Book Reviews / Comptes rendus de livres - David Morgan, ed., Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman

Book Reviews / Comptes rendus de livres

David Morgan, ed., Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman

Paul Nathanson

Introduction

Morgan, David, ed. Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. 246 pp., illus., cloth $35.00, ISBN 0-300-06342-3.

1 Icons of American Protestantism, edited by David Morgan, is a collection of six essays on the massively popular paintings of Christ by Warner Sallman (1892-1968). Sallman was a commercial artist by profession but an evangelist by vocation; he proclaimed the gospel visually rather than verbally. And he was extremely successful. By the 1950s, his images of Christ had become by far the most familiar ones to generations of American evangelicals. Sallman's Head of Christ (1940) has been reproduced, in a variety of pictorial contexts, approximately five hundred million times. Because Sallman was (and is) shunned by the art critics of elite culture, though, his name will probably be unfamiliar to most readers of this book.

2 Thirty years ago, this book would never have been written at all. No one would have taken Sallman seriously as a subject worthy of scholarship. Both popular culture in general and popular religion in particular were anything but popular in academic circles. Anthropologists, of course, had always been interested in the folk culture of non-literate societies. And historians of Western society had begun to examine medieval folk culture and early modern popular culture. Only in the past fifteen or twenty years, though, has it been generally acknowledged that the popular culture of our own society is worth studying. Unfortunately, the reason for this change of mind is not always one that generates good scholarship (which I define in very general terms as the sincere attempt, no matter how inadequate, to learn something new about what is "out there"). Those who align themselves with what has come to be known as "cultural studies," which has far more to do with ideology than anthropology, have a distinct tendency to begin by assuming that popular culture should be studied not because it might have any intrinsic value, or even because it might reveal something interesting about the way people experience everyday life, but because it might provide evidence to support their own political perspectives. Maybe that has always been done, but it is now done more deliberately and openly.

3 Fortunately, most of the essays in this book are both scholarly and well written (except for what some authors consider obligatory references to "social constructions," "dominant discourses," and other examples of fashionable jargon). The authors work in a variety of fields — art history, church history, and the history of material culture. They examine not only the life and career of Sallman himself but also the role that imagery has played in the piety of American evangelicals over the past fifty years.

The Book

4 In his introduction, David Morgan discusses the visual tradition inherited by Sallman: Protestant art. The latter is not as oxymoronic as it sounds. Morgan points out that Protestants, no less than Catholics, have always made use of images. Until recently, though, they have rejected the possibility of using images specifically in the context of worship. (The same is true, I might add, of two other reputedly iconoclastic traditions: Judaism and Islam.) Even so, Protestant churches have seldom been devoid of at least painted or stained glass images. But the extreme popularity of Sallman's paintings, which were (and still are) often used as devotional objects in both the home and the larger secular world, indicates that any differences in the pietistic sensibilities of Protestants and Catholics can easily be overestimated.1 In fact, Sallman's paintings have been almost as popular among Catholics (sometimes with the addition of specifically Catholic imagery) as they have been among Protestants.

Fig. 1 Warner Sallman's Head of Christ (1940).
Thumbnail of Figure 1Display large image of Figure 1
(Reproduced with the permission of Warner Press)

5 In "Warner Sallman and the Visual Culture of American Protestantism," Morgan discusses the origins of these images. Some of Sallman's sources were overtly religious (earlier paintings of Christ) and others were secular (the pictorial conventions of commercial art, say, or even the poses characteristic of graduation photos).2 In addition, Morgan discusses the mass marketing of Sallman's images not only for church bulletins, wallet-size prayer cards, or the covers of religious magazines but even for lamps, clocks, plaques, and other household items. Whatever their aesthetic value, these objects had great spiritual value to those who bought them. With that in mind, I would say that Morgan's concluding chapter, "Would Jesus Have Sat for a Portrait?," is the most interesting of all. Unlike so many art historians even now, Morgan focusses attention on the viewers, not just the artist. How did these objects function in the everyday lives of those who bought them? Judging from the letters he gathered from Sallman's admirers and detractors, it seems clear that these images were not mere objects. They were not even mere art objects. They were holy objects. No wonder at least one of them was associated with a miracle: a tiny picture of Christ that was reported to have wept "tears of blood."

6 That brings up the controversy — an intensely acrimonious one for many years and still able to provoke hostility — over how to evaluate these paintings in terms of both religion and art. In "The Ministry of Christian Art," Betty Deberg discusses the response of evangelical Protestants to Sallman's work. Even though some leaders found it unsophisticated from an aesthetic point of view, they could hardly deny that it was bringing people back into their churches. Whatever else Sallman did or did not do, they quickly realized, he clearly made the presence of Christ accessible to them. But, as Sally Promey points out in her chapter on "Interchangeable Art," liberal Protestants felt profoundly threatened by popular culture in general and pietistic culture in particular. At issue for them no less than for evangelicals was secularization, a process that was emptying the churches.

7 The solution of liberal theologians such as Paul Tillich, however, was to translate the rhetoric of traditional piety into that of modernism or existentialism. To this day, liberal churches are trying (unsuccessfully) to be more "relevant" than other churches. But their leaders made a serious mistake in choosing avant-garde artists as their allies. Both groups denned themselves in terms of intense personal struggle against the status quo. But avant-garde art was (and remains) accessible primarily to members of the intellectual (and, to a great extent, the social) elite. Even some of their own parishioners continued to prefer what liberal pastors ridiculed as religious kitsch.

The Problem

8 Underlying the debate over religious art, of course, was one over religion itself. The debate is still raging, to judge from the most disappointing chapter of this book: "Making a 'Virile, Manly Christ'," by Erika Doss. Much of what she says is true, to be sure, but only part of the truth; what she does not say would alter the discussion considerably. I focus attention primarily on her essay, admittedly the exception, for two reasons. First, the essay seriously undermines any attempt to understand the two central topics here: art and religion. Second, it is characteristic of so many works on this or similar topics.

9 Like the liberal Protestant critics of Sallman, Doss assumes an inherent opposition between religion and one particular aspect of culture: commerce. She elaborates almost obsessively on the fact that Sallman's work was mass-produced and mass-marketed — as if that marked a major change in the nature and function of art, whether religious or secular. "Deadlines, drawing boards, and thumbnail sketches are not," she writes, "the stuff of aesthetic visionaries but that of commercial illustrators. Nor do most independent artists approach their easels aiming to 'catch the eye and convey the message' — these are the sorts of ambitions usually associated with people in public relations and ad agents" (p. 66).

10 Actually, every great European artist before the late nineteenth century worked with "deadlines, drawing boards and thumbnail sketches." Moreover, every one of them aimed to "catch the eye and convey the message." The most obvious examples would include those who produced art — paintings, sculpture, architecture — for the Counter-Reformation. They intended specifically to dazzle or even startle viewers and either convert or re-convert them to the true Church. Like it or not, religion is a message. And art has always been used to propagate it. Does that make Bernini nothing more than the precursor of modern "ad agents"?

11 Of crucial importance to Doss (and some other authors represented in this book) is the fact that Sallman's paintings were mass-produced. But so what? Until the late nineteenth century, European artists maintained studios where students copied and even completed the works of their masters. No wonder museum curators and art historians often argue over attribution: was this or that work painted by Rubens, say, or by the "school" of Rubens? Besides, no one would argue that the woodcuts of Dürer and the etchings of Rembrandt are of dubious value in terms of either religion or art just because they were mass-produced as the illustrations for printed books or as single sheets suitable for hanging on domestic walls.

12 Actually, mass production of art began long before the advent of printing. The Romans had factories intended specifically for the mass production of statues — often copies of older Greek ones — which were then shipped and sold all over the empire. Many of these statues were intended only as ornaments, yes, but many were intended specifically for religious purposes. And the mass production of art, including religious art, was no invention of the Romans. Every city in the ancient Near East, for example, had its workshop that produced standardized statues of the gods and other ritual objects. And at least some of their products were either sold on the local market or exported to other cities.

13 That brings up another matter emphasized by Doss. Sallman's work was not only mass-produced but mass-marketed as well. Once again, so what? Is it really so significant that his paintings were intended to satisfy ordinary members of the public (instead of rich and powerful patrons)? Artists have always been involved in commercial activity. They have always been paid for what they do. And they have always sought business from those who could pay well. A few of them, such as Michelangelo, sometimes defied convention and thus risked the displeasure of those who supported them in luxury. Rembrandt actually abandoned high society to live and paint in the poorest districts of Amsterdam. But these were among the rare exceptions. Most others were intent on making as much money as possible. Canaletto became a rich man by painting the equivalent of today's postcards for wealthy tourists. When it comes to the "old masters," art historians have never argued that the mere act of selling art contaminates it. Why, then, should Sallman's commercial success be considered culturally important or even historically unusual?

14 Underlying these misconceptions about art is a misconception about religion. I refer to the dichotomy often drawn these days between religion and commerce (or politics). Consider this passage from Doss: "President Calvin Coolidge's oft-repeated adages, like 'the business of business is America [sic]' and 'the man who builds a factory builds a temple,' made him a favourite among 1920s business executives, who wanted all Americans to trust in the values and leadership of corporate capitalism — and as business went, so went much of American Protestantism. Notions of faith and piety became complicit with those of sales techniques and scientific management" (p. 80). But when has organized religion not been "complicit" in these or similar ways? Elsewhere, she writes that by "hiring publicity secretaries and ad agency experts, attending special seminars on ecclesiastical salesmanship, designing posters, billboards, subway cards, and logos, and buying ad space in newspapers, Protestant leaders set out to sell the church to modern consumers" (p. 81). But when have religious leaders not tried to "sell" religion in one way or another?

15 The idea that religion and commerce can come into conflict is not exactly modern. Jesus was clearly troubled by those money-changers in the Temple, after all, and he did tell his followers to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." But opposing corrupt commerce is not the same as opposing commerce as such. The notion of some inherent opposition between religion and commerce would be unintelligible from the perspective of most religions — including not only traditional Christianity in general but traditional Protestantism in particular.3

16 It is true that Christians have always been somewhat ambivalent about all this. Given the recorded attitude of Jesus, how could it be otherwise? Maybe what angered Jesus was not the mere presence of trade (in the Temple) but its corruption. At no time before this century, in any case, have Christians — even monastics — ever succeeded in isolating religion from commerce and politics. (The only exceptions have been holy hermits, or anchorites, living alone in forests or desert caves.) And at some times and places in Christian history, no attempt was made to do so. The Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have tended to promote integration directly and overtly, it could be said in very general terms, while the Protestants have tended to do so indirectly and covertly. The modern controversy in America, therefore, is somewhat surprising.4

17 According to Doss, "Sallman's advertisements encouraged twentieth-century Americans to imagine the personal, therapeutic possibilities of the burgeoning consumer culture. Although he had strong religious convictions about the dangers of such consumer habits as drinking alcohol, Sallman made a career out of creating the advertising images that encouraged habits of mass consumption" (pp. 75-76). In other words, his art was not only influenced by commerce but polluted by it. Would Doss say the same thing about artists of the renaissance, say, or the baroque? Either implicitly or explicitly, they glorified the conspicuous consumption of their aristocratic patrons. Would Doss classify them as nothing more than propagandists for the ruling class? And what about those who painted Dutch interiors in the seventeenth century? They glorified the quiet round of everyday life — the feel of velvet and fur, the sheen of polished silver, the rustle of silk and satin — in the world's first truly bourgeois society. Would Doss consider them nothing more than peddlers of consumer goods?

18 Over and over again, Doss observes that Sallman's religious art actually resembles his secular art. According to her, "the style of commercial illustration that he practised in the advertising industry easily made its way into his religious art. Indeed, some compositions and figures closely resemble his advertising layouts: a 1935 illustration for the Covenant church's Golden Jubilee, for example, looks like the portrait collages he made for piano ads in the 1920s" (p. 83). But why should this surprise anyone? Religious art has always looked like secular art (assuming recognition of a secular realm in the first place). Is the Wieskirche in Bavaria somehow secular because it has more golden swirls and naked babies floating around on pink clouds than any rococo ballroom in Vienna? Until the rise of historicism in the nineteenth century, moreover, scenes from the life of Christ were always painted as if they were taking place in the present. Was Van Eyck somehow secular because his madonnas are dressed up as fifteenth-century Flemish matrons seated in rooms that could have existed only in late medieval Brugge or Ghent?

19 The same lack of historical perspective is evident when Doss observes that "Sallman's task as an artist was to create an image of Christ that spoke to the intimacy of personal salvation and cast that intimacy in terms that would appeal to the masses" (p. 86). But since when has religious art ever done anything else? The stained-glass windows of Chartres and the frescoes of Giotto were certainly intended (among other things) to edify "the masses" of illiterate peasants. Why is the pietistic art of evangelical Christians contemptible (as Doss clearly implies) or even unusual just because it appeals to ordinary people?

20 Notwithstanding the technology available to him, therefore, Sallman did nothing that artists had not been doing for thousands of years — both in other societies and in our own. On the contrary, it was the avant-garde notion of art (heavily focussed on innovation, individualism, and subversion) and its eventual adaptation by liberal Protestants (in which individualism, however, is now often replaced by collectivism in the form of political ideologies) that marked the real historical watershed.

21 In The Transformation of the Avant-Garde,5 by the way, Diana Crane shows how even avant-garde artists have been fully integrated into the world of business. They exist at the centre of a complex financial enterprise that links the galleries (where art is bought by investors as well as aficionados), the museums (which pay high prices for the works of "serious artists"), the universities and newspapers (which legitimize movements, thus making potentially profitable reputations), and the government (which not only subsidizes artists, in many countries, but buys their productions as interior decoration for its public buildings). As Crane puts it, the avant-garde has become — despite tattered remnants of rhetoric left over from the romantic period — a moyen-garde. In view of the fact that art has been understood in such an idiosyncratic way for the past century or so in the Western world, it seems to me, Sallman's head of Christ requires no elaborate explanation (although Georges Rouault's head of Christ, compared by Promey to Sallman's, might require one).

22 In our own time, the mass production of art is no longer dismissed with contempt. On the contrary, graphic artists are honoured as the creators of high culture. The real reason for hostility to Sallman has nothing to do with either mass production or mass marketing and everything to do with the fact that he rejected some of the fundamental criteria by which art is now evaluated. Sallman rejected avant-garde styles for one that was accessible to "the masses." Even worse, he paid no attention to the demand for originality. "Spiritual receivership aside," sneers Doss, "Sallman's 1924 drawing of Christ bears an uncanny resemblance to the Jesus depicted in French artist Léon Lhermitte's 1892 painting The Friend of the Humble" (p. 66). He not only learned from other artists, in short, but he copied them; he was a plagiarist.

23 The fact is, however, that neither the ancient world nor the medieval would have cared. They valued faithfulness to traditional visual paradigms far above personal originality (although they did acknowledge that particular individuals added depth or intensity to those paradigms). This way of thinking about art and religion was not fully abandoned until the late nineteenth century — and even then only in the West, and only in elite circles at that. Far from discrediting Sallman's claim to being a religious painter, his attitude toward originality supports it. In this way, he really does part company with the Western artists after the fourteenth or fifteenth century. He is more like the artists of primal societies, where the slightest deviation from traditional standards is precisely what could disqualify an artist.

24 In fact, he is very much like the icon painters of Byzantium and Russia. This is the most obvious analogy (but, given the very title of this book, strangely ignored). Icon painters had (until very recently) no access to the technology of mass production, but they were equally uninterested in originality. They adhered strictly to artistic conventions laid down by tradition and virtually dictated by ecclesiastical authorities. It was precisely by obliterating their own individuality that these painters could provide viewers — that is, worshippers — with windows looking into another world. Sallman was not that saintly. He signed his religious paintings, as Doss points out, just as he signed his secular ones. Nevertheless, his paintings have functioned, by intention, precisely the way religious icons have always functioned: though not worshipped as objects in themselves,6 icons mediate in the most intense and direct way whatever divine presence is to be worshipped.

Another Problem

25 I am troubled by another aspect, too, of the chapters by Doss and Colleen McDannell: their discussions of gender. Sallman's "keen attention to the modern masculine image of Christ," according to Doss, "mirrored the fears of impotency that racked Protestantism in the 1920s; his efforts to produce manly portraits of Christ were meant to assuage those fears and recall the authority of the Christian church" (p. 86). As Doss herself points out, the churches had been losing not only members in general but male members in particular. And, I think, for a good reason: Protestantism really had become feminized during the nineteenth century.

26 This was particularly true in the churches that had made religion virtually synonymous with morality, because morality had come to be identified with women and the home. The image of manhood presented in the churches — represented by the "meek and mild" Jesus — eventually became so out of sync with expectations of men in the larger world that many men could no longer live with the conflict. Some just left the churches. Others, as Mark Carnes and Clyde Griffen point out in Meaning for Manhood, had another solution: they founded fraternal organizations that were, in effect, churches for men.7 It should be remembered, however, that men were by no means the only ones to notice this feminization of American culture. Nor were they the only ones to rebel against it.

27 In Terrible Honesty, Ann Douglas observes that modernism became intensely important to both men and women in the avant-garde precisely because it opposed a culture that was characterized by the sentimentality, artificiality, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness they associated with women.8 Given the aim of every church, offering salvation to all people, making no effort to attract men would have made no sense. Nevertheless, Doss comes up with the following cynical remark: "The Protestant church modeled itself after modern business not only because it was the dominant spirit of the age but because it embodied masculine domination: corporate capitalism was the realm of powerful men, and assimilating its ideology might give the church the same cultural and social import" (p. 89).

28 "With the advent of suffrage," Doss continues elsewhere, "women extended themselves, and often their sense of moral housekeeping, into the public sphere of corporate capitalism, thereby threatening to upset the authority and male dominance of this burgeoning economic system. At the same time, a growing consumer culture worked to undermine rigid gender divisions and social gospel moralism, urging [sic] the end of Golden Age habits of thrift and self-denial and promising [sic] the therapeutic possibilities of consumption to both men and women. Because feminized morality posed a problem for consumer-oriented corporate capitalism, easing divisions between business and religion was a necessity. Women were not, however, invited into the world of corporate capitalism; rather, men were recruited to seize control of Christianity" (pp. 87-88). Sallman was not only a worthless painter, therefore, but an evil one as well. He was part of a titanic conspiracy, in short, of men against women. There are many problems with the conspiracy theory of history. In this case, the most obvious one is simple inaccuracy: at the very time under discussion, women were entering the world of corporate capitalism. They did not reach the top immediately, of course; major social revolutions take generations, not years. But between the wars, even during the Depression, it was no longer unusual for women to work outside the home.

29 McDannell approaches Sallman from the opposite perspective, in one way, but still uses his work to promote feminism (although this is not a major theme of her chapter). Like most viewers today, McDannell sees Sallman's Christ as more feminine than masculine. For that very reason, she takes the opportunity to make a political statement (albeit one that is couched in the rhetoric of deconstruction): "The production, distribution, and use of religious goods are as much a part of the story of American Christianity as the evolution of theological debates, the biographies of noted ministers, or the history of social reform. Unfortunately, scholars have preferred not to examine this aspect of Protestant life. By privileging spirit over matter, text over image, and male over female, they have neglected a crucial aspect of American religious history: the intertwining of faith, family, and fashion" (p. 96, emphasis added). It is precisely because of Sallman's association with femininity, in other words, that studying his work allows her to recover the lost female "voice" in American religious history.

Conclusions

30 As a Jew, I have no reason to admire Sallman. I grew up feeling not only disgusted by his paintings (or others like them) but threatened by them as well. After all, these objects were used by a competing and alien community. As a scholar though, I take them seriously as artifacts that serve real human needs. As a Jewish scholar, moreover, I am reminded that my own community has produced artifacts that are very similar in relation to art (though not, I think, in relation to religion as such).

31 Every Jewish "bookstore" sells the traditional ritual objects. These include mezuzot to be placed on doorposts, menorot to be lit on Hanukkah, talitot to be worn as "prayer shawls," kiddush cups for the wine blessed on Friday nights, seder plates for the Passover table, framed photos of the various Hasidic leaders (which function as virtual icons in ultra-orthodox homes and even synagogues, despite their dubious legitimacy according to Jewish law), and so on. But Jewish bookstores sell in addition what could be described as "secular ritual objects." These would include wooden plaques inscribed with the word shalom, "love rings" formed by the Hebrew letters for ahavah, Hasidic fiddlers from the Old Country painted on black velvet, fruit bowls decorated with idealized versions of old Jerusalem or even the Lower East Side of New York, miniature Torah scrolls in clear lucite display boxes, candlesticks crudely carved out of Israeli olive wood, candy dishes made of blue-patinated Israeli copper, coffee mugs showing the Dome of the Rock (never mind that this building is a mosque), Israeli flags big and small, and virtually anything with the word Jerusalem in Hebrew or English. (We must thank God, I suppose, that no one has tried to market dessert dishes with scenes from Auschwitz and the other death camps.)

32 Why do I call these ritual objects? Because they have a function in everyday life that goes far beyond ornament. No matter how they are actually used — to hold fruit, candles, coffee, or whatever — they create tangible evidence of Jewish identity, especially for Jews who have no religious affiliation, in the midst of a largely non-Jewish world. And for secular Jews, the word identity has come to have an almost "mystical" significance. No (secular) Jewish home — not even one with a collection of avant-garde art — feels complete without at least a few of these things. Someone should write a book, or at least an article, on the symbolic value of these Jewish artifacts. In the meantime, anyone interested in the convergence of popular culture and popular religion should read Icons of American Protestantism.

NOTES
1 This supports what I have learned from my own research on the enduring power of myth in American culture. In Over the Rainbow: The Wizard of Oz as a Secular Myth of America, I argue that American Protestants are both familiar with and receptive to sacramental ways of thinking usually associated primarily with Catholicism (and turn to the movies or television when their need for myth is not met in church.)
2 The relevance of these commercially produced graduation portraits is probably overestimated. It is true that they resemble portraits of Jesus by Sallman: three-quarter profiles, peculiar lighting, the steady gaze of sitters, and (in some cases) blank backgrounds. But most of these features are consistent not only with commercial photography but also with thefifteenth-centuryportraits of Memling, say, or Holbein.
3 Think, for a moment, of ancient Near Eastern temples. They were intended for worship, to be sure, but (like the medieval cathedrals of Europe) not only for worship. Adjacent to the inner sanctum itself, in fact, stood a variety of more-or-less public structures: the municipal granaries, administrative offices, art studios, scribal schools, assembly halls, and so forth. Letter-writers, story-tellers, and "money-changers" conducted business either in the temples themselves or in the precincts nearby. The temple was understood, in short, as the heart of a (commercially profitable) estate that was owned by the god, worked by the people, and administered by the king with the aid of priests and bureaucrats. It would have made no sense whatever for a Babylonian or an Egyptian to argue that temple priests should concern themselves only with "religion" or that kings concern themselves only with "economics" or "politics." (Many ancient languages, including Hebrew, had no separate word for religion.) The Pharaohs of Egypt were both kings and gods. The kings of Sumer and Babylonia were not gods, but they were the managers of divine estates. As such, they were expected to oversee every aspect of daily life: social, economic, political, military, and spiritual. The same absence of fragmentation is characteristic not only of Judaism and Christianity but also of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and what are now called "primal societies." Both the Jewish halakhah and the Islamic shariah, for example, insist that religion is intimately tied to both commerce and politics; failure to repay a loan is not merely a legal offense, therefore, but a religious one as well.The same thing is true of traditional religious pilgrimages. These have always been multipur-pose affairs. Pilgrims expect not only to worship at the shrine of a saint or the temple of a god, after all, but to see the world beyond their villages, find husbands or wives for their children, savour the latest gossip from distant parts, buy souvenirs or holy objects, trade textiles for tamarind seeds, exchange recipes for pilav or polenta, and so forth. Trade routes, please note, are seldom isolated from pilgrimage routes. Both ecclesiastics and saints complain about all this from time to time, of course, when things get out of hand. But human nature cannot be overruled. Pilgrimages, in short, have never been entirely "religious." Or, to put it another way, secularity has never been neatly separated from religion (not until modern times in the West, at any rate).
4 In the 1920s, conservative Protestants were attacked by liberals for being too otherworldly, for withdrawing from the society and its problems, for seeking "pie in the sky" instead of social justice. By the 1980s, conservatives were being attacked by liberals for precisely the opposite reason: now liberals considered them too worldly, too successful in attracting members, and — worst of all — too influential both economically and politically. Some people might argue that liberal Protestants originally understood more easily than conservatives — that is, evangelicals in general and fundamentalists in particular — the inherent links between religion and other aspects of life. Be that as it may, liberal Protestants have tried to resolve the apparent dichotomy by making religion more secular (although they seldom admit that). Conservative Protestants, on the other hand, have tried to do so by making the secular more religious (although they, unlike the folks who produce movies such as The Wizard of Oz and television shows such as Star Trek, seldom succeed in that).
5 Diana Crane, The Transformation of the Avant-Garde: The New York Art World, 1940-1985 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
6 The distinction between worship and veneration has always been problematic in Christianity. It led to iconoclastic violence not only in the Protestant West but centuries earlier in the Byzantine East. In theory, at least, icons are merely channels that direct the devotion of worshippers to God. In practice, icons are sometimes more like "idols."
7 Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen, Meaning for Manhood: Constructions of Masculinity in Victorian America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).
8 Ann Douglas, Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s (New York: Noonday Press, 1995).