Oh, joy! Are the ‘culture wars’ taking us into a new civil war? or sectarian conflict like in Northern Ireland?

Battle of Chickamaugua, lithograph, ca. 1890 (Wikimedia Commons). Here's a cheery note: If civil war comes to America as Barbara Walter of the University of California San Diego and other scholars are now predicting, it won't involve armies marching out to Gettysburg and Chickamauga in blue and gray uniforms -- it'll be more like the … Continue reading Oh, joy! Are the ‘culture wars’ taking us into a new civil war? or sectarian conflict like in Northern Ireland?

Op ed piece connects important dots between Jan. 6, white Christian nationalism and uproar over ‘CRT’

A very useful op ed piece on the New York Times' website today connects the dots between former President Trump's violent assault on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021; white Christian nationalist fears of being replaced and persecuted by non-Christian immigrants and secular society; and the past year's hysteria over "Critical Race Theory" and other … Continue reading Op ed piece connects important dots between Jan. 6, white Christian nationalism and uproar over ‘CRT’

Is there a theological basis for anti-vaxxer militancy in prophecies of end times?

Intriguing article on yesterday's Washington Post website by Michael Gerson, op ed columnist, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and occasional talking head on CNN. Gerson, who is an evangelical himself, dismisses anti-vaxxer assertions of religious exemptions to vaccine mandates as "heresy compounded by lunacy." This amounts, he says, to a "substitution of libertarianism … Continue reading Is there a theological basis for anti-vaxxer militancy in prophecies of end times?

19th-century Swedes in Roger Williams’ Garden: Applying a Japanese discernment concept to a historical research project

With an awkward footnote preserving a middle-of-the-night scratch outline on how to further revise my ALPLM paper 'Swedes in Roger Williams' Garden: Acculturation in Immigrant Churches, 1848-1860.' A useful discernment or decision-making technique I learned in a class for Dominican lay associate candidates -- it's called ikigai, and I wish I'd known about it when … Continue reading 19th-century Swedes in Roger Williams’ Garden: Applying a Japanese discernment concept to a historical research project

Notes & quotes: Heather Cox Richardson

Verbatim quotes from interviews with Heather Cox Richardson of Boston College pointing up parallels between the 1850s and the crisis of American democracy today ... also the parallel between Christian nationalism and "illiberal/Christian democracy" in Hungary today Mass Humanities (interview) "What Was at Stake in Our History," interview with Michelle Wilson, Mass Humanities, Aug. 24, … Continue reading Notes & quotes: Heather Cox Richardson

Paraphrase of Talmudic scholar who fled the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE hits home in another time of apocalypse

Screen grab from my Facebook news feed, Oct. 29, 2021 Here's something that's been on my mind for quite a while now. I started writing something on it when the this meme popped up in my Facebook "memories." It's a paraphrase of a saying in the Talmud by a second-century Jewish sage whom I'd never … Continue reading Paraphrase of Talmudic scholar who fled the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE hits home in another time of apocalypse

George Will on ‘dyspeptic moments’ in history of 1790s, 1850s and today, ‘status resentments’ and culture wars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vofmvlyww8 A couple of incisive comments by conservative op ed columnist George Will, who's been making himself widely available for interviews on the publication of his new book (actually a collection of his Washington Post columns), titled American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020. Kirkus describes it as an "overstuffed collection of the conservative … Continue reading George Will on ‘dyspeptic moments’ in history of 1790s, 1850s and today, ‘status resentments’ and culture wars

Notes & quotes: Books on polarization, culture wars, tribalism; Trump a ‘gigantic … middle finger’ to cultural elites

d r a f t Carlos Lozada, "The united hates of America," Washington Post, Oct. 30, 2020 https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/10/30/polarization-books-trump-election/. Carlos Lozada is WaPo's nonfiction book review editor   [...] The growing polarization of the United States into a nation torn by partisan identities is one of the legacies of the Trump presidency, even if it began … Continue reading Notes & quotes: Books on polarization, culture wars, tribalism; Trump a ‘gigantic … middle finger’ to cultural elites

Notes & quotes: Obama’s remarks and backlash at 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, quip at Easter breakfast

d r a f t "Remarks by the President and the Vice President at Easter Prayer Breakfast," Office of the Press Secretary, White House, April 7, 2015 https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/07/remarks-president-and-vice-president-easter-prayer-breakfast "[...] Isn’t that how Jesus lived?  Isn't that how He loved?  Embracing those who were different; serving the marginalized; humbling Himself to the last.  This is the … Continue reading Notes & quotes: Obama’s remarks and backlash at 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, quip at Easter breakfast

Smithsonian article on Know Nothing Party, class, nativism of 1850s

Anti-immigrant cartoon showing two men labeled "Irish Wiskey" and "Lager Bier," carrying a ballot box. (Everett Collection Historical / Alamy Stock Photo) Excerpts from a 2017 article by Chicago free-lancer Lorraine Boissoneault: "[...] At its height in the 1850s, the Know Nothing party, originally called the American Party, included more than 100 elected congressmen, eight governors, … Continue reading Smithsonian article on Know Nothing Party, class, nativism of 1850s