A version of this essay appeared at the Religion in American History Blog. My thanks to Mark Edwards for inviting me to write something for the RiAH readers—and to Paul Harvey for creating a blog on religious history where I could argue that religion doesn’t matter as much as most people think.
Many historians assume that the culture wars (those series of angry quarrels about what it means to be an American that dominated national headlines during the 1980s and 1990s) boiled down to a growing divide between religious and nonreligious Americans. James Davison Hunter had a lot to do with such an understanding thanks to his 1991 book, Culture Wars: The Struggle To Control The Family, Art, Education, Law, And Politics In America, the standard-bearer in the scholarship of the culture wars. Continue reading