“Putting the Bible or placing American history within the Bible, or suggesting the U.S. is a source of revelation, is seen by many evangelicals as a kind of heresy,” said HDS Professor Catherine Brekus.
"Healing this uncivil war, especially within our own families, is not about changing our minds or even our hearts but first creating a space where we can meet unarmed. Here, an opening can occur. We are not abandoning our principles, but expanding our points of view," says HDS writer-in-residence Terry Tempest Williams.
"People are not more fervent believers than they used to be, but their identification to religion has certainly shifted, creating a conjunction of religious and political identities that facilitate political mobilization and sometimes radical actions," writes T. J. Dermot Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding Jocelyne Cesari.
The prayers offered during President Joe Biden's inauguration ultimately “reflected Biden’s desire to overcome religious as well as political divisions and to unite people in service of the common good,” said HDS Professor Catherine Brekus.
"Biden is intent on taking his oath on the steps of the Capitol because he understands its symbolic power. He is determined to reclaim the Capitol from those who claimed, in the midst of erecting nooses and wreaking violence against the police, to be America's truest patriots," says HDS Professor Catherine Brekus.
"For white Christian nationalists, taking back the country is about more than just political power. They see themselves as faithful patriots fulfilling the American Founders’ covenant with God to maintain a righteous Christian nation," writes Lauren R. Kerby, religious literacy specialist for HDS's Religion and Public Life program.
"At this moment, the country stands divided by class fissures and racial fault lines in the middle of a pandemic, and nevertheless nearly 100 million people cast ballots in the midst of 9 million coronavirus cases and 230,000 coronavirus fatalities. This is a testament to the intestinal fortitude of people all across the country," said Cornell William Brooks, Visiting Professor of the Practice of Prophetic Religion and Public Leadership at HDS.
"I think 'Make America Great Again' is broader than just an evangelical attitude. But it is, in many ways, tailor-made for them—they hear that and they absolutely hear, 'We need to make America Christian, the way it used to be when it was run by White conservative Christians,'" says Lauren Kerby, Religious Literacy Specialist for Religion and Public Life at Harvard Divinity School.
"Trump's greatest effect on religion has been to privilege the voices of white evangelicals, who have supported him in huge numbers because of their hope that he will restore something that they feel has been lost—namely, the white, Protestant identity of the United States. In contrast, both Jim Kloppenberg and E.J. Dionne noted that religious pluralism has strengthened American democracy," said HDS Professor Catherine Brekus.