Rumi Forum presented “Beyond Sacrifice: Rethinking Religion and Violence in America, or How a Pax Americana Might Figure in a Coming Religious Peace” with Jon Pahl, Ph.D., Professor of the History of Christianity in North America and Director of MA Programs for The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

 

 

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In his famous Riverside Church Speech of April 1967, “Beyond Vietnam,” the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. identified America as the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” How has this changed, or not, since 1967? And how has “religion” factored into the problems of episodic and systemic violence in America? Drawing on his book Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence (NYU, 2010), Professor Jon Pahl suggests some necessary rethinking of the categories of “religion” and “violence” in American history, with an aim to move the nation in its domestic and foreign policies beyond “sacrifice.” Such a move may in fact already be underway, toward what Pahl calls, in the working title of his next book, A Coming Religious Peace.

 

Jon Pahl, Ph.D. is Professor of the History of Christianity in North America and Director of MA Programs for The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Jon earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has spoken with audiences from Ankara to Anaheim, on media outlets from the BBC to ABC, and has published numerous articles, columns, essays, and six books, including Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces: Putting God in Place and most recently Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence (NYU Press). Jon lives near Swarthmore, and enjoys gardening and playing his sax with his rhythm and blues band, “The Groove Daemons.”

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