Category Archives: Religion

Slaveholders Came in All Shapes, Creeds, and Religions: A Short Biography of Judah P. Benjamin


With all of the news of late about the white nationalists in Charlottesville and Confederate statues I though it appropriate to remind others of the life of Judah P. Benjamin (1811-1884). I have been interested in him since I was an … Continue reading

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Sacred Space, Chosen-ness, and Perspectives on the American Past


In his classic book, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (1959), Mircea Eliade suggested that humanity has always sought to designate physical locations as either sacred—to be held reverent and exceptional, to be approached with respect and awe—or … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency”


A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency. By Glenn Greenwald. New York: Crown Publishers, 2007. Reporter Glenn Greenwald’s thesis is straightforward: George W. Bush approached every issue he faced as one on which the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Nauvoo Polygamy: ‘but we called it celestial marriage'”


Nauvoo Polygamy: “but we called it celestial marriage.” By George D. Smith. Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2008. Introduction, photographs, appendices, footnotes, bibliography, index. ix + 705 pp. ISBN: 978-1-56085-201-8. Hardcover with dustjacket. $39.95. Plural marriage, or polygamy, among … Continue reading

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Mormonism and the Founding of Nauvoo


During the bitter winter of 1838-1839 some 5,000 Latter-day Saints crossed the Mississippi River from Missouri and settled in western Illinois. Since the organization of the Mormon church almost ten years before, this group of religious pioneers, led by Joseph … Continue reading

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Mormon Militancy and the Conflict in 1840s Nauvoo?


The non-Mormons of Hancock County, Illinois, in the early 1840s probably disliked the Mormons from the first, in the same way that most Americans have generally disliked what they have viewed as religious fanaticism, but they were initially disposed toward toleration … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Mormons and their Historians”


Mormons and their Historians. By Davis Bitton and Leonard J. Arrington. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988. Although this book is rather long in the tooth, and both authors have passed on, it is still a fine short … Continue reading

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Is There a Sacred Santa?


With the holiday season upon us—I put up Christmas lights, a tree, etc., last weekend—it is appropriate to reconsider this annual ritual and why we do it. Before the twentieth century Christmas was a significant holiday on the Christian calendar but … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America”


American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. By Chris Hedges. New York: Free Press, 2007. Sinclair Lewis once wrote, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.” Former New … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement”


White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement. By Allan J. Lichtman. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008. 570 pages. ISBN-10: 0871139847. $27.50 Hardcover with dustjacket. References, illustrations, index. This history of the evangelical Christian movement in the … Continue reading

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