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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Secular Northwest

Religion and Irreligion in Everyday Postwar Life

The image of a rough frontier – where working men were tempted away from church on Sundays by more profane concerns – was perpetuated by postwar religious leaders troubled by the decline in church involvement. Tina Block debunks the myth of a godless frontier, revealing a Pacific Northwest that rejected organized religion – but not necessarily God. Not just working men but also women, families, and middle-class communities helped to shape the region’s secular identity. Drawing on oral histories, census data, newspapers, and archival sources, Block launches this exploration of Northwest secularity and the independent spirit of those who chose to live irreligiously.

244 pages

Table of Contents


1 Constructing the Secular Northwest: The View from the Churches

2 A “mounting tide of criticism”: The Challenge to Organized Religion

3 Class, Gender, and Religious Involvement

4 Belief and Unbelief

5 “The closest thing to me”: Religion, Irreligion, and the Family

6 “So much sin amid so much beauty”: Secularity and Regional Identity



Selected Bibliography


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