John D. Wilsey
John D. Wilsey teaches history and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (IVP Academic, 2015).
The question of American identity has historically been both complex and contested. What’s more, it often yields mythic notions rooted in exceptionalist dogmas like election, commission, moral regeneracy, sacred land, and innocent past. Embedded in religious American exceptionalism is the American Dream: if an individual works hard, perseveres, and is a good citizen, there is no limit to how far she can advance.
In recent years, debates over the appropriateness of public monuments celebrating Confederate figures have become increasingly common. Along with exposing deep racial divides, these debates have brought to light historical attitudes and structures built on enduring notions of white supremacy. While generally taking place in local contexts, they have ramifications that concern all Americans.
The African American Intellectual History Society, founded in 2014, hosted its first annual conference last weekend at UNC Chapel Hill. Scholars from various disciplines delivered engaging papers around the theme “new perspectives on the black intellectual tradition.” The changing nature of black identity in today’s world is complex.
by Edward Carson, John D. Wilsey, and Lilian Calles BargerMarch 15, 2016
Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot in Cleveland by an officer in training, suffered death. According to an Ohio grand jury, the case is closed. Elsewhere in these United States, presidential candidates have and will continue to laud America as exceptional.
When we think of religious conservatism, we likely think in terms of slogging through the trenches of the great American culture war. But does the culture war serve as a useful paradigm for understanding religious conservatism?
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