Candles, Prayers, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Nicolaikirche_Leipzig

Last weekend, Germany celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the East German government’s blockade of its own citizens. In November 1989, amid considerable political confusion, East German security forces did not prevent crowds from crossing the border and scaling the Berlin Wall. It was not the first moment in which East German soldiers [Read More...]

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice (Part II)

This is Part II of an interview with Brantley Gasaway, author of a just-released book entitled Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice. If you order it now, you should get a copy in the next couple of weeks. *** Swartz: You orient the mission of progressive evangelicals around the concept of a “public [Read More...]

Scripture as Usable History

Patriot's Bible

The Bicentennial Bible (1975) and the American Patriot’s Bible (2009) tie scripture closely to right-wing politics. The marginal notes feature quotations from Dick Cheney and other conservative activists on the subjects of liberty and the efficacy of public school prayer and free-markets. The Bicentennial Bible declares that Scripture is “America’s Book from Almighty God.” These [Read More...]

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 2

Redeemer - The Life of Jimmy Carter

Beginning in the 1970s, evangelical voters significantly influenced electoral outcomes.  Throughout the 1980s, they emerged as an increasingly- reliable Republican voting block.  By the time the 1990s dawned, significant evangelical involvement in the political process meant that effectively, the Republican nomination could not be secured without their support.  And, in the closely-contested general election of 2004, [Read More...]

Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, Part 1

Redeemer - The Life of Jimmy Carter

When Marge Simpson forgets to pay for a bottle of rum at the Qwik-E-Mart, she ends up serving thirty days in jail for shoplifting.  Without Marge’s famous marshmallow squares to sell, Springfield’s Beautify Our Parks Bake Sale falls short of its goal, forcing the town to purchase a statue of Jimmy Carter instead of Abraham [Read More...]

Evangelicals and the Death Penalty

Santoro

Anthony Santoro’s Exile and Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourse on the Death Penalty features one of the more arresting book covers I’ve seen in recent years. A pierced and bloody Jesus sits in an electric chair, wearing a crown of thorns and a waistcloth. The photo is of a wax sculpture by Paul Fryer, who offers [Read More...]

Ron Sider: Pioneer of the Evangelical Left

ESA

One of the fascinating—and sometimes disconcerting—things about researching recent history is that my historical characters are still making history. They write books, participate in protests, and occasionally die. This summer, happily, they’re retiring more than dying. In the span of about a month, two subjects of Moral Minority’s eight mini-biographies are retiring. Richard Mouw, president [Read More...]

Why I am Glad the Election is Over

“As an American historian, what do you think about the 2012 presidential election?” I am asked this question often and I am never sure how to answer it.  Ask me in another ten or twenty years and maybe I might have an answer.  Or maybe ask another historian one-hundred years from now.  Sure, historians can [Read More...]

Ron Sider on Christian Political Engagement

I recently read Ron Sider’s excellent The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World.  If you have not read it yet, you should.  If you have the time, I would strongly encourage you to read it before voting next week.   Sider’s book is not meant to be [Read More...]

Do’s and Don’ts for Evangelicals on Election Sunday

A couple weeks ago I wrote about “Paleo Evangelicals as Reluctant Republicans,” and I am grateful for the number of responses I have received here, on Twitter and on Facebook indicating that I had “pegged” (as the Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Bart Gingerich put it) many readers’ political convictions. Luke Moon, also of the IRD, [Read More...]


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