Public shrines to treason: Charlottesville and the cult of Confederate memorialization

This weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally made horrifically literal the portrayal of blood-soaked streets depicted in promotional posters. The organizers accomplished two political feats as well. By uniting an array of racist and fascist organizations under the cause of a Confederate monument and the banner of Nazi Germany, “Unite the Right” starkly revealed the white supremacy and white nationalism at the root of Confederate civil religion.

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Kentucky-fried Christianity: GOP governor Matt Bevin wants to pray away violence in Louisville

Over the past few weeks, a conflict has unfolded in Kentucky, revealing a split in American Christian conceptions of the individual and the individual’s role in society. Kentucky’s evangelical governor Matt Bevin recently proposed to eradicate violence in Louisville’s poorer, largely African-American west side by calling for faithful Christians to volunteer and assemble in “small groups of three to 10 people to begin a ritual of quietly walking one block, in one troubled neighborhood, at 7 p.m., several days a week for one year, praying as they walk.” The governor admitted the plan was “Pretty unsophisticated. Pretty uncomplicated. Pretty basic,” but he insisted—“I truly believe… I personally believe”—that such ritual prayer has the power to change material reality. “I’ve seen it,” he testified.

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