Molly Worthan

May 22, 04:59 AM

I welcome you to our conversation on President Trump, the evangelicals and what is unfolding in American political culture.

In this podcast I have the pleasure of talking with Professor Molly Worthan. She teaches history at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill focusing on the intellectual and religious history of North America. She is also the Director of the Honors Program, an opinion
writer for the New York Times, Slate and other publication. Her superb book, Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism explores the intellectual history of American evangelicals and the culture wars since 1945. 

A decade and a half ago I received an enquiry for an undergraduate student at Yale University. She was learning Russia and wanted to come to northern Alberta to spend the summer doing field research work in the Old Believer community near Athabasca. I first met this community in the 1970s shortly after they arrived. A bit later I spent sometime with my colleague the anthropologist David Scheffle who also did field research and published a book on the Old Believers. This community had its origins in Siberia to which their ancestors had been exiled following the reforms introduced to the Russian Orthodox Church by Patriarch Nikon in 1666. Some made their way into a remote region of China, live a reclusive life, and occasionally hunted Siberian tigers for European zoos. In order to avoid the reach of the communist government of China in the 1960s they moved again and eventually settled in Canada. It was not the sort of community I would readily suggest a young woman (or man for that matter) endeavour to engage. 

I called the phone number on the correspondence and met Molly Worthen.
She spoke easily about herself and her interests, mentioned growing up in
Chicago, the city that entered my blood when I studied there in the 1960s. It was clear to me that she had the intellectual curiosity and formation, a spirit of hospitality and simple good judgment and determination suitable to her proposed work. Over the summer we got to know each other and her work in the Old Believer community flourished. That summer played a little role in Molly focusing her work on North American religious and intellectual history, particularly the ideas and culture of conservative Christianity. She is a professor of History at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Director of the Honors Program, an opinion writer for the New York Times, Slate and other publication. Her superb book, Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism explores the intellectual history of American evangelicals and the culture wars since 1945.

I welcome you to our conversation on President Trump, the evangelicals and what is unfolding in America political culture. I welcome your thoughts on our conversation and may be reached at www.davidgoa.ca/contact.