ENDING THE DRAFT

For obvious reasons, historians concern themselves with writing about things that happened, rather than others that did not exist, or that ceased to happen. In one instance though, we can learn a lot about modern America from tracing the long-term cultural impact of something that finished over forty years ago, namely the military draft. Odd [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR: A WORLD ON THE CROSS

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In my book The Great and Holy War, I write at some length about the propaganda imagery of the war, and how thoroughly it drew on Christian imagery, especially Christ himself, and the Crucifixion. Posters and cartoons depicted whole nations as the victims of crucifixion. Usually they were depicted in the form of women, and [Read More...]

A Time to Mourn

Yazidi Temple in the Sinjar Mountains

There are so many things that compete for our attention. Gaza, Ukraine, and Ebola, deservedly so. Celebrity cheating rumors, royal baby rumors, not as important as wars and rumors of wars. Perhaps as it need be, most of us are consumed with our own jobs, our own families, and our own churches. For a short [Read More...]

Scripture as Usable History II

GodsGloryBible

In my last post I described the pushback from some American evangelicals against God-and-country Bibles like the Patriot’s Bible or the Bicentennial Bible. Another woefully understudied, but potentially significant, source of dissent is global evangelicalism. To my knowledge Mark Noll is one of the few to analyze foreign perspectives on America’s treatment of Scripture. In [Read More...]

How Violent Was American Slavery? Colonial Slave Codes

Last week I wrote about the challenges colonial American missionaries faced when trying to evangelize slaves without fundamentally challenging the institution of slavery. Starting in the eighteenth century, growing numbers of Christians began to express concerns about the immorality of slavery, at least slavery as practiced in the Americas. But when they turned to Scripture, [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (3)

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One hundred years ago this week, Europe began the deadliest war in its history (to that date). I have been writing about how historians can find and use visual resources to understand attitudes at the time, and I have written about Germany and France. The other key player at the start of the war, of [Read More...]

Christians and the Death Penalty

Why should Christians (and other Americans) oppose the death penalty, at least as currently practiced in the United States? Not because it is unbiblical. Several months back, Mark Tooley rather helpfully corrected a post of mine on this point. Prior to the particular laws given to Moses, God told Noah and his sons: “Whoso sheddeth [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (2)

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I was discussing the vast range of visual materials that historians can use to illustrate attitudes to the First World War. German propaganda especially suggested that easy victory lay within reach, which was fine unless and until they ran into obstacles and defeats, when all those cheery images began to look very sour. The French, [Read More...]

Evangelicals and Immigration–1940s Style

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! These words, ascribed on a bronze plaque affixed to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, were penned by American [Read More...]

Evangelizing Slaves and Colonial Christianity

I recently read Travis Glasson’s excellent book Mastering Christianity: Missionary Anglicanism and Slavery in the Atlantic World (Oxford, 2012). This book details the complex relationship between enslaved people, slave masters, and the missionaries of the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), which began a major outreach effort to the North American colonies in the [Read More...]


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