And Battles Long Ago

I have often posted on themes of history, memory, and forgetting, and some recent news stories brought that home to me powerfully – especially on all we have forgotten beyond hope of recovery. This issue of lost worldly glories seems appropriate for the Easter season. Earlier this year, Egyptian archaeologists made a spectacular find, a [Read More…]

Praying for the Best and Preparing for the Worst

Today we welcome Jonathan Couser to the Anxious Bench. Jonathan received an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a PhD in Medieval History from the University of Notre Dame.  He teaches history at Plymouth State University and Granite State College in New Hampshire.  The first week of Donald Trump’s presidency has provided ample grist to the mill [Read More…]

On Faith, Resistance, and Self-Sacrifice

Chris tells the story of the White Rose anti-Nazi resistance, with an eye to some troubling developments in American democracy. [Read more…]

Seeking God in The Holocaust

A new book helps us understand how Europeans on both sides of World War II turned to faith to make meaning of unfathomable violence and suffering [Read more…]

A Very Nazi Christmas

Under National Socialism, Christmas in Germany featured a mix of de-Christianized traditions, neopagan rituals, and gendered stereotypes. [Read more…]

Mel Brooks and Teaching European History

I dearly love Mel Brooks as a comedian, but I do have some quarrels with him as a historian. In explaining that remark, I’ll return to the point I made recently about teaching European history to Americans, and some of the basic and quite counter-intuitive ideas you need to get across at a very early [Read More…]

The Bonhoeffer Effect, “Unpleasant Parallels,” and the 2016 Election

Christians on both sides of the 2016 election invoke the heroic example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but the history of Christian responses to Nazism is much more complicated. [Read more…]

Could the U.S. Finally Get a Significant Christian Democratic Party?

Is American politics finally ready for a Christian democratic party like those that have long played key roles in European and South American politics? [Read more…]

The Secularization of Christian Holidays

The Christmas season starts early in Germany as well. Some stores have had their displays out for weeks, and bakeries are already churning out the Stollen and Plätzchen. I’m trying to imagine what December in Germany would be like if American-style jurisprudence reigned. Christmas markets across Germany (organized by cities) would become “Winter markets” or [Read More…]

Homeschooling: A Fundamental Human Right?

A remarkable political asylum case has raised questions about whether the U.S. government should defend the right of families to homeschool.  The case concerns the Romeike family of Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, and where families who attempt to homeschool their children can face heavy fines and even have their children taken from them. An [Read More…]