n the wake of last week's elections results and our new president-elect, I keep scrolling through my Spotify lists to a bunch of punk rock. Three bands have been in rotation this week-- The Dead Kennedys, NOFX, and The Descendents. The combination of these bands and the election brought me back to a much earlier point in my life. It was 2004. I was a twenty-year-old college junior majoring in religious studies and English. I had lived in the South my whole life and grown up the son of an evangelical pastor in evangelical Protestant churches. I thought of myself as a smart intellectually sophisticated conservative. I remember voting for John McCain in the South Carolina primary that year. I remember Howard Dean came to campus and I was intrigued but didn't go see him. I voted for George W. Bush in November.
What role should the humanities play in American civil society? What role should the government play in supporting the humanities as a field of inquiry? These are the questions Alabama Senator and chair of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions has brought to light in a recent letter to the National Humanities Endowment. The Chronicle … Continue reading Promoting Culture: Senator Jeff Sessions and the National Endowment for the Humanities
Thanks to NPR, the debate about white people doing yoga is back in the news: About 20 million people in the United States practice some form of yoga, from the formal Iyengar and Ashtanga schools to the more irreverent "Yoga Butt." But some Hindus say yoga is about far more than exercise and breathing techniques. … Continue reading Yoga and the Protestant Public Sphere; Or, Taking Back Yoga Where?
"The new formation [born-again Christianity] was part fundamentalist, part pentecostal, part charismatic, part evangelical, and then something else in a way that none of its parts had been: morally outraged, socially engaged, and routinely politically active." -- Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry Falwell (2000) I was preparing my lesson for Monday's class about … Continue reading Things that are still true about American Christianity…
As I sat on my couch scanning Twitter and listening to the President describe the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I realized that this was a high moment in American civil religion. Thanks to a couple colleagues here at Emory and our writing group, I've had civil religion on the brain lately. As the president … Continue reading Justice, Bin Laden, and American Civil Religion
David Sehat gives us five myths about church and state in America: 1. The Constitution has always protected religious freedom. 2. The founders’ faith matters. 3. Christian conservatives have only recently taken over politics. 4. America is more secular than it used to be. 5. Liberals are anti-religious. Read the whole piece to see how he defends … Continue reading What you think you know about church and state in America and why it’s wrong
Adam Serwer summarizes a new report that debunks the myths underlying conservative panics over sharia. In short, sharia is not like Biblical law or the Ten Commandments and it is not a threat to the United States. But the sharia panic that is driving state legislatures to try and criminalize Islam, and making GOP presidential candidates … Continue reading Sharia Myths
Note: Originally posted at State of Formation The criticism of Rob Bell's Love Wins is not about theology. It is all about authority. In case you missed the hubbub surrounding Rob Bell's book, Love Wins, I point you to Sara Staely's post where she outlines John Piper and the neo-Calvinist establishment's response to the book. She sums up … Continue reading Not Theology, but Authority: Rob Bell and the Evangelical Institutional Establishment
It's funny cuz it's true. Second, the Republicans seem remarkably fragile. A professor writing a blog post gives them the shivers. It’s a good thing they chose politics, and not the kind of career where the going can really get rough. Professors, for example, teach their hearts out to surly adolescents who call them boring … Continue reading Tough Academics and Fragile Politicians
Tenured Radical is spending time at the Reagan Library: I say in all seriousness: if you are too focused on your own authority as a historian you will learn nothing from the people who love history and are out there practicing it beyond our scrutiny. For example, I learn a great deal when I ask … Continue reading Reagan Religion