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, […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Religion News Service reports that a new WIN-Gallup poll indicates that atheism is on the rise in the US while those who identify as religious are decreasing.  The poll presents a staggering drop in the latter category, from 73% in 2005, to only 60% today.   RNS, quoting Ryan Cragun, attributes the increase among atheists to […]

Over at the Society for U.S. Intellectual History, Ben Alpers observes the relative lack of attention paid to the fact that the Romney-Ryan ticket is the first from a major party without a Protestant candidate.  He correctly points out that a Mormon-Catholic alliance, supported by a largely Evangelical base, represents a dramatic shift from an […]

On his deathbed, dying from a gunshot wound, Charles Marshall lived long enough to sign a document implicating his wife Emma in his murder.  He claimed that she had shot him in the back as he slept at their home in Morgan county, Alabama.  Although Emma contended that her husband had shot himself, his last […]

Is it “religious” to acknowledge the existence of a supreme being?  The language of state constitution religious tests reveals a great deal about how religion is conceptualized in America. Article VI of the United States Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under […]

Apropos of the current situation with the Boy Scouts of America, in which many Eagle Scouts are resigning and returning their badges, an earlier BSA case provided fortuitous material with which to inaugurate this blog. By declining to hear the appeal of Welsh v. Boy Scouts of America in 1993, the Supreme Court upheld the […]