• Our Latest Time of Trial

    Adam McDuffie (see profile)
    Religious Studies
    Religion, History, United States, Racism
    Item Type:
    Online publication
    civil religion, Anglo-Saxon Myth, Juneteenth, American history
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    2020 was a year defined by disaster and unrest, from impeachment to war to wildfires to a global pandemic to protest movements arising in the United States in response to police violence. This brief article reflects on Robert Bellah's concept of American Civil Religion, particularly his focus on three times of trial. I argue that the nation's second time of trial, the Civil War and the struggle over whether American democracy would truly include all Americans, is not truly in the past. American Civil Religion is undergirded by a system of white supremacy, and the systems which exist to supposedly instill norms of equality and justice are broken. A host of issues exists on the periphery, while the pressing need is an acceptance of the fact that American Civil Religion is rotten at its core. The historical narrative on which American Civil Religion rests fails to unite because it fails to truly be a history of the American people writ large. Whether we are in fact living through a new time of trial or not, it is nonetheless the case that the United States has arrived at a moment which demands a national and civil religious reckoning.
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    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
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