Comments on: “Christian” imperialism http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:08:06 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: imp http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-255460 Tue, 10 Mar 2009 03:51:00 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-255460 I’m not a christian, but I think we should hold off on assuming that Bonestroo was a christian. Yes, I know he said he was one. But maybe that was to get people to identify themselves as christian so that he could shoot them.

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By: Ski resort “Christian” murderer update : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-178291 Fri, 09 Jan 2009 13:57:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-178291 [...] a post last week called “‘Christian’ imperialism,” inspired by yet another shooting spree by a disturbed young, white man in Colorado, I [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-169570 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 21:56:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-169570 Oh, DUH! Why did I think of that?

I guess you can tell by my omission that I grew up pretty low church myself (Methodist. But now I’m an atheistic scoffer who somehow got hired at not just one but two Catholic universities, and who’s writing a book about a Protestant girl who became a very devout Catholic and a professed nun.)

Go figure.

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By: Profane http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-169548 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 21:26:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-169548 Mainline Protestant is spot on, but I happen to be an Episcopalian. [This is why I said a church which advertises itself as Protestant, where the reality is that we are darn close to big-C Catholicism!]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-169470 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 20:26:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-169470 Profane: with those “catholic” criteria, you could be any of the mainline Protestant congregations: Baptist, Congregationalist, Presby, Lutheran, Methodist, and possibly even Unitarian.

Am I getting warmer?

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By: Profane http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-169293 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 16:47:47 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-169293 I once taught at an ELCA affiliated college where the Christianity of Catholics came as a shock to some students. Both there, and at my current institution, the question of my own religious belief has always been broached over the few days in World History where we discuss Christianity. Consequently, my strategy has evolved to the point that I use that moment as an opportunity to get students thinking about the labels applied to various denominations. So I tell them that while I am not Catholic, Orthodox or Evangelical, I am catholic, orthodox and evangelical, and belong to a church which advertises itself as Protestant. So, can anyone guess what I am? 8-)

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-169124 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 13:45:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-169124 John, thanks for your further comments. Buzz, I think your critique is persuasive–perhaps I should have titled this post “evangelical” imperialism, too!

Elliot, I think it’s clear that Boneroo was a very troubled person, and that mental illness plus his access to firearms were the main contributing factors to his murder of Brian Mahon. My post here was just speculation on what the evangelical hijacking of the word “Christian” may also have done to Boneroo’s thinking. If there are more media reports that shed light on his religious delusions, then I’ll share them and comment on them here.

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By: John S. http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-168571 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 03:19:59 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-168571 I’d like to disagree slightly with Paul Harvey’s comment above and suggest that this usage of the term “Christian” isn’t quite as benign as Harvey says. Sure, if you press Warren or Osteen they might say that Christian includes groups other than Southern Baptists (to use Warren’s denomination). But the continual use of the unmarked “Christian” to describe a particular variant of evangelical Christianity does define their variant as normative Christianity and is thus in its own way a form of cultural imperialism.

I think it might be useful to compare this to the way that whiteness and masculinity often become “unmarked” categories when we’re invoking group identities. The cliche example as a history professor is the students who always ask why there are so many women and black people in my history survey; if they wanted that, they’d have taken women’s history or Af Am history. (And yes, I’ve gotten these comments before. Nor are professors are immune to this, either. I still remember telling my dissertation director that Chapter 6 of the diss was going to include a long section about Quaker marriage practices. He said that he didn’t see how this was relevant because the project wasn’t “about Quakers and their women.” So I responded, “But Mike, many of these Quakers *are* women.”)

To return to the earlier point: if you have to push people to explain what they mean by the word “Christian” (and find out they don’t really mean the term in the broadest sense), then you’re already playing the game where norms have been defined and described so as to exclude a great many people.

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By: Elliot Lake http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-168556 Fri, 02 Jan 2009 02:39:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-168556 Is it not possible that religion actually had nothing to do with this killing? Was the killer mentally ill?
Schizophreniza often presents with a fixation on religious ideas, but you couldn’t say a killing that happened under that derangement was because of religion.

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By: Buzz http://www.historiann.com/2008/12/31/christian-imperialism/comment-page-1/#comment-168364 Thu, 01 Jan 2009 16:38:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=2598#comment-168364 Historiann and especially JJO: I know which sects are considered “evangelical,” but that doesn’t say anything about how these churches managed to co-opt the term. The plain meaning of “evangelist” is “missionary,” no more no less. Yet the so-called evangelical churches are not those primarily engaged in conversion work. (If I remember correctly, the churches with the largest numbers of missionaries are the Catholics and the Mormons.)

However, I think I have a better idea now why these sects are called “evangelical.” The majority of devoted missionaries are invisible to our culture, for they try to convert people in far-away parts of the world. On the other hand, members of evangelical sects are encouraged to talk about their faith with their neighbors and associates–the members of our own culture. (In this way, they are more similar to the early evangelists in the New Testament, who preached to the pagans around them.) In reality, I think most evangelicals and “evangelist ministers” spend most of their time talking about their faith to others who share similar belief. Maybe this wasn’t true during the Great Awakenings, when there were fewer entertainment options, and even relatively irreligious people might go to hear Jonathan Edwards or George Whitefield. So the “evangelical” Christians get credit for a) talking about their faith a lot, even if it’s not actually evangelistic, since they are talking to people who already share similar beliefs; b) trying to convert people from our own culture, which is a more visible activity than converting people overseas; and c) belonging to a tradition that was more actively missionary than it is now.

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