Monday Apr 05, 2021
Monday Apr 05, 2021
We have all been part of the recent contentious U.S. presidential election, which finally ended in the transfer of power in January of this year.
At the Museum we observed that, as usual, a colossal amount of energy, money, time, emotion, concern, debate, argument, Tweets, posts, letter-writing, editorializing, and protest were invested in the election and its outcome. America was all in. That is, Americans have a deep and meaningful allegiance to perfecting, preserving and perpetuating the American experiment in self-government. Some religious beliefs even tie into the country’s founding & purpose.
At the same time, however, we also noted that while that patriotic allegiance is powerful, for a large percentage of Americans, perhaps no longer a majority – at least according to a very recent report, there is most likely something that commands a greater allegiance – and that would be their faith. Many faiths have end-times theologies, including Christianity, which believes in an approaching end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ. So, it occurred to us that religious beliefs about the end of the world may play a large but hidden role in our politics – past, present and future.
If we can understand some of the beliefs about the end of the world and their effects on political behavior, we will be better equipped as citizens trying to see to the success of the American project in the 21st century.
Today we have a fantastic panel of scholars who will, in an hour!, help us scrape the surface, maybe do a deep dive or two:
- Matthew Sutton, the Berry Family Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts at Washington State and author of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism
- Matt Harper, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at Mercer University and author of End of Days
- Christopher Blythe, Research Associate at Brigham Young University’s Maxwell Institute and author of Terrible Revolution: Latter-day Saints and the American Apocalypse
- Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, Professor of Religious Studies at Azusa Pacific University and author of Latino Pentecostal Identity: Evangelical Faith, Self, and Society
- Jacqueline Keeler, writer and activist of Dineh and Yankton Dakota heritage, co-founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM), and author Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Occupation, Sovereignty and the Fight for Sacred Lands
- Larry Perry, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; currently working on a book entitled A Black Spiritual Leftist: Howard Thurman and the Religious Left’s Unfinished Business of Race Relations
- William Dinges, Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture at The Catholic University of America and co-author of Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice