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tv   Religious Influence on U.S. Politics  CSPAN  August 24, 2021 9:02pm-10:31pm EDT

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next, from purdue university, historians talking about religious influence on u.s. politics and foreign policy in the 20th century, and why they believe this isn't a widely studied topic. this was part of a two day conference called, remaking american political history. >> thank you all for coming. i'm [inaudible] and i'm cheering i'm ronit stahl and sharing this roundtable today and i give you a brief introduction of what we're going to talk about and
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he introduce our group and that will get started. so 15 years ago, in 2000 -- oh, right. >> there is a switch on. >> oh, there we go. is that? all right, thank you. yeah, so there's a switch on the mics. great. 15 years ago, in a journal of american history of article, john but they've challenged historians of modern america to pay attention to religion. in particular, he noted, religions continuing importance in 20th century american politics deserves sustained attention and analysis. scholarship in american religion history has proliferated over the past 15 years and in political history religion has often retained, in butler's evocative term, ejected the box quality. colorful, a surprising, anomalous, idiosyncratic, but left on the periphery to pop up occasionally rather than systematically.
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today, our roundtable will address how religion matters in american political history, and we'll do so in three ways. first, i'll ask each of our panelists to focus on it way in which religion mattress, that is, in their own research, how religion plays a role in spaces that they're working on but also how centering religion in these spaces gives us a different communalism rebel narrative, a different story than if it were on the periphery or ignored in some way. second, we'll talk a lot about butler's's provocation, why have political historians remained somewhat reluctant bystanders about religion in american history, and why does religion still get left out of calls for papers, courses, since the seas, or, as someone joked, just today, right? there is as few of you stalwarts, which we appreciate, but not as many people come to
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something when religion is centrally part of it. and finally, we'll discuss the ways in which religion is everywhere in our current moment. islamophobia in the religious left, the evangelical right and the moral monday movement are just some of the things we see regularly today. we also see how religious freedom has become the catchword of the current administration as well as opponents to it. so how can and should we explain this as political historians, and how might political and religious historians work together to historic size at the present moment? so that's what's on the docket for today. which we are lerone martin, associate professor of religion and politics at the time center for religion and politics at washington university in st. louis. his award would winning first books was preaching on backs the -- phonograph at the making of modern african american religion and is currently working on a book about religion, the fbi at the
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national security state, which is under contract with princeton university press. to his right is lauren turek, this is the professor of history at trinity university in san antonio. she's currently can completing a book to bring the good news to all nations, religion, human rights, and u.s. foreign policy, which will be out by cornell soon-ish. close enough! on the far right is kate rosenblatt, who's a visiting assistant professor of history at or -- actually in the religious department, not forget that, at emory university. she's working on a manuscript, "cooperative battlegrounds -- religion and the search for economic alternatives", which is under contract with columbia. and i'm ronit stahl, an assistant professor of history at university of california, berkeley. my first book, it is seeing faith, how military chaplains in syria religion and state and
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one america came out last year and now i'm working on a project on religion in american house. council with that, all to do our first question and ask each of our scholars to talk about the role of religion in their own work and the way in which thinking about religion has changed the way we can understand these aspects, certain aspects of american history. >> thank you, ronit, for that. and ronit left out of her own introductions that her book is also an award-winning book, the church history price for the best first book in american religious history. so, thanks ronit, for bringing us all together. my current research project examines the fbi and its relationship to religion during the directorship of longtime director j edgar hoover from 1924 to 1972. the focus on religion in the project eliminates under studied yet vital aspects of the bureau's internal culture and practices, and how that ethos shaped the public
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perceptions of the fbi's political work, and in particular, the fbi's understanding and american understandings more broadly of the relationship between religion and national security. existing studies of the fbi have strongly dismissed the role of religion in the making at the shaping of the bureau, the role of religion has been more prominent in political histories of post war america, displaying how the cold war shaped americas religious thank you landscape. yet these studies of religion and the cold war tended to downplay the role of the nation's top domestic security force and the cold war watchdog that was the fbi. in fact, and not so often in this the starters, whoever is looking both liquidity literally and figuratively on the margins. so in my research, i focus on them link between religion and hoover's fbi by arguing that there are three things that i will discuss today, that this connection reveals about american politics and american political history first, jay edgar hoover
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himself. examining the role of faith in the life of jay edgar hoover reveals that hoover became a central figure in american civil religion, that is, america's political faith expressed in the set of beliefs and sacred symbols and rituals in the public sphere. without looking at the religion in the life of jade grow over, we'll miss a number of things. for example, in his childhood diaries, the show as well is's experiences as a teenage son to school teacher and also that he export a call to ministry. all of this reveals how resistant shaped hoover won't be long before he became the director of the fbi. his fate remained while he became the director of the fbi. he was a trustee and a member of the national presbyterian church, sharing a pew with president i've learned hauer and john foster dollars, and he remained in contact with his pastor for the remainder of his life. all of this reveals that hoover's understanding of
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religion, specifically his calvinist understanding of religion, not only shaped how he viewed america, but also shaped and how he understood and executed his job in protecting america. this is evident in his speeches, the books in which he began framing patriotic christianity as the sole antidote to communism, and how he organized the bureau, which i will address next. scholars and casual observers alike may doubt this is darity of hoover's own speak, even as i'm speaking right now, however, americans at his time did not doubt that faith. every major christian faith community from the catholic church to the african methodist episcopal church to evangelical and protestant mainline churches alike, they all crowned hoover with awards, citations and plaques, and yes, even if stained glass window at a church. hoover was deemed and crowned as a champion in american politics. hoover then can be seen as arguably, we could say, the
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high priest of american civil religion. now. this title has normally reserved for presidents such as hoover's coalition is dwight eisenhower. however, as presidents came and went [inaudible] every 48 years, hoover remained. in fact, for almost half a century, he led the bureau and for countless americans, he was the person to look to for all things forgot, flag and country. second, the keen eye on the importance of religion reveals and that the bureau itself had a religious culture which shaped how americans viewed and understood their fbi. under hoover's auspices, the fbi instituted private worship services, spiritual risky retreats, and communion and prayer breakfasts exclusively for fbi agents, and even when the fbi admitted african american agents, these worship services at private religious affairs were exclusively for white agents only. similar to american civil religion, the bureau's
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religious culture borrowed from protestant and catholic forms, especially the militarists aspect of jesuit spirituality. hoover's g-men words more than just a federal bureaucrats, but as players soldiers drafted to embark on appropriate against all things surprise defended ungodly. indeed, in the context of the cold war, americans began to see the god fearing fbi agents as a clearinghouse of sorts of true faith and allegiance. fbi files are filled with letters from the public requesting religious and political advice. mr. hoover, which shirt which church should i attend? mr. hoover, is billy graham a real question? mr. hoeven, should i listen to oral robertson? mr. hoover, is martin luther king communist? should i attend this church that is led by a woman? is that subversive? these sorts of letters fill fbi files. americans may have looked to their pastors, priests and bishops, but to be able to address the theological
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disputes, many of them trusted the fbi for the more winter matters of politics. the history of the fbi, then, can be seen and re-written as an adjudicator of true faith and political allegiance in 20th century u.s. politics, something which contemporary observance of the fbi know all too well. finally, focusing on religion eliminates how the bureau was able to form partnerships with leading black and white protestant and catholic faith communities. all to influence imported aspects of 20th century politics. hoover and his fbi established working professional and personal relationships with medium clergy, such as father 14 jean, president trump's boyhood pastor, norman vincent peel, billy graham, and the chaplain of the united clans of america, reverend george gorsuch, as well as the first quarter member to have his own television show, elder reverend
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lightfoot solomon michaux well. these were working mankato, hoover did not recognize female clergy. they all worked together to develop a certain ideal of what the proper relationship was between religious and politics in the nation. indeed, this christian syndicate laundered intelligence for the fbi, preaching and publishing it as the gospel. the public and privately worked with the bureau to employ christian faith and rachel it's the rhetoric to construct a shared ideal of religion and national security, specifically, and policy ideas more broadly. the fbi and its christian network worked in concert to promote such policies raging from anti civil rights legislation, anti communist fervor, and to forbidding even certain bible translations. those who supported such causes were discredited as domestic and subversive at best or destroyed at worst and hoover used this question syndicate to make sure that those folks were kept outside of the realm of what was considered an american.
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with all this in my, to hoover's faith in his religious formation of the bureau and it's fruitful partnerships with leading clergy, perhaps we can use this to rewrite americans american political history in the post war era, placing hoover and his fbi as a important actors and factors that contributed to the rise of the modern religious right. in the end, a key eye on religion does not replace narratives and studies of the fbi in american politics. rather, highlighting religion serves as a compliment, that is, it adds more texture to the story. it brings more historical actors to an already crowded stage, and that's provides a more vivid, clearer picture of the bureau and its role in american politics. this naming and framing of this religious picture just might help us to better understand today's fbi, and it's fraught relationship to religion and national security, specifically in american politics, more broadly. thanks. >> [applause] so, i'm a historian
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of u.s. foreign policy with a focus on politics and religion. and my forthcoming book looks specifically at how conservative evangelical christian groups sought to influence u.s. foreign policy on a range of issues from religious freedom and human rights to international trade and foreign aid, starting in the 19 seventies and moving through the 19 nineties. in the process of conducting this research, one of the things that i have found is that religion is a particularly fruitful avenue for analyzing not just politics, but also policymaking. i find, in particular, that it helps shed light on the formation of ideology and national values. and how policy makers and domestic interest groups promote those values. religious beliefs, as enduring elements of american culture and ideology, sheet and continue to shape the world view of political leaders, and well as the public.
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they help to steer national discourse, and in some cases they set the parameters of what's acceptable in policy making in terms of, at least, foreign policy making. so one of the key arguments that i make in my book a set long-standing anxieties about religious repression and persecution and totalitarian regimes. and the threat that persecution pose to the global missionary agenda of evangelical groups. led to the establishment of a foreign policy lobby in the united states starting in the late 1970s. owing in part to their theological beliefs, i found that evangelicals privileged religious freedom. which meant their religion to evangelize. that was the most fundamental of human rights concerns about religious persecution and against the faithful, led evangelical groups to advocate
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for a christian foreign policy. one that upheld core religious values and protected american missionaries and those that they evangelize. i look at a number of case studies to demonstrate this. one that of course is going to be very familiar with is the cold war in the soviet union. there's a lot of persecution against religious believers cases like against the siberian seven. but there are number other cases as well that i look at. there is a considerable considerable amount of activism that align with the reagan era policies but evangelicals also it time went against reagan era policies. evangelicals were very uncomfortable with -- given that persecution there. it's an interesting activism
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that happens there and these views which were promoting religious freedom in the soviet union and other totalitarian states, led evangelicals to perceive authoritarian and other anti -- regimes. and this is where things get interesting. because this perception enabled evangelicals to interpret state violence, in authoritarian come trees as even desirable efforts to combat communism, and avoid religious persecution. this is where we see support for genocidal dictators in places like guatemala. being framed in human rights or support for constructive engagement, in south africa. it is being an effort to prevent spread of communism and this religious persecution. to protect christian south
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africa. there are interesting ways in which this language of human rights comes into play. so lobbyists in this time period were adopting and adapting human rights language in their campaigns, and in their congressional testimony about events in the social soviet bloc. the middle east and elsewhere and in africa. in doing that and using this language, what i found it was shaping how certain policy makers, we're interpreting state violence and repression abroad. and ultimately these evangelical activists and interest groups or able to exert and influence on decision-making on a range of foreign policy issues everything from military aid to in guatemala to trade relations with the soviet bloc and diplomatic relations with south africa. in terms of politics at home this includes really significant lobbying efforts to strike down the comprehensive anti apartheid act in 1986.
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which they are not successful doing but they play a significant role in the effort to suppose it. all this to say that evangelical foreign policy act advocates, that really matters. will it had a substantive effect on u.s. policy making. bringing religion into our study of politics and foreign policy really matters. it reminds us of the way the policy makers and politicians understand the world around them, and it reminds us that religion is often a part of how they shape their world view. it is integral. deeply held religious beliefs motivate grassroots activism. not just a hot bed issues like abortion, but on foreign policy as well. what i found is that bring in religion into the study of human rights activism, into politics and foreign policy is critical. these groups maybe offering a different vision of human rights than the one we may think of as being offered by a liberal human rights activists,
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but they like liberal human rights activists are catching their activism in explicitly religious terms. there's a sense there is embracing the morality and freedom of religion. should it be fundamental parts of u.s. foreign policy making. they should be explicit goals. for us one of the things that pushes us to keep in mind is that when we think about the history of foreign policy it is not just a realist calculation of power, but often it is a religion that is a foundational aspect of shaping what policy makers think of as the national interest. thinking of exporting morality or core national values. seeing the way in which religion is tied up and implicated into those particular values. so, bringing the history of religion into the study of human rights it helps us think about the ways in which human rights history and political
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history around activism. a lot of these terms are fluid uncontested. human rights as a term is fluid and contested in the 19 seventies. it shows us the ways in which these activists can use language of human rights. and actually shape the parameters of debate and shape the parameters of politics. and in the 19, the views, the ways of thinking about human rights that conservative activists put forth and up shaping the politics of the reagan administration. and shaping the way that human rights policies look in the 19 eighties. it was quite significant. so religious differences, religious conflicts all that they have an impact in politics. but we should keeping this in mind, essentially is where i'm going. >> i'm a historian, a modern u.s. political and labor historian. although i guess to use the
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popular language today, a historian of capitalism. and in particular i would write about cooperative cooperations. cooperatives which are usually in history roger fee are some variant of communal-ism. but i write about them as cooperatives. not only as cooperatives but cooperatives are democratically organized. one member one vote. and they are organized around service, rather than profit. and the historiography on corporations tends to suggest that we, when we talk about corporations i think most people are pointing towards the private business corporations. but corporations suggest that they emerged as the dominant organizational form of economic life in the u.s.. and this literature, largely describes corporations as
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rational and indeed natural, bureaucratic forms that simply aims to maximize profits for shareholders. the problem is with this is that you miss a lot when you don't ask questions about how and why people deploy their financial resources. i take seriously the idea that americans across the 20th century used criteria other than profit as motivations for their pocketbook politics and importantly, religion was one such metric. used by americans to shape their choices about how and where to use their financial resources. all right about jewish workers in new york city who built somewhere in the neighborhood of 2500 units of cooperative housing between late twenties and the early 19 fifties. i write about protestant, really finished immigrants in the northern midwest who built massive agriculture cooperatives that are still
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alive and well. the they are immensely successful. i write about catholic adherence of the social gospel, who look towards cooperative models the and all of these groups, a wide range of americans, look to religious texts and look to teachings and to their clergy. to produce what i would call a moral political economy. in order to sort of allow people of face to use their religious traditions and apply those teachings to the complex social problems of the day. so indeed by the 1930s, the central conference of american rabbis, the council of churches, and the american national catholic welfare conference,
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all together embraced cooperative models. for the possibilities that these kind of corporations could produce a more humane capitalism. a capitalism that was not as extracted as the private business corporations. they also embraced the idea that you could within capitalism, produce accumulation without concentration. in other words, they imagined that there are ways not through anti capitalist activism, but through pereira for mr. capitalist politics to produce a system that could more equitably distribute the wealth of the nation. indeed, though the 1% has become the language post occupy. this was always language being deployed by workers and by farmers across the united states in trying to highlight the ways in which capitalism simply was not working for
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them. and in doing so long before, a public consensus that there were challenges with capitalism. so bringing religion to bear as a category of analysis, allows historians and religious studies people, and that is something i think we can talk about, that that divide exists. it allows us to complicate prevailing understandings of the rise of american, and the formation of american capitalism. and ultimately people of faith have always remained central to the american visions of change. and that american religious traditions at various times in places, have concern themselves not only with individual salvation but with communal redemption. and they've attempted to do threat through large scale corporate organization. >> all right thank you. it's my turn to give a bit
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about my own work, which draws on many of these strands mentioned but my fellow scholars. as i mentioned earlier, my first book was about the military and i'm now working on health care. two major institutional actors in american history. and when i think about the military, i want to suggest that the well first of all when i started that project the most common reaction i got was while i have never thought about that before. why would religion have any role in the military? sure maybe many individuals were religious but end of story. what i discovered through this is that a government institution dedicated to not just thinking about their religious lives of soldiers and officers and war, but also an institution that shaped religion itself. sort of the carrots and sticks, our incentives and disincentives for four participation in the chapel to
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see, due to the challenge some religious groups and also facilitate access to power for others. so to take just one example, that was mentioned if we look at someone like white thousand howard, to understand mid-century american religion, it requires understanding eisenhower's role in the military because what he brought to bear when he got to office, when he became a member of the presbyterian church, in d.c. and was part of that political scene where certain understandings of military religious in which pluralism. 's many, at least a number of religions could coincide and live together with one another two, and a basic acceptance of god and morality was enough. you didn't have to kind of dwell on the theoretical of the theological details. and in many ways that was a vision that a lot of americans coming out of world war ii
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shared, a budget was also efficient that was co-opted by others who sought to use religion for other purposes, morsel sectarian or divisive once, because there was once someone like eisenhower understood as a pursuit perceived shared what understanding was not in fact shared quite used by others for different events. and if we look at that moment, it's also the moment when more conservative, sectarian oriented religious groups wanted to enter the military. and in fact made a very distinct decisions to, for example, create their own seminaries so that they would be able to beat the military's education requirements, then into the military, and be in shape to shape space to shape policy. and this gets that both the ways in which religion within the infrastructure of the military could shape the military itself, and people within that space could make religious arguments and also make white might appear as not religious arguments, to shape
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that religious space, but also that the government itself had a role in either holding the lines in which pluralism was a value, or at other times, sort of letting go of that, and allowing groups that didn't share those polarized values to participate in this space and start to reshape it, and i think, to understand the dynamic of american religious politics in the 20th century we have to think about that liberal conservative back and forth, and where they had opportunities to be engaging with one another, and the military was one such space. and then i'll just add that if we are thinking about spaces of government and governance, i'm now working on a different project on hospitals and health care, and i have come to believe that you can't actually understand the shape of the american health care system without understanding the role of religious hospitals and religious groups in it, and by that, i don't simply mean that the current debates about abortion or contraception are
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end-of-life care, that sort of flashy moments that clearly involved ideological disagreements, but i was in the archives this past week looking at a number of papers about hospitals in the thirties, forties and fifties, and one of the things that was a very clear and really made me rethink, was our narrative around health insurance and the prospect, and then absolute eurasia off the possibility of a national health insurance program. in part, because i think that the traditional narrative associates that as a, as an impossible resolution due to both pressures from groups like the american medical association act from unions like the uaw that wanted to tie insurance to employment. but for gotten in that narrative is a group of hospitals, religious hospitals that went on the one hand to publicly say that it is absolutely vital to provide health care to poor people.
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this is necessary and it's tied to our religious beliefs. and at the same time, because they felt that a government health care system would completely destroy their own hospital systems, didn't want any part of a government health care system, right? so this is an area in which it doesn't necessarily seem to be about religion or theology, but hospitals are businesses, hospitals are corporations, and groups that were heavily invested in the health care industry, therefore, we're making calculated business decisions that in some ways contradicted their own, sort of, social justice or other theological orientations about health care and healing. and it's this contradictory day shoe nature of religion in these institutional spaces that, i think, deserves far more sustained attention, not just by me, but by others, in part because it is so complex. because there isn't a single party line about what religion is in this space, but also
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religious groups themselves, there is a really wonderful back and forth, i found, in the early 19 seventies, between what was then the national conference of catholic bishops and kathy catholic theologian's disputing exactly what should or shouldn't be acceptable in catholic health there, and what specifically it might have catholic hospitals were serving a pluralistic population including both patients and health care providers working in them for one catholic. the theologian's were far more interested in pluralism than the bishops. that perhaps isn't surprising. but the fact that they were willing to call some of the positions of the hierarchy it disaster, i do think is worth attention. and so thinking also then about the intro religious debates as well as into religious debates and religious secular debates that emerge in these key and really formative institutions of american society, i think,
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is critical to understanding american politics in the 20th century. both with that i'll turn to the next question i asked everyone to think about, which is we've all just made claims for the ways in which religion in which religion tells us something about american politics and american history in the 20th century that's not necessarily evident or clear if we don't pay specific attention to religion itself. so why, then, is this still a struggle, to get religion into spaces, into courts this, into since the seas? and again, into calls for papers? i regularly see fascinating calls, or conference calls, that lift a very long list of some fields in history, and religion is still not mentioned. i mean, you don't, even with religion clearly around us. so just to reflect and think about why this is, and how we
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might rethink how this works. anyone can -- >> so i'll offer up two responses to that, to that question. they are simple and short but i hope that they are generative for a discussion. the first reason i'll offer is perhaps it's an issue of definition. perhaps the reason why political historian failed to engage religion is that we struggle still to understand exactly what is religion. what does one look for where does one look for religion's sources? is religion static? does it change overtime? is it true tendons? is it private devotional life? is it consumption habits? is it our relationship to capitalism? is it philanthropic? what exactly is religion? this is a debate, so much so, that those of us on this panel and elsewhere in the field are still debating the got exactly what religion is, and the
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debate ranges from people who see it everywhere to folks who say that it doesn't actually exist at all. so perhaps maybe sadly settling on a definition on religion that does not focus on the supernatural, but actually focuses more so on how individuals see the world or maybe, as catherine albany has talked about, that religion can be seen as a system of symbols by which people locate themselves and others in the world with reference to ordinary powers, meanings and values. perhaps that type of definition can help us way through. but since religion is usually not clearly understood in this way, it usually tweeted as so much, as john butler once said, as a jack-in-the-box. it's an mp phenomenon. it's a secondary experience for spectacle that is caused by and accompanies the physical phenomenon but has no causal relation to ship to it whatsoever so version as john
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butler once said in his articles, oftentimes in political history, pops up colourfully on occasion, appearing as a momentary, idiosyncratic thrusting of impulses for me more distant american past. but perhaps armed with the more bust definition of religion that is not simply put forward in extraordinary or an idea of a mystified power and values, but if we have a definition that actually deals with the every day and the quotidian and everyday life, perhaps we can listen and [inaudible] our historical actors and their political motivations. we can move away from four conclusions about religion in the lives of our historical actors and really get down to the nitty-gritty of what our historical actors actually believe, how eisenhower, for example, understood the role of religion in joining a which, how g edgar hoover understood it for, example. perhaps this can help us to avoid our own presence [inaudible] understandings of mueller gym, or even reading into our actors
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our own biases as relates to religion. finally, and second, perhaps a note to think that changes the study of religion in political history is the idea that the study of religion is exclusively confessional, this idea that the popular notion amongst scholars and the broader public and for those who study religion are not only themselves religious and bias, but also are studying religion as a pathologists or perhaps to promote the faith and defend the fate. few understand that religion, like race and sexuality, ginger or class etc, can be approached as a subject and two of historical inquiry. for this very reason i must confess i often avoid discussing my research when i'm on planes, trains and audible automobiles and other casual venues. ordinarily, people see the getting a text that has anything to do with religion, they feel to ask me any type of physiological pressure that has plagued them since their charters. it's heaven and hell real, either real? will i go there? even sometimes, even more
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mundane questions like, did and the name the dinosaurs? it is our sorts of questions that i'm not making up, they've actually happened to be. now, this is often far from the truth about what religion scholars actually do, especially my colleagues here on the stage, or here on the podium, the platform. people actually to study these questions, obviously, in theological training, but that is not the exclusive fear of religious inquiry, especially when we're talking about religious history political history. oftentimes spoke to folks who study religion are not even religious themselves. that is not to call myself and my colleagues heathens, but it is to call our attention to the fact that such notions can hinder us from engaging in critical aspect of the american experience and american history. we have more historians, whether he's on or otherwise, studying religion, we can help to just spell this myth that the study of religion is exclusively done on confessional to. in doing so, political historians can help put a stop
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to this jack-in-the-box phenomenon that john butler referred to, and even, yes, admit that religion can be colorful and surprising at times, but it should not be left on the periphery. it should not be left to just pop out of a professional box occasionally, usually surrounding a presidential election. no, we should engage religion in our political histories as a common, yet transfiguration vital force in american politics. one that is worthy not of uncritical worship in a triumphant narrative, no one that is rather the relegated to a premeiotic disdain and neglect but a consistent interrogation in a political marriages. so instead of a jack-in-the-box weaken that region enjoy what john bouts of cold and its data performance, not as a stand-alone performer on a historical stage, but alongside other aspects of the american experiment in democracy. >> i'm going to start referring to myself as a healing
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historian. just very briefly, i would echo some of what lauren said lerone said in the sense there is a resumption and assumption that historians who work on religion or religious. that is definitely not necessarily the case, and folks coming from an external perspective have a lot to offer religious studies. one of the studies that i think historians of politics and foreign policy [inaudible] it is challenging to demonstrate how an idea or a faith or a worldview leave to ease specific policy and it's not always possible to show the exact mechanism by which that happens, which means you have to be in in readings sources and thinking about the way ideas and influence work in making policy so i think it just maybe a sort of methodological challenge. how do you prove that it was faith and not an appraisal of
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power or national security that was the driving force in shaping a particular decision? and it may not always be possible to do that, but it adds a lot when we consider the ways that religion has influenced policies. perhaps not the only factor, but an important factory. but since it's hard, you know, one might not always want to go in that direction and get a lot of pushback. >> yeah, i have a few thoughts on this. i mean, one is structurally related to the academy in the same way, you know, as a person who thinks about capitalism was lot, there has been this sort of resurgence, this sort of even new history of capitalism. of course, it wasn't that historians weren't previously doing great history on the economy, they use different language. but and re-framing how his departments operated, i think, particularly by the seventies and eighties, economics departments sort of claimed
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economic history away from history departments, and i see something similar with respect to religion that indeed what the history departments, i think, have really jettison, any sort of specialty in religion to religious studies departments, which is, you know, fine and to some extent, but you know, if we want historians to do religion, we actually have to hire them to do that to do it in history report lance, really radical idea. it is in fact about oftentimes or you are structurally located in the university. i'm a historian working or based in a religion's department for a jewish studies. i love when people asked me what i do, i say i'm a political historian. just to let them think for a second, wait how do those things connect. we and it always confuses them. i sort of get a good chuckle. the second is the the thing
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that shapes this historians who ignore religion, and i might get into trouble but i will say it anyway. is that will herbert seems to have an influence and it is this kind of weird thing where everybody just assumes that herberg is right. it also seems to me that this underlying sort of thought process is he got it and he got it right. so what is their left to say. and this i think is wrong in a lot of ways. but also i think it's important to place herbert in his political context. will herbert was pro scripted of not descriptive. and what speaks more to this directly is that by the time he writes his book in 1955, the structures itself is not as almost collapsed. it's almost a decade later the
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time magazine can ask on its cover, is god did? i think in some way that points to how problematic it is that we accept this idea of judeo-christian tradition you now and that's really now popular these days to invoke that. but as a historian, i say i don't know what that means i'm not sure what it means. so i think that i also there is a range of other traditions that are banging at the door of the state in particular for resources and acknowledgments, so buddhist and hindus and atheist's law and even evangelicals are critiquing, that structure. but even so historians particularly those who don't do religion, when they try to do religion they reference herbert and move on.
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so i think that may be part of why historians are ignoring it. the other thing i would say is that it seems to be connected to teaching in that it's really hard to teach religion insofar as a student of mine comes in and they say something i would consider to be in the vein of white supremacy, i know how to combat that. i know how to respond to that. but faith claims are really different. in so far that you neither have to believe, or agree with them but you do have to respect them. and my first time teaching it was at emory, and i had only taught history classes and no student had ever claim their proclaimed their religion to me before asking question. but in my classroom now, i would say at least half of my students by saying i am or am not x fill in the blank. so through the intimate and her acquires the deftness, that not
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all of us i think certainly we are not trained to have in graduate school. and i think many of us have cobbled together skills to be able to teach religion for those who are not religion people by birth or methodology or something. so i think that it is hard to teach religion and i think it's a real barrier. the >> yes and i think that kind of questions about finesse and how do we work whether it's with students or sources and one of the things i've been thinking a lot about is it is trite to say that religion is complicated. of course so in so many ways our race and gender and sexuality, capitalism and other categories in which as a historical profession we regularly engage. so if you do legal history, you learn law if you do medical history you learn about medicine, if you do business
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history you learn a lot about business methods. but part of what it means to do religion well at least is to become fluent in a number of different religion or religious languages to be able to discern the difference between what's certain words mean in different faith traditions and what they are signaling to the be able to think about what it is that those words are signaling to a faith community. and one at the same time they might be registering quite differently with other faith communities and with just other communities in general. i think that's a real challenge. so figuring out the sort of religious literacy necessary to buck unpack and work with, the terminology that often is not necessarily intentionally coded but speaking in many different
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registers at once and understood in many different registers at once. i think that is a real challenge that religion presents. i think the methodologically we do a lot of work in history of course, trying to think through sources in deep and sophisticated ways and religion often challenges what that looks like. and ways that maybe other categories also challenges. the but not quite the same way. not with a need to learn another language in the same way. i think similarly, the challenge that religion presents which i think is a wonderful challenge but still can be difficult is that religious faith groups, groups do not necessarily adhere to conventional political alignment. so how do we look at the african american church, that is very much on the progressive left when it comes to racial
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justice, in many domains about maybe is not necessarily one were grappling with gender. i think when we look at women in the nation of islam, and it's a challenging thing to think about a space that in many way was a space of liberation was also a space of, we not of accepted suppression of realities, and these are both operating at the same time. i was reading the pamphlets recently, of this extraordinarily right-wing catholic league for civil and religious rights, it's so to the right that the bishops did not like it. but amidst all of the, a myth the need to support vouchers and parental rights and education and then overwhelmingly anti abortion and anti contraceptive stance, is in 1979 an article arguing
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against any effort to stop the flow of immigrants. and it was this very pro-immigrant, do not build a wall we need to welcome immigrants. there is no such thing as a land illegal immigration. so this does not fit necessarily with how we understand politics of either the president or the past. i think that does give us you know a lot to work was if we're willing to work with it. but also can really and i think one of the reasons that it could be set aside is because it does challenge some conventional narratives. that brings us to the present moment, which i said when we started, in many of these politically you don't religion is all around us. it's invoked constantly. it generates a lot of policies about say the trump administration. whether it's with the muslim band ban on one part, or the division of conscience and religious freedom with the office of civil rights within
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health care human services, we see religion playing clear roles in the administration. we also see, let's see 22 candidates in the democratic primary talking about religion in interesting and new ways. we see reverend william barber, he is organizing the moral monday movement for. again when we look at immigration and the sanctuary movement, it is led by religious leadership. the question therefore to think about the is how do we work with this? how do we explain this religiously? politically? what does this do to our notions of narratives of history in the 24 century and to think about whether it's historical antecedents or how we do is historians, it's like how do we get here? what's changed? but it's different? but not about this moment. >> one thing i would say in response to that, i'm thinking of the long trajectory of
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history, if we look back one of the things you might notice is that there are moments in time when religion is salient, influential in politics and foreign policy. and then it ebbs and flows. my sense is that there is more salient for religion in moments of social dislocation and challenge. when i think of the gilded age and progressive era. religion has more salient in politics, when i think of this civil rights movement, this isn't to overgeneralize but there are these moments it seems where religion and religious actors, either because there is sort of a built-in locusts for organizing in a particularly faith community, or because there's arguments and the nature of the theoretical arguments can be applied, it seems that they're the you know that could be more salient at the moment. religion can be a way to understand the problem and to propose what's seems to be a
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god ordained answers to them. but it could be a way to argue for thick keeping things the way they are. the barbara baron's, who made arguments for the reasons things were, the way they were and imperialism is great for good reasons related to scott. but you can make these arguments on both side. religion is inherently valuable. you can have different interpretations of key religious texts. that's the whole thing. and who is the arbiter to tell you if you're right or wrong, and it's easy you don't one of the questions they posed was this question of religious freedom in our current political debate and how do we see religious conservatives and we religious conservatives making comments about religious freedom. and they talk about completely different things. being forced to provide services equally to everyone as seen as is infringement of religious freedom, and people
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are saying well if you look at broad at people who are being killed in prison for religious brief, their religious beliefs, that's an attack. sable sides are making these arguments. that language is politically strong. you don't want to be arguing against religious freedom, the language is powerful even if it means different things to different people. because these terms are so malleable, it is a challenge but it also means that they you know that we are going to keep seeing this. it's not going away in this moment of so much challenge. we >> i'm not sure i have a great answer, in some ways for me to my inclination is again to ask about money. i think perhaps one of the things that can help explain our political moment, is how deeply or seemingly
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disinterested academics are in america are american religious beliefs. but those people were not ambivalent in any way of those beliefs. they invested heavily, they give money, they tie whatever form of labor they have to their religious commitments. and they build institutions. i think that part of the reason that religion is so powerful in our mind today, is because as it turns out they have a lot of capital. you know they also have other kinds of capital, but they have a lot of money. and they use that money and those resources in pursuit of their political world views. without paying attention to religion, we are getting a really thin understanding of americans and their political commitments and where those commitments come from. we >> do also thinking, one thing that that raises for me,
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thinking institutions but also tv, radio, other media, and universities and colleges, the other question is also thinking forward. what is the rise of those who don't identify with a particular religion. how is that going to interact with some of these questions of these groups that have a tremendous amount of capital. and are incredibly large part of americans it are not part of that. >> i think it raises these questions, it was said religion does exist as a constitutional protected category. i think belief is the most protected category legally in the united states. you can believe whatever you want, the expression of it, the action on it that's of course where the challenges are. and i think that gives rise to a lot of people who if my belief is protected i should be able to do what i want with
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that belief. on the one hand and of course as we've seen particularly politically with immigration and with migration, what happens on the border or who gets labeled a terrorist in this country, who doesn't these are all questions that do tie into american understandings. which again i think it we has been as much shaped by government as by do religious groups themselves. but i also, we want to leave time for questions from the audience, for questions, challenges, for things that you think are interesting to discuss, debate, or otherwise talk about. >> and if you could just stay where you are? so -- >> my name is paul procha. i teach at stetson university college of liberal arts in florida. i'm interested in all the
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presenters here, very helpful for much research and teaching,. my question is about the attention to religion beyond the confessional terms. so, martin, you put it most sharply, the tacit throughout much of the panel here. and that suggests a way of thinking about religion beyond church and beyond theology. toward lived experience? and at the same time, it's a tacit acceptance of a less transcendentalist expression of religion, you know, to use the fancy language of fun-ology, it's imminentism or pantheism or things along those lines. so i wonder about your thoughts about the weather through method daryl or gee a kind of tested extent acceptance of the range of religiosity and then
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for extra credit, if anyone is interested in commenting on how that might make some conservatives rather upset? >> yes. [laughs] >> well let me, maybe, give an example. so one of the things that i've been thinking about lately is jesuit spirituality, and the jesuits, based on saint ignatius, are all about what they see as cooperating with god in the world, to help bring humanity back to god. so that, to me, is a very lived experience. this is the very idea that everything we do is related somehow as to a worship of god. so it's not about necessarily going to church, it's not about necessarily how much you pray, but it is about the kind of actions that you do in the world. and it's is why, in my own
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research, i found that why gia differences funds and so helpful for his fbi agents, because there are actions in the world that can be framed in a way that they're cooperating with the divine to bring america back to god and to keep america on track. so for me i'm very comfortable with that because it helps me as a historian to sort of track these ideas and these actions that are stemming from certain religious categories and ideals that are, have reference to transcended ideas that are really, really lived out in the world. and so that i'm comfortable with that. and i think that those of us who are living in the world today watch the news, understand that even the religious right, right? has that kind of idea, right? that everything they are doing, in their political activism, is somehow, for them, rooted in a certain type of religious commitment to got in that regard. so i leave the extra credit to other folks. >> [inaudible] i sometimes tell my students that we tell that we study not
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really matters, but matters of the earth. as a kind of play to sort of emphasize the extent to which, yeah, questions of faith are always intimately connected to, you know, questions of politics. in fact, i think they are inseparable. and i'm not sure everyone agrees with that, but. >> nathan connally, johns hopkins university. i really enjoyed this panel and have been grappling a lot in my own effort to achieve kind of a religious literacy influencing him thinking about what to do with institutions and churches that are actually funding black diaspora projects or thinking a lot about the language of religion as been one that is as important in learning romance languages, the language of music. and so, i wonder if one of the
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answers to the dilemma of religion as a language is that there needs to be some kind of [inaudible] piece that's drugged in a major flagship term, that goes down there in the way that gender is a cab degree of analysis [inaudible] is this a moment where you need that piece to really call to arms the historians who would benefit from having religion in the toolkit of influences that they have? so that's a general question for the panel to kind of reform to but very specifically and i think this just reduces to one, i wanted to get, [inaudible] martin, if you could, respond to the news cycle about the documents that the margin of your related to biden luther king? and for those less familiar with historian david girl, [inaudible] fallacious iran's got about around montpelier taking, julia,
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that had to do with speculation from an unnamed author at the fbi who thought that dr. king had been party to, at least a witness of a crime of sexual violence. and i'm curious to get your -- it's an extraordinary revision of the fbi to think about it as a religious institution. and to think about the moral fbi, and believe it or not, i have access to colonial office records about my great grandfather who is a reverend, and there's marginally about [inaudible] salacious nature's, i'm crew at golfing with this. in my own writing but also [inaudible] where do you come down on what way credibly draw or confer or infer given your research on a moral fbi, about what the character of the organization might be, and what does it tell us about even the nature of state surveillance and what to do with these kinds of claims including you have a bundle of documentation that's talking about folks who are very intimately concerned about their spiritual lives and mortality on the one hand, but we also know that the fbi is trying to very clearly engage
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in preemptive strikes against black radicals and the likes, so where are we supposed to balance your findings with what we these historians, probably, are very uncomfortable about [inaudible] speculations. >> first question? >> asked and then. >> so guess will go backwards, and do that okay thing. thank you for raising that, nation, and i appreciated the comments that i read that you made about this as well. i would have to say that i was disappointed in the way that davie girl davey gave it daryl, who i count as a colleague, i was disappointed in the way that he framed his findings. because we all know from his wonderful work on bearing the cross in the fbi omar through the king and we know that the if fbi was out to get martin luther king, there was no doubt about. it i was disappointed that you presented the research with living most of that contact out so for the folks that have read
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his books they don't know that the fbi makes [inaudible] seeing much undertaking is not a communist, the communists don't have any influence on the civil rights movement, everything is gone. hoover, of course, was upset. he writes back to [inaudible] william sullivan, and others, that this is a, this is ridiculous. and after martin kings washington march on washington address, that they immediately changed their analysis. you know, mr. hoover, you're right. he's the most dangerous negro in the world. and we cannot count on and -- this is key, and i wish that girl would have cited this, we can no longer count on evidence that would stand up in a court of law and congressional committees into discredit martin retaking. we have to go beyond that sort of evidence he. doesn't mention that. and i think that's really important that the fbi's him to find anything they can to discredit him including as i've mentioned in my own work funneling and having ministers
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launder information about martin luther king as if he is the communist, when they said themselves, they have no evidence of this. so one of the things i think they're a gerrell could have done in the article is at least mention the broader background that the fbi has already decided, that they're not going to depend on evidence that will stand up in a court of law or before congressional committees. the second thing i wish he would've done is put the fbi's surveillance of barr martin luther king and his sexual habits in a broader [inaudible] black sexuality and black bodies. we all know that in lots of records and lots of centuries the way that african americans bodies, especially when we're talking about sexuality, especially black women, is always, always characterized as a natural, right? or something that is abnormal, and so for the fbi to make this claim, there in a long tradition of doing that within america. and finally, in the framing of
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the article, i think, was made to be a kind of metoo for, right? the idea that martin king had sat back and laughed and given advice while a woman was sexually assaulted. i think it was framed as a way to be palpable for a bid to moment, but the metoo moment has taught us, among many things, that we need to listen to the voices of women, both past, present and future about the, around these issues of sexual assault. especially around, in particular, men of power. but we don't have these women's voices in this article, we have, as the fbi and marginalia written by unnamed person in the fbi, upon a transcript off and audio recording, and there's a lot of steps an audio recording we won't have access to until 2027. it was framed in a way i think that was inappropriate and not true to the evidence that is available to us right now. i think that if we david gerrell had done some of those
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things, we could've engage the work and engage the claims, but it was presented in a way that was unfair to the historical evidence that was there. in 2027, we can listen to the tapes and judge for ourselves. it may be in fact a sexual encounter, but the way it was described by fbi agents, it has to be understood that a longer campaign against king, that's not concerned about evidence and data. let me say quickly, if it was and it was the case and the fbi had actually had martin king on tape with evidence that he was sitting back the watching and sexual act occur, one at turn over to the local authorities in d.c.. and then you have martin king with evidence of being part of a crime that was committed. so i just question if that was the case why the fbi did not use that material to do the thing they wanted to do. again i think if it was framed in a way that was more truthful
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to the evidence, with more context and a broader historical narrative about the fbi, african american and especially african american activists like your family, i think the article we could've engaged in a way but instead it was presented in a way that i we are i would argue that was salacious and not all was true in the historical record. within the context of historical record. the wonderful question about the historical article being dropped, i will just say yes. good [laughs] . we >> all right. >> is one of the reasons why secular academia or why religion and politics is not discussed by a number of historians and other scholars. because they are hostile to any form of religious expression. and is also possible that we their actions is discussed between religion and other
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politics in other sectors is of life is misplaced fear that engaging in such discussions would involve establishing religion or promoting any form of religious expression or preference? we >> i mean i think it is certainly a long-standing convention that the explanation for historians not engaging deeply with religion is that they are not religious or they're more extremely hostile to religion. that doesn't explain why religion has retained importance in early american history. you don't do early american history and history without paying attention to religion. so i don't think the early americans were a more religious bunch than modern american. and if we look at other related
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fields, sociology for example i don't think religion is necessarily always the central category, but it is president in a way in most sociological analysis that it hasn't been the case for history. i don't think as a group, though i haven't studied it i wouldn't put money on sociologists being more friendly to religion that historians either. so i think that is why these other we, you know i think there is probably some disinterest or disinclination because it doesn't seem personally powerful perhaps, or because it seems less critical to a certain ways of understanding the past than other categories do. the but i think that is why at least some of the explanations we've offered today, have
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helped to get at some of the other structural and difficulties because i think near indifference well if it were mere indifference then there are lots of other, not everyone comes to graduate training in history with an intrinsic interest in race, gender, class, sexuality, and you could not get away with not engaging in those categories. i don't think. so the question to me remains, why this one. i think yes some disinterested may explain part of it, but i think there are other dimensions. >> we yeah that sort of captures it. i'm just not sure why it's not inherently interesting. i'm not religious but i find it's fascinating the way people's world views and beliefs shape their engagement with the wider world. and it's been so significant in the past for so many different groups.
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it seems surprising to me that we don't talk about it more in the sort of 20th century. >> it is still significant. >> yes is still significant today absolutely. >> i will just add, in teaching i taught american religious history the semester and a number of student said, wait, this just explains things that i've recognized or i haven't understood, or a in california and it's like this is not the narrative of cesar chavez that you don't get. we are so paying attention to his catholicism does explain certain aspects of his organizing farmworkers, and the ways in which why he sets up it out when they set up health care clinics. they don't provide contraceptive contraceptives at them. there are a lot of registers that are important. or not. and california has finally done away with the building a mission project in fourth grade
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which is incredibly problematic for imperialistic reasons, but also for simplistic understanding of what the role of missions are in california. but at the same time zones would say to me, just understanding the geography of california and the certain politics of california, it is important to understand the legacy of spanish colonial missions. we students i think are thankful for this, and one of the things i would urge is that this is an opportunity that students really in my experience, we have really attracted to and i say this also as the first person to teach american religion at berkeley since 1980, so you know the. >> i would only add to that, that i've been thinking about the classroom i think this is where professor colonies point is support important. i find students in the classroom struggle, in the same
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way they struggle to talk about race in sophisticated, informed ways. i think our students also struggle with talking about religion in sophisticated and informed ways. especially in the midst of this country, where our students if they're inundated at all with religion, it's mostly the groups that are the loudest. that's mostly the religious right. i think are a lot of our children when they hear religion, they think religion right or religious right. and when you introduce them to someone like martin king, and they're saying well this is not what i thought religious people did. so i think that we are confronted with a wonderful opportunity, but to professor connally's point, we have to be clear about giving them a language and discourse of how to talk about these ideas my classroom. >> i don't know if this is actually true, but my sense is that a lot of students there only perhaps engagement around
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religion, on campuses, is related to the arab israeli conflict. and about jewish groups and muslim groups disagree. and now, nobody wants to touch that stuff with a ten foot pole. so i pitched a class on american zionism and all my colleagues went. but you know they would let me teach it but they're looking at me going, you're opening up a bag of worms that you really don't want. so i think my sense is that we cannot underplay how much that conversation has hijacked any sort of serious engagement around religion for fear of inflaming tensions that already exist and that universities so poorly managed to begin with. we
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>> [inaudible] . >> awesome! >> i'm supposed to take religion very seriously. so my question sort of comes out of teaching as well, and i'll say this for my own personal experience, i tried to keep a lid [inaudible] at [inaudible] university, which is a small liberal arts college in oregon. most of our students, it's the west, you know, the very church and, they don't even know what the reformation was, right? so most -- of them, not all. but part of me, in trying to understand the reticence the students have their and the difficulty they have talking about religion, and all frequently have this occasion way student will be talking about religion in class, and afterwards a student will come out to be as being religious. >> yes! >> myself, not, i don't identify as a person of faith, but clearly, they sense that this is a safe space where that they can talk about the fact that they go to church, and that's okay. and it's stunning to me that they feel that sense that
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that's not okay. and i wonder how much of that has to do with the death of this narrative of ecumenical americanism and the cold war. how the cold war fits into that? and i think of those, the ways in which the seventies and the eighties and, you know, there's the participants and the catholic and that you, and we are all americans, but we're not commies, were not the godless once. and then when the cold war ends, that sense of unity kind of goes away, and there, so it's connected to the polarization in general, and where identities have gotten so stacked and polarized that students, much like around race or other issues, i get the sense that students are just afraid to say the wrong thing, and there isn't that space to kind of create a shared sense of openness with deference, that it's okay that we are different faiths and we can talk about that. so i don't know how, for those of you who teach religious history, obviously, it's [inaudible] how do you do that? what have you done that has enabled students to kind of
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just released some of that pressure and be comfortable sitting with each other in a diverse setting of people of different faiths? i don't know if you have any ideas about, or i'd be open to expressions of that when you do it. >> one thing when i teach my religion and politics seminar, which is a senior level seminar, it's sometimes the first time that my history students are reading about just how pluralistic american society was, even, as you know, from very early on. and so, some of its just introducing them to notions of different religions interacting in american religions. islam, early on, there's just so much happening in the early america, and so i think just giving them a space to think about probably realism and the way that that comes out in the founding document. i mean, some of that just gives them a space. it's so far removed from the current polarization that i feel they do feel safe talking about it in the early periods of american history. then when we talk about the
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american religious rice, introducing, there are politically left leaning evangelicals. there is a whole group of them. the fact that most students don't realize that. and so trying to sort of pulls them out of this sense that there is the only religion is this kind of religious right and it's very polarizing and they don't identify with it, many of them, not all of them. i think introducing this idea that there has always just been such a wide diversity of religion america gives them a space to talk about, oh, what does this mean for politics? what does it mean for the constitution and the laws that get passed? and why do some groups who might be relatively small in numbers but very loud have so much outsized influence, but what does that mean for us now? >> i'd say primary sources. i think it's so obvious, but methodologically, and also pedagogically, having them start with is sort of a piece that isn't related to them or maybe even to me allows them the sort of ability to sort of start talking and eventually
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they do sort of begin to assert their own sort of opinions and thoughts more. but they have something to start with that's in black and white, and i think they appreciate that. yeah. >> [inaudible] i often find is that my students [inaudible] has a deficit. especially the secular students, right? or this person somehow doesn't understand [inaudible] this person has a set of belief, right? that blend them from seeing the world, but i, of course, see the world exactly as it is, you know, this kind of [inaudible] this kind of silly agnostic or whatever. and so, to get in to getting the students out of that space, to respect it, and you read the politics i do it, i want to get inside of that, not values that [inaudible] deficit, they're also someone who don't like and i don't agree with. and so, bursting that bubble, i
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find it's incredibly hard. >> you know, one of, not to, you know really go off [inaudible] today, but the truth is is that, like, the book, i've argued 20 american religious history is actually a history of contestation. and despite, you know, discussions and discursive attempts to make everything seem very consensus-y and united, like, it's actually like difficult to find sources that, you know, if we take out, the, you know, protestant catholic jew once, it's kind of difficult to find sources other than like these bright upward [inaudible] weeks. this organized one week a year usually either city or municipal wide events. and so, yeah, it's if you just reveal the sort of past to them, you can't escape it. i mean, it's so painfully obvious that sort of protestant catholic jewish, it does not in any way get at the complexity,
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diversity and deep, deep sort of discontent between and amongst, and within even. we even talk about these religious institutions, these groups, denominations, right, as how they are unified. they're going at each other to, right? in their spaces. so understanding that these kind of religious history is always a kind of battleground, i think is key to being able to sort of combat that kind of, like, it communicable civil religion, you know, that kind of [inaudible] cold war kind of thing. >> not only add to that to what my two colleagues have just wonderfully pointed out is one way that i try to point out that contestation but also with most students, we have a religion in religion in politics minor at wash u. i find that increasingly that student, while some of them may doubt the importance of religion, as you said, some of
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them may view it as a some type of deficit, i've also found this age, and i'm sure you find it to, that students from 18 to 23, whatever it may be, 17 to 23, are also trying to figure out who they are, right? and there's also a way that i think studying a religion for some of them is a way to help them figure out, you know, who they are, who they want to be, the type of all they want to live in. so one way that i do that is to expose them to folks who felt compelled by religion to engage in progressive politics, and i do that, and particularly in a class called religion and the civil rights movement, we are trying to expose them to folks in in modern civil rights movement who felt compelled, in a longer ceremony are, along, excuse me, course on religion and politics in america, that of course will extend to our the fox, the 20th century catholic worker movement, things of that nature. i found that [inaudible] my context in the with midwest to be very helpful to two for students to say, or there are
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other religious voices besides those that i view as trying to be a regressive in some ways in politics, but actually being more progressive. and so that, i think, helps with the contestation and also helps the students to understand that as lauren said earlier, that religion, right, can be used, for, not used, but religion has been used, involved in a number of projects, both progressive and liberal and conservative and otherwise. >> we're on final one final question. >> just a comment, or a shout out for the whole panel. [inaudible] when i asked a question that [inaudible] kind of binary between the imminentism and transcendentalism. that martin, when you answered in particular, there are intersections, examples of the generous and evangelicals and others. and that's just a microcosm of how each of your presentations
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was adding complex-ification, contextualization is about onward. and to understand about this history. so just a shout out to say, thanks. >> well, thank you. thank you all for joining us today thank. >> you guys. [applause]
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>> good evening thank you so >> next, university of notre dame -- talks about the oil industry is impact on american religion and politics he is the author of, how christianity and oil made modern america. the south methodist for presidential history center for southwest studies cohosted this event. >> good evening thank you so much for coming, it seems particularly appropriate given the subject of today's lecture


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