Category: Countries


Tracy McKenzie on the First Thanksgiving (Annual Encore)

We are taking an extended sabbatical to catch up with other academic-related work and to try to improve some issues with our audio files. In the meantime, enjoy this encore presentation with Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton) on a very seasonal topic — The First Thanksgiving. We hope to return shortly with some new episodes and fresh content, but until then please feel free to dip into our extensive archives that now contain over 350 unique episodes, nearly one for every day of the year!

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Carmel Chiswick on the Economics of Being Jewish in America (Encore Presentation)

How does an economist discuss being a religious minority in America? Prof. Carmel Chiswick returns to the podcast to discuss her new book “Judaism in Transition.” Using the tools of economics — particularly the concepts of full price, time costs, and human capital — explains the challenges American Jews face in a Christian culture and how Judaism has changed over time to reflect responses to various costs and benefits. We also talk about some of the newer demographic challenges facing Jews, including intermarriage, later marriage, and empty nesters.

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Robert Nelson on Lutheranism and Nordic Social Democracy

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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James Hudnut-Beumler on the History of Church Financing in the US

While pastors often don’t want to talk about the subject of church funding, it is an established fact that religious groups need finances to survive and thrive. Prof. James Hudnut-Beumler (Vanderbilt University) discusses the importance of thinking about church funding and takes us on a tour of how church financing has changed in the United States over the past two and a half centuries. We cover topics such as pew rentals, competition from benevolence groups, and automatic debiting. Technological and social changes have affected how religious organizations collect revenue and, in turn, has shaped our religious landscape in interesting ways.

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Peter Henne on Religion-State Relations and Counterterrorism

During the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, the United States began to ramp up counterterrorism efforts around the globe. Some nations proved relatively cooperative with these efforts whereas others did not. Prof. Peter Henne (University of Vermont) explains how religion-state relations condition the response of different governments to these counterterrorism examples. We examine this in a broad perspective and with specific attention to Pakistan, UAE, and Turkey.

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

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Andrew Chesnut on Santa Muerte

The cult of Santa Muerte is one of the fastest growing religious movements in the Western Hemisphere, yet little scholarly attention has been paid to it. Prof. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University discusses what this folk saint is, how it emerged historically and recently, and how devotions are practiced.

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Robert D. Rubin on Judicial Review & the Religious Right

Prior to the 1980s, the incipient Religious Right was skeptical of the US judicial system given a variety of decisions that went against their interests. Dr. Robert Daniel Rubin examines how Southern Christians came to embrace judicial review using two crucial court cases involving education in Mobile, Alabama, and Judge Brevard Hand who decided them. This discussion is both a microcosm of social and political change brewing in the South in the 1980s, but also a reflection of broader trends developing in American society.

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Cara Lea Burnidge on Religion and Woodrow Wilson

To what extent did President Woodrow Wilson’s southern Presbyterian upbringing play in shaping his political attitudes and American foreign policy? Prof. Cara Burnidge (U of Northern Iowa) addresses this question in a fascinating discussion that tracks the former Princeton University president through a period of dynamic religious and political change in American history. A strong Calvinist influence combines with the burgeoning thought of the social gospel movement in the late 19th century and leads to a vision for a “new world order.”

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Jeremy Menchik on Islam, Tolerance, Democracy, & Indonesia

Indonesia is both the world’s largest majority Muslim country and a consolidated democracy. Yet, unlike Western democracies, the Indonesian state pursues a policy of Godly nationalism that prioritizes religious belief over secularism. Despite this, the nation also exhibits a high level of religious toleration for various religious minorities including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and various variants of Islam. Prof. Jeremy Menchik (Boston University) discusses this interesting balancing act and explains

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