“Romero is always present,” says Ana Grande, 30. A 2005 mural by J. Reyes Yasbek entitled Verdad y Justicia (“Truth and Justice”) attests to Romero’s continuing legacy in the struggle for social justice. All photos by Richard Amesbury.


Archbishop Romero’s legacy survives in El Salvador.

Killing the Buddha

Holy Crap and Holy Ground

In preparation for tomorrow night’s reading/party of Scott Korb’s new book (out in stores today!) Life in Year One, here are a couple of related pieces just out today. On the Washington Post‘s On Faith page, Korb takes a look at the question of holy ground: Historically, too many people have believed that God literally…


Heresy Is a Cradle

Anne Hutchinson’s “No in Thunder.”

Killing the Buddha

Saint Meets Sultan Meets Wishful History

Today at The Immanent Frame, I’ve got a report on last night’s event at Fordham University on St. Francis’ mysterious encounter with the sultan of Egypt. More and more, it is being remembered as an antidote to the “clash of civilizations” and a model for Christian-Muslim peacebuilding. But is the history really what we want…

The 12th Planet

The Most Controversial 89-year-old Man in New York

I’ve just been one-upped by The New York Times, and I’m glad of it. In October, 2008, I did an essay for The Smart Set in tribute to my favorite “ancient astronaut” theorists, the greatest of which is without question Zecharia Sitchin. About him, I wrote: The idea goes like this: If you read the…

"First God Sighting" by Leland Paul via Flickr

You Call That God?

Why Karen Armstrong’s Case for God isn’t one.

"Spiritualism sign, College Street, Toronto" by gruntzooki via Flickr

Into the Weird

Mitch Horowitz unleashes America’s occult past.

Killing the Buddha

Crashing the Mayans’ Big Date

Most of us know, one should hope, that the media’s portrayal of 2012 is essentially baseless. What is more interesting, though, is the way that the Mayan date of 2012 has been forcibly grafted onto Western understandings of the ages of man and Judeo-Christian beliefs about the end of the world. The pop phenomenon surrounding…

"Blue mosque tourist" by Prof-B via Flickr

Revelation Road

After ditching the tour group, he’s got twenty-four hours and seven very important Turkish towns to see.


The Masons Are Still Segregated?

Much of the response to my article from last week on Dan Brown and Freemasonry has focused on the questions of race in the fraternity. As one reader said of his experience with Masonry, “I was told the Freemasons don’t care what color, race or nationality you are.” In fact, a man of any ethnicity…


Ginormous Academicus

Earlier this month I had the pleasure to tell you about the Chronologium Academicus, a remarkable poster that a man named Guy Cutrufo has devised in the hopes of helping to restore academic knowledge to its rightful place against the onslaught of mindless celebrity culture—“An Antidote for Trivia,” it says. Well, now Guy has done…

Hildegard von Bingen, Rupertsberger Codex des Liber Scivias

The Sapphire in Hildegard’s Wine

On the frontispiece of Hildegard von Bingen’s Scivias, the nun is propping her feet on a stool—perhaps to elevate her knees high enough to compose the first strokes of her fantastical visions. She is sketching on a wax tablet, dictating to the monk Volmar (her secretary of sixty years), Hildegard scholars tell us, and an…

Killing the Buddha

Scuba Diving Beneath Hagia Sophia

At BLDGBLOG, an alluring post about the liquid underbelly of a historic building. While scuba diving beneath Hagia Sophia, an exploratory team led by filmmaker Goksel Gülensoy has “managed to reach areas that until now, no one had ever managed to reach,” down there in the flooded basins 1000 feet beneath Istanbul’s ancient religious structure.…


Visual Metaphysics: Opicinus de Canistris

Passing through the Met’s Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages show this week, I was thrilled to discover a new fascination: the works of Opicinus de Canistris, a 14th-century Pavian who worked in the papal court in Avignon, France. According to the accompanying text, he survived a traumatic sickness, after which “he worked…


God or Country

A good, religiously tolerant nation is hard to find.

Newton by William Blake

The Most Beautiful System

The power and danger of Isaac Newton’s faith.

Bud Fields in his cotton patch. Hale County, Alabama. Walker Evans, 1935.

A Taste of the Old (New?) World

Emails from my ex-boyfriend rarely include any of his own words. Instead, he forwards messages that originate from another friend of ours without so much as a word of introduction. The communiques appear like unidentified birds—words, or images or rants against the right-wing—flying in from the high desert valley of Washington where our mutual friend…

Bayard Rustin in 1963

Gays Are the New Niggers

40 years after the Stonewall riots, what Bayard Rustin means for American democracy.