Michael Peppard

Michael Peppard is assistant professor of theology at Fordham University, author of The Son of God in the Roman World, and on Twitter @MichaelPeppard.

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The wars of perception

"Nothing threatens Americas national security more than the perception that we are at war with Islam," I wrote four years ago in this magazine.It was a follow-up ("Disgrace") to a longer piece about the role that perceived abuse of religious items and symbols played in the memories of former Guantanamo detainees ("The Secret Weapon"). To my knowledge, those two articles still remain the most thorough treatment of the place of religion in U.S.

New study on CEO-to-worker pay ratio

One of the most memorable seminars I ever attended as a student was in a political philosophy course, in which one week covered debates about wealth stratification in ideal and real societies. We students were to submit short position papers about what we thought would be the ideal ratio of income inequality in a society.

Plutocracy in action: the FAA vs. National Parks

The jaw-dropping swiftness with which the Senate responded to this week's flight delays, which were predicted as a result of sequestration, provides a perfect example of plutocracy in action. When sequestration began to affect the quality of life for frequent travelers -- an affluent segment of our society -- the Senate did all it could to take the pain away.

Testing the Boundaries

Over the past few years, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been at the forefront of attempts by Catholic bishops to define the scope of Catholic theology in the United States. To his credit, he is keen to engage with younger theologians in Catholic colleges and universities.

"The wounded surgeon..." (T.S. Eliot, East Coker IV)

Of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, the second one, "East Coker," is perhaps the most explicitly Christian in both sense and referent. The fourth movement of "East Coker" is largely responsible for this assessment, though admittedly the fourth movements of the other quartets also embody a hymnic, confessional quality. This movement, which begins, "The wounded surgeon plies the steel," is at once a meditation on sacrificial atonement and the horrors of sickness unto death in an era of war, when "the whole earth is our hospital."The poem is not theological; it is theology.

First since 1054? More likely: first ever.

Everyone has been reporting the great news that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended today's installation Mass. What has not been correct is the part when we say it's the first time since 1054, the Great Schism. It's more likely, according to Byzantinist historian George Demacopoulos, that this is the first time ever.Over to my Fordham colleague:

Care for others, care for creation... St. Francis redivivus!

The words kept recycling. Care for others ... care for creation ... care for others ... care for creation...The homily of Pope Francis at his installation Mass this morning stunned me first into disbelief, then into self-reflection, then into joy and hope. Even if he had not already told us which namesake he chose, today there would be no doubt. This opening homily was St.

Twitter and the prophetic voice

As I scroll through the statistics of the world's most "followed" Twitter users, I notice a trend. Those with the most dramatic differentials between how many "follow" them and how many they are "following" seems to track with how "prophetic" the person is perceived to be.

The conclave bird: a distinctively Roman omen

I never thought I'd have the chance to say this, but we need to bring back the official Roman augurs. A dramatic bird omen has just occurred: the conclave seagull atop the chimney.

Where are the Senate's women? It matters.

The lede for this morning's feature article in Politico: