Anson Shupe, who had been a sociology professor at IPFW for 25 years before retiring in 2012, and who was the author of 30 books on religion and other issues, died Monday in Bloomington. He was 67.
He had started as chair of the sociology department at IPFW, where he was brought in to mentor the staff. He became the most published member of the sociology faculty. His books dealt with rogue members of the clergy and what he called clergy malfeasance, which included sexual and financial misconduct.
He also wrote about domestic violence in military families involving both male and female family members and the role of religion and community in anti-violence strategies.
Peter Iadicola, chair of the sociology department at IPFW, said Shupe was very well known, especially in the area of religion. He had started out in the 1970s writing about televangelism and wrote about religious issues for newspapers all around the country.
He was also an avid writer of letters to the editor at The Journal Gazette, weighing in on political and religious issues.
Shupe was born in Buffalo, New York, and attended high school in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Wooster College in Wooster, Ohio, in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 1975. He taught at the University of Texas at Arlington for 12 years and then at IPFW for 25 years.
Among the books he wrote were “Agents of Discord: Deprogramming, Pseudo-Science and the American Anticult Movement”; “Rogue Clerics: The Social Problem of Clergy Deviance”; “Spoils of the Kingdom: Clergy Misconduct and Religious Community”; “The Darker Side of Virtue: Corruption, Scandal and the Mormon Empire”; and “In the Name of All That’s Holy: A Theory of Clergy Malfeasance.”
Iadicola said Shupe wrote very much in the spirit of muckraking journalism and had returned to that after retiring. He had a consumer advocacy show on the radio in Bloomington and was planning to have it syndicated.
He was also involved in the martial arts, with a double black belt in karate and judo. He had lived in Japan and loved Asian language and culture.
A memorial service will be held today at the Allen Funeral Home and Crematory in Bloomington.