The faith of the revolutionary generation—and our own

It might sound like a stretch, but you can learn a lot about contemporary faith and politics from colonial needlework. Leading up to the war with Britain, American colonists struggled to make sense of unfolding events. Escalating encroachments were resisted by the colonists, whose sometimes-violent actions provoked further crackdowns. The cycle intensified throughout the late 1760s and into the new decade, spawning boycotts, riots, and worse—including the Boston Massacre in March 1770.…

The blessing and curse of American liberty

As we celebrate America’s Independence, some then-and-now is in order. On July 4, 1793, Rev. Enos Hitchcock offered an oration at the Baptist Meeting House in Providence, Rhode Island. The speech was colored by personal experience. Hitchcock served as chaplain during the war, first at Crown Point and Ticonderoga and then later at Valley Forge and West Point, seeing the high cost of liberty and ministering to countless men who paid it…

Donald Trump and the end of the religious right

Despite heated opposition, Donald Trump continues to gobble up delegates on his march to the GOP nomination. Fittingly, much of the pushback has come from religious conservatives. A walking caricature of Luther’s advice to Melanchthon—“sin boldly”—Trump boasts about things Christians are supposed to confess and reject. The idea that he could represent the interests of believers is alternately puzzling and laughable. But so far the pushback has mostly failed. And Jonathan Merritt…

The dumbest reason for Christians to back Trump

If you’re curious how Christians tilt in the current presidential contest, CNN’s Daniel Burke has done us a favor. He’s identified seven types of evangelical voters, how they lean, and why. The “old guard” go Cruz, for instance, while “influencers” go Rubio. But what about Trump? Two groups seem nuts for Donald. The first Burke calls “cultural evangelicals.” Though raised in Christian homes and still self-identifying as such, religion doesn’t play a…