Sometimes, when we were editing Contexts, Chris and I would set out to try to arrange an issue around a given theme. More often, though, we simply found that, as the issue started to come together, it also started to coalesce around a topic or two and take on a life of its own. That would be how we found ourselves thinking of the issues as “Oh, you know, The Aging Issue,” or “The Problems Issue,” or, well, “The Sexy-times Issue.” As it turns out, that’s starting to happen on The Society Pages, too.
Right now, it’s religion that’s caught our eye. As I got ready to post an aside here on the incredibly interesting Huffington Post piece “If Tim Tebow Were Muslim, Would America Still Love Him?” by the clearly poetic environmental policy consultant Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, it dawned on me that, just this morning, our own wunderkind Alex Casey had just put up a Citings & Sightings post on an in-depth Salt Lake Tribune article about new research on the gender gap among Utah’s Mormons and why some other social scientists are arguing with the conclusions (though not the data). And of course, last week, I’d written about my own work and new Canadian research on Americans’ lack of trust in the Atheists among us. All of a sudden, religion was becoming a mini-theme here on The Society Pages.
And no wonder: religion’s hard to talk about, but often on our minds. For many, it’s the grounding of their every day, of the ways they try to move in society, and so understanding–or attempting to understand–others’ religions is both essential and tricky. Questioning their faith or the dogmas of their faith is, in many ways, questioning another’s place in the broader society. It seems to me that these sorts of “diversions” are what The Society Pages is all about.