Is Elvis a religion? Students explore this and other questions, including whether Elvis really left the building, or is he still with us in ways we never imagined?
For early twentieth-century historians, the story of church in the wild west involved a racially informed moral tale of transforming savage disorder to settled order.
Religion provided the foundations of education in nineteenth-century America. It motivated literacy and provided the means by which so many Americans learned to read and to think critically.
When I mention that I am working on a history of religion in Yellowstone National Park, people are often puzzled. They usually say something like, “Is there religion in Yellowstone?” And then they might remark, “Oh, you must mean Native Americans.” “Yes,” I reply, “I will include something about how Native American people regarded the […]
Religion has been an implied value in America’s national park idea from the time of the earliest nineteenth-century parks to the present. But the religious element usually remains buried in visitors’ private aesthetic responses to park experiences and attractions. Rarely do specific theological views appear in the parks, even in unofficial activities or park uses. […]
There has been a persistent sense among many Americans that national parks are special places, even sacred. It was Horace Albright, the second Director of the National Park Service, who said in 1930 that “Only God can create a national park.” Such theologically tinged interpretations, of course, borrow on the leftover patriotism of nineteenth-century Manifest […]
Aside from the opinion of many people that all national parks are sacred, many sites in the national park system have specifically religious histories, and a number of these continue to serve explicitly religious purposes. Consider, for instance: The Ebenezer Baptist Church at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia. This […]