Birth of the Klan’s Nation

Kelly J. Baker At midnight on November 25, 1915, seventeen men climbed to the top of Stone Mountain in Georgia with a large wooden cross. On that Thanksgiving night, they lit the cross on fire and pledged allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, American ideals, and “the tenets of the Christian religion. Read More…

Doomsday Politics

Kelly J. Baker In 2008, some conservative evangelicals declared on email, websites and forums that the future president, Barack Obama, was not a Muslim in hiding, but decidedly more dangerous. They compared Obama to the charismatic Anti-Christ of the of the Left Behind series, Nicolae Carpathia.

Sacred Matters of Coen

Elijah Siegler For years the debate was whether the Coens had any serious background or interest in religion at all. Certainly it was there in their movies—but was religion just one more element in their ironic postmodern mix of genre, American folklore, and popular culture? Religiously minded viewers could have been reading too much into it.

7 Questions for Lerone A. Martin

Lerone A. Martin During my research, I discovered that most scholarship on religious media focused primarily on the mediums of print, radio, and television. Moreover, these historical accounts almost exclusively detailed the experiences of white Protestants, while simultaneously ignoring race as an analytical category. This led me to write my dissertation and ultimately Preaching on Wax: an interwar narrative that de-centers whiteness and radio in the history of American religious broadcasting by explaining how black clergy, largely marginalized from radio on account of racial discrimination, made the phonograph a vital medium of religious broadcasting, a phenomenon I have dubbed phonograph religion.

Religion Around Michael Bolton: A Modest Proposal

Mark Hulsether To the Editors of the Religion Around Series: It has come to my attention that your press has initiated a series of short books about how religious or quasi-religious themes relate “around” creative artists. But it seems that, in practice, most such “prominence” could be translated into an idiom of highbrow tastemakers valorizing artists who enjoy universal acclaim—or even a language of reproducing elite hegemonic cultural capital. Herewith, I submit a modest proposal for a book more attuned to making the series pluralistic and representative of the everyday lived tastes of subaltern listeners: the manifold religious dimensions of Michael Bolton.

What Star Wars Taught Me About the Bible

Jonathan Homrighausen Apocalyptic has always been one of my least favorite biblical genres. First, it can make for very tedious reading, with its densely symbolic accounts of battles and political turmoil. And second, I’ve always struggled with the black-and-white moral dimension of it. To me the world just doesn’t work like that. . . . But then I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and, oddly enough, it helped me understand the Bible better.

2015: The Year in Religion

Gary Laderman Death. Violence. Carnage. Hatred. Warfare. Demonization.

Bliss. Transcendence. Community. Comfort. Love. Glorification.

Overall, I’d say this year has been a mixed bag for religion. But then again, I’d have to say that every year throughout human history religious acts and beliefs have brought both bad and good to communities of people across the globe. America in 2015 is no different.

Progressive Priests and Pastors in Recent Popular Media

S. Brent Plate But I am interested in the complexity of human identity, and the ways these complexities allow a variety of practices, beliefs, and behaviors. Simply for the sake of accuracy, it is important to represent diverse channels of human character. Religious identities intersect with sexual, ethnic, racial, gendered, and national identities, and none of these are monolithic. In spite of what we might think based on media representations, not all Christians are conservatives, and not all Christian clergy are narrow-minded, abstaining teetotalers in ignorant servitude to some “Church,” some tradition.