Margaret Mead: Christian, Pro-life Feminist

Today we are pleased to welcome Elesha Coffman to the Anxious Bench. Elesha is an Assistant Professor of History at Baylor University. Her first book, The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline, was published by Oxford UP in 2013 and her current book project is a spiritual biography of Margaret Mead.  “These [Read More…]

Homeless: The Evangelical Left in 2016

2016 would appear to be the perfect moment to launch a revitalized evangelical left. Donald Trump, the most secular candidate in American history, has a special talent for violating standards of Christian virtue on issues ranging from sexual fidelity to welcoming the immigrant stranger. Many observers predict the fragmentation of an old religious right. Most [Read More…]

Scalia’s Worst Decision?

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Barry Hankins, professor of history at Baylor University, and author of books including Baptists in America: A History (with Thomas Kidd).   This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell. The Sisters, joined by many Protestant groups, have challenged the Affordable Care [Read More…]

The Pro-Life Movement’s Liberal Argument

Today’s guest post is from Daniel K. Williams, associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia and the author of Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade. In the Supreme Court hearings this week on the constitutionality of a restrictive abortion law in Texas, lawyers for the pro-life side have [Read More…]

Liberty and Civility

Earlier this week, Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to 12,000 students at Virginia’s Liberty University. Sanders’s visit provided some of the more substantive political theater in the 2016 campaign thus far. The self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” proved himself a bit more facile with the Bible than the Donald, and he received a [Read More…]

The Past and Presence of Progressive Evangelicalism

Brantley Gasaway’s new book on progressive evangelicalism opens with a striking story. In 1985 evangelical activists marched through the streets of Washington, D.C. As the demonstration began, a spokesperson declared, “We’re showing that we are willing to pay the price, to sacrifice, to go to jail, if necessary to draw attention to all the assaults [Read More…]

“A Decision of Startling Breadth”? Reflections on Hobby Lobby

This week’s Hobby Lobby decision from the Supreme Court brings good news and bad news. The good news is that the majority made the right decision, on sensible grounds, namely that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) should protect “closely held” businesses from acting against the dictates of conscience, especially when the government has not [Read More…]

Embryos Unbound

April’s First Things boasts not one but two worthy articles on embryos.  I agree with much in each.  One, “The Ancients on Abortion” by Sarah Klitenic Wear, gives a history lesson on ancient embryology to observe that Greeks then—not unlike Americans now—debated whether souls were present before or after birth.  The other, Jennifer Lahl and [Read More…]

Fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which critics regard as one of the most overreaching decisions in Supreme Court history. Citing an expansive interpretation of the 14th amendment and the “right to privacy,” the court determined that abortion on demand should be legal in all 50 states. As I have written earlier, the [Read More…]