Events / Public Atheism in American History

Public Atheism in American History

January 14, 2013
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Leigh Schmidt

Leigh-SchmidtEdward Mallinckrodt University Professor
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Date: January 14, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Venue: Umrath Lounge

Abstract: Even as religious toleration became more widely espoused in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, atheists remained highly suspect, wholly untrusted in public life, whether in court- rooms or in political office. In the early twenty-first century nonbelievers–from the new atheists to the surging number of religiously disaffiliated Americans–have become a highly visible presence in American public life. This talk will examine irreligion’s transit into civic visibility, looking at three steps along the way: revolutionary deism of the 1790s, liberal secularism of the 1870s and 1880s, and atheist boosterism of the 1920s and 1930s.