September 26 – The Salem Witch Trials
In 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony, nineteen people were executed for being witches. This, the strangest and most disturbing event in American religious history, has been the subject of histories, novels, plays, and films, and it continues to amaze us. This presentation will investigate the origins of the crisis, its relation to the European Witchcraze, the Salemites’ fear of the native Americans surrounding them, economic considerations, and a judicial system that permitted this horror to occur.
October 3 – The Faiths of Our Fathers
In 1787, the nascent United States began an unheard experiment in church- state relations: the government would not interfere with religion, and religious groups would not interfere with the state. Although dissident Protestant groups had opposed the Anglican establishment, few people expected legal separation. Many patriots, such as Patrick Henry, opposed this, but Thomas Jefferson and James Madison guaranteed, via the First Amendment, that it would succeed. This presentation will outline how the US separated church and state as well the religious views of Jefferson and Madison.
October 10 – The New Promised Land
When America came into being, only three per cent of its population was Roman Catholic, and there were only 1200 Jews. In the mid- nineteenth century poverty, famine, and religious oppression drove enormous numbers of European Catholics and many Jews to emigrate to the United States, where they permanently changed the religious character of the county, sometimes against considerable opposition. This presentation will tell of the initial immigrants, their adjustment to this country, and how they altered its religious landscape.
October 17 – The Scopes Monkey Trial
In the early twentieth century conservative Protestants feared that, by teaching evolution, American schools were destroying their children’s faith, and they convinced several states, including Tennessee, to forbid such teaching. In 1925 a Dayton, Tennessee, science teacher, John Scopes, deliberately taught evolution to challenge the law. His action resulted in the “Monkey Trial,” pitting Clarence Darrow for the ACLU against William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution. The spectacular trial determined the course of Fundamentalism for almost a century and gave rise to scientific creationism and intelligent design as alternatives to evolution.
Dr. Joseph F. Kelly, well-known to those of us in the Cleveland area as a popular, engaging, and vastly informed lecturer, will lead this fascinating series. Professor of Church History at John Carroll University with degrees from Boston College and Fordham University, Dr. Kelly is the author of 14 books and more than 200 encyclopedia articles. He has lectured in the US, Canada, and several European countries, including two presentations at the Vatican and six at Oxford University. We cordially invite you to register for this special event.