The ‘Black Catholic Movement’ That Reinvigorated American Catholicism

In the Industrial North, African Americans Witnessed a Flourishing of Liturgical Innovation, New Preaching Styles, and Activist Scholarship

The story of how Roman Catholics “became American” is very well-known. Beginning in the 19th century, Catholics were a feared and despised immigrant population that Protestants imagined to be inimical to, even incompatible with, everything America was meant to be. American mobs burned Catholic convents and churches. By the early 20th century, the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan was running rampant.

But this changed after the Second World War. Military service, educational achievement, economic advancement, and suburbanization combined to make Catholics virtually (or, at the very least, statistically) indistinguishable from other Americans. …

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Why California’s Godless Governor Was Ahead of His Time

A Friend of FDR but Not of Big Business, Culbert Olson Believed Humans Had to Save Themselves

Culbert Olson is one the most important men you probably never have heard of. He was the only Democrat to serve as governor of California between 1896 and 1958, and …

O Ye of Little Faith in Los Angeles! Eric Garcetti Has a Message For You.

If the Mayor of the City of Angels Wants to Be President, His Campaign Should Be a Moral Crusade

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is being coy about whether he’s running for president. But he doesn’t fool me. I’ve already written the speech, or perhaps I should say sermon, …

Billy Graham’s Heaven-Sent Gift for Television

From Radio Sermons to LBJ's Funeral Oration, a Journalist Witnessed the Wonder of the Preacher's Media Mastery

“The BIBLE says … ”

I can remember that thundering voice coming out of our radio in the 1950s as the preacher wove points from Scripture into his sermon, urging …

How Iranian Women Turn “Pious Fashion” Into Under-the-Radar Dissent

By Personalizing Headscarves and Painting Their Toes, They Challenge the State's Power to Define Female Morality

In 2018, Islamic clothing is officially cool. CoverGirl has a hijabi ambassador. H&M sells a popular modest clothing line. Even Barbie wears a headscarf on a doll modeled after the …

In Whose God Do Americans Trust?

How the Religious Right Projected Evangelical Conservatism Onto the Founding Fathers

Charles Bennett, a Democratic Congressman from Jacksonville, Florida, was afraid of communism. In July 1955, he spoke of his concerns on the floor of the House of Representatives. “In these …