Born in Cambridge, MA. Education: Barnard College, graduated; New York University, graduated, 2000. Religion: "Unrepentant Jewish atheist."
Freelance journalist. National Public Radio, reporter and producer for All Things Considered, late-1990s; editor at Salon.com and Assignment Zero; New York University, New York, NY, journalism teacher.
Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Nation, Marie Claire, and Elle, and to Salon.com.
Lauren Sandler is the author of Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement. Here she looks at what she terms "the Disciple Generation," a population of young Americans between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five who have embraced fundamentalist Christianity. During her cross-country travels, the author found that the movement connected individuals across demographic lines; the members of the diverse counterculture included tattooed skateboarders, computer nerds, hip-hop musicians, college debate champions, and media-savvy ministers. "I really see this movement as the sixties happening all over again but on the religious right instead of the secular left," Sandler told Humanist interviewer Sunsara Taylor. She added: "These people feel like they're at war—a culture war—and they have the same feelings of persecution and outrage, of feeling misunderstood, and of wanting to reclaim the country for an idea as young people did in the sixties."
Jane Lampman, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, remarked that in Righteous, Sandler "not only presents vivid, spirited sketches of a burgeoning subculture, but also a plea to fellow secularists to wake up and proffer an alternative." Lampman also noted, however: "What parallel institutions she has in mind aren't clear, and her expectations are less convincing than her skilled reporting and acute perceptions." "Sandler draws characters deftly and has an ear for dialogue," according to Village Voice critic Emily Weinstein, while Washington Post Book World reviewer Christine Rosen stated that the author "is at her best when she documents the longing this generation feels for certainty, community and purpose, and her interview subjects often speak movingly about having endured broken homes, addiction and adolescent anomie. But she oversimplifies when she suggests that evangelical faith is just this generation's form of therapy." Rosen nevertheless concluded that Righteous "is an intriguing journey into a burgeoning and often contradictory phenomenon."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, October 1, 2006, "God and Country," p. 126.
Boston Herald, September 23, 2006, Michael Givens, "Righteous Preaches against Proselytism."
Christian Science Monitor, September 26, 2006, Jane Lampman, "Among ‘The Disciple Generation,’ Fervor and Diversity."
Humanist, March 1, 2007, Sunsara Taylor, "Our Children, Our Future? The Equal Time for Free-thought Interview with Lauren Sandler," p. 32.
People, September 25, 2006, Fred Gardaphe, "Books," review of Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement, p. 60.
Village Voice, September 21, 2006, Emily Weinstein, "Salvation Army."
Washington Post Book World, October 1, 2006, Christine Rosen, "Jesus Rocks," p. 3.
Wilson Quarterly, September 22, 2006, Lauren F. Winner, "God's Children," p. 107.
Lauren Sandler Web site,http://www.laurensandler.com (June 20, 2007).