Excerpted with permission from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Go here to read the entire essay.) Through the decades, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. has called me teacher, reminding me of the years when he earned a master's degree...
By Martin Marty | March 25, 2008; 12:25 AM ET | Comments (7)
The question implies that this case might reveal something about the state of the present culture in contrast to that in other times. Optimists and moral progressives have little to cheer: we are not rising to new moral heights.
By Martin Marty | March 14, 2008; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (10)
I despise spam and the misuses of the internet in blogs which bring out the worst in the worst, but I celebrate the ways friends greet friends, the distant sustain relations, and the hopers spread hope to the disappointed.
By Martin Marty | March 12, 2008; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (7)
For all their gross flaws, "formal religious groups" tend to be productive of acts of mercy and justice; they are more likely to support voluntary charitable activity than are loners.
By Martin Marty | February 27, 2008; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (24)
Obama is less likely to make a public display of his religion or to use it to garner support than are Governor Huckabee and some failed candidates, and if he did either, it would be a deviation from his versions of the Christian heritage(s).
By Martin Marty | February 20, 2008; 09:31 AM ET | Comments (30)
As for Islam: like Judaism and Christianity, its texts are ambiguous, on one page speaking up for the dignity and rights of all, including other People of the Book, and on many more pages, serving to squelch other voices.
By Martin Marty | February 1, 2008; 09:33 AM ET | Comments (0)
Huckabee is influenced by "Reconstructionism," which is quite articulate about its aims: formally to replace anything in constitutional law which does not match their view of God's Constitution, and to unfold an amended and revised "God's Constitution."
By Martin Marty | January 23, 2008; 09:07 AM ET | Comments (28)
We Jesus-people have heard that we cannot serve the god of material things like money, but we don't pay too much attention to that accent of Jesus, and devote energies to satisfying our greedy impulses which, by definition, cannot be satisfied.
By Martin Marty | January 21, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (13)
The problems for retaining identity includes when the environment turns at least neutral and at best friendly.
By Martin Marty | January 8, 2008; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (0)
I've studied the Latter-day Saints for decades, and would be hard pressed to name something in its teachings (since 1890) that would be a threat to the republic.
By Martin Marty | December 6, 2007; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (14)
Most holidays have some sort of religious cast--even "civil" holidays tend to. Those rooted in particular religious traditions are most likely to induce tension.
By Martin Marty | November 21, 2007; 06:28 AM ET | Comments (1)
. . . your enemy pleads for forgiveness, gives any signs of sincerity, and especially if she or her shows resolve to make amends or to change.
By Martin Marty | November 19, 2007; 08:59 AM ET | Comments (19)
You don't torture someone "made in the image of God," no matter how despicable he or she has become.
By Martin Marty | November 9, 2007; 04:33 PM ET | Comments (32)
A generous society, especially one that claims to be influenced by biblical thought, will find ways to provide where other institutions and agencies do not and cannot.
By Martin Marty | November 2, 2007; 03:58 PM ET | Comments (11)
When Christians and Jews over-react to phenomena like this, they show more about their outlook--prissy, aggrieved, defensive--than about actual challenges to faith.
By Martin Marty | October 28, 2007; 02:40 PM ET | Comments (1)
The practices and beliefs of the separate religions "get interesting" in the minds and hearts of billions of people when mediated through the stories.
By Martin Marty | October 19, 2007; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (8)
We have no words, concepts, reaches of imagination to make sense of death in ordinary conceptions.
By Martin Marty | October 12, 2007; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (16)
Let McCain specify exactly what in what part of the Christian tradition moves him and would affect the way he carries out his duties, and we could vote him or it up or down.
By Martin Marty | October 9, 2007; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (12)
Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism were all efforts to expunge all religions. Out of their experiments, scores and scores of millions were tortured or killed.
By Martin Marty | September 28, 2007; 06:54 AM ET | Comments (73)
Eventually it became clear that everyone called someone a cult, and the word served few clarifying purposes.
By Martin Marty | September 20, 2007; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (37)
There are libraries full of answers, none of them informed, because humans do not know the mind of God.
By Martin Marty | September 6, 2007; 08:24 AM ET | Comments (30)
I think less of those who use her experience of the absence of God as proof for the non-existence of God.
By Martin Marty | September 4, 2007; 06:34 AM ET | Comments (10)
Every Christian church body in the world is torn apart over issues that one can grasp in two terms, "sex" and "authority."
By Martin Marty | August 24, 2007; 07:24 AM ET | Comments (20)
It's amazing what one can get out of one verse from one letter in one book.
By Martin Marty | August 15, 2007; 06:51 AM ET | Comments (2)
For most physicians the call to make an exception to "standard practice" is rare, and has to be dealt with as such. If that "rarity" becomes all-consuming, it may mean that a physician may have to leave a practice.
By Martin Marty | August 13, 2007; 07:14 AM ET | Comments (451)
In a pluralistic society, prayers designed to favor and please one assertive and overly-defined constituency at the expanse of others seems manifestly unfair.
By Martin Marty | August 1, 2007; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (35)
The problem this time was not the positive claim but the negative stress on how non-Catholic Christians cannot be church.
By Martin Marty | July 18, 2007; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (98)
To the second question: would I vote for a pagan? [I doubt if one will rise to candidacy for president, but as for other offices:' Would I vote for a pagan? I probably already have. They come in many informal...
By Martin Marty | July 8, 2007; 03:34 PM ET | Comments (0)
Frankly, I almost never believe a believer in literal hell.
By Martin Marty | July 3, 2007; 09:29 AM ET | Comments (33)
Oh, by the way, Jesus questioned.
By Martin Marty | June 15, 2007; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (5)
If you read out of this or into this a partisan endorsement or non-endorsement, I am not making myself clear. It is a comment on media and history. Media: the mantra or codified way of treating Democratic presidential candidates’ public...
By Martin Marty | June 11, 2007; 12:03 PM ET | Comments (1)
My former colleague, emeritus professor and senior super-historian (world history) recently wrote an article pointing out that there have been few, very very few, years of recorded history that does not record wars going on. Since there has presumably been...
By Martin Marty | May 29, 2007; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (0)
Before we respond to the question "is religion man-made," we'd have to ask "is it made?" Of course it is: universes were "made," and so are all objects, all perceptions which involve the brain, which "makes" them into something graspable....
By Martin Marty | May 21, 2007; 03:31 PM ET | Comments (0)
More than anyone else Jerry Falwell "secularized" fundamentalism, turning it from an other-worldly soul-saving agency into a this-worldly world-changing agency. I am not saying he stopped believing in the earlier things, but he won't be remembered for them. I like...
By Martin Marty | May 15, 2007; 02:46 PM ET | Comments (0)
"You've wandered all over and finally realized that you never found what you were after: how to live." This paraphrased line from the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius (taken from Arthur Frank, The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to...
By Martin Marty | May 14, 2007; 02:32 PM ET | Comments (0)
What the gospel portraits of Jesus show is that he "non-violently" was an upsetter for the sake of justice and love.
By Martin Marty | May 10, 2007; 08:40 AM ET | Comments (31)
Today, when everyone from New Agers to Hmong to Muslims to Pentecostals to Buddhists live "down the block," Mormons benefit from the protective coloration which such wild diversity promotes.
By Martin Marty | May 3, 2007; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (90)
Taking off from Max Scheler, on whom Pope John Paul II wrote his doctoral dissertation: the "offender" has to ask not "what did I do?" or "what kind of person am I that I could do that?" but "what kind...
By Martin Marty | April 26, 2007; 06:15 AM ET | Comments (10)
Sacred scriptures and church traditions aspire to deal with all of human life, and human life has extremes of violence and non-violence.
By Martin Marty | April 20, 2007; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (72)
The mourners have a promise not to be abandoned in their grief, but no promise that they can figure this all out.
By Martin Marty | April 18, 2007; 09:45 PM ET | Comments (3)
First off, recall that Judaism and Christianity were born as "eastern religions;" we call their birthplace "the Middle East" and the early Christian spread was to "Asia" as in "Asia Minor." Islam originated even further east. I stress that because,...
By Martin Marty | April 9, 2007; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (1)
Odds are good that people will forget the bones talk by next Easter.
By Martin Marty | April 9, 2007; 12:13 PM ET | Comments (17)
Today there are genuine efforts to "get it right," and discerning viewers and hearers can find plenty of positives.
By Martin Marty | March 28, 2007; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (0)
I yearn for a day when religious forces can be in the rough and tumble of politics without being met with sacrilegious or debasing counterattacks.
By Martin Marty | March 15, 2007; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (12)
Catholicism and most Protestant denominations used to be rather crabby about sex but today even Vatican experts say married couples should enjoy conjugal relations.
By Martin Marty | February 20, 2007; 09:29 AM ET | Comments (24)
In religions which profess faith in God the Creator there should be special concern by "co-Creators," earthlings, to be good "stewards" of creation.
By Martin Marty | February 11, 2007; 01:15 AM ET | Comments (30)
Praying with a community helps us be mindful of the needs of others.
By Martin Marty | February 2, 2007; 07:39 AM ET | Comments (21)
Providing inspiration to contemporary women, past heroines, saints, mystics, social activists are making up for lost time.
By Martin Marty | January 22, 2007; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (17)
How can we criticize India or Pakistan when either decides that "preemptive war" suits them?
By Martin Marty | January 11, 2007; 04:05 PM ET | Comments (22)
Instead of dread, we found hope
By Martin Marty | January 4, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (23)
Christian thinkers for centuries never came up with a satisfying answer to "exactly" what it means that Jesus was the Son of God.
By Martin Marty | December 20, 2006; 04:45 PM ET | Comments (35)
Christ emphatically said his kingdom was not of this world
By Martin Marty | December 13, 2006; 08:06 AM ET | Comments (7)
The point of it all in the child's world is to let the love which the faiths profess be experienced by the way in which parents and siblings relate to each other when they talk about God
By Martin Marty | December 6, 2006; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (3)