Insurrection, White Supremacy, and Religion

photos of panelists.

Due to high demand, the webinar will be livestreamed on our Facebook page. A recording of the webinar will also be available here on our website within two weeks.

Religion figured centrally in the January 6, 2021, siege of the US Capitol, revealing yet again the entanglement of white supremacy and public religion in American politics. Images of the cross, the Bible, and prayers in the Senate chamber show how religiosity was intertwined with the attempt to overturn the election. This webinar examines the connections among religion, white supremacy, and the attempts to delegitimize the results of the 2020 presidential election, describing the interplay between Christian nationalism, conspiracy theories, and anti-Black racism.

The webinar, conceived and organized by Anthea Butler, is hosted by the Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion (CPUR) of the American Academy of Religion. CPUR webinars aim to enrich discussions of religion as it intersects with urgent public issues—e.g. racism, misogyny, xenophobia, public health, and sustainability—whether these occur in the classroom, the newsroom, or in the boardroom.

Webinar Presenters

Anthea Butler | Associate professor of religious studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her book Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World is published by the University of North Carolina Press. Her new book, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, is out March 22, 2021, on Ferris and Ferris, a division of UNC Press.  

Peter Manseau | Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religion at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. His most recent book is The Jefferson Bible: A Biography

Samuel L. Perry | Associate professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. His research explores the interplay of American religion and cultural power within the contexts of race, sexuality, families, and politics. The author of nearly one hundred peer-reviewed articles, Perry has also authored or co-authored three books: Growing God's Family (NYU 2017), Addicted to Lust (Oxford 2019), and Taking America Back for God (Oxford 2020; with Andrew Whitehead).

Sarah Posner | Author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump and a reporting fellow with Type Investigations. Her investigative reporting has appeared in Rolling Stone, VICE, The Nation, Mother Jones, The New Republic, HuffPost, and Talking Points Memo. Her coverage and analysis of politics and religion has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The American Prospect, Politico, and many other outlets. She graduated from Wesleyan University and has a law degree from the University of Virginia. Her story “How Trump Took Hate Groups Mainstream,” published before the 2016 election, won a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award.

Andrew L. Whitehead | Associate professor of sociology and director of the Association of Religion Data Archives ( at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. He is the co-author of Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (Oxford, 2020) with Samuel Perry.


Evan Berry | Assistant professor of religious studies and environmental humanities at Arizona State University. He chairs the AAR's Committee for the Public Understanding of Religion. 

Webinar Details

Friday, January 29

12:00 p.m. ET

Cost: Free

Open to the public (AAR membership not required)

Facebook Livestream Event