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Q&A and Signing with Marie Griffith

May 15 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


On Tuesday May 15th, local author Marie Griffith will be returning to Chattanooga to discuss her new book Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians & Fractured American Politics. We’ll host a question and answer session, followed by a signing with Marie.

About Moral Combat: 

MORAL COMBAT: How Sex Divided American Christians & Fractured American Politics (Basic Books; December 12, 2017) tells a story of the steady breakdown, since the early twentieth century, of a onetime Christian consensus about sexual morality and gender roles and of the battles over sex among self-professed Christians—and between some groups of Christians and non-Christians— that resulted.

Griffith introduces readers to remarkable individuals from both sides: Mary Steichen Calderone, the physician and deeply religious Quaker who pioneered science-based sexuality curricula in schools; Billy James Hargis, the anticommunist radio preacher who made sex a centerpiece of fundamentalist politics; and Francis Kissling, a Catholic feminist and abortion rights activist. It also reveals the surprising roles religion played in the careers of well-known figures like birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, and attorney Anita Hill.

Over time, Griffith argues, views regarding sex came to stand in for attitudes toward change and modern ideas in general; on the right, resistance to changing sexual norms was driven by fears of women’s freedom, ethnic and racial minorities, and national decline. And whether resistant to or supportive of greater sexual freedoms, religious advocates were confident that God supported their cause, helping to explain why Americans’ public debates over sex and sexuality became particularly ferocious. For many, on both sides, conflicts over sex and sexuality were–and are–proxy struggles over the fate and virtue of the American nation itself.

About Marie Griffith: 

R. Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, is currently the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics. Marie grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduated from GPS.

Professor Griffith obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in Political and Social Thought and her Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University. Before moving to Washington University in 2011, she served as professor of religion and director of the women and gender studies program at Princeton University and later as the John A. Bartlett Professor of New England Church History at Harvard. She is the author or editor of six books, including God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (1997), Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (2004), and the newly released Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics (2017).

Griffith’s research focuses on current issues pertaining to religion and politics, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality, and marriage.

Praise for Moral Combat:

“Griffith’s remarkably comprehensive book will be of interest to scholars and lay readers alike.” —Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

“Thoughtful study of the great schism between religious conservatives and progressives about women’s control over their own bodies.” —Kirkus

“With grace and insight, Marie Griffith had taken on one of the most intractable and enduring issues in American life and faith: that of the role sexuality plays in our religion and in our politics. A force of division and of fascination since Eden, sex is a perennial theme in the human story, and Griffith’s intelligent, sober, and illuminating book offers us new ways to think about the most ancient—yet urgent—of questions.” —Jon Meacham


May 15
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Star Line Books


Star Line Books
1467 Market Street
Chattanooga, 37402 United States
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