A year after her passing, the legacy of much-loved Queen Elizabeth II lives large in our collective memory. Her death and memorial in September 2022 generated worldwide media coverage and reflection on her life. This issue's research article by Brown, Fraser, Ball, and Kim reports on a study conducted in the weeks following the queen's death last year. The study of nearly 1800 consumers of popular media from 15 countries explores the late Queen’s social influence on the lives of consumers of popular media reflecting upon her death. Like in the biblical annals of the kings of ancient Israel and Judah, it is fascinating to note for what monarchs today are remembered, and how that memory shapes us. The article considers how audiences formed close psychological bonds with the Queen through the mediated processes of parasocial involvement, identification and what the literature of that field calls "worship." This is a conversation relevant to those concerned about discipling nations, as Brown's other research on the topic contends.
This issue also contains an extensive review of Anthea Butler's 2021 book White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America. Butler's book and its review by Paul Miller are also about remembering well. Public recountings of our shared history reveal how diversely we remember the same stories. Butler's text points to painful aspects of American Evangelical history that leave each of us with something to repent of. While you can find other reviews more inclined toward soul-searching, Miller's review pursues a methodical examination of Butler's arguments and evidence. Miller contends that Butler's book "would not be problematic if Butler was decrying the racism in parts of American Evangelicalism’s past, where with other segments of America it shamefully supported both pre-Civil War slavery and post-Civil War Jim Crow laws. Her book is problematic only because she argues that this racism rages unabated today and, moreover, has been 'at the core' of post-WWII American Evangelicalism." Miller concludes that Butler fails in her claim to prove that race was a "central motivating factor" driving most of American Evangelicalism's efforts.