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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

The Mainstreaming of Islamaphobia

The Mainstreaming of Islamaphobia

By J.F. Sullivan….
While the 9/11 attacks are likely the dominant catalyst, it may be more appropriate to mark the mainstreaming of Islamaphobia with the emergence of Pamela Geller and the Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) group in 2010. Their provocative ads, purported to protect Muslim converts to Christianity, read, “Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you?” Their campaign was only a small part of what could be viewed as a larger response to the proposed Park 51 complex also known as Cordoba House and the Ground Zero Mosque.

Going to a Tea Party with Paul Revere and Jesus

Going to a Tea Party with Paul Revere and Jesus

By J.F. Sullivan….
This has been an odd year for history, politics and religion. While Sarah Palin has provided the media and the rest of the country with many gems, the recent spate of mangled metaphors has illuminated what appears to be something of trend, if not a new strategy when history and religion are combined. The development of alphabetic literacy (writing with vowels) by the ancient Greeks allowed speech to be directly represented. As a result, reality could be recorded, communicated and preserved in this new form. While originally intended to aid in memory and recall, it instead helped to create a repository (books and scrolls) where information could be stored, not only preserving it, but eventually creating a collection that exceeded anyone’s ability to memorize. By writing something down, it indeed preserved it, but it also allowed the possibility for comparison, which helped to create the concept of history as fact.

The Day I was Called a "Sand Nigger" by a Tea Party Follower!

The Day I was Called a “Sand Nigger” by a Tea Party Follower!

By Teo Sagisman….
The “N” word, one of the vilest and most disgusting words in English language! Every American knows not to use it to address anyone unless they mean to denigrate their target. It has been over a year since my encounter with the man who called me a “sand nigger,” and yet, it seems like yesterday. I was reminded of the incident the other day when I read about the story of an e-mail which included a photo-shopped image of President Obama’s face superimposed on the body of a baby chimpanzee. This email was created and distributed by Marilyn Davenport, a 74-year-old Tea Party activist and a GOP official from Orange County California.

Dog Whistle for Prayer Warriors – Palin as Victim of Blood Libel

Dog Whistle for Prayer Warriors – Palin as Victim of Blood Libel

By Rachel Tabachnick, Talk To Action….
Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” has caused a furor for reasons described in Chip Berlet’s article. Journalists have speculated whether use of the term was inadvertent, with one writer stating that because Palin is from Alaska, she is “oblivious to the sensitivities and political correctness” of the lower 48. Palin knows her base and its sensitivities. Some of her supporters believe themselves to be the most persecuted and oppressed minority in American history. Their media warns that Christian patriots are the new Jews, headed for a holocaust at the hands of a “dangerous Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic coalition.” In a video titled “Marxism in America,” (Ret.) Lt. Gen. William Boykin warns that Obama and his brown shirts (planned in the healthcare bill) are leading to an authoritarian state. The video was promoted on numerous Tea Party websites prior to the election. Militant imagery has become commonplace, including “spiritual mapping” featuring marked targets showing the location of demons which must be eliminated from communities.

Strangers Among Us

Strangers Among Us

By Kelly Figueroa-Ray, State of Formation….
The Huffington Post reports that Phillips demanded the closure of the United Methodist Church after he toured the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC. There he saw a sign in support of the DREAM Act and declared the United Methodist Church “pro-illegal immigration” and the “religious arm of socialism”. The DREAM Act is a piece of legislation that failed passage in the Congress this past month.

Tea Parties, Totems, Taxation, and Tyrannies: Religion and the Tea Party, Part II

Tea Parties, Totems, Taxation, and Tyrannies: Religion and the Tea Party, Part II

Now, even though no “church” of the Tea Party exists, its participants arguably believe in the sacred nature of things, namely the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Founding Fathers of the nation. Further, these representations of the sacred seem to provide an anchor with which these adherents form a single moral community. Thus, Durkheim’s definition illustrates how the Tea Party movement resembles other social groups that we more readily recognize as religious.

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

The Religion of the Tea Party: A Cautionary Tale to Scholars

By James Dennis LoRusso  In the last 18 months, the political landscape in the United States has undergone seismic shifts.  The ever-widening ideological chasm between progressive and conservative renders constructive dialogue problematic at best, and no phenomenon better symbolizes this dilemma for both sides of the political spectrum than the Tea Party.  On the right, […]