At first glance, Mother’s Day appears a quaint and conservative holiday, a sort of greeting card moment, honoring 1950s values, a historical throw back to old-fashioned notions of hearth and home. Let’s correct that impression by saying:  Happy Radical Mother’s Day.  In May 1907, Anna Jarvis, a member of a Methodist congregation in Grafton, West…

May 6 is the National Day of Prayer.  This year, the news has been full of stories about people being excluded from prayer.  Those excluded include Americans from non-Christian religions, atheists, as well as the Rev. Franklin Graham, a fundamentalist missionary who has consistently criticized Islam.  Although the media acts as if quarreling over prayer…

So, Governor Rick Perry blamed the Gulf oil spill on an “act of God.”  Of course, “act of God” is a phrase used to describe something beyond human control, an unavoidable event.  But isn’t it also the case that the words convey theological meaning as well–implying that the Gulf spill was somehow predestined or ordained…

This morning on MSNBC in a discussion on Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law, Tamron Hall asked her viewers, “Is Arizona the most conservative state?”   Arizona is not really the most conservative state.  But it may well be America’s most schizophrenic one. Certainly, when people think of Arizona they think of Barry Goldwater and John McCain, both…

Today, Christians celebrate the legacy of St. Mark the Evangelist.  Mark is mostly remembered as the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark, the earliest gospel in the New Testament–a breathless story of Jesus as a teller of tales and a miracle-working healer who is crucified by the Romans, and whose identity as “the Son…

I’m on my way to New York today to speak at Middle Collegiate Church on the subject of “Congregations in the Public Square,” the sort of topic socially aware Protestants like to discuss.  When I learned of the topic, I thought, “That won’t be too hard.”  But, the more I stew on it, the more…

God to Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am…

The creators of the cartoon South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have been all over the news this week.  On the show’s 200th episode, they sort of depicted the Prophet Muhammad thus attracting the attention of a radical website called Revolutionmuslim (since taken down) that, in return, sort of threatened to kill them.  As…

Diana Butler Bass
about

Diana Bass

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of seven books including A People’s History of Christianity: the Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009) Her best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and Christian Century, won the Book of the Year Award from the Academy of Parish Clergy, and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.

Diana regularly consults with religious organizations, leads conferences for religious leaders, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues. She regularly comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media including USA TODAY, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR. From 1995-2000, she wrote a weekly column on American religion for the New York Times Syndicate. She has written widely in the religious press, including Sojourners, Christian Century, Clergy Journal, and Congregations.

From 2002 to 2006, she was the Project Director of a national Lilly Endowment funded study of mainline Protestant vitality—a project featured in Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Diana also serves on the board of directors of the Beatitudes Society.

Diana has taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and the Virginia Theological Seminary. She has taught church history, American religious history, history of Christian thought, religion and politics, and congregational studies.

She lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in downtown Washington, D.C.

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