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The Devil’s Church: Or, How Evangelicals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Movies
February 20, 2012 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
UW System Fellow (2011-2012)
Religious Studies, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Although Evangelicalism today is often identified with conservative politics and “culture war” issues, many conservative Protestants in the early-twentieth-century argued that the biggest threat to American morals was Hollywood. One clergyman in 1940 called the film industry “perhaps the greatest religious menace of this generation.” This hostile reaction led many conservative Protestants to conclude that movie theaters were anathema to their religious identity, and many scrupulously avoided setting foot inside a movie theater until the 1960s.
Shanny Luft received his M.A. in Religion and Culture from Boston University and his Ph.D. in Religion in America from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught a variety of classes in Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Meredith College, and the College of Wooster before coming to UWSP in 2009 with his wife and two children. His research interests include religion and popular culture, new religious movements, and American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. He is currently writing a book about evangelical and fundamentalist rhetoric toward Hollywood during the first half of the twentieth century.