Spotlight: Personally Speaking – ‘Bless the Rich, Damn the Poor’

Spotlight: Personally Speaking – ‘Bless the Rich, Damn the Poor’

Date Published:
Monday, March 14, 2011

Religious traditions that appeal to different social classes remain virtually the same now as in the 1930s. Sean McCloud, associate professor of religious studies, addresses the social networks at play in religious traditions in the book “Divine Hierarchies,” and he will discuss them in the final talk of the UNC Charlotte lecture series “Personally Speaking.”

McCloud’s presentation “Blessing the Rich and Damning the Poor” begins at 6:30 PM, Tuesday, March 22, in Atkins Library.

“Stretching from antebellum and post-Civil War writers to contemporary TV evangelists and new age writers, the idea of class has pervaded American religious history,” says McCloud. “One’s poverty or wealth, like one’s damnation or salvation, was seen to be a matter of individual free will.”

In his book “Divine Hierarchies,” McCloud attempts to address social networks at play in religious traditions and the forces of habit by which they operate. He created four categories to explain the social class stasis associated with religion – Divine Hierarchies, Economic Arminianism, Social Harmony and Class-conscious Christ.

Stretching from antebellum and post-Civil War writers to contemporary TV evangelists and new age writers, the idea of class has pervaded American religious history. One’s poverty or wealth, like one’s damnation or salvation, was seen to be a matter of individual free will.
Sean McCloud, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Personally Speaking begins with a reception at 6:00 PM, followed by McCloud’s talk. A question-and-answer session, book signing and reception conclude the event; books will be available for purchase.

UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the J. Murrey Atkins Library cosponsor “Personally Speaking.” The series of lectures is designed to celebrate campus authors and offer the community a chance to learn more about them and their work. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Attendees are encouraged to register by calling 704-687-0085 or e-mailing clas-event@uncc.edu.

"The partnership between the library and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences is a natural one," says Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. "We support the University's mission to serve as a resource to the greater Charlotte area, and this new speaker series is an excellent way to share with the community the knowledge and expertise of our faculty."