developments in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, particularly the MotionPicture
Production Code and its demise. The Code proscribed satire ofreligious
traditions and prominent religious figures, which in the later 1950s began to
smack of censorship. Thus, the play andthe film represent different layers of
interpretation glazed onto the originalhistorical event that were essentially
responsive to changingAmerican consciousness. Larry Eskridge of the
Institute for the Study ofAmerican Evangelicals delivered a comment, which
inaugurated a lively discussion with the audience.
Session 7,on "CHRISTIANITY AND 20th CENTURY RUSSIA," was
chaired by Barbara Hoffman, Grand Canyon University,and featured papers
on "Soviet Expansion intoEastern Europe, 1945-1952: U.S. Policy Confronts
the Issue of ReligiousFreedom" by A. Paul Kubricht, Letourneau University,
and "Christianity and Republican Ideals in 20th Century Russia" by StephenP.
Hoffmann, Taylor University. Paul Michelson, Huntington College, served as
commentator. Kubricht's conclusion was that"the issue of religious freedom
in EasternEurope was never a major topic of discussion" among US
policymakers, who were preoccupied withpolitical issues. Some of the
archival materialshe examined shows that US diplomats may not have fully
understood the dynamics ofreligion in post-war Eastern Europe or may not
have cared. He argued that attention to such factors is becoming more
common in post-1989 historiography.
Hoffman's paper was divided into three parts:one concernedwith
Christianity and democratic ideals before 1917, one on the Churchand civic
life under Communism, and a third onthe prospects for relating Christianity
and Democracy in the present.His argument is that "Solovievan Christian
republicanism deserves serious attention as a viable alternative"in today's
Russian political environment and that there are resources inRussia's political
culture which can be used to build a post-communist civil society.
Michelson noted that the worldviewof US policymakers was that of
the East Coast WASP tradition, onewhich gave formal endorsement to
Christianity, butlargely ignored it in practical matters. He agreed with
Kubricht thatignorance of Eastern Europe was and is a problem for US
policymakers. Michelson expressed less optimism thanHoffman concerning
the opennessof the current Russian Orthodox hierarchy to the thought of
Soloviev and Berdyaev or its ability (or even inclination) to resistnationalist
siren songs, butwelcomed Hoffman's analysis and report on what at least
some Russians are considering.
Session 8 on "CONCEPTIONS OFLIBERTY: BAPTISTS AND
METHODISTS IN THE EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC" was chaired byTim