American Religious History

Abolitionism An antebellum American radical reform movement, heavily influenced by the perfectionist tendencies within American evangelicalism, demanding an immediate and uncompensated end to slavery. Led by figures such as William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionism was at its height from 1831 to 1861.
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) First independent black denomination in the United States, formed by Richard Allen and other black Philadelphians originally in the late 1780s, the AME Church was officially incorporated as a denomination in 1816, and soon became one of the most influential expressions of black Christianity in the United States.
Allen, Richard (1760–1831) Born a slave, Allen achieved his freedom in Pennsylvania and helped to establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) Founded in 1812 by graduates of Williams College, the ABCFM was the first Protestant foreign missionary agency established on American soil, and served as the centralized missionary agency for American Presbyterians and Congregationalists. A product of the evangelical enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening, it sponsored missionaries who served in countries all over the world, including placing the first American missionaries in China in the late 1820s, as well as among American Indian tribes. One of its earliest secretaries, Jeremiah Evarts, was an eloquent critic of Indian removal from the Southeast. Rufus Anderson, general secretary from the 1830s to the 1860s, did much to regularize and systematize the foreign missionary efforts of American denominations.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA; 1978) Passed originally as a sort of symbolic statement, the AIRFA was intended to express the federal government’s willingness to work with Indian tribal leaders to protect the free exercise of religion by Native Americans, especially in cases where a particular practice might conflict with federal law (such as the gathering of eagle feathers). Congress amended the law in 1994, after the Smith v. Oregon peyote case made it clear that the Supreme Court was willing to uphold restrictions on some religious activities of Native groups, such as the use of peyote.
American Missionary Association (AMA) Founded in 1846, the AMA served as a Congregationalist abolitionist and philanthropic group. It is best known for its missionary work in the South after the Civil War, where it established a large number of black schools, colleges, and universities, including Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Fisk University in Nashville. The AMA published the magazine American Missionary from 1846 to 1934.
American Tract Society Founded in New York in 1825 during the Second Great Awakening, the American Tract Society was one of a number of evangelical organizations that blanketed the United States with tens of millions of pieces of Christian literature, temperance tracts, and social reform pamphlets through the antebellum era. The organization, now based in Texas, remains active today.
Anglican Member of the Church of England, a hybrid faith of Protestant beliefs and Roman Catholic worship style.
antinomianism The belief that the gospel frees humans from any obligation to rely on or obey religious authorities or law handed from above. In America, antinomian- ism is often associated with Anne Hutchinson in Puritan New England, with the Quakers (because of their rejection of appointed ministers and their reliance on the “inner light”), and with utopian and communal groups of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Apess, William (1798–1839) First known Native American author of full-length texts, Apess (also spelled Apes), of mixed Indian (Pequot) and white ancestry, grew up in early nineteenth-century New England. Author of the autobiography A Son of the For- est, Apess was a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church and author of a classic condemnation of white American treatment of Native American people, Eulogy on King Philip, published originally in 1836.
Arminianism A Protestant belief system that highlighted human free will. Developed by seventeenth-century Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, an ardent foe of Calvin- ism, the belief was popularized during the nineteenth-century revivals by preachers who taught that humans could play some positive role in their own salvation.
Assemblies of God Founded in 1914, the Assemblies of God now stands as the largest (predominantly) white Pentecostal organization in the United States. Headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, the Assemblies began as a merger of a number of different Holiness-Pentecostal groups that had emerged in the early twentieth century. The Assemblies provided a regular denominational order and doctrine for this assemblage of smaller groups. Today the Assemblies of God supports a sizable denominational apparatus and overseas missionary effort, and recently became known as the home church of John Ashcroft, President George W. Bush’s first appointee as attorney general.

Baptist A religious movement, later a variety of denominations, originating in seventeenth-century England, emphasizing the necessity of baptism by total water immersion and total autonomy of each congregation. Coming to America in the seventeenth century, Baptists spread quickly in both North and South, and grew to be one of the major evangelical traditions of the United States.
Barton, Bruce (1886–1967) An advertising executive whose biography of Jesus, The Man Nobody Knows, famously portrayed Jesus as a manly, successful businessman who had created the greatest corporate organization the world had ever seen.
Beecher, Henry Ward (1813–1887) Son of Lyman Beecher, one of the best-known Calvinist ministers of the early nineteenth century, and brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Beecher made his name as a socially liberal, theologically adaptable, and oratorically gifted minister of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Brooklyn, New York, where he began preaching in 1847. Beecher was an abolitionist and supported antislavery forces in Kansas, where rifles used by free soil settlers came to be known as “Beecher Bibles.” In the 1870s, Beecher became involved in one of the most sensational sex scandals of the nineteenth century, when he was accused of adultery with a friend’s wife (Elizabeth Tilton) and of hypocrisy by Elizabeth Woodhull, a flamboyant advocate of “free love” and the first woman to attempt to run for president in the United States.
Black Elk (1863–1950) A Lakota holy man, Black Elk survived the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876 as well as the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in Europe, and later adopted Catholicism alongside his Native American religious traditions. In 1932 his personal reflections, Black Elk Speaks, drew widespread attention, and the book remains popular to this day. Black Elk spoke of the power of Catholic Christianity as well as the force of Wakan Tanka, the Lakota concept signifying a divine force within the universe.
Black Muslims African American version of Islam, originated in America by Noble Drew Ali and given prominence by Elijah Muhammad and his protégé, Malcolm X, in the 1960s. Black Muslims preach black self-determination and opposition to white Christianity.
black theology Intellectual movement that saw God as identified with African Americans (and, by implication, with all poor and oppressed people). Dating from the nineteenth century and Henry McNeal Turner but blossoming in the 1960s and 1970s with such writers as James Cone, black theology served as a critique of the white supremacist assumptions of American Christianity. (See Blum, chap. 10, this volume.)
Blackwell, Antoinette (1825–1921) A native of New York, Blackwell converted to Christianity and the Congregational Church during the Second Great Awakening. Later she attended Oberlin College, where, over the objection of many faculty and students, she studied theology. In 1852 she was ordained by a Congregational congregation, making her the first woman to be ordained by a regularly constituted Protestant church. Blackwell continued her active work in abolitionism in the women’s suffrage movement, and in the 1880s pursued ordination into the Unitarian ministry.
Blanshard, Paul (1892–1980) Trained as a Congregationalist minister, Blanshard became an editor for the Nation magazine and a critic of organized religion, especially Catholicism. His book American Freedom and Catholic Power, published in 1949, drew a correspondence between the Vatican and the Kremlin, thus portraying Catholicism as a threat to American republican liberties.
Bradford, William (1590–1657) An English-born Separatist Puritan who was a leader and governor of the Plymouth Colony, signer of the Mayflower Compact (which de- fined the goals of that colony), and author of a set of journals (now published as Of Plymouth Plantation) that documented the life of the Pilgrims from their landing at Plymouth to the mid-1640s.
Brainerd, David (1718–1747) A graduate of Yale College, friend of Jonathan Edwards, and early missionary to Native Americans in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and among the Delaware Indians in Pennsylvania. Brainerd’s life was memorialized by Edwards and others as a heroic symbol of Christian sacrifice and service during the early years of the First Great Awakening.
Branch Davidians A sect of the Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists. In 1993, eighty-two of its members, including leader David Koresh, died after a standoff with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other governmental entities in central Texas.
Brook Farm Established as a Transcendentalist utopian experiment in West Roxbury, Massachusetts (just south of Boston), in 1841, and lasting until 1847, Brook Farm was a short-lived but highly influential experiment in communal socialism, agriculture, and free thought that drew the attention and participation of well-known literary figures such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Nathaniel Hawthorne, a founding member of Brook Farm, later portrayed and satirized the experiment in his novel Blithedale Romance.
Brown, John (1800–1859) Born in Connecticut and largely unsuccessful in a series of business ventures through his life, Brown gained notoriety for his actions in slaughtering pro-slavery settlers in Kansas during the “Bleeding Kansas” era of the 1850s, and most especially for his failed attempt to organize an uprising of slaves at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. Captured at Harper’s Ferry and brought to trial before his execution, Brown famously delivered a soliloquy before the court giving an idealistic religious justification for his actions, and shortly before his death wrote the following: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
Brownson, Orestes (1803–1876) Brownson’s remarkable intellectual career in New England through the first half of the nineteenth century gave him a key role in the founding of the Transcendentalism movement, a religious move from Presbyterian- ism to Unitarianism, and association with social and intellectual radicals and utopian communities during the 1830s. In 1844, Brownson famously converted to Catholicism, and remained a preeminent Catholic intellectual, one largely attracted to conservative ideas of social order, from his conversion to his death. Brownson’s career traces the rise of as well as the disillusionment with utopian radicalism in antebellum New England.
Bryan, William Jennings (1860–1925) Populist orator and perennial presidential candidate, Bryan was a progressive in politics later best known for his defense of biblical creationism at the 1925 Scopes Trial in Tennessee, at which he served as a caricature of fundamentalism.
Buckley, William, Jr. (1925–2008) One of the foremost American conservative thinkers of the twentieth century, Buckley first made his name with his book God and Man at Yale, a conservative Catholic’s stinging critique of the secularism of the nation’s elite universities. Later Buckley founded the magazine National Review, which has served as an organ of political conservatism, and has produced numerous articles and books that, in erudite language, espouse the virtues of Catholic teachings and critique secular liberalism.
Burroughs, Nannie (1879–1961) As a black Baptist woman’s leader, Burroughs organized the Women’s Auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention in 1901, and later founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C., the first educational institution in the country wholly owned and run by African American women. Burroughs provided a powerful, religiously progressive voice for upwardly mobile African American religious women through much of the twentieth century.
Bushnell, Horace (1802–1876) A long-time pastor of a Congregational church in Hart- ford, Connecticut, and a prolifically published theologian, Bushnell influenced a generation of New Englanders gradually away from Puritan Calvinism into ideas of religious intuition and emotion befitting the Romantic movement of the nineteenth century. His book Christian Nurture advised parents in the ways of raising godly children through persuasion and empathy.
Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez (ca. 1490–ca. 1557) An early Spanish explorer who gained fame from his eight-year adventure wandering through uncharted regions of the New World following a shipwreck in Florida that destroyed most of his original expedition. Cabeza de Vaca’s account of his journeys from Florida to the Pacific from 1528 to 1536 introduced many European readers for the first time to the variety of Native American groups living in North America, and to many of their religious practices.
Calvinism The theological system founded by John Calvin, a major leader of Reformation thought, which emphasizes the absolute sovereignty of God and the totality of human depravity. Election by God, not human action, decided one’s eternal fate.
Campbell, Will (b. 1924) An unorthodox white Southern Baptist minister, writer, and raconteur known for his work in the civil rights movement and for his memoir Brother to a Dragonfly. A self-described “bootleg Baptist preacher,” Campbell represented an alternative Southern vision influenced by the neo-orthodoxy of Reinhold Niebuhr as well as by the folk traditions of the region.
Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) A seminal religious freedom case that resurrected Jefferson’s notion of the wall of separation between church and state. The case involved the right of Jehovah’s Witnesses to proselytize without an official license in a heavily Catholic area of New Haven, Connecticut. The Court overturned their arrest and conviction for disturbing the peace, and “incorporated” the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment into a national protection for the free exercise of religion against restrictions placed on that by the state.
Carroll, John (1735–1815) A native of Maryland, Carroll served as the first bishop and archbishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. He was the founder of Georgetown University, and oversaw the building of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.
Catholic Worker Movement A radical Catholic organization based in New York City and founded in the early 1930s by Dorothy Day (1897–1980) and Peter Maurin. The movement emphasizes liberation theology, nonviolence, justice, and radical economics based on a communal vision of sharing.
charismatic A twentieth-century movement based on the belief that ordinary believers can receive the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit, particularly speaking in tongues. The term is sometimes used to distinguish those outside the historical Pentecostal churches— such as Charismatic Catholics—from those who historically have been Pentecostals.
Chavez, Cesar (1927–1993) Son of Mexican immigrants whose Catholic mysticism and social justice consciousness propelled him to leadership in the United Farm Workers Union, which advocated on behalf of the Mexican and Central American migrant farm workers who picked crops throughout California and the American West.
Christian Century Founded originally in Iowa in the 1880s under a different name, the Christian Century magazine took its present name and form in Chicago, where it is still published today as an organ of mainline, ecumenical Protestantism. It is generally seen as supportive of the center and left of Protestantism, while its competitor magazine, Christianity Today (founded in 1956), espouses views more in line with traditional conservative evangelicalism.
Christian Coalition An interdenominational and interreligious political advocacy group founded originally in 1989 by television minister and religious broadcaster Pat Robertson following his unsuccessful run for the presidency the previous year, and also associated with Ralph Reed, a young Christian politico who effectively mobilized conservative Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and others into support for candidates who supported “Judeo-Christian values” (as defined by conservative political viewpoints). The Christian Coalition has served as an arm of the “religious right” through its use of churches and direct mailing techniques to energize supporters into action on specific political issues, including opposition to abortion and to gay rights.
Christian Identity Movement A small, loose-knit affiliation of churches, preachers, and believers who generally believe in a theology that white Europeans are descended from the ten captive tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and are, therefore, God’s chosen people, commanded not to intermix with other races or religions. Originally a set of doctrines known as “British Israelism,” Christian Identity’s murky origins include a variety of far-right and fascist thinkers in the mid-twentieth century. More recently, the group has been associated with small white supremacist com- munities in Idaho and the Ozarks, where believers engage in survivalist training and await the end times, and sometimes come into conflict with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities.
Christian Science A movement founded by Mary Baker Eddy. The core ideas are found in Eddy’s central work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first published in 1875. Monistic in nature, this system of metaphysics teaches that physical matter is illusory and unreal. All that is real is Spirit, and salvation/healing lies in the realization of this truth. Disease, sin, and death are illusory and will vanish on the complete assimilation of this truth by the believer. (See Stein, chap. 13, this volume.) Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) A Holiness-Pentecostal denomination founded by Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson in the early twentieth century. The church was centered originally in the highlands of Tennessee and North Carolina, and later grew into a regional organization attracting plain-folk whites. In the 1920s and later again in the 1940s, the denomination split over the financial dealings of its founder, Tomlinson, and also over issues of who was to be his successor.
Church of God in Christ Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, the Church of God in Christ stands as the largest organization of black Pentecostals in the United States. The denomination was founded by Charles Harrison Mason and Charles Price Jones, early black Holiness-Pentecostal figures who eventually split over the issue of whether tongues speech represented true evidence of the “complete sanctification” of the soul. Jones’s smaller group (Church of God, Holiness) remained in Mississippi, while Mason, after being converted to the doctrine of tongues speech at the Azusa Street revivals in 1906, took his Church of God in Christ to Memphis. The church is inter- nationally famous for its vibrant musical traditions, producing rhythm and blues and soul stars such as Al Green and Sam Cooke.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints A church founded by Joseph Smith Jr. in 1830. Commonly known as Mormonism, this faith began with a new set of scriptures (The Book of Mormon) meant to complete the stories in the Old and New Testaments. Members of the early church were forced to move on several occasions. After Smith’s murder in 1844, the majority followed Brigham Young to Utah, where the church continues to flourish. (See Quinn, chap. 19, this volume.)
Church Women United Originally called United Council of Church Women, this group formed in 1941 from the alliance and merger of numerous women’s groups in various denominations. During the 1960s, the group, then called United Church Women, took on issues of race and civil rights, supporting younger women in the Stu- dent Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and organizing northern women to travel South to support civil rights activities.
civil religion The interplay between sacred and secular notions of the state, placing religious significance in the nation itself and its leaders. (See Manis, chap. 3, this volume.) Comstock, Anthony (1844–1915) A native of Connecticut and a Civil War veteran, Comstock was the founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and the author of what became known as the Comstock Laws, which forbade the distribution of “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” materials through the mail. This included not only pornographic scenes but also any material related to sex at all, including information on birth control. Later, Margaret Sanger emerged as a national advocate for birth control and the foremost opponent of the Comstock Laws.
Cone, James Hal (b. 1938) A professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and author of numerous works, including Black Theology and Black Liberation and The Spirituals and the Blues, which pioneered the modern intellectual movement of Black Theology.
Congregationalist (or Congregationalism) A denomination that emerged from the original Puritans of seventeenth-century New England, emphasizing the autonomy of local churches and a mild form of Calvinist conversionist theology. Congregationalism became something like the established church of New England in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Later it provided the basis for important liberal splinter groups, including the Unitarians and the Universalists.
conjuring (or conjuration) An African American folk tradition with roots in African practices, invoking the supernatural powers of items such as roots and herbs in healing, harming, and counter harming individuals. Widespread in the slave community, conjuring lived on into the twentieth century and entered the broader streams of American folk culture.
Conwell, Russell (1843–1925) A Philadelphia Baptist minister best known for being the founder and first president of Temple University and for his famous self-help sermon, “Acres of Diamonds,” which he preached over six thousand times across the country during the Gilded Age. In it, Conwell suggested that every Christian could and should be wealthy, for “acres of diamonds” were there all around for the industrious.
Coughlin, Charles (1891–1979) Dubbed the “radio priest,” the Michigan-based Father Coughlin’s radio broadcasts during the Depression drew tens of millions of listeners to his populist and increasingly anti-Semitic version of a Christian response to the trials of the Great Depression. Originally a supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, Coughlin later turned against the president, and used the newspaper of his organization, the National Union for Social Justice, to espouse his suspicions of the country’s banking system and of New Deal administrators.
covenant Usually referring to a kind of contract or promise between two parties, the term was employed by American Calvinists—most prominently the Puritans—to de- scribe a theological system of agreements between humans and God. The Puritans and other types of Calvinists after them taught that people entered into a number of agreements with God related to their own devotion and God’s reciprocal blessings. See also Puritans.
Crummell, Alexander (1819–1898) Black Episcopalian minister and founder of the Negro Academy, Crummell served as a missionary to Liberia for about twenty years and was an advocate of bringing civilization and Christianization to Africans. Crummell received a memorable appreciation in W. E. B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk.
Cushing, Frank (1857–1900) A pioneering ethnologist of Native Americans, Cushing was appointed by John Wesley Powell in 1879 to write reports for the newly created Bureau of American Ethnology series on Native American life and culture in the American West. Enraptured by the Zuni Indians in New Mexico and Arizona, Cushing became a participant-observer in the life of the Zunis, being inducted into their secret societies and taking their side in disputes with the Navajos. Cushing was one of the first to practice ethnocultural forms of anthropological practice, and he represented as well a romantic vision of Indian life as an antidote to fears about the stresses and costs of American civilization.
Dabney, Robert Lewis (1820–1898) A Presbyterian minister in the South and vigorous proponent of the Confederate cause in the Civil War. A conservative theologically and socially, Dabney supported slavery and secession, and later segregation and post–Civil War racism. Dabney is remembered and honored today by some Presbyterians for his fierce defense of old school Presbyterianism.
Dalai Lama Tibetan religious leader, considered the fourteenth manifestation of the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Compassion. The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso (b. 1935), fled into exile from China in 1959 and has since served as a spokesman for repressed and exiled Tibetans and is internationally known as an ecumenical spokes- man for peace and religious freedom.

Daly, Mary (b. 1928) A pioneering feminist theologian. Daly’s well-known book Be- yond God the Father hoped to tear theology from “its function of legitimating patriarchy.” Daly’s subsequent work Gyn/Ecology explained that she could no longer use words such as “God,” “since there was no way to remove masculine imagery from them.” Daly’s work has provided a theoretical and theological context for women who seek to explore a spirituality not defined by church fathers.
Darwinism (or evolution) The scientific explanation for the origins and development of species through natural selection, proposed originally by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species (1859). Darwin’s theory of evolution was challenged from the time of its inception by creationism and other forms of religious thought that insist on divine presence and design in all forms of life on earth.
Dass, Ram (b. 1931) Born Richard Alpert, Ram Dass is best known for his book and philosophy Be Here Now. In this work, he traces his transformation from a high- achieving Harvard psychology professor to a guru for the counterculture, achieved after extensive travels through India and encounters with holy men and psychedelic drugs that allowed him to access internal mystical experiences and be present “in the moment.” Today, Dass runs a spiritual institute based near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Davies, Samuel (1723–1761) A New Light Presbyterian minister in Virginia, Davies was a devoted advocate of spreading the Great Awakening in his home state, where he was known to be continuing his itinerant preaching in spite of suffering from tuberculosis. Later he became the fourth president of Princeton before his untimely death.
Dawes Act (1887) By this act, Congress gave up the fiction that Indian tribes were independent powers, abolished the treaty system, and recognized Indians as wards of the state. Indian reservation lands formerly held by tribal groups were to be “allotted” to individual Indian families, with the remainder being sold to help fund Indian boarding schools. The result was a massive land loss for Native Americans, as well as wide- spread fraud through oil leasing and other provisions that defrauded individual Indian families of their land allotments. The provisions of the Dawes Act were later repealed by the “Indian New Deal” of 1934.
Deism A radical form of Unitarian belief that flourished in the Age of Reason. Deism postulated a rational deity that created the world and then left it to run according to natural laws. By denying divine intervention in the form of miracles, Deism focused on the present world and the laws governing it. Through recognizing and employing these natural laws in human affairs, most Deists thought, stable governments and societies could be created. This religious philosophy was most associated with American Enlightenment thinkers (including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin) of the late eighteenth century.
Deloria, Vine, Jr. (1933–2005) Author of more than twenty books and a longtime professor, Deloria was a pioneer in Native American religious studies and an outspoken advocate for indigenous rights. His best-known works include Custer Died for Your Sins and God Is Red. In both, he critiqued Western religious and theological traditions and contrasted them with a Native American emphasis on space and geography as opposed to linear time.
denomination A voluntary religious grouping that became the predominant form of religious organization in American history. Denominations (literally, “named, called” in Latin) include groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, and the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Disciples of Christ A denomination founded in the early nineteenth century by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, emphasizing the doctrine of “no creed but the Bible.” It was part of the “Restorationist” movement of the era, which called for a return to the purity of the “primitive” church and the elimination of the excesses and “poperies” of modern denominations.
dispensational premillennialism Doctrine of the end times originating in the later nineteenth century, most closely associated with conservative and fundamentalist evangelicals. Emphasizes the seven periods (or “dispensations”) into which God had divided the world’s history and the climactic battle of Armageddon, which would precede the final establishment of God’s kingdom in heaven and the ascension of the saints.
Dorsey, Thomas (1899–1993) Often called the “father of gospel music,” Dorsey began his musical career as a blues and jazz musician first in Georgia, where he was known as “Barrelhouse Tom,” and later in Chicago, where he was the piano player for the blueswoman Ma Rainey. Following the death of his wife in the early 1930s, Dorsey turned his immense musical talent to the service of what soon became known as “gospel blues”—now usually called “black gospel”—a synthesis of the emotion and “blue note” of black secular song with religious lyrics that speak of a deeply personal relationship with Jesus. Dorsey founded the National Convention of Choirs and Cho- ruses, which became a primary vehicle for spreading the black gospel sound. Dorsey also authored numerous hymns and songs, including his best-known work “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” a tune sung at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.
Douglass, Frederick (1818–1895) Escaped slave and famous orator, abolitionist, editor, and presidential advisor in the nineteenth century. Douglass’s autobiography, updated through several editions, become one of the classics of American literature. Douglass was a severe and biting critic of pro-slavery religion and, after the Civil War, of the deficiencies of the black church.
Dow, Lorenzo (1777–1834) A Connecticut-born Methodist minister best known for being one of the most famously boisterous, emotional, and charismatic of the itinerating ministers during the Second Great Awakening of the early nineteenth century. Dow traveled widely and ceaselessly to proclaim the gospel, usually to open-air crowds who responded enthusiastically to this new style of evangelical stumping.
Du Bois, W. E. B. (1868–1963) One of the greatest American intellectuals of the twentieth century, Du Bois is best known for his 1903 classic Souls of Black Folk, which memorably portrayed the “double consciousness” of African Americans and poignantly invoked the “sorrow songs” (spirituals) as epigraphs for chapters that explored the spiritual meaning of African American culture. (See Blum, chap. 10, this volume.)
Dwight, Timothy (1752–1817) An American Congregationalist minister and theologian who served as the eighth president of Yale University from 1795 to 1817. Dwight was identified with the “New Divinity,” a product of the Great Awakening. The “neo- Edwardseans,” including Dwight, emphasized the necessity of an identifiable conversion experience. Politically, Dwight was a conservative who opposed disestablishment of the Congregationalist Church in Connecticut and was active in the Federalist Par- ty, where he opposed the influence of French revolutionary ideas in America.

Dyer, Mary (1611?–1660) English-born Quaker and ally of Anne Hutchinson who, in 1660, was executed on the Boston Common for her public espousal of Quaker beliefs and for defying Massachusetts laws banning Quakers from the colony.
Eddy, Mary Baker (1821–1910) Teacher, author, and founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, and the newspaper the Christian Science Monitor. New England born and bred, Eddy’s theological insights included the idea that ill health was a product of sinful thinking and not a physical reality.
Edwards, Jonathan (1703–1758) Often called America’s greatest theologian, Edwards was a minister and theologian from Connecticut who was a key figure in the First Great Awakening. Edwards’s many works of theology, including “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” married eighteenth-century ideas of knowledge acquired through the senses to the Calvinist and conversionist theology of the colonial Great Awakening.
Eliot, John (1604–1690) Born in England, Eliot migrated to Boston in 1631 as part of the first great wave of Puritan settlers in New England. Eliot served as a minister in the region but was best known for being the “Apostle to the Indians,” an advocate of Christian evangelization of Natives in New England. Eliot set up a series of Praying Towns for Christianized Indians, and in 1663 published the first Bible produced in North America, in the language of the Massachusett Indians. (See Fisher, chap. 1, this volume.)
Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1803–1882) Great American writer who rejected a ministerial career in the Congregationalist and Unitarian churches of New England and led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-nineteenth century. Although often seen (and oversimplified as) the prophet of “self-reliance,” Emerson was a complex and profound thinker whose works formed a central part of what literary historians refer to as the “American Renaissance.”
Engel v. Vitale (1962) Supreme Court case that declared unconstitutional the practice of group prayer in schools. The case originated in a New York school district that began its school day with this prayer: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our de- pendence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country. Amen.” The Court, by a 6–1 margin, decided that even if the group prayer was voluntary, it still violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it served as a governmental establishment of religion.
Enlightenment Eighteenth-century intellectual movement through the Western world that most commonly valued the role of man’s reason and intellect over religion and superstition as the principles that should organize social and intellectual life, beginning with the scientific and philosophical issues of the Renaissance and broadening the range of concern, giving it a freer, more secular tone. The core of Enlightenment thought was the question: How do we know things to be true? The leading thinkers argued that human reason, combined with materials obtained through empirical observation, was the path to reliable knowledge.
establishment A system of public financing for religion that characterized colonial America and was modeled on the national church system of Europe. A religious tax was levied on citizens for the support of the official religion of the colony—for example, the local Congregational Church in Massachusetts, or the Church of England in

Virginia. Most states disestablished religion at the time of the American Revolution (Massachusetts and Connecticut were the exceptions), and the First Amendment to the Constitution banned the national government from establishing a religion for the American people. (See Ravitch, chap. 7, this volume.)
evangelicalism A religious movement reflecting the surge of spiritual life after the Great Awakening. The movement has been interpreted as a revolt against rationalism and the notion that the Christian life involved only observing the outward formalities of religion. Emphasizing religious experience, particularly one’s conversion or “new birth,” evangelicalism came to dominate Protestant culture in the nineteenth century. (See Sweeney, chap. 5, this volume.)
Everson v. Board of Education (1947) A seminal Supreme Court case in “incorporating” the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”). In a 5–4 decision defending the right of New Jersey to use tax monies to bus parochial school students, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black laid down the foundation for what would become Supreme Court doctrine for the establishment clause: “The ‘establishment of religion’ clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’”
Falwell, Jerry (1934–2007) Son of an abusive alcoholic father, Falwell became one of the best-known Baptist preachers of the twentieth century. As minister at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, Falwell built a national audience through his Old-Time Gospel Hour, and, later, his key role as a founder of the Moral Majority, an organization devoted to pursuing conservative Christian values in the political world. Because of his work with the Moral Majority and his founding of Liberty College, Falwell is often seen as a “father” of the “religious right.”
Fellowship of Southern Churchmen An informal network of southern religious liberals and radicals founded originally by a Presbyterian preacher-activist, Howard Kester, and carried forward until the early 1960s mostly by white ministers and professionals concerned with issues of racial and economic justice. The group’s periodical, Prophetic Religion, provided a rare outlet for southern religious liberals to articulate their sentiments. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the North Carolina Presbyterian minister Charles Jones led the group into civil rights activism.
feminist theology Originating in the nineteenth century (especially with Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Woman’s Bible), feminist theology reached its apex in the later twentieth century, as female religious thinkers began entering and teaching in seminaries and recasting religious thought to account for the historic sexism of many religious traditions and to incorporate notions of women’s equality into sacred texts, hymns, sermons, and theological treatises.
Finney, Charles (1792–1875) The “father of modern revivalism,” Finney was born in Connecticut and raised in New York. Trained as a lawyer, he began a highly successful career as an evangelist after his conversion to Protestant evangelicalism in 1821. He refused formal theological training but still managed to be licensed by the local presbytery. Finney was known for his legal style of preaching, literally “arguing” people into a decision to convert. A strong advocate of social reform, he trained a generation of like-minded college students while president of Oberlin College in Ohio.
First Amendment Adopted as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the federal government from establishing a religion or denying the free exercise of religion. In the 1940s this amendment was extended by the Supreme Court to state and local governments via the Fourteenth Amendment. (See Ravitch, chap. 7, this volume.)
Focus on the Family A conservative parachurch evangelical organization founded originally in California in 1977, Focus on the Family currently is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where it employs over 1,300 people. Founded by James Dobson, originally a child psychologist known for a book on child rearing, Dare to Discipline, Focus on the Family oversees myriad activities devoted to advocating for and preserving the “traditional” nuclear family, including pressing for child-friendly laws, combating gay and lesbian rights, and preaching Christian “family values” to a large radio audience that tuned in to Dobson’s daily broadcasts. Focus on the Family has worked closely with conservative presidential administrations to articulate the political voice of the “religious right,” and has drawn criticism for its close relationship with Republican politicians at the state and national levels.
Fourteenth Amendment A constitutional amendment, added in 1868, that guaran- tees the protection of due process of law to all U.S. citizens. This amendment al- lowed the Supreme Court during the twentieth century to apply other individual rights and government restrictions once reserved for the federal level to all levels of government, including the individual right to free exercise of religion.
Freemasonry Teachings and rituals of a secret society founded on a complex mixture of Renaissance occultism, Enlightenment rationalism, and eventually a claim to wisdom of the stonemasons who had built Solomon’s Temple. It served as a means to create bonds among men of professional classes. Many evangelicals decried its secret practices in the early to mid-nineteenth century, even founding political parties expressly committed to ending Freemasonry.
free thought A movement largely tied to Deism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that rejected traditional institutional Christianity for a religion based on Enlightenment reason. Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen published two of the more famous free thought documents, arguing against the illogical claims of Christianity and for a religion founded on empiricism and reason.
Fuller, Charles (1887–1968) One of the most popular “radio evangelists” of the mid- twentieth century, Fuller, a Baptist minister in Los Angeles, broadcast his show, The Old Fashioned Revival Hour, for more than thirty years to over 650 radio stations nationwide. Fuller also founded Fuller Theological Seminary in southern California, which serves today as a large interdenominational theological seminary generally espousing mainstream evangelical thought.
Fuller, Margaret (1810–1850) A New England Unitarian and Transcendentalist, Fuller was one of the most influential intellectual women of the antebellum era. From 1840 to 1842, Fuller worked with Ralph Waldo Emerson in editing the Dial, a landmark publication in the early years of what literary critics call the “American Renaissance,” and a few years later served as the first female correspondent for a major American newspaper, Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. Fuller’s work Woman in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845, was a landmark in the history of American feminism.
fundamentalism Militantly anti-modernist, conservative Protestant evangelical thought, arising in the early twentieth century with the publication of The Fundamentals in 1914. Emphasizes a strict literalist interpretation of the Bible and a rejection of many forms of “modern” thought, especially Darwinism. (See Benderoth, chap. 16, this volume.)
Garvey, Marcus (1887–1940) A mass orator in Harlem in the 1920s who advocated black separatism and was the leader of the United Negro Improvement Association. A Jamaican by birth, Garvey was an early advocate for some of the themes that later would emerge in black theology.
Ghost Dance A pan–Native American movement that emerged during the late nineteenth century. The moving spirit was the prophet Wovoka, whose vision showed the followers of the Ghost Dance being resurrected after the earth opened up and swallowed all of humanity and the restoration of the departed ancestors of the Native Americans. In 1890, a large body of Ghost Dancers among the Lakotas of South Dakota were slaughtered by a contingent of the U.S. Army.
Gladden, Washington (1836–1918) A leading Congregational minister and one of the founding writers of what became known as the “Social Gospel” movement, Glad- den was a long-time pastor of the First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio, where he served for thirty-two years. Gladden was active in local politics, making his name as a progressive critic of political corruption, and also served as president of the American Missionary Association, where he expressed opposition to the imposition of racial segregation during the rise of Jim Crow. Gladden wrote more than forty books, in which he espoused his views of applying the themes of Christianity to the social problems of modernizing America.
Goddess religion A late-twentieth-century movement that claims to recover beliefs and practices of ancient times, before the advent of patriarchal religions. The publications and rites of this movement, which is often tied to “neo-pagan” practices, emphasize feminine myths and symbols found in pre-Christian Europe and Native American, Hindu, and Mesoamerican traditions.
Grace, Bishop Charles M. (“Sweet Daddy”; 1881–1960) A Caribbean-born African American minister best known for being the founder of the United House of Prayer for All People, which made its name during the Depression for large services in which scores of hungry people were fed, and in which “Sweet Daddy” Grace encouraged exuberant emotional expression of religiosity.

Graham, William (Billy; b. 1918) Revivalist and preacher, Graham got his start working for Youth for Christ. Following World War II, he led massive revivals in the United States and throughout the world. A friend of prominent Republican politicians, Graham also racially desegregated his revivals in the late 1950s, but later was burned by his close personal relationship with President Richard Nixon just before and during the Watergate crisis.
Great Awakening A massive revival that occurred along the entire English-speaking Atlantic seaboard in the late 1730s and 1740s. Emphasizing the personal, intense religious experience of emotional conversion as playing a central role in the process of salvation, the revival helped to create the American evangelical tradition. Leading proponents included Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Gilbert Tennent.
Grimké, Sarah and Angelina (1792–1873 and 1802–1879) Born in Charleston, South Carolina, to a large family of slaveholders, the Grimké sisters became two of the best-known female abolitionists, suffragists, and feminist radicals of the nineteenth century. In the 1820s, Sarah took her father for medical care to Philadelphia. She converted to Quakerism, and her sister, who married the abolitionist Theodore Weld, soon followed. In 1836, Angelina published An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, a pamphlet that argued that slavery corrupted the white fam- ily by inviting forced miscegenation; in 1839, the sisters followed with American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses, which compiled newspaper stories documenting the horrors of slavery. Harmonial religions Those forms of belief and personal practice in which spiritual, physical, and sometimes even economic health are understood to flow from a person’s relationship to the cosmos. These traditions frequently have unusual features, such as charismatic founders, complicated institutional structures, secret doctrines, or elaborate rituals. Harmonial religions cut across traditional lines of religious division by emphasizing different patterns of belief and practice that tend to be highly individualistic.
Hedgeman, Anna Arnold (1899–1990) An African American Methodist woman who, after a childhood in the rural Midwest, had a long career of activism in church organizations through the YMCA, United Church Women, and various civil rights groups. Hedgeman was also one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women in 1966, and served on the Commission on Religion and Race for the National Council of Churches.
Henry, Carl F. H. (1913–2003) American theologian who defended the tenets of traditional evangelicalism against the assaults of modernism. Henry was one of the founders of the National Association of Evangelicals and was the first editor in chief of Christianity Today, a magazine that defended evangelical ideas against the more liberal or modernist notions propounded in publications such as Christian Century. Henry upheld evangelicalism while also rejecting separatist fundamentalism, leading evangelicals into a more open engagement with modern culture.
Heschel, Rabbi Abraham Joshua (1907–1972) A professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, a center for Conservative Judaism, Heschel became nationally known for his prophetic statements in sympathy with civil rights activists in the 1960s, and later for Soviet Jews unable to escape an oppressive communist regime. Heschel remains one of the most significant and influential Jewish theologians of modern American history, known for deep spiritual exploration of Jewish texts and for applying those texts to the dilemmas of modern life.
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth (1823–1911) A New England–born author, intellectual, and activist who championed writers such as Emily Dickinson through his influential essays in the Atlantic and other publications. Among religious historians, Higginson is best known as a Unitarian minister who led a contingent of black troops during the Civil War, and later published his account of that experience in his classic work Army Life in a Black Regiment. Higginson was among the first to write seriously about the spirituals as folk music whose music and lyrics told of the religious strivings of black Americans.
higher criticism A scholarly, critical analysis of biblical texts in order to learn their origins and the intention of the authors. This pursuit treats scripture as any other historical source—to be read as a document of its time and region. Beginning in the nineteenth century, it led to a division among Christians as they argued whether its academic approach to what had been understood as an inspired document was appropriate. These divisions eventuated in the fundamentalist movement, a reaction to attempts to read the Bible as a human rather than a divine text.
Hodge, Charles (1797–1898) A Presbyterian minister and theologian who founded the Princeton Review (a high-toned theological periodical) and later became the head of Princeton Theological Seminary, a center for classical Reformed Calvinist intellectual life in America. Hodge’s intellectual and theological influence was wide and deep in shaping Presbyterian thought through the nineteenth century. He was famous for saying that Princeton never originated a new idea, by which he somewhat wryly defended Princeton’s role as a stalwart advocate for the Westminster Confession style of Presbyterianism and Calvinism in America.
Holiness tradition Body of theological thought and practice originating from Meth- odism in the mid-eighteenth century, and popularized in America by Phoebe Palmer, a New York Methodist woman, in the mid-nineteenth century, and later by the Holiness and Pentecostal denominations of the twentieth century. Holiness traditions emphasize the purification of the soul and quest for sanctification that defines the Christian believer’s pilgrimage following conversion.
Howe, Julia Ward (1819–1910) An abolitionist and author, member of the Unitarian Church and suffragist, most noted for composing the lyrics to “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which was set to its familiar tune and published first in the Atlantic Monthly in 1862.
Hubbard, L. Ron (1911–1986) Author of the book Dianetics and founder of the Church of Scientology, Hubbard remains a controversial figure, considered by Scientologists to be a guru and by many others to be a charlatan and creator of a church that serves as a money-making empire.
Hutchinson, Anne (1591–1643) English-born woman who, after her migration to Puritan New England, fell into conflict with Puritan authorities for her leadership of Bible study classes in her home. Seeming to challenge the authority of the Puritan leadership, and to advocate heterodox doctrines, she was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638, and in 1643 was killed by Indian enemies of the Puritans. She and Mary Dyer stand as symbols of religious freedom in Puritan New England.
Jackson, Jesse (b. 1941) Black Baptist minister and long-time civil rights activist known for his work with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, and later for founding the “Rainbow Coalition” and running for president in 1984 and 1988.
Jackson, Mahalia (1911–1972) A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and migrant to Chicago during the 1920s, Jackson went on to become what most consider as the greatest vocal stylist in the genre of black gospel music. Her recordings of classic tunes such as “How I Got Over” and “Precious Lord” defined the sound, which originated with the work of Thomas Dorsey.
Jakes, T. D. (Thomas Dexter; b. 1957) A well-known contemporary minister, from a Pentecostal “Oneness” tradition, who pastors the Potter’s House, a huge interdenominational megachurch in Dallas, Texas. Jakes is known for huge annual revivals called “MegaFest,” and for a novel and annual conferences called “Woman, Thou Art Loosed.” Jakes is one of a number of celebrity televangelists who arose from specific religious traditions but now represent a more general prosperity theology appealing to members of megachurches.
Jehovah’s Witnesses A religious denomination founded by Charles Taze Russell in 1872, an enduring movement in the millennialist tradition. It was based on the be- lief that Jesus had inaugurated a “Millennial Dawn” with his return in the “upper air” in 1874 and an expectation of the millennial consummation of the worldly or- der in 1914. Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaimed that Satan’s three great allies were false teachings in the “churches,” tyrannies of human government, and the oppressions of business. They are well known for their door-to-door evangelism, their key role in Supreme Court cases extending the bounds of religious freedom (especially in Cantwell v. Connecticut [1942]), and their publication the Watchtower.
Jesuit Relations Published from the early 1630s until the 1670s, Jesuit Relations represented the annual reports of missionaries from the Society of Jesus back to their sponsors in France. The Relations chronicled the heroic endeavors of French Jesuit missionaries in New France, concentrated around the Great Lakes region of the New World and later into the Mississippi Valley, and devoted extended attention to the social, cultural, and religious customs of the various Indian tribes—the Hurons, the Iroquois, the Montagnais, and others—among whom the Jesuits missionized. The ac- counts also related the stories of the martyrdom of several of the missionaries, as well as the famous story of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American to be nominated for sainthood.
Jones, Charles Colcock (1804–1863) As a Presbyterian minister and educator and a large slaveholder in Liberty County, Georgia, Jones organized a large-scale effort to conduct missions among the slaves, believing this to be the best way to civilize and Christianize African American slaves as well as to temper the worst excesses of the practices of slavery. Jones’s work has been documented memorably in the Pulitzer Prize–winning study of Erskine Clarke, Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic (2005).
Judaism The ancient faith of the Jewish people, practiced in the United States in Re- formed, Orthodox, and Conservative forms. Reform Judaism was led initially by Isaac Mayer Wise. Deeply influenced by the work of Moses Mendelssohn and the upwardly mobile status of Jews in Germany, nineteenth-century Reform Jews in America emphasized contemporary decorum in worship as opposed to conducting services in He- brew. Reform Judaism used models found in contemporary Protestant practice; families were seated together, and organs and choirs were used. It also discontinued the wearing of the yarmulke and prayer shawl. The Reform Jews are defined as a progressive religion and not inextricably bound by the ancient biblical ideas. The Orthodox movement was dedicated to a traditional emphasis on the Torah and Talmud. Ortho- dox Jews are generally united by the precept that Jewish law remains binding on Jews. Conservative Judaism provides a middle ground between the Orthodox and Reform sections. (See Levenson, chap. 18, this volume.)
kachinas (or katsinas) Symbolic objects representing naturally divine or spiritual forces in the world, often represented as doll-like objects that manifest themselves in the ceremonies of Hopi and Puebloan peoples of the American Southwest. To the Spanish who first encountered them, kachinas represented Indian “superstition” and “shamanism” that was to be overcome through the power of Christian symbols. Today, “kachina dances” at the pueblos of New Mexico and Arizona attract crowds of tourists seeking to experience some representation of traditional Native cultural customs.
King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929–1968) African American civil rights leader and Baptist minister, born originally in Atlanta. Leader of the Montgomery bus boycott of the mid-1950s and subsequently the organizer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King won the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1960s for his efforts in the black civil rights movement.
kiva The underground, cylindrical sacred spaces of Puebloan peoples of the South- west, where religious ceremonies and initiation rites historically took place. Kivas were generally open only to male members of the tribe, and were considered the home of openings in the earth (sipapu) by which the forces of other worlds entered human life, and through which natural life first made its way to earth.
Ku Klux Klan The first Ku Klux Klan was a sort of paramilitary wing of white Demo- crats in the Reconstruction-era South; it sought a restoration of political power and white supremacy. The second Klan reached its height in the 1920s, when millions of white Protestants joined a group avowedly in defense of “100% Americanism” and focused on the dangers posed by immigrants, Catholics, and Jews. The Klan was revived a third time during the civil rights movement, again in defense of white supremacy in the South against the black struggles for civil rights.
Lee, Jarena (b. 1783) African Methodist Episcopal church exhorter who unsuccessfully petitioned to become an ordained minister. In 1836, Lee published her autobiography detailing her preaching in New Jersey. This was one of the first works published by an African American woman in the United States.
liberation theology Body of thought that emphasizes God’s “preferential option” for the poor and neglected of the Third World and of America. It is most often associated with Latin American and African theologians of the twentieth century, who sought to resist colonialism, economic exploitation, and oppression.
Lutheran Denomination that emerged first in Germany, later spreading worldwide, from the work of Martin Luther in the early Protestant Reformation. Highly structured denomination with closely followed worship rituals that are closer to Catholicism than many other Protestant groups. In America, strongest in the Midwest and other areas settled by German immigrants.
Machen, J. Gresham (1881–1937) A conservative Presbyterian theologian and founder of Westminister Theological Seminary and of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Machen was best known for revolting against modernist theology at Princeton, where he taught from 1915 until 1929, and upholding what he saw as purer Presbyterian/ Calvinist doctrines.
Madonna of 115th Street The name given to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the image of the Virgin treasured by Italian Americans in a manner similar to the Virgin of Guadalupe among Latino Catholics. Our Lady of Mount Carmel first made her way into America in 1881, where she presided over an Italian-American Catholic church erected on 115th Street in East Harlem, New York. Soon, the Madonna became the focus of a large street festival held every year in mid-July that culminated in extreme acts of unction that parishioners paid to the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Italian American women controlled much of the devotions enacted for the Virgin, who was considered to be emblematic of and soothing to the struggles and suffering of Italian working-class immigrants in a poor and grimy section of New York City. Robert Orsi’s book interpreting the festival of the Madonna of 115th Street is considered a classic in the field of American religious studies.
Malcolm X (1925–1965) Born Malcolm Little, Malcolm X converted to a version of Black Islam while in prison after a youth of petty crime. In the 1960s, Malcolm be- came internationally known as a fiery speaker, critic of the integrationist thrust of the civil rights movement, and proselytizer for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Islam as the true religion of the black man. Shortly before his assassination in 1965, Malcolm visited the Middle East and converted to a more orthodox brand of Islam, alienating him from many of his allies in the Black Muslim movement.
manifest destiny A cultural complex articulated by a political phrase—coined originally by Democratic columnist John O’Sullivan in 1845, who supported the annexation of Texas—that suggested that God had given divine imprimatur to the inevitable expansion of Anglo-Saxon Protestants across the North American continent.
Martínez, Antonio José (1793–1867) A well-known priest, educator, politician, and community leader among Hispanics in New Mexico, Martínez was accused of fomenting the “Taos Revolt” following the Mexican-American War, in which New Mexicans revolted against the newly instituted American rule. Following the accession of New Mexico by the United States, Martínez fought a protracted conflict with Archbishop Jean Baptist Lamy, appointed to supervise Catholics in the region and determined to modernize Latino Catholic customs and mandate tithing among New Mexican parishioners. Martínez defended Latino Catholics in the region and was eventually excommunicated by Lamy. Martínez was later fictionally portrayed by a character in Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop.
Mather, Cotton (1663–1728) The son of the well-known Puritan minister Increase Mather, and named after his grandfather John Cotton, Mather was an enormously influential theologian, social commentator, and scientist during the third generation of Puritanism. Author of Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), Mather continued the Puritan vision of interpreting the American experiment within an Old Testament framework of a “chosen people” and their travails and triumphs. Mather was also known for being a critic of the use of “spectral evidence” during the Salem witch trials (1692), for his experiments with plant hybridization, and for his advocacy of smallpox inoculation following an outbreak of smallpox in Boston in the early 1720s. McPherson, Aimee Semple (1890–1944) An evangelist, preacher, and founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Los Angeles, McPherson was one
of the first ministers to harness the power of the radio for publicity.
megachurch A nickname for large (over 2,000 members) churches, sometimes denominationally affiliated but often not, run by “star” pastors who generally operate relatively independently and in an entrepreneurial spirit. Megachurches are often known for contemporary service styles featuring “praise music” projected onto big screens, with family-friendly programming featuring activities for all age groups, and with an emphasis on generic evangelical doctrines over any denominationally specific preaching.
Men and Religion Forward Movement A huge interdenominational set of gatherings for men in 1911 and 1912, sponsored by Protestant leaders of the day, which advocated a “muscular Christianity,” decried the “feminization of religion,” implored men to exert their power in churches, and generally affiliated with a mild form of Social Gospel theology. In some ways, the movement was a precursor to the Promise Keepers gatherings of the 1980s and 1990s, although the latter tended to be more associated with a conservative theology.
Merton, Thomas (1915–1968) A European-born Trappist monk whose numerous works of theology, philosophy, mysticism, and activism (including The Seven Storey Mountain) have proved influential landmarks of Catholic monastic thought in the twentieth century. Merton’s concepts of pursuing social justice through nonviolence and through personal purity, as well as his ventures in interreligious dialogue, brought his works and ideas to a wide audience.
Methodists Founded by Charles and John Wesley in the 1740s as a reform movement within the Anglican Church, Methodists later went on to become the dominant American denomination of the nineteenth century because of their emphasis on free will and divine grace and their successful system of itinerating preachers combined with a close church organization overseen by bishops and an elaborate structural hierarchy.
millennium Literally, “a thousand years”; metaphorically, the final end time, usually seen by Christians as the time of the final establishment of God’s Kingdom and the end of earthly time.
Miller, William (1782–1849) Miller inspired a number of millennialist movements in the nineteenth century, including the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, through his careful biblical study leading to a prediction that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur sometime in 1843 or 1844. When the years passed with- out such an event, those who remained after the “Great Disappointment” worked in a number of Christian groups that focused on the imminence and chronological details of Christ’s coming. Over time, these groups became part of the larger scene of American Protestantism.
Monk, Maria (1816–1839) A troubled Canadian-born woman who, in 1836, published (under her own name, but likely ghostwritten by anti-Catholic propagandists) Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk; or, The Hidden Secrets of a Nun’s Life in a Convent Ex- posed. The sensational and wholly fictitious “memoir” told a story of nuns raped by priests who then strangulated the resulting infants from these illicit unions. Although widely denounced at the time, the tale fed into widespread anti-Catholic prejudice that led to such incidents as the attack on a Ursuline Catholic convent in Charles- town, Massachusetts, in 1834, and later to the formation of the nativist and anti-Catholic American Party (popularly known as the Know-Nothing Party).
Moody, Dwight (1837–1899) Famous Chicago-based mass evangelist of the later nineteenth century and founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Moody created many of the techniques and forms of what we now consider mass Protestant evangelism, along with a body of music composed and led by his musical director, Ira Bliss, that came to be called “gospel music.”
Moon, Charlotte Diggs (“Lottie”; 1840–1912) A well-bred native of Virginia and devout Southern Baptist, Moon served as a missionary in China for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board from 1873 to 1912. Her long tenure inspired what became the annual Lottie Moon foreign missions offering, which finances about half of the huge Southern Baptist missionary effort worldwide.
Moravians A product of religious movements in fifteenth-century Bohemia, the short- hand “Moravians” refers to the Unitas Fratrum, or the Unity Brethren. Renewed through the work of Nicholas Zinzendorf in the eighteenth century, the Moravians came to North America in 1742, where their most successful settlements were in Penn- sylvania (where the church found its home and center in Bethlehem and Nazareth) and around Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Moravians conducted extensive missionary work among Indians and African American slaves, and in the South drew a substantial body of African American followers. The Moravians were known for “love feasts,” in which the body and blood of Christ were shared with all in the community, and for their enthusiastic hymn singing.
Muhammad, Elijah (1897–1975) Disciple of W. D. Fard and a founder of the Nation of Islam. In Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s, he built the Nation of Islam into a power- ful black self-help organization.
Muir, John (1838–1914) A founder of modern environmentalism and of the Sierra Club. Muir’s writing portrayed the natural environment in purist, quasi-religious terms. He opposed the ideas of “conservation” as depicted by governmental representatives such as Gifford Pinchot, who sought to balance land use versus land preservation.
Murray, John Courtney (1904–1967) A Catholic theologian best known for reconciling traditional church doctrine with American ideas of religious pluralism and religious freedom, Murray played a key role in many of the modernizing ideas that came out of Vatican II. He wrote the seminal text Dignitatis Humanae Personae, which became the official Catholic statement on religious liberty and on church–state relations.
National Baptist Convention (NBC) Established in 1895, the National Baptist Convention is the largest organization of African American Baptists in the country. It emerged originally as a merger of three different African American Baptist organizations that had arisen after the Civil War. In 1915, the NBC split over the issue of who controlled its publishing house, which was the largest black-owned publishing firm in the country. In the 1960s, the NBC split again when Martin Luther King Jr. and other progressive ministers objected to the relatively conservative stance of the dominant NBC leadership; the breakaway faction formed the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
National Council of Churches (NCC) A trans denominational Protestant agency that addresses social concerns. Begun in 1950, the NCC succeeded the Federal Council of Churches (begun in 1908) as the leading Protestant voice in the cultural arena for the middle third of the twentieth century. Its members include the mainline Protestant denominations, the Eastern Orthodox churches, most of the African American Baptist and Methodist denominations, and a number of smaller groups.
Nation of Islam The official organization of Black Muslims, made most famous by Malcolm X. (See Blum, chap. 10, and Smith, chap. 20, this volume.)
Native American Church Formally incorporated in 1918, the Native American Church is best known for its sacrament of peyote use as a central part of its religious ritual. While the religious use of peyote dates back hundreds of years, the Native American Church synthesizes Christian beliefs and doctrines with peyote rituals. One member of the church became involved in the Supreme Court case Smith v. Oregon, in which the Court defended laws banning the use of peyote as an illicit drug, against the objections of advocates of religious freedom who insisted that peyote use as part of a religious ceremony was protected by the First Amendment. (See O’Brien, chap. 2, this volume.)
natural theology A term used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to specify the knowledge of God that comes through nature rather than through scripture or revelation. Most Christians during that period believed that God is revealed through both nature and scripture, the latter being a more precise revelation that taught the way of salvation. Natural theology was especially popular among Deists, who claimed that since nature evidenced the being and attributes of God, no further revelation was necessary.
Neolin Delaware Indian prophet. Neolin’s visions in the 1750s, involving a rejection of European ways and a return to Indian customs, inspired Indians in the Ohio Val- ley, including Pontiac, who led a large-scale rebellion in the 1760s. Neolin’s visions were resurrected by other prophets and warriors, including Tecumseh, in the early nineteenth century. Neolin was part of what some scholars have called the “Indian Great Awakening” in the mid-eighteenth century.
neo-paganism Contemporary expression of what its believers see as ancient traditions and rituals that pay homage to the natural and feminine forces (including the Goddess, hence the term “Goddess religion”) that govern earth and spiritual life, those forces that were worshiped in the ancient pagan traditions. Neo-paganism is sometimes associated with witchcraft or with “New Age” religions.
New Age A movement, more than a formal religion, that tends to have no agreed-on holy text, central organization, or membership, focusing more on private practices in seeking spiritual meaning. Usually these practices incorporate a number of non- traditional means, including channeling, astrology, healing crystals, tarot cards and palmistry, meditation, near-death experiences, reincarnation, ecological mysticism, radical feminism, acupuncture, and yoga.
New Lights Revivalist wing of the Congregational Church during the Great Awaken- ing of the mid-eighteenth century.

New Thought A philosophical/religious movement developed in the mid- to late nineteenth century through the work of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Drawing from an intellectual heritage of Transcendentalist thought, New Thought emphasized that “the kingdom of heaven is within,” and thus humans, through concrete acts of affirmation, may experience the immediate presence of a divine spirit that envelops the universe. New Thought, in its various branches, appealed to a variety of Gilded Age and Progressive Era intellectual explorers and thinkers who were seeking alternatives to received religious traditions.
Niebuhr, Reinhold (1892–1971) Considered one of America’s greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Niebuhr was a Lutheran parish minister from Detroit and later professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Niebuhr articulated a body of theology emphasizing the reality of human sin and evil and the necessity of state power to restrain that evil, part of what is often called neo-orthodox theology. Niebuhr’s thought was a response to and critique of the more positive Social Gospel theology of the earlier twentieth century.
Noyes, John Humphrey (1811–1886) A Vermont-born and Yale-trained minister who, in the mid-1840s, founded the utopian commune of the Oneida Community, where Noyes and his followers followed the founder’s striving for perfectionism through a system of complex marriage, male continence to manage reproduction, and communal living.
Occom, Samson (1723–1792) A member of the Mohegan tribe in Connecticut, this Native American Presbyterian minister was instrumental in the First Great Awakening and the founding of Dartmouth College. Occom left some of the earliest writings of an Indian evangelical, and was a critic as well of white evangelical racism and mistreatment of Native peoples.
Olcott, Henry Steele (1832–1907) Sometimes called “America’s first white Buddhist,” Olcott was one of the founders of the Theosophical Society with Helena Blavatsky in the mid-1870s, and worked to impart ideas of Eastern religious traditions, especially Buddhism, to a wider American audience. Olcott lived in Sri Lanka for long periods, where he established schools and is revered today. See also Theosophy.
Osborn, Sarah (1722–1796) A native of Rhode Island, Osborne kept up a series of devotional writings for more than thirty years during the eighteenth-century period of evangelical awakening, which historians now see as evidence of the widespread influ- ence of the Lockean sensory ideas of the Enlightenment on evangelical experience in eighteenth-century America.
PADRES Founded in the 1970s, PADRES is an acronym for Padres Asociados para Dere- chos Religiosos, Educativos, y Sociales (Priests Associated for Religious, Educational, and Social Rights). PADRES was a group of Mexican-American priests who sought to advance Latino ecclesiastical rights within a largely Irish American–dominated American Catholic Church. PADRES succeeded in winning the confirmation of the first Latino Catholic bishop in the United States.
Palmer, Phoebe (1807–1874) A New York–born Methodist woman whose ideas about Christian perfection and the “entire sanctification” and holiness of the individual, taught to others in home classes and later through an itinerant ministry, crystallized the ideas that later burgeoned into the Holiness tradition.

Parham, Charles (1873–1929) A key figure in the development of Pentecostalism, Par- ham’s teaching at a Bible school in Topeka, Kansas, in the early twentieth century became one of the roots of the doctrine of speaking in tongues as evidence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in the soul.
Parker, Theodore (1810–1860) A Unitarian minister, Transcendentalist, and abolitionist whose sermons and writings in Boston defined the nature of New England theological liberalism and social radicalism in the mid-nineteenth century. Parker rejected the authenticity of the miracles of the Bible and advocated conscious rejection of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. His congregation in Boston, which included William Lloyd Garrison, Julia Ward Howe, and other well-known New England abolitionists, served as a bellwether of American social reform. Parker’s famous dictum—The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice—was later paraphrased by Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
parochial schools Private schools formed by Catholics in response to anti-Catholic prejudice in public schools.
Peale, Norman Vincent (1898–1993) A Protestant minister who wielded wide influence in twentieth-century American culture through his book The Power of Positive Thinking, his editorship of the interdenominational evangelical magazine Guide- posts, and his radio program The Art of Living, broadcast for more than fifty years.
Penn, William (1644–1718) An English Quaker who prevailed on King Charles II to give him a large land grant to settle debts with his family. This colony was called Pennsylvania—“Penn’s woods.” Penn and his followers did not restrict this land to Quakers, but wanted it open for all.
Pentecostalism Twentieth-century theological and denominational movement emphasizing the “third work” of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by speaking in tongues, as the final culmination of the Christian journey. It is currently a huge worldwide movement incorporating many variety of “charismatic” Christians who embrace bodily expressions of the Holy Spirit. (See Sweeney, chap. 5, this volume.)
Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart (1844–1911) A New England author, Phelps wrote several novels about heaven that were influential in altering Victorian ideas of the afterlife. postmillennialism The belief that the thousand-year kingdom described in the book of Revelation would occur only after the Second Coming of Jesus, and that the obligation of believers therefore was to perfect this world in preparation for that
Second Coming.
premillennialism The belief that the Second Coming of Jesus would come before the millennium, with a subsequent rapture of believers and a period of tribulation on earth before the final establishment of Christ’s kingdom.
Presbyterian Historic “mainstream” denomination that took root in America in the eighteenth century and became one of the major evangelical groups of American history. Usually associated with orthodox Calvinist theology, a strong emphasis on the Protestant work ethic and educational attainment, and a form of church government run by local presbyters and regional synods.
Primitive Baptists Those Baptists who reject “society” or “denominational” forms of organization, hold to a strict Calvinist view of the sovereignty of God, and oppose the use of “means,” such as missionaries, to spread the word of God. Primitive Baptists emerged in the antebellum era, are predominantly concentrated in the upland South, and often practice distinctive forms of a capella singing, best known today as the basis for Ralph Stanley’s vocal bluegrass stylings.
Protestant General name given to Christian groups that emerged from Martin Luther’s “protest” against the Catholic Church in the early sixteenth century. Most Protestants emphasize the creed of the “priesthood of the believer” and direct access of the believer to God, without the requirement of the intervention of priests or saints.
Protestant Ethic Term coined by the sociologist Max Weber to describe the historic propensity in Protestant countries for hard work and the accumulation of wealth, all done for the greater glory of God; later secularized into the term “work ethic.”
Puritans Originally a movement of devout Englishmen and -women who sought to “purify” the Anglican Church, to excise its remaining vestiges of Catholicism; later the dominant group of English believers who settled New England in the seventeenth century and founded many of the key institutions of the colonial era in the North.
Quakers Radical religious movement originating in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England that emphasized a rejection of all forms of authority (including ministers and organized churches) in favor of lay-led spirituality. Quakers taught the value of silence in listening for the “inner light” that would bring one to spiritual truth. In America, the Quakers under William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania.
Redstick Revolt A Native American millennialist military action against Anglo-American land encroachments in “Creek” (or more properly called Muskogee) land in the Southeast, the Redstick Revolt represented a carryover of traditions of Indian mil- lennialism from the various forms of “spirited resistance,” including Neolin’s vision and Pontiac’s rebellion, from the mid-eighteenth century. Andrew Jackson’s forces defeated the Natives at what Anglos called the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, opening up large tracts of land in present-day Alabama to white settlers.
Reformed A term used to refer to the theological system and the membership of a variety of denominational traditions from the Calvinist branch of Protestantism.
Restorationism (or Restoration Movement) Originally termed in the nineteenth cen- tury the “Campbell-Stone movement,” Restorationism historically has sought to “re- store” a purer form of Christianity, devoid of man-made creeds and doctrines, and has operated under the principle “No creed but the Bible.” The Restoration Movement resulted in denominations such as the Disciples of Christ and the Churches of Christ, originally the same group but splitting in the early twentieth century over issues of church organization. Restorationists are also sometimes called “primitivists,” after their desire to restore the pure and “primitive” Christian church.
Reynolds v. Uniited States (1879) A Supreme Court decision that declared that reli- gious duty was not necessarily a defense for conduct that was otherwise illegal. The case involved a Mormon convicted of polygamy, in spite of the fact that the defendant considered polygamy to be a religious duty within the context of his Mormon beliefs. The case held wide significance in defining the boundaries of the “free exercise” of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment.
ring shout A West African religious tradition, often followed by slaves in the American South, wherein members would rotate counterclockwise while singing, chanting, and dancing.

Roberts, Oral (1918–2009) A Pentecostal evangelist who arose from poor rural roots in Oklahoma to be one of the best-known ministers and faith healers in America and founder of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Robinson, V. Eugene (b. 1947) Robinson was the first gay man to be ordained as a bishop in the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Robinson’s nomination and acceptance as a bishop ignited a worldwide controversy within Episcopal congregations, leading many American Episcopalian churches to withdraw from the General Convention and join Anglican communions elsewhere that stood against gay ordination and condemned homosexual conduct as unbiblical.
Rowlandson, Mary (1635/37–1711) A woman in Puritan New England who was captured by attacking Indians during King Philip’s War of 1676, dragged into captivity, and later ransomed back home. Rowlandson’s account of her captivity, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, became a classic in the genre of Indian captivity narratives, which enthralled New Englanders during the eighteenth century.
Rush, Benjamin (1745–1813) A Philadelphia Presbyterian, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1789, and medical doctor and educator whose views against slavery and capital punishment and for advanced medical treatments for physical and psychiatric illnesses were widely influential in the early republic.
Ryan, John (1869–1945) Thought of as the leading figure of the Catholic Social Gospel, Father John Ryan served for twenty-five years as the director of the social action department of the National Catholic Welfare Council. Ryan wrote the Bishop’s Statement of Social Reconstruction (1919), which became a seminal document of Catholic progressive liberalism, and advocated many of the ideas that later became social policy during the New Deal, including the minimum wage and collective bargaining rights for unionized workers. For his close association with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he was given the nickname the “Right Reverend New Dealer.”
Sabbatarian One who observes Saturday as the Sabbath Day. Among the Sabbatarians are Jews and a number of small Protestant groups such as the Seventh-Day Adventists. Salem witch trials (1692) An outbreak of religious intolerance, fueled by community factionalism between different parts of Salem Village and Salem Town as well as by gendered and patriarchal notions of who should hold property (men) and who was most likely to be affected by penetrations by the devil (women), the witchcraft trials in Salem, Massachusetts, resulted in the executions of 20 people, and the imprisonment of more than 150 others. Eventually, Puritan authorities put the trials to an end when it became clear that the episode threatened to create a colony-wide hysteria and threaten the basis of Puritan rule.
Sallman, Warner (1892–1968) A Chicago-based painter internationally known for his painting Head of Christ (1941), the most reproduced artistic image of the twentieth century.
sanctification Nineteenth-century doctrinal development originating in Methodism and emphasizing the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within an individual believer’s soul, resulting in the complete cleansing of all sin and a higher state of spiritual life.
Sankey, Ira (1840–1908) Dwight Moody’s musical sidekick during the great Moody revivals of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Sankey composed more than 1,200 hymns, known at the time as “Sankeys” and later as “gospel hymns,” that updated and set Protestant lyrics to catchy tunes that drew the affection of millions.
Scopes Trial (1925) A media event in which the perennial presidential contender and Protestant spokesman William Jennings Bryan defended a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution and the nationally known lawyer Clarence Darrow de- fended the schoolteacher (John T. Scopes), who had deliberately violated the law as a test case. Although Bryan’s side won the case, Darrow’s cross-examination compelled Bryan to admit inconsistencies and problems in the biblical account of creation, and it made fundamentalism an object of national ridicule.
Scottish commonsense philosophy A school of thought that emerged from the Scottish Enlightenment of the mid-eighteenth century that took as its starting point the argument that all humans possess an innate sense (common sense) that complements the physical senses and can help to acquire knowledge and make judgments. It ran contrary to the skeptical arguments of other philosophies by democratically advocating for a “common” sense shared by all people that uses inductive rather than deductive reasoning and that helps to establish morality common to all people.
Serra, Junípero (1713–1784) Founder of the California missions, the Spanish-born Father Serra arrived in California in 1769, and worked to establish a system of missions to help convert and Christianize the California Indians. The missions eventually stretched from San Diego in southern California to Sonoma in northern California, and took more than 30,000 Indians into their environs. The independent Mexican state eventually secularized the missions, closed them in the 1830s, and distributed mission lands to the Californians.
Seventh-Day Adventists A product of millenarian movements in the mid-nineteenth century, the Seventh-Day Adventists were incorporated as a church body in 1863, and today look to Ellen G. White as their founding inspiration. Adventists are known for practicing the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the seventh day of the week, and for holding to strict health doctrines that forbid the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances. Because of their millenarian background dating from the ideas of William Miller in the 1840s, the Adventists also hold to a strong theology forecasting a time of tribulation and trouble prior to the coming of Jesus to usher in the end times.
Shakers One of the longest-lived utopian communal societies in American history. Officially called the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearance, they came into being through the life and work of “Mother” Ann Lee, who they believed was the Second Coming of Christ. Among other beliefs, they taught that since they now lived in the millennium, there was no need for marriage and sex. Shakers became known for craftsmanship in furniture. They combined the Protestant work ethic and “plain style” of the Puritans with the celibate life of medieval monasticism and the enthusiastic religious expressions of utopian groups. (See Stein, chap. 13, this volume.)
shaman A Native American religious specialist who functions, among other things, as a healer of the sick. Shamans, who are considered to hold knowledge of the tradition, also have the ability to engage in trance voyages in the supernatural realm.
shape-note singing A style of hymnology in which notations are symbolized not by their position on the musical staff but by their “shape.” Sometimes called “fasola” singing because of its use of the “do-re-mi-fa-so-la” scale and teaching method, shape-note singing was widespread in the United States in the early antebellum era. Later, as most churches modernized hymnbooks, updated musical education, and purchased musical instruments, the style became associated with the rural South, where it thrives today in various shape-note-singing conventions.
Sheldon, Charles (1857–1946) Congregationalist minister, Christian Socialist, Social Gospel writer, and author of the novel In His Steps. The famous question he posed in the novel—“What Would Jesus Do?”—inspired a generation of social gospelers and Christian socialists who sought to reform the gross inequities in American society.
Shuttlesworth, Fred (b. 1922) A native of Alabama and minister in Birmingham during the great civil rights crusades of the early 1960s, Shuttlesworth was a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr. and other ministers in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During the 1950s, Shuttlesworth had established the Alabama Chris- tian Movement for Human Rights in response to the state of Alabama outlawing the NAACP, and endured a series of beatings, arrests, and harassments for his efforts to secure civil rights for African Americans.
Smith, Joseph (1805–1844) New York farmer and religious seeker who claimed to have discovered some tablets in the late 1820s that, when translated, became The Book of Mormon. He was the leader of the new sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints until his execution by anti-Mormon vigilantes in 1844. (See Quinn, chap. 19, this volume).
Smith, Lucy A native of Georgia, Elder Lucy Smith migrated to Chicago in 1910 and, in 1916, founded the All Nations Pentecostal Church on the south side of the city. This predominantly female, African American church served the tens of thousands of black migrants who flowed into Chicago as part of the first “Great Migration” of African Americans out of the South. Smith was (after Aimee Semple McPherson) one of the first women to host a religious radio broadcast, and, during the Depression, Smith was known for feeding large numbers of destitute Chicagoans. Smith represented the power of independent female ministers in early Pentecostalism.
Social Gospel Theological and social movement dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries emphasizing the role of individual believers and churches in reforming and perfecting this world in preparation for the final coming of God’s Kingdom. The Social Gospel was a key part of the progressive movement from the 1890s to the 1920s and served as a political avenue of expression for many liberal reli- gious thinkers and activists.
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) An Anglican mis- sionary organization formed in 1701 with the intent of missionizing in the British colo- nies. In North America, the SPG became known for its earnest but mostly ineffectual efforts to evangelize among Native Americans and slaves.
Sojourners A magazine and social movement founded in 1971 by Jim Wallis and con- tinuing today. Wallis and Sojourners seek to marry evangelical Christianity to a con- cern for issues of social justice, including poverty and racism. Sojourners is usually seen as a flagship publication of the evangelical left.
Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Formed in 1845 as a regionally southern branch of Baptists in America, in the twentieth century the SBC became the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, numbering more than 18 million members at its height. It is generally seen as the major conservative evangelical denomination of the South, but with a strong nationwide presence. Its flagship seminary in Louisville is the largest Protestant theological seminary in North America.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Formed out of the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955/1956, the SCLC became internationally known for its leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, and its instrumental role in organizing a movement of nonviolent civil disobedience in southern cities such as Birmingham during the American civil rights movement.
speaking in tongues. See Pentecostalism.
Speer, Robert Elliot (1867–1947) A Presbyterian minister and graduate of Princeton best known for being one of the foremost proponents of the foreign missions movement (especially in China) in the first half of the twentieth century, under the slogan “The evangelization of the world in this generation.”
Spiritualism A movement that arose in the nineteenth century that claimed it to be possible to have contact with the dead through a variety of means, including séances and “spirit boxes.” Its chief publicist was Andrew Jackson Davis, whose books helped popularize the movement in Victorian America.
spirituals Black folk religious songs, of uncertain or collective authorship, originating during the period of the rise of evangelicalism among African American slaves, including classics such as “Steal Away to Jesus,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “Roll, Jordan, Roll.” Discovered, notated, and published by whites mostly during and after the Civil War, the spirituals were later both condemned as “cornfield ditties” by some critics and exalted as “sorrow songs” that best captured the religious feeling of the race. Black choirs after the Civil War raised funds for black colleges through their internationally famous performances of the songs, and during the civil rights era authors of “freedom songs” set the tunes of the spirituals to new lyrics emphasizing black freedom in this world.
Strong, Josiah (1847–1916) Protestant clergyman widely influential in the early years of the Social Gospel movement. Strong was also, notably, the author of Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis, which warned of the numerous dangers (ranging from immigration to “Popery” to the urban working poor to Mormonism) imperiling the American republic, and urged Anglo-Saxon Protestants to exert their influence to civilize and Christianize the benighted classes of people then populating American cities.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Formed originally at a meeting of youth volunteers for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1960, SNCC soon became one of the best-known and most fearless of civil rights organizations in the early 1960s, particularly through its participation in the “Freedom Rides” of 1961. SNCC also organized “Freedom Summer” in 1964, which brought hundreds of northern volunteers to Mississippi to assist in voter registration. SNCC’S initial emphasis on Christian love, justice, and nonviolence gradually gave way to a more pronounced tilt toward Black Power, before the group disbanded in the later 1960s.
Sunday, Billy (1863–1935) American evangelist who reached his greatest audience around the time of World War I. A former professional baseball player, Sunday became a full-time itinerant preacher and was a colorful orator and advocate of Prohibition.
Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro (1870–1966) Suzuki was born in Japan and trained in a Japa- nese monastery. In 1897 he traveled to the United States for the first time, and later produced numerous influential works on Buddhist thought and founded an English- language journal about Buddhism. Through much of the twentieth century, Suzuki’s works on Zen and Buddhism reached a wide audience in the United States, and he became a teacher and guru for many seeking religious insight outside of Western traditions. In the 1950s, he founded the Cambridge Buddhist Association in Massa- chusetts, and became the best-known teacher of Japanese religious traditions in the United States.
Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) A native of Bengal, India, Swami Vivekananda’s lec- tures on Eastern religion, yoga, and Vedanta at the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893 are generally seen as the first major and widely followed introduction of Eastern religious thought into the American mainstream.
Tekakwitha, Kateri (1656–1680) Born of a Catholic Algonquian mother and a Mohawk father, Tekakwitha’s short life was affected by smallpox, which nearly blinded her. Converted by a Jesuit father, she became one of a small number of Indian women who practiced extreme acts of unction. Feeling compelled to flee her home, Tekak- witha settled in the Christian Indian reserve of Sault-Sainte-Marie during the last years of her life. Immediately following her death, her life was chronicled in a hagiog- raphy, and in the nineteenth century she was nominated for sainthood. Today, Native American Catholics still press her case for canonization.
televangelism A term that arose in the late twentieth century to describe the ubiquitous presence of television ministries. Most of the ministers are evangelical in leanings and help to popularize that style of ministry through their programs.
Tharpe, Sister Rosetta (1915–1973) A native of Arkansas and member of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, Tharpe became nationally known for bringing her swing- ing, guitar-playing style of gospel music not only to churches, but also to concert halls and nightclubs. After her appearance in the famous “From Spirituals to Swing” concert in 1938, which featured the history of black American music presented to a largely white audience, Sister Rosetta made a number of recordings, including tunes such as “This Train,” which set gospel lyrics to innovative blues-influenced guitar licks. Tharpe’s style influenced a future generation of both white and black perform- ers, and brought the gospel sound to secular audiences.
theosophy or Blavatsky, Helena (1831–1891) Part of the “New Thought” traditions of the late nineteenth century, generally considered to be among the most important influences of the contemporary New Age movement. Originally coming from the writings of a Russian immigrant named Helena Blavatsky, and her close ally and associate Henry Steel Olcott, theosophy emphasizes the higher wisdom of the an- cients, who exist in an ethereal realm, and the means humans may use to access that ancient wisdom.
Thoreau, Henry David (1817–1862) A New England representative of Transcendental- ism whose thoughts on civil disobedience to the unjust laws of a state (in particular, the Fugitive Slave Law), on life in the natural world, and on accessing the divine spirit within were vastly influential both in his own generation and to later activists who employed civil disobedience in energizing social movements against injustice.
Thornwell, James Henry (1812–1862) South Carolina native and prominent Presbyterian minister in Charleston who was instrumental in the formation of the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of America. Thornwell was also known for his sermon “The Christian Doctrine of Slavery” (1850), which enunciated a defense of slavery not on racial grounds, which he rejected, but on the basis of a defense of a conservative social order against the threats of infidelity (heresy) and anarchism that southern conservatives perceived as encircling the orthodox Christian South.
Thurman, Howard (1900–1981) Trained as a black Baptist minister at Morehouse College (later to be Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater), Thurman went on to become an active member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an early interracial civil rights group, and the founder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, based in San Francisco. Thurman traveled extensively abroad, where his contacts with inter- national peace figures such as Mahatma Gandhi deeply influenced the civil rights generation of the 1950s and 1960s, as did Thurman’s authorship of the seminal text Jesus for the Disinherited.
Tikkun A politically progressive Jewish periodical founded by Rabbi Michael Lerner of San Francisco, Tikkun carries forward the tradition of Jewish political advocacy on the center and left of the political spectrum.
Tituba A teenage girl in Puritan New England, of either black or Native American ancestry (or both), who served in the household of Samuel Parris. In 1692, Tituba was accused of bewitching other girls in the Parris household, and these accusations soon exploded into what became the Salem witch trials.
Transcendentalism A literary, philosophical, and religious movement that emerged in the 1830s, centered in Massachusetts but with far-reaching influences, with emphasis on the continuity between the divine, the human, and the natural. Its major proponents were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) A set of meditation techniques, based on chanting mantras to achieve a state of “restful alertness,” originated first in 1957 and popular- ized in America and worldwide by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “TM” soon became trade- marked and marketed as a user-friendly introduction to Eastern meditation techniques. Truth, Sojourner (1797–1883) Born in New York as a slave named Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth took on her new name in 1843, when she felt called by the spirit to engage in itinerant preaching and abolitionist work. Truth spoke to hundreds of audiences in the 1840s and 1850s, and became famous for a speech (perhaps apocryphal) defending the womanhood of African American females by reciting the depth of her work and suffering and then exclaiming, “Arn’t I a woman?” and on another occasion lifting her blouse to reveal her breast to a heckling audience member who challenged that she was a man in disguise. Truth worked to free fugitive slaves and recruit black men for the army during the Civil War, and after the war endeavored to secure land grants on which freed people could settle families. Truth remains today an inspirational figure of African American abolitionism.
Turner, Henry McNeal (1834–1915) Freeborn African American minister originally from South Carolina. Turner served as a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal

Church. After a political career that included serving repressed African American constituents in the Georgia legislature during Reconstruction, Turner later became known as a progenitor of Black Theology and an advocate for emigration to Africa as the only respite from a hopelessly racist America.
Turner, Nat (1800–1831) Born in Southampton County, Virginia, Turner was a slave rebel, Baptist preacher, and messianic thinker whose visions in the late 1820s inspired one of the largest slave rebellions in American history. Turner’s revolt resulted in the deaths of more than fifty-seven whites and more than fifty of Turner’s associates during the rebellion itself, as well as more than a hundred other innocent African Americans in the county who were murdered in the ensuing crackdown. The lawyer Thomas Ruffin Gray interviewed Turner after the rebellion and Turner’s capture; the resulting volume, the Confessions of Nat Turner, remains one of the most seminal (if controversial and untrustworthy) documents from the slave era.
Union Theological Seminary Established originally in New York City by Presbyterians in 1836, Union Seminary in the late nineteenth century became a landmark institution of theological liberalism and modernism, and one of the most important theological institutions in the United States. Union’s faculty has included Harry Emerson Fosdick (long-time minister of the Riverside Church, near Union Theological Seminary on the Upper West Side of New York City), Reinhold Niebuhr (a key figure in neo-orthodox theology), Paul Tillich (a well-known modernist theologian of the mid-twentieth century), and James Cone (father of Black Theology).
Unitarianism/Universalism A Christian movement that denies the Trinitarian nature of God, arguing instead that God exists as only one person. This idea emerged first in Transylvania and then in England in the seventeenth century and traces its religious roots to Reformation-era “free spirits” such as Servetus and Socinus. The movement gained ground in New England Congregational churches in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
United Church of Christ (UCC) A mainline Protestant denomination formed in 1957 from the union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church with the Congregational Christian Churches. The UCC, generally perceived as being in the moderate or liberal wing of American Protestantism, carries on the congregational traditions arising from American Puritanism as well as the socially activist side of Social Gospel–style Protestantism. It numbers some 1.2 million members.
United Methodist Church Denomination formed in 1968 from a merger of the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Church of the Brethren. This merger had been preceded in 1939 by the reuniting of the northern and southern branches of the Methodist Episcopal Church along with the Methodist Protestant Church.
utopian communities Idealistic communities in the early and mid-nineteenth century that lacked sectarian aspirations or were anti-religious. One of the most famous was New Harmony, founded by Robert Owen, and Brook Farm, which served as a gathering place for New England intellectuals. (See Stein, chap. 13, this volume.)
Vatican II (or Second Vatican Council) The most important modern church council, which met from 1963 to 1965. Called by Pope John XXIII, it addressed more issues than had been addressed since the Council of Trent (1564) in the effort of the Roman Catholic Church to come to terms with the modern world. The council redefined the Church’s character through a much greater emphasis on the role of the laity and an updating of the church’s rituals. Some saw this loosening of the Catholic Church’s traditions as a result of the growing influence of its American membership.
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Written by Thomas Jefferson in 1779 after the disestablishment of the Church of England in Virginia, the statute was not fully ad- opted by the state until 1786. The document argues for the freedom of conscience in religious matters. It helped to influence the drafting of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. (See Ravitch, chap. 7, this volume.)
Virgin of Guadalupe Originally appearing as an apparition to a native Mexican Indian on a hill overlooking Mexico City in 1531, the Virgin of Guadalupe, or the “Empress of the Americas,” has served in North America as a profound symbol of Mexican American Catholic identity. As the patron saint of Latino Catholics, la Virgen embodies the struggles and sufferings of the people, best symbolized by Cesar Chavez’s effective use of the symbol during his farm workers’ crusades of the 1960s and 1970s.
Walker, David J. (1785–1830) Born a free person of color in North Carolina, Walker is best known for his stinging condemnation of slavery and call for a violent rebel- lion against it, Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, published in 1829 and circulated widely throughout the country. In this work, Walker effectively employed religious rhetoric to condemn the slaveholding South. Walker mysteriously died in Boston in 1830, but the slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in 1831 was considered, by many fearful white southerners, to be inspired by Walker’s Appeal.
wall of separation A phrase in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, describing his understanding of the role the First Amendment plays in the new federal government in regard to religion. This argument for separate spheres, secular government, and religion without government interference, as well as Jefferson’s phrase, was picked up by the Supreme Court in the mid-twentieth century.
Warren, Rick (b. 1954) A California-born pastor of the large Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, a prototypical “megachurch” despite Warren’s Southern Baptist affiliations. Warren is best known for his huge-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life, which extends advice to both religious and secular followers about imparting a sense of purpose and mission into individual lives.
Watts, Alan (1915–1973) English-born Episcopalian priest who popularized Eastern thought and Zen in the 1950s and 1960s through his very successful public lectures. Watts was a friend and mentor to many beatniks and originators of the counterculture, and wrote extensively of his experiments with psychedelic drugs, which he originally saw as one means to accessing mystical experiences.
Weninger, Francis X. (1805–1888) A native of Austria and trained in the Jesuit tradition, Weninger came to America as a Catholic missionary in the 1840s, where he became known as a Catholic priest capable of preaching in the American revival tradition, appealing to the masses through charismatic exhortations that compelled listeners to search their souls, repent of their sins, and make religious commitments.
Wesley, Charles (1707–1788) English Methodist preacher and hymn writer. Wesley’s songs defined first Methodism, and later mainline Protestantism, throughout the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century.

Wesley, John (1703–1791) English evangelical preacher in the Church of England and founder of Methodism. Wesley’s organization greatly influenced religion in America through its theology and evangelical style.
Wheaton College A flagship private interdenominational evangelical institution of higher learning originally founded in 1860, now located just west of Chicago. Some- times called the “evangelical Harvard,” Wheaton is home to the Institute for the Study of American evangelicals as well as the Billy Graham Center.
White, Ellen G. (1827–1915) A religious visionary of the nineteenth century, White was one of the founders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. During the Second Great Awakening and through the nineteenth century, White claimed to have received a series of visions involving not only the coming of the end times but also divine instructions as to taking care of the body as the temple of the holy spirit. White advocated, among other health reforms, a vegetarian diet, and established a health center in Battle Creek, Michigan, to promote her notions of spiritual living.
Whitefield, George (1714–1770) The “Grand Itinerant” of the First Great Awakening, Whitefield was a young Anglican preacher who turned the revivals into a transatlantic event. Known for his simple but powerful oratory, he became the spokesperson for the evangelical movement first in his well-attended meetings and later in his published journals and sermons.
Wilkinson, Jemima (1752–1819) Born to a Quaker family in Rhode Island, Wilkinson was known as a charismatic but eccentric religious leader during the early republic. Following a brush with death when twenty years of age, Wilkinson declared that she now embodied the spirit of God. Renaming herself the “Universal Public Friend,” she preached a gospel of total sexual abstinence and gender equality to a small group of followers. She was one of the earliest female itinerant preachers in the United States.
Willard, Frances (1839–1898) Willard is best known as the long-time leader of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and a committed suffragist who itinerated tirelessly on behalf of both causes.
Williams, Roger (1604–1683/84) Early Puritan dissenter exiled from Massachusetts for rejecting the authority of the Congregational Church. Williams was the founder of Rhode Island, a theorist of religious liberty, the father of the Baptist Church in America, and a translator of Indian languages.
Winthrop, John (1588–1649) Leader of an early English Puritan migration to New England in the early 1630s, best known for his speech describing the Puritan experiment in the New World as establishing a “city set upon a hill,” a shining light for all the world to see.
Wise, Rabbi Isaac Mayer (1819–1900) An emigrant from Russia to Cincinnati, Wise made his name as an advocate for Jewish theological education in the United States, resulting in his founding of Hebrew Union College in 1875. Wise also advocated re- form of Jewish tradition to meet the realities of daily life in America; his congregation, for instance, was the first to institute family pews in the synagogue.
Woman’s Bible Published originally in 1895, the Woman’s Bible was a product of the free-thinking mind and feminist temperament of women’s suffrage pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who reshaped the Bible and interpreted its passages so as to defend women’s rights. Stanton’s Woman’s Bible may be paralleled with Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, which he produced in the late eighteenth century in an effort to excise the ancient texts of myths and stories and leave behind the residue of timeless truth.
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) Founded in 1874, a reform organization dedicated to the abolition of alcohol. Headed by Frances Willard in the late nineteenth century, the WCTU became the single largest women’s organization in American history to that time, and one of the most powerful reform organizations of the Progressive Era.
Women’s Aglow Now called Aglow International, Women’s Aglow began in Seattle in 1967 as an informal meeting of women from various denominational traditions committed to deepening their evangelical experience and sense of mission and developing a stronger sense of fellowship with other churchwomen. Today it counts thou- sands of chapters around the globe, and has been the subject of a careful academic study by scholar R. Marie Griffith.
Woolman, John (1720–1772) A Quaker idealist who traveled the American colonies urging Quakers to dissociate themselves from slavery. Woolman was instrumental in persuading the Quakers as a body to renounce slavery, and is often seen as the first American abolitionist.
Worcester, Samuel (1798–1859) A minister and Congregationalist missionary with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions whose life became intimate- ly involved with the fate of the Cherokees in the Southeast. Worcester’s friendship with Elias Boudinot (originally named Buck Oowatie) led him to a lifetime of missionary work among the Cherokees in Tennessee and Georgia, including an instrumental role in the establishment of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper and defending the rights of Cherokee sovereignty in the seminal Supreme Court case Worcester v. Georgia. In the latter case, Chief Justice John Marshall declared the Cherokees to be a “domestic dependent nation” with rights of sovereignty, but President Andrew Jackson, seeking Cherokee removal from the Southeast, famously retorted, “Justice Marshall has made his law. Now let him enforce it.”
World’s Parliament of Religions Worldwide meeting of religious leaders held at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It is often seen as one of the first major forums for representatives of Eastern religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, to make their case before a broad American public.
Young, Brigham (1801–1877) An early follower of Joseph Smith in the Latter-day Saints movement. After Smith’s death, Young was appointed successor and presided over the movement of the Mormons to Utah and their subsequent growth. (See Quinn, chap. 19, this volume).
Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Young Women’s Christian Asso- ciation (YWCA) Founded in mid-nineteenth century England, the YMCA and YWCA soon spread worldwide and were part of Social Gospel and reform move- ments designed to address the needs of urbanizing and industrializing countries and the perceived disorder and irreligion that might afflict a generation of young people moving from farms to cities. In the early twentieth century, the YMCA and YWCA leadership became some of the most important advocates for the Social Gospel movement.

Zen Buddhism School of Buddhism popularized by Shunryu Suzuki and the West Coast Beat poets of the 1950s, most often associated with the use of paradoxical koans (such as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”) to communicate ineffable spiri- tual truths.
Zionism Late-nineteenth-century movement in Jewish thought, led by Theodor Herzl, that emphasized a revitalization of the Jewish faith. Eventually, it became attached to support for the state of Israel, established in 1948, as the spiritual and temporal home for Jews worldwide.

Do you need help with this assignment or any other? We got you! Place your order and leave the rest to our experts.

Quality Guaranteed

Any Deadline

No Plagiarism