Cole Lecture Part 2: The Religious Right and the Quest to Reframe American History

Watch video of Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and the Graduate Chair of Religion, University of Pennsylvania, as she discusses the implications of the reconstuctionist, revisionist history that permeates many conservative and fundamentalist Christian churches and political action organizations. The presentation is part of the Divinity School’s 2012 Cole Lectures.

Since the election of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth President of the United States, religious conservatives have been engaged in a project to “Take America Back.” While a catchy political phrase, the obsession to link the founders and the Constitution with conservative evangelical Christianity has become not only a lucrative industry, but a full-blown effort to rewrite the history of the nation. What are the implications for this “revisionist history,” and what does it mean for the future of religious pluralism and our national history?

Philanthropist Edmund W. Cole, president of Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad and treasurer of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, endowed the annual Cole Lecture Series in 1892 “for the defense and advocacy of the Christian religion.” Cole’s gift provided for the first sustained lectureship in the history of Vanderbilt University.