CLR Podcast on Town of Greece v. Galloway

Mark and I have recorded a podcast discussing Town of Greece v. Galloway, the legislative prayer case just argued at the Supreme Court, in the Center’s first in a planned series of podcasts on law and religion cases and issues.

We tried to be fairly complete in our discussion of the case, and I think this podcast is particularly useful for students and others interested in an introduction to the issue of legislative prayer and in some fairly detailed analysis of and commentary about the oral argument.

Vatican Removes Controversial Papal “Interview” From Its Website

Here’s what looks to be the final update on that interview Pope Francis gave to Eugenio Scalfari of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica this fall. Readers of this website will recall that the interview quotes Pope Francis as saying, among other things, that “proselytism” is “nonsense” and that, with respect to conscience, everyone must follow his own idea of good and evil. Progressives swooned; traditionalists grumbled; everyone wondered what it all meant.

Shortly after the interview ran, it emerged that Scalfari had reconstructed the pope’s words from memory. Scalfari had not tape recorded the pope nor taken notes during the meeting . In other words, the La Repubblica “interview” was not an interview at all. Why a respected newspaper would publish an imaginative reconstruction as though it were a real interview is beyond me–but the Vatican stated at the time that the interview was basically “trustworthy,” if not verbatim. And the Vatican posted the interview on its website.

Last week, however, the Vatican decided to take the interview down. According to this report from the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis became concerned that people might misunderstand the interview–particularly the discussion of conscience. According to a Vatican spokesman, “The information in the interview is reliable on a general level but not on the level of each individual point analyzed: this is why it was decided the text should not be available for consultation on the Holy See website.” The music was right, I guess, but the lyrics were bit off. Probably the interview is still available at La Repubblica, though.

Newman, “Twelver Shi’ism: Unity and Diversity in the Life of Islam, 632 to 1722”

This month, Edinburgh University Press will publish Twelver Shi’ism: Unity and Diversity in the Life of Islam, 632 to 1722 by Andrew Newman (University of Edinburgh). The publisher’s description follows.

As many as 40 different Shi`i groups existed in the ninth and tenth centuries yet only 3 forms have survived. Why is Twelver Shi`ism one of them?

 As the established faith in modern Iran, the majority faith in Iraq and areas in the Gulf and with its adherents forming sizeable minorities elsewhere in the region, it is arguably the most successful branch of Shi’ism. This book charts its history and the development of the key distinctive doctrines and practices which ensured its survival in the face of repeated challenges. It argues that the key to the faith’s endurance has been its ability to institutionalise responses to the changing, often localised circumstances in which the community has found itself, thereby remaining remarkably resilient in the face of both internal disagreements and external opposition.

Galinier & Molinie, “The Neo-Indians: A Religion for the Third Millenium”

Next month, the University Press of Colorado will publish The Neo-Indians: A Religion for the Third Millenium by Jacques Galinier (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense) and Antoinette Molinie (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense). The publisher’s description follows.The Neo-Indians

The Neo-Indians is a rich ethnographic study of the emergence of the neo-Indian movement—a new form of Indian identity based on largely reinvented pre-colonial cultures and comprising a diverse group of people attempting to re-create purified pre-colonial indigenous beliefs and ritual practices without the contaminating influences of modern society.

There is no full-time neo-Indian. Both indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners assume Indian identities only when deemed spiritually significant. In their daily lives, they are average members of modern society, dressing in Western clothing, working at middle-class jobs, and retaining their traditional religious identities. As a result of this part-time status the neo-Indians are often overlooked as a subject of study, making this book the first anthropological analysis of the movement.

Galinier and Molinié present and analyze four decades of ethnographic research focusing on Mexico and Peru, the two major areas of the movement’s genesis. They examine the use of public space, describe the neo-Indian ceremonies, provide analysis of the ceremonies’ symbolism, and explore the close relationship between the neo-Indian religion and tourism. The Neo-Indians will be of great interest to ethnographers, anthropologists, and scholars of Latin American history, religion, and cultural studies.