On Wednesday I had the good pleasure of hearing Dr. David E. Harrell speak at UAB on "The Pentecostal Century." I had the good pleasure of traveling to India with Ed last summer and hope to again soon. The Birmingham News did a nice feature previewing the lecture. It also discusses his new history textbook, which gives religion its due:
Harrell notes there are some 800,000 churches in America that constitute one of the most influential social networks in the country. "A large portion of the charity dispensed in America is through churches," he said. "What shocks foreigners is how many churches there are in America."Okay, I admit it. I don't have a copy yet, but I'll get one soon. You should, too.
That omnipresent religiosity has affected politics and the economy from the nation's founding. "The nation has a pervasive religious underpinning," he said. "You can't understand our policies without the feed-in from religious ideas."
Harrell, who retired from Auburn last year, and his colleagues have been working on the book for nearly 15 years.
"A lot of textbooks acknowledge that the Puritans were religious, and give a distorted summary of the Scopes trial, and that's about it," Harrell said.