Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, is currently the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics.
Her first major publication was God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (1997), which examines the practices and perceptions of contemporary evangelical women. Her next book Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (2004), explores the history of Christian-influenced attitudes and practices related to embodiment in modern America, culminating in the evangelical diet and fitness movement. These books, along with her three edited volumes—Women and Religion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power, and Performance (co-edited with Barbara Dianne Savage, 2006), Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States (co-edited with Melani McAlister, 2008), and American Religions: A Documentary History (2007)—exhibit Griffith’s varied scholarship. Her next book, scheduled for fall 2017, is titled Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics.
Griffith is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on current issues pertaining to religion and politics, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality and marriage.
It is no exaggeration to say that one of the most consequential political events of the 20th century was the conservative/fundamentalist resurgence/takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention. Whether you think it was a good thing or a bad thing, time is showing its broader import and influence to be vast.
Donald Trump is “morally unfit” to be president, James B. Comey, the FBI director Trump fired last year, declared in the ABC interview this week. But to judge moral fitness, shouldn’t we first agree on what moral behavior actually is?
Half-century-old advice from Billy Graham, who died Feb. 21, was in line with cultural and sexual norms of the 1950s and later decades, when many of Graham’s contemporary evangelical preachers fell from grace after widely publicized extramarital affairs, says R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.
In her new book, “Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics” (Basic Books, 2017), Washington University’s R. Marie Griffith offers a compelling history of the religious debates over sex and sexuality that came to dominate American public life.
As we plunge once more into a national debate over sex, power, assault and morality, many hope this will finally be the watershed moment in which a full reckoning will take place. We’ve been here before, though, and we’ve seen such hopes fade and get overtaken by self-interested partisan political fights. And it’s happening again.
How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics
The origins of some of the most divisive political conflicts of our age — abortion rights, birth control, gay marriage — did not originate in the 1960s, as some believe, but lie in sharp disagreements that emerged among American Christians a century ago, as historian R. Marie Griffith demonstrates in this compelling book.