Category Uncategorized

Theodicy and Real-World Justifications

Two recent articles have raised the question of politicians and divine authority. At the Daily Beast, Andrew Sullivan asks why Mitt Romney has never challenged the authority of his church’s institutional racism. Meanwhile, Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches takes the occasion of the latest regressive statement on rape by a Republican candidate to challenge the […]

The Beginnings of the Red Mass of Washington

Prompted by Marie Griffith’s post over at Religion and Politics, and spurred on by the happenstance of reading a related document while doing unrelated research the night before, I thought I’d take a look today at the history of the beginnings of the “Red Mass” in Washington, DC.  This mass, dedicated to the legal profession, […]

Jim Garlow and a 16th Century Russian Monk

What does Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, have in common with Filofei, a Russian Orthodox monk who corresponded with Vasilii III, Grand Prince of Moscow, in 1515? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the apocalypse. On “Today’s Issues” with Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon, Garlow announced […]

Huckabee’s Challenge to the Priests of Baal

Last Friday, in a conference call to support Todd Akin, Mike Huckabee invoked the biblical story of Elijah and the priests of Baal.  This showdown, from the eighteenth chapter of 1st Kings, depicts Elijah testing the powers of his god against those of Baal.  Both sides prepare a bull for sacrifice on their respective altars, […]

What Frightened Fosdick?

Today, Harry Emerson Fosdick is most well known–at least among people who pay attention to this kind of thing–for his 1922 sermon “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” in which he argued for the principle of tolerance in liberal Protestantism.  Fosdick’s sermon is often cited as one of the nails in the coffin of fundamentalism, although we […]

Christianity, Socialism, and the First Red Scare

The 1920s and 30s produced many “red lists” documenting real and imagined communist influence and subversion in America.  Elizabeth Dilling’s The Red Network was the most famous (just ask Glenn Beck), and certainly the most amusing in hindsight, but the interwar years also had the American Legion’s ISMs, Blair Coán’s The Red Web, and R. […]

Buckley and the Warriors of the Apocalypse

When Max Eastman took exception to the idea that atheists could not fight communism, William F. Buckley Jr. argued in a 1962 Los Angeles Times editorial that “atheists are less likely than Christians (or any other religious people) to put up the only kind of a fight that is truly relevant in the age of […]