I have written here several times about thoroughly conservative evangelicals who are “reluctant” Republicans. I call these folks “paleo evangelicals.” I noted that some (though surely not all) of the paleo evangelicals are fans of websites such as the Front Porch Republic (which emphasizes “place, self-government, sustainability, limits, and variety” as key terms in any real solutions to our cultural malaise), and publications such as The American Conservative. Darryl Hart, who teaches history at Hillsdale College and is the author of… Read more

I recently lamented the coverage of religious matters at scholarly conferences, the point being that academics tended to ignore faith-based dimensions even when they seem so essential to the story being told. I was specifically describing the proceedings of the recent conference of the Urban History Association, but I certainly don’t mean to pick on that group, or indeed on historians in general. An even more telling example was apparent at this year’s meeting of the Latin American Studies Association… Read more

A few things online that caught my attention this week: Jackson Lears: Mormons and capitalism Alan Jacobs on the problems with political realism  Humility and the renaissance of geographic history Governors and the “hurricane conversion.” Henry Louis Gates Jr. on growing up colored The writing addiction Brave thinking H.W. Brands on Ulysses S. Grant.  Eric Foner reviews Brands, The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace READ THE REST HERE   Read more

Academics do a curious job of treating religion. This point was brought home to me powerfully last week when I attended the excellent conference of the Urban History Association (UHA), meeting in New York City. (Very fortunately, we all escaped before the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy).  Beyond the generally high standard of the individual panels and papers, UHA is a splendid opportunity to gauge the state of the art in a major (and critical) field of the profession. But even… Read more

Guest post by Miles S. Mullin II, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s J. Dalton Havard School for Theological Studies As Election Day approaches, most coverage of the presidential campaign focuses on the policy differences between President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney.  Certainly these differences deserve careful attention.  But there’s a biographical similarity that the media has badly neglected:   their quintessentially American stories of personal achievement keyed by religious commitment. Without question, Mitt Romney had a privileged upper-class childhood as the youngest son… Read more

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 a voting guide, but as I read it I could not help but think about the things that I should consider when I choose a… Read more

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, issued a thoughtful rejoinder to my piece, wondering whether the Republican evangelical base ever really argues that voting for Republicans advances the Kingdom of God…. Read more

How should we interpret Hurricane Sandy, blowing near Salem, Massachusetts, in the days before Halloween? Might it be read providentially, as it could have been read by the colonists who made the place famous by their treatment of witches? Or is it really an enhancement of Halloween, tempestuous winds to make the party spookier and spirited?   Halloween is one of the local specialities of eastern Massachusetts.  In popular American observance Halloween means witches, and Salem has them on offer…. Read more

If you don’t understand what’s happening in the Muslim world, you’ve probably been following the US media. There certainly are people in this country who are naïve on the subject of terrorism, and play down the menace of Islamist terrorist movements to a ludicrous extent. I am certainly not one, and have published fairly extensively on the reality of such groups and the means needed to destroy them. But having said that, I am also aware of the outrageous bias… Read more

The idea that Mormonism is a cult is beyond absurd, unless by cult one simply means a religion that one does not like. In recent days, observant reporters noticed that after Billy Graham’s recent meeting with Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed “Mormons” from a list of non-Christian cults. The included groups on the list ranged from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Unitarians  (it was news to me that the liberal descendants of New England’s Puritans have formed… Read more

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