Archive: Mathew N. Schmalz
Before addressing the question of Islam, maybe the former governor would benefit from revisiting the Gospel of Christ and considering what kind of Jesus he believes in. Maybe then the GOP can have a much needed debate about the nature of Christianity.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | February 24, 2011; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (3)
Is conversion wrong? Is anger over conversion an extenuating circumstance for murder? In India, the answers are "yes and maybe"--at least according to a recent ruling by India's Supreme Court.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | January 28, 2011; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (11)
As his case moves toward sainthood, the outlines of John Paul's significance are becoming clear: he will be the saint of the suffering body.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | January 20, 2011; 11:08 AM ET | Comments (0)
Some contemporary political rhetoric can be quite combustible-- not because it celebrates the idea of insurrection, but because it trivializes the nature of violence itself. Sarah Palin's recent statement unintentionally makes this point quite clearly.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | January 13, 2011; 05:00 PM ET | Comments (6)
For me, as for many non-Muslims, Ashura serves as an important touchstone for any discussion of the religious meaning of suffering and self-surrender.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | December 15, 2010; 01:20 PM ET | Comments (7)
It is significant that the Papal spokesperson included transsexuals along with women and men.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 23, 2010; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (1)
I would defend exorcism not only as something therapeutically valuable, but rational--or at least no less rational than other beliefs that often pass for conventional wisdom.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 17, 2010; 01:34 PM ET | Comments (22)
My advice to President Obama is not to hide his own respect for religious diversity from view, regardless of how that may be interpreted.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 9, 2010; 12:31 PM ET | Comments (9)
Diwali is part of a number of festivals celebrated in many religions as winter approaches. It is a time to invoke blessings and bring light to the darkness.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 2, 2010; 10:56 AM ET | Comments (0)
Maybe Karen Owen's real research discovery is how cyberspace has paradoxically revealed the combustible sacrality of sexuality precisely by making it all seem so casual.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | October 9, 2010; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (3)
Since I am a professor of religious studies, my default position is always to emphasize the importance of religious literacy--after all, my livelihood depends on it. For me, the real issue is that there are different ways to "know religion."
By Mathew N. Schmalz | September 28, 2010; 03:58 PM ET | Comments (23)
The Tea Party is beginning to resemble a "religion" because its diverse members are coming to embrace a vision of the Constitution and the United States as supernatural, inviolable entities.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | September 21, 2010; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (4)
The overall impression of the Pope's trip was humiliation. Benedict himself acknowledged this humiliation and did so in a surprising and compelling way.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | September 20, 2010; 04:27 PM ET | Comments (7)
I think exploration of the whole notion of theological "perversions" is in order, especially with reference to the bigoted stereotypes applied to Glenn Beck's own denomination: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | August 30, 2010; 03:16 PM ET | Comments (8)
It is easy enough for opponents of capital punishment such as myself to point to Shurtleff's tweets as evidence of everything that is wrong with the death penalty. More to the point is that Shurtleff's tweets should also concern even those who believe that justice was done to Ronnie Lee Gardner.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 19, 2010; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (100)
Madonna and Lady Gaga are joined at the hip, they're day and night, flip sides of the same coin--but I have to admit that I'm on Lady Gaga's side, provisionally.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 16, 2010; 02:16 PM ET | Comments (15)
Ethical concern for animals has been on the ascendancy in Catholic thought for the last century.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 15, 2010; 11:54 PM ET | Comments (62)
Benedict's latest remarks show his awareness of the extent of human frailty and of the absolute necessity of God's love and mercy.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 14, 2010; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (7)
The Gulf oil spill will also reveal the limitations of our own ability to appreciate the complex and conflicted role of religion in our contemporary world.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 2, 2010; 09:16 AM ET | Comments (0)
While my opposition to the Arizona law was visceral and immediate, I must admit that there is a common sense quality to the argument that there are laws regarding immigration which exist for a reason and should be enforced.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | May 25, 2010; 02:18 PM ET | Comments (3)
Good question: Is the Shroud of Turin proof of the resurrection? Better question: Why are people so interested in it anyway?
By Mathew N. Schmalz | April 12, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (26)
Anti-Catholicism most certainly does exist, but not in the way the Vatican seems to be emphasizing in its defense of the Holy Father. In fact, I would argue that the Vatican is unconsciously replicating some of the structural elements of anti-Catholicism in its criticism of the media.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | April 8, 2010; 02:06 PM ET | Comments (6)
While the actions of Lawrence Murphy were sinful and criminal, it is tragic that members of the Vatican hierarchy did not listen to their subordinates who belatedly recognized the gravity of the case.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 25, 2010; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (37)
The Holy Father's letter not only outlines a distinctively Catholic approach to sin and scandal but also suggests how the Pontiff's personal response to the crisis might unfold.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 20, 2010; 10:17 AM ET | Comments (26)
The issue is not Christianity per se, but religions and religious commitments that seem different or challenging.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | January 11, 2010; 08:18 PM ET | Comments (3)
Anachronistic blasphemy laws dangerously combine sacred and secular power. Certainly, the "right to offend" should not be exercised lightly. But it is also important for religious people to consider what really is at risk, both spiritually and politically, when they assert that their own "right to take offense" should outweigh all other social or legal concerns.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | January 4, 2010; 06:42 PM ET | Comments (0)
The goal behind the minaret ban seems to be to avoid discussion entirely in a reactionary effort to marginalize Muslims.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 30, 2009; 07:28 PM ET | Comments (1)
U. S. Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders are justified in their involvement in congressional discussions of health care reform. But they should proceed with caution.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | November 17, 2009; 09:19 PM ET | Comments (1)
Pope Benedict's bold move to embrace disaffected Anglicans paradoxically opens a path for Christian unity while also reemphasizing the doctrinal difficulties in bringing Christian denominations closer together.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | October 21, 2009; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (6)
It is most helpful to see hate crimes legislation as a reflection of changing social boundaries and mores. For this reason, the debate should be joined over more substantive consideration of which ethical or ideological system is most appropriate for the society we wish to create and protect.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | October 19, 2009; 07:36 PM ET | Comments (0)
How to describe my discomfort at seeing viral videos of a spider crawling across Pope Benedict's cassock.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | October 1, 2009; 06:21 PM ET | Comments (9)
Nuclear disarmament is a clear moral imperative and we should pray for it. I would argue that prayer is in fact more effective than UN Security Council resolutions that amount to nothing more than a moralizing patina created by the corrosive dynamics of international politics.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | September 29, 2009; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (0)
The Texas Board of Education should start over. It could begin by replacing consultants who are overly enamored with "emphasizing the roles of the Bible, Christianity, and the civic virtue of religion."
By Mathew N. Schmalz | September 1, 2009; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (2)
The limit of mercy is the limit of faith.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | August 25, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (2)
A tweeting God? In cyberspace things aren't necessary what they appear to be
By Mathew N. Schmalz | August 11, 2009; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (4)
Carter has a fundamentalism of his own. As I read his letter, it strikes me that Carter still wishes to affirm the inviolability of scripture.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | July 20, 2009; 06:08 PM ET | Comments (30)
If Mayor Bloomberg would exchange places with his counter-part in Calcutta, he'd probably reconsider his position.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | July 8, 2009; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (7)
The difference between penitence and pandering is reflected in the acknowledgment that letting go is not the same as running away.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | July 1, 2009; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (3)
If Western civil societies seek to affirm religious liberty and self-expression, there can be a place for the veil for those Muslim women who feel religiously or personally inclined to wear it.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | June 25, 2009; 10:41 AM ET | Comments (1)
Celibacy is an admission of our own human limitations, of our own very human need for a continuity and completeness that only God can give.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | May 14, 2009; 10:34 PM ET | Comments (6)
The President's proclamation of a National Day of Prayer, without a White House function, reflects the tensions and inconsistencies of our age. But it is better to recognize those tensions and inconsistencies than it is to repress them through the exercise of power.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | May 6, 2009; 01:19 PM ET | Comments (7)
The personal quality of the Pope's apology is stunning, and a broad call for tolerance and reconciliation.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | April 7, 2009; 08:46 AM ET | Comments (8)
Making a distinction between a "cult" and a "religion" does nothing to help us to respond to the death of Javon Thompson or to understand One Mind Ministries. .
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 31, 2009; 05:33 PM ET | Comments (9)
I always thought that we should abandon the concept of Satan entirely: no Devil, no devil-making. Then I got the point: Devil's greatest trick is that you're damned if you believe in him and damned if you don't.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 24, 2009; 01:01 PM ET | Comments (3)
Some observe that religious taste has become fashion--changeable according to the season or to the whims of personal taste. Others argue that lack of fashion sense is the problem, especially given the drab social garb preferred by many Protestant and Catholic denominations.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 17, 2009; 12:23 PM ET | Comments (0)
In marginalizing religiously informed critiques of public policy, including stem cell research, Obama is unintentionally spinning a kind of religious narrative of his own that has equally sectarian implications.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 7, 2009; 01:12 PM ET | Comments (14)
Economic crisis is about all of us. We are all connected.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | March 5, 2009; 12:52 AM ET | Comments (7)
When approaching a sacred text, there is a space between authoritative interpreters and our own isolated selves.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | February 20, 2009; 01:31 AM ET | Comments (9)
The Obama administration should probably let faith-based programs that receive government grants discriminate against those they hire or serve: apparent discrimination might be understandable discernment that could eventually lead to dialogue.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | February 17, 2009; 05:36 AM ET | Comments (5)
The Holy Father's initial failure to confront Williamson's anti-Semitism had the unintended effect of amplifying the schismatic Bishop's most extreme pronouncements much in the way that sound echoes and reverberates in the quiet of an empty building.
By Mathew N. Schmalz | February 9, 2009; 04:51 AM ET | Comments (5)