Current Events Discussion

For better or for worse, connections to historical events and current events are relevant factors in the study of history.

For this section of my portfolio, I welcome you to take a look at a couple of articles I used in this History of Christianity’s Current Events assignments.

For this week’s Current Events discussion, with regards to the current political climate, I wanted to find an article that noted the connection between religion and racism, specifically in the United States. I found one directly related to Protestantism and thought it fit well with the topic of this week. Written in June 2020, author Tiffany Puett noted in The Conversation that the justification for racism, slavery, and discrimination were laid out in Protestant beliefs. While I was a little skeptical going into the article, she provides several primary and Biblical sources to address the “ideal” American as being a white Protestant man and the rationale provided in the Bible for the institution of slavery. Starting with the Puritans, she argues, the classification of “others” (whether white or not) often implied a damning relation to their belief systems and their citizenship. The pride of Anglo-Saxon heritage provided Christians with a sense of superiority in the new world and has yet to let up on racial and religious minorities. She goes on to note that radical groups and ideologies, such as the KKK and Jim Crow laws respectively, relied on Protestantism to justify their actions and mandates. 

I believe this ties together with our discussions of the Catholic/Protestant divide and with the separation of Church and State. As more immigrants began to settle in America, the crutches of diplomacy and literal interpretations of the Bible provided a baseline for authoritative figures in the country to remain superior.  Link to the article provided here:

For this week’s Current Events discussion, I decided that the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic and its relation to church services in the United States was increasingly relevant. The writers of the article I chose, Katie Conger, Jack Healy, and Lucy Tompkins acknowledged that the reopening of churches all around the country has contributed to the uptick in Covid-19 cases. While it is apparent that many churches are adhering to the guidelines of the state, many more are actively disregarding the measures laid out for their reopening. Unfortunately, both such church patrons are contracting the virus, regardless of social distancing, outdoor venues, and masks. Given the significant timeframe for the virus to show symptoms, it is obviously an uphill battle trying to locate the particular source of an outbreak. However, the congregations of states around the country have experienced a resurgence of cases as well as a rise in defiant members. One particular line that stuck out to me was a pastor in Oregon that exclaimed “If God wants me to get COVID, I’ll get COVID. And if God doesn’t want me to get COVID, I won’t.”

I believe this relates to our conversations about the separation of church and state quite literally.  In open defiance to their states’ orders, some churches are claiming to protect their religious autonomy. In Nevada for example, the protocols for the reopening of casinos are far more lax than that of churches and have rightfully so caused a backlash. Obviously, this is more than a political or bipartisan issue, but rather a real conversation on the independence of rights and the collective responsibilities of humanity. 

Link to the article found here:

In conjunction with the course themes, these articles provided significant relevance to current events within the United States’ history of religious freedom as well as racial discrimination.

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