That Was The Week That Was


• I couldn’t completely buy that my employer is suddenly one of the top 100 universities in the country — but I couldn’t disregard that ranking either.

• A new digital project helped me revisit an old question: just when did Micah 6:8 become so popular among American Christians?

• I finished my Anxious Bench series on historical movies by talking about two of my favorite current TV series: a feminist time-traveling romance, and an Eighties spy thriller.

…There (The 2016 Campaign)…

Alice Paul in 1915
Suffragist Alice Paul, who founded the National Woman’s Party in 1916 – Library of Congress

• Whatever you think of the candidate, this was the news of the week: One of America’s two major parties nominated a woman to serve as president. And she responded with a sartorial nod to the women who paved the way for that moment.

• For my money, though, Hillary Clinton’s convention speech was far overshadowed by one from another Democratic woman.

• Not surprisingly, Clinton’s opponent talks about himself far more than most anyone else — including God.

• Is the “God gap” closing? Not only did a conservative columnist lament that its candidate “has cut off the [Republican] party from its religious, ethical and moral moorings,” but a new poll found that Hillary Clinton is doing much better among regular worshippers than Barack Obama did at this point in 2012.

• A big factor here is that the Democrats have gained a whopping 22 percentage points of support among Catholics who attend Mass weekly.

• Evangelicals seem to remain a hold-out against this trend, but apparently I’m not the only person who thinks that Clinton would do well to try to court that group. (Not that it’s good politics, but it might be good for the country.)

• But that would likely require a moderation of her position on abortion (e.g., the Hyde Amendment); without such a pivot, it’s going to be increasingly tricky to be a pro-life Democrat.

…and Everywhere

• A 85-year old Catholic priest was martyred as he said Mass in France.

• An insightful, moving reflection on historical empathy from a Mormon historian: “I don’t how to solve the tension between understanding and interpreting. But I know that I can’t escape it, either. A historian must learn to live with the joy, heartbreak, anger, and humor of historical subjects but press forward and construct arguments independent of how one feels about historical actors.”

Slaves passing through Washington, DC in 1815
Slaves in Washington, DC in 1815 – Library of Congress

• My Micah 6:8 post employed Lincoln Mullen’s America’s Public Bible project, which was just recognized by the National Endowment of Humanities for his use of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America database of historic newspapers.

• That post focused primarily on abolitionist rhetoric… In other history of slavery news, Bill O’Reilly said some things.

• At their new Gospel Coalition blog Justin Taylor and Tommy Kidd are doing some really important work in tackling the history of racism within theologically conservative Christianity. This week Justin wrote about Bob Jones’ steadfast support for segregation.

• Tracy McKenzie celebrated the 211th birthday of Alexis de Tocqueville by continuing to track down the real source of a quotation (“America is great because she is good”) mistakenly attributed to this country’s most famous European tourist. (Incidentally, the same line featured in Hillary Clinton’s historic acceptance speech.)

• Very excited to see that historian Barry Hankins has written a religious biography of Woodrow Wilson!

• In one of his first messages, Barry’s new boss addressed himself to the “Baylor family.” Why do so many university presidents talk about their communities in that way?

• There’s been much made in the past year of Christian colleges seeking exemptions from Title IX. But one such institution just asked for its exemption to be waived.

• At the aforementioned TGC blog, Tommy Kidd suggested that Christ-centered universities do better than most at fostering genuine political and intellectual diversity among faculty. (For the record, that’s been my experience at Bethel.)

• I’m going to see the new Star Trek movie this afternoon. Apparently, I should expect it to resemble another sci-fi franchise

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