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religious history



  • Review: David Sehat on the Struggle to Make a Secular America

    by Johann N. Neem

    In "This Earthly Frame," Sehat examines the way that activists in the 20th Century pushed the nation from an implicit privileging of Protestant Christianity toward a posture of "negative secularism" that separated the functions of government from doctrinal belief, and the transience of that victory. 



  • Breaking Up With Marilynne Robinson Over the Dark Side of Puritanism

    by Peter Laarman

    A minister and activist argues that the novelist and essayist's defense of the New England Puritans as prototypical human rights heroes ignores the very clear limits that historians have identified for Puritanism's conceptions of social belonging. 



  • John Fea Interviews David Sehat on American Secularism

    "American secularism was the result of a layered religious conflict in the 20th century that played out in the courts and that left the U.S. Supreme Court with no option but the adoption of a secular order as a condition of social peace and political equality."



  • Is Putin a New Constantine?

    by Daniel Gullotta

    "In short, Putin seems to strike some conservatives as a new Constantine for a new Christendom standing against progressive totalitarianism."



  • Taylor Swift Takes a Familiar Path to Hell and Back

    by Peter Manseau

    "In its own way, “All Too Well” tells a story not unlike myths of yore. It dabbles not in mythology, per se, but in the so-called “monomyth,” popularized as “The Hero’s Journey” by the folklorist Joseph Campbell almost 75 years ago."



  • Conquering Hell

    by Ed Simon

    "Hell’s tragedy is that those who deserve to go there almost never think that they will, while the pious shame-filled neurotic imagines those flames with scrupulous anxiety" – HNN contributing editor Ed Simon meditates on the American engagement with damnation. 



  • After Paine, Why Did American Secularism Fail?

    by Chris Lehmann

    Historian Leigh Eric Schmidt chronicles the decline of American secularism; the fate of Thomas Paine's looted corpse stands as a tidy metaphor for the mismatch of secular rationality with the desire for communal ritual. 



  • Peering Into Windows and Wombs: Reflections on SB 8

    by Gillian Frank

    "Even as abortion opponents loudly proclaim they are acting by divine mandate, people of faith like Dr. Curtis Boyd remain on the frontlines of this battle for reproductive healthcare."



  • Has BYU Canceled a Leading Historian of Mormonism?

    The Neal A. Maxwell Institute appears to be disavowing its previous connections to historian Benjamin Park. Is it because of his objections to some LDS leaders' positions on LGBTQ issues and masking and vaccination in response to COVID? 


  • Recessional: The WASP and God (excerpt)

    by Michael Knox Beran

    "We  may  enjoy  the  poetry  of  the  fair  sheepfold  without  believing  in  the shepherd himself. But when we come to the achievement of the WASPs, their public service, their standards of conduct, their faith in the possibility of regeneration, we find that it owed a good deal to their conviction that there is a shepherd."



  • Why Is Critical Race Theory Being Banned in Public Schools?

    by Leslie Ribovich and Charles McCrary

    While much of the debate over so-called "critical race theory" in school curricula has revolved around whether the US is a racist society, it also reflects long struggles by Evangelicals to shape school curricula around a set of moral and spiritual values and against secularism.