Witches in the Village

In 1945, English villager Charles Walton was gruesomely murdered in what sensationalist media decided was a sinister “witch murder,” even a human sacrifice, in the community of Lower Quinton. That story, as described by detective Robert Fabian, became the foundation of a whole genre of fantastic fiction, Folk Horror, and this spilled over into the [Read More…]

My Trump Syllabus

I recently found myself on the fringes of an academic controversy. The Chronicle of Higher Education approached me to suggest books for a hypothetical “Trump Syllabus” that they were preparing, Trump 101. Together with many other academics, I duly contributed. The Syllabus itself was, though, bitterly criticized by some for its neglect of major aspects [Read More…]

The Black Dog and the Wicker Man

Last time I described how rogue academics produced a mythology of continuing paganism and human sacrifice in supposedly Christian England, right up to modern times. The main rogue in question was an Egyptologist gone bad by the name of Margaret Murray. Supposedly, there was a continuing tradition of secret underground paganism linked to ancient cults [Read More…]

Pelican of Mercy

Whenever I’m in Salt Lake City, I like to stop at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. While at the cathedral last week, I noticed something that will no doubt be common knowledge to students of medieval Christianity but was new to me. In two paintings — on the central mural behind the altar and in [Read More…]

How Activists Claimed Primary Season (for awhile)

During the Democratic National Convention, supporters of Bernie Sanders denounced the superdelegate system as rigged. For their part, some Republican Party elites sought to derail Donald Trump’s nomination by changing convention rules to release already-pledged superdelegates to vote against Trump. In the face of seemingly universal denunciations of the superdelegate system, it’s worth considering its [Read More…]

Religion in The Olympics… and The Olympics as Religion

Surveying the complicated history of Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the modern Olympics, whose founder meant them to represent “humanity’s superior religion.” [Read more…]

How to Pray for a Presidential Candidate You Don’t Like

Under current circumstances, praying people might puzzle over how to pray for leaders they do not much like.  History affords a range of options, from requesting deliverance from evil rulers, to affirming allegiance to the powers that be whom God ordained, to giving thanks for just and prudent officials.  Another provocative possibility comes from invocations [Read More…]

No Room in Wayne Grudem’s World for a Female President

In a stunning statement, Wayne Grudem–Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, former professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood–pledged his wholehearted support of Donald Trump. “[M]y conscience, and my considered moral judgment tell me that I must vote for Donald Trump as [Read More…]

Dark Majesty and Folk Horror

This coming Monday, August 1, marks the medieval feast of Lammas, Loaf-mass, the year’s first harvest festival, and that coincides with one of the great feasts of the ancient Irish calendar, Lughnasa. This also brings me to a curious anniversary, which tells us a little bit about medieval history, and a great deal about the [Read More…]

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, By Their Words

by Katelyn Guichelaar and Kristin Du Mez The national party conventions of the past two weeks have offered us political theatrics, stolen words, and soaring rhetoric. They also provide us with a moment to reflect on the paths each candidate has taken to secure their party’s nomination. More specifically, to consider the words they have [Read More…]