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A Brave New Book: Kelly J. Baker’s Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930

A Brave New Book: Kelly J. Baker’s Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930

By Kenny Smith….
Dr. Kelly J. Baker is a lecturer in Religious Studies and Americanist Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Seemingly indefatigable, she has written for numerous academic and popular publications, has two additional books and several scholarly articles currently in the works, serves an editor for the award-winning American Religious History blog, oversees panels and groups within the American Academy of Religion and American Studies Association, all the while teaching a full-load of university-level courses each semester, raising a young daughter, and encouraging aspiring graduate students at other institutions. A glance at her resume suggests a broad range of teaching and research interests: world religions in America, apocalyptic and Rapture-oriented movements, the figure of the zombie in contemporary culture, religious in/tolerance in the South Park series, and of course, the early 20th century rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and its relationship to “mainstream” American religion and culture, precisely the focus of her new book, Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

Victims or Conquerors: The Saxon Gospel and Glenn Beck

By Kate Daley-Bailey….
I have the perfect gospel for Glenn Beck; a Saxon retelling of the Christian gospel with Jesus as a warrior chieftain written in “song” or epic form in the early part of the 9th century CE and was supposedly used to convert the pagan Saxons, after they had been conquered and forcefully baptized by Charlemagne.
This rendering of the Jesus story is no direct translation of a canonical gospel rather it is an actual retelling of the Jesus story. As an expert on the Heliand, the title of this Saxon gospel, G. Ronald Murphy, J.S. describes the text as “a reimagining of the gospel.” Murphy writes that the Heliand’s author, whose identity is still a mystery, “rewrote and reimagined the words and the events of the gospel as if they had taken place and been spoken in his own country and time.”

Palin’s Persecution Complex Culminates With “Blood Libel” Accusation

Palin’s Persecution Complex Culminates With “Blood Libel” Accusation

By Anthea Butler, Religion Dispatches….
Palin’s typical pattern is that she takes a phrase from somebody (in this case, possibly Glenn Reynolds, writing in the Wall Street Journal), picks it up, and uses it for her own. In today’s debacle, referring to criticism of her “crosshairs” map as a “blood libel,” Palin shows that even if six people are killed, it’s still all about her. The strategic release of this video, before President Obama travels to Arizona today for a memorial service, shows her self-serving political ends. In addition to misuing the term blood libel — which historically refers to the accusation that Jews murder Christian babies — her additional reference to dueling shows that she will not retreat from any violence-laden speech.

The Ambiguities of  “Rising Up,” and the Blending of Football, Religion, and Political Mythmaking

The Ambiguities of “Rising Up,” and the Blending of Football, Religion, and Political Mythmaking

By Kenny Smith….
Thus for Falcon’s players “rising up” points to the team’s continued success on the grid-iron. As linebacker Curtis Lofton attests, “We have something special going on here right now… Everyone knows it. We feel like we’re about to rise up to the occasion and hopefully make it to the Super Bowl.’’(2)
But what else might “Rise Up!” signify, especially when we factor in the various contexts in which it is embedded? The TV commercial offers some initial clues. Jackson appears in the role of a Southern preacher, leading a nicely racially integrated church choir. “Can you feel it?,” he asks.

The Religion of a Satirical Generation

The Religion of a Satirical Generation

By Kent Hayden, The Huffington Post
We gathered in costume carrying signs that read “legalize gay marijuana” and “God hates figs.” We crammed into a crowd tight enough to give Mr. Rogers fits of misanthropic rage. And then we sang together and we laughed together and we got goosebumps together. It was an exercise in what philosopher Herbert Marcuse called the “irrational nature of our rationality.”