The Tragic Sense of Historical Illiteracy

Pear of Anguish

What we believe to be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it. --Miguel De Unamuno The Tragic Sense of LifePresident Obama's remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast noting several historically accurate examples where Christianity was used to justify terroristic amounts of violence means that as a historian of American religion, I will never lack for material to once again note that conservatives in the U.S. are mired in a tragic cycle of distorting and ignoring … [Read more...]

Latino/a Rehab Ministry embroiled in controversy

Did some digging about the controversial decision made by New Hope Ministries of Lakewood, Colorado to cancel the funeral of a lesbian right before the funeral was about to begin. You can read about it here:New Hope Ministries and others like it are churches that I am pretty familiar with, since I spent a good part of my graduate school years following ministries like this. The churches have rehabilitation homes attached to them where they are, as New Hope's website says: "A center of Hope … [Read more...]

What I Learned From Appearing on CSPAN–(hint) you’re scared, really scared

Over the holidays, CSPAN ran presentations from the Center for Presidential Studies at Southen Methodist University of which I was honored to be one of the speakers. The conference topic was "Religion in the Age of Obama." My topic was Latino/a Religious Communities and the Immigration Issue. Here is the link if you're interested: is about all you need to know about the kinds of comments I received, either on my … [Read more...]

The Obsession with What Latinos Will Do This Election

This semester is brutal, but not so brutal, that I will be posting much more often over the next few weeks about the media's near obsessive concern with how Latinos will vote, if they will sit out the mid-terms, etc.Basically what the media wants to know "how pissed off are we?" that  Obama promised for 2 election cycles, to do something about immigration reform--and so far has done next to nothing.This story is typical, not of voting per se, but of much of the religion media, many of … [Read more...]

Hunting Heresy at Regent University


A few weeks ago, I attended the Renewal Across Americas conference at Regent University. I have been bogged down by grading so this is the first time I have had to write about the many things I learned about life at Regent--The House that Pat Robertson Built.I have learned much about my chosen profession from watching and talking to many colleagues about their experiences. If I can generalize, the academic life of many in my cohort--is one where roots are rarely planted in one institution … [Read more...]

Pilgrimage for Ricardo works…for now


On Monday January 13th, there was a peregrinación for Ricardo Ramos in Cleveland, Ohio.  This pilgrimage ended at St. Casimir church where the pilgrims were going to pray to Our Lady of Czestochowa (the Polish Madonna) to intervene on Ricardo's behalf.   Combining Our Lady of Guadalupe with the Polish Madonna is part of what occurs in these ethnic parishes that have been in the process of changing hands from the European immigration of the last century, to the immigration of the global South tod … [Read more...]

Nostalgia is the enemy of history–except when it’s not


There are those rare moments of confluence--when history, nostalgia and a child's curiosity all conspire to ensure that my digging into my 80s musical treasures will be for not.My daughter, a precocious 11-year old told me a few days ago she wants to know what the 80s were like? I ignore the obvious feeling that I am OLD, and gleefully prepare Spotify lists hoping she will listen. Making mixed-tapes, the prerogative of every angsty teen was a speciality of mine--I took to making my daughter … [Read more...]