What is Freedom?: On Juneteenth, and Guns

Celebrating Juneteenth may feel novel but it is not new for Texans, especially Black Texans. Despite the history-making events of June 19, 1865, when enslaved people were freed from bondage, most associate the Lone Star state with images of freedom-loving cowboys. Award-winning historian Anne Gordon-Reed explores why some perceptions of freedom stubbornly persist and why understanding the context before and after Juneteenth still matters today. Then, we shift attention to look at another symbol of freedom: the right to bear arms. Political scientist Ryan Burge unpacks the data from recent polls and explains why the second amendment is viewed by Christian nationalists as a divine right and how religious beliefs about guns are shaped more by partisan political identity than theology.

History is an Art: On Juneteenth and Black Texas
Annette Gordon-Reed is a historian and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.” Here, she talks about her most recent book “On Juneteenth,” part history and part memoir, about the Texas origins and meaning of the day marked by Black Americans as the end of slavery.

History Isn’t Just the Fun Things: Tensions in Teaching
In a continuation of our conversation with Annette Gordon-Reed, the historian discusses the difficulties of teaching history, with all its ugliness and trauma, in an age where parents fear for their children’s feelings.

The Echo Chamber: On God and Guns in American Christianity
Ryan Burge is a political scientist who studies American evangelicals. His data shows that the two most likely predictors of gun ownership in America are religion – evangelical Christianity, in particular – and political affiliation – Republicans own more guns than Democrats. Put the two together and you get a sizable portion of American Christians who will not discuss gun control of any kind. What is the theology behind God and guns? Can gun-loving Christians be brought into the discussion about so-called “common sense” gun laws?

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