“Reckoning with the Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity:” A Conversation with Robert P. Jones

A conversation with CEO and founder of Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), Robert P. Jones

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 6 pm on Zoom

White Too LongScholar Robert P. Jones joined Professor of Religious Studies Toddie Peters, Associate Professor of Psychology Buffie Longmire-Avital and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies Damion Blake for a discussion about the roots of white supremacy in American Christianity.

The conversation was based on Jones’ most recent book, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity. Jones is the founder and CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research firm that uses polling and other methods to study the intersection of religion, culture and public policy in the United States. The 2020 book explores three major sources to understand racism in American Christianity: history, public opinion data collected by his polling firm, and memoir-style writing about his own personal reckoning with white supremacy. He argued that the American Christian Church has not just been complacent or complicit regarding white supremacy, but responsible for creating and sustaining these systems.

A recording of the discussion is available for viewing here.

“Religion at the Borders”- 2021 CSRCS Annual Symposium

February 11-13, 2021

Borders demarcate edges, and edges can be powerful places from which to understand, undermine, or underscore the stability of centers. Geographical borders, for example, may serve to delineate religious identities, while recitations, practices, and rituals may define the boundaries of belonging within religious communities. Borders might also separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy, serve as transitional or liminal spaces, or provide sites for critiquing mainstream ideas or identities. Borders are also bridges, that is, areas where people, cultures, genders, families, economies, and religious traditions meet and meld. An examination of “Religion on the Borders” offers the opportunity to expand and redefine the intersections of religion, society, and culture across time and space. We invite scholars to consider the ways that religion on or at the border(s) can advance our understanding of tradition, identity, practice, as well as the built, material, and intellectual culture of religion.

Keynote address from Leah Sarat (Arizona State University): “The Terror of ‘Safety:’ Christianity, Immigrant Policing, and Detention at the Nation’s Edge”

Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5:45 pm

Headshot of Leah SaratDrawing upon a decade of experience navigating the boundaries between academic and activist spaces in Arizona, Sarat will highlight the stories of two Christian leaders whose lives have been closely impacted by the private, for-profit immigrant detention industry in the state: an asylum-seeker from El Salvador who emerged as a peer faith healer during four years at Arizona’s Eloy Detention Center, and the former national Director of Chaplaincy for CoreCivic, the company that profited from her time behind bars. While these stories provide insight onto the commodification of human beings that contributes to immigrant policing in borderlands, they also offer a window onto the intersection of Christianity with broader debates about safety, fear, liberation, healing, and personhood within the U.S. carceral landscape. Dr. Sarat is author of Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream (NYU Press, November 2013).

Lens on the Border photo exhibit

Photo exhibit by the Sierra Club on display throughout the Academic Village during the month of February

In conjunction with the 2021 Religion at the Borders symposium, we are honored to be hosting the Sierra Club’s photography exhibit, “Lens on the Border.” Photographs and artist information is hung in the lobbies and hallways of the buildings in the Academic Village.

A brief walk-through video by Elon student Sarah Escoria is available here.

Jack Jenkins of Religion News Service speaking to Religion and Media Communications class

Reporter Jack Jenkins to speak during Professor Anthony Hatcher’s Religion and Media class

Jack Jenkins headshot

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 2 pm

Jack Jenkins, a reporter and analyst for Religion News Service, visited Anthony Hatcher’s Religion and Media course to talk about his own journey into religion reporting and his ongoing work on the religious left in the U.S. He recently published his book, American Prophets, discussing the intersection of religion and progressive politics.

Religion Trending: “Christian White Supremacists and Religion in Neo-Fascist Groups”

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Religion Trending is an informal gathering of faculty and staff to discuss religion-related topics that are trending in the news. Organized in an ad hoc manner in response to pressing issues of import, these events draw on-campus expertise to help faculty and staff unpack topics that may be the subject of discussion in our classrooms, residence halls, and offices. In previous years these gathers having taken place at Oak House. Due to COVID-19, the CSRCS unveiled “Religion Trending: Virtual Edition” using Zoom. The online format allowed for a larger audience, facilitated recording and archiving for future use, and enabled outside guest speakers to more easily contribute to the conversation. Religion Trending: Virtual Edition discussions on the following topics were held in the Fall semester, January Term, and Spring semester; all are available on the CSRCS Kaltura channel.

Seeking to further deepen the discussion on religion and right-wing extremism, Megan Squire (Computer Science) and guest speaker Joan Braune (Philosophy, Gonzaga University) gave a talk examining the religious (and anti-religious) views of far right extremist groups, ranging from the Christian Identity movement to millenarian accelerationists.

Annual Geography Lecture: Race, Religion, and Food with Priscilla McCutcheon

Friday, March 26, 2021 at 2 pm

Priscilla McCutcheon headshotThis lecture from Priscilla McCutcheon from the University of Kentucky Geography Department examined Black liberation theology as a framework to understand how some Black people might find freedom through food and agriculture. The talk discussed key connections between Black liberation, food and agriculture, paying specific attention to the importance of “revolution” and “reconciliation” in Black liberation, and why an attention to Black liberation theology is called for in our present moment when food injustice, and racial and social injustices continue to collide.

Religion Trending: “Star Wars”

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Associate Chaplain Shane Atkinson, campus Imam and resident Star Wars expert, led this virtual discussion on the intersection of Star Wars and Islam.