Is Politics America’s New Religion? | Dawson Penshorn | TEDxValparaisoUniversity

American politics is replacing traditional religion as the fundamental truth from which one operates. For example, this summer showed examples of the both the left and the right’s nasty results of integrating religion into one’s politics, namely nationalist idolatry and cancel culture. As public discourse has shifted towards greater activism, it is becoming clear that traditional religion no longer stands on its own, but is being used as a political tool to justify one’s position and condemn the opposition. But Americans have not stopped worshipping, they have just shifted their focus. Political issues and movements have identifiable parallels to Judeo-Christian ideas like a heaven, sin, a savior, and a holy text. As a result, we are quick to judge heretics of an opposite political leaning, and lost all meaning of grace or forgiveness. However, there is a place for religious Americans in the modern political discourse, as Jesus’ ministry was inherently political and challenged societal norms as well as Muhammad’s and other traditional religions. Dawson is a junior history major and secondary education minor at Valparaiso University, as well as a Christ College Scholar. He is currently in his second term as President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and serves as a Small Group Leader as well. He also is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and works in the Valparaiso University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. After graduation, Dawson plans to pursue a career in Christian ministry, and is passionate about the future of American evangelicalism. After assisting behind the scenes at TEDxValparaisoUniversity his freshman year, Dawson is looking forward to stepping on the red circle and sharing observations about the relationship between religion and politics in America today. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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