Explorations in American Protestant Liberalism

Professor Heather Warren, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UVA, and The Rev. Dr. at St. Paul’s Memorial Church, conducted research this past year with support from The Project on Lived Theology. Heather began with the hunch that the largely forgotten story of the Protestant Hour Radio Show offers important insights into the culture of mid-century Protestant liberalism in the United States. The PHRS was a weekly program launched in 1945 by an informal coalition of mostly southern denominations that brought “inspiring” messages and “food for thought” into the homes of the devout and curious. “Contrary to the stereotype of southerners as fundamentalists embracing conservative evangelical theology,” Professor Warren writes, “the Protestant Hour demonstrated that in the 1950s liberal theology with an evangelical flavor was alive and well among southern listeners.” Combining original research and narrative, Heather Warren turns her archival work into a fascinating account of the once vital project of liberal evangelicalism.

Professor Warren is in the process of publishing her research.