Defeated: How Evangelicals Feel


It’s a fascinating time in American history, religion and politics. I recently wrote that it’s time for my liberal and moderate friends “to get hard.” I made the case that in fact, because of our inattention and our tendency to compromise that we have lost on nearly every social and political agenda of importance: increasing social inequality; larger military budgets; more weapons on the street; a stalled immigration reform; endless money in our politics, and now, with one piece of success, the A … [Read more...]

Producers NOT Consumers: Teaching Religion


Every class is different. You only realize this from experience. Every classroom has its own dynamic, energy and ethos. It really is quite remarkable. This year’s courses have started brilliantly. I don’t know why. It’s not me. But it has made me think more deeply about teaching than I have in the past. And whatever you put time into tends to be where your creative energy is. So, early in this year my energy is in the classroom and I love what I do. So what are my takeaways so far?1. I’ve bec … [Read more...]

Time to Get Hard


To my liberal friends, and I'm not even sure I'm a liberal or a progressive. You (we) are known for our soft hearts and soft heads, well, on this one we need to get hard. Our Republican friends have counted on us to be compromising, nice, forgiving, but no more, not on this one. Jesus was not nice, he was hard and tough and he demanded  love and justice from his followers. He said, "If you don't serve the poor and  the helpless, you do not know me" (Matthew 25).Despite a Democratic President … [Read more...]

Atheism and Teaching Religion


Recently, a student, who has taken multiple courses from me, told me that when evangelical students take my courses they assume I’m an atheist. In fact, in my graduate student orientation this week, a student said the same thing to me, “You sound like an atheist.”Now it's true I teach comparative religion at a “secular” university. Our university was sued when the college first tried to bring religious studies into the curriculum. So, in part, to appease these concerns, they put comparative r … [Read more...]

Deconstructing American Exceptionalism


The other night the President argued: "America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth … [Read more...]

“America has no business in the Middle East”

Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Studies and graduate of West Point, whose son died serving the country in Iraq, has written and spoken extensively on U.S. foreign policy, religion, and most recently on the Syrian situation. His important book, The Limits of American Power The End of American Exceptionalism, is the most important book that I know of for Americans to read. He is not a dove, nor a soft minded liberal, he is, as he says, "a conservative Catholic." But he thinks that … [Read more...]