Archives for October 2012

Ron Sider on Christian Political Engagement

I recently read Ron Sider’s excellent The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World.  If you have not read it yet, you should.  If you have the time, I would strongly encourage you to read it before voting next week.   Sider’s book is not meant to be [Read More…]

Do’s and Don’ts for Evangelicals on Election Sunday

A couple weeks ago I wrote about “Paleo Evangelicals as Reluctant Republicans,” and I am grateful for the number of responses I have received here, on Twitter and on Facebook indicating that I had “pegged” (as the Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Bart Gingerich put it) many readers’ political convictions. Luke Moon, also of the IRD, [Read More…]


How should we interpret Hurricane Sandy, blowing near Salem, Massachusetts, in the days before Halloween? Might it be read providentially, as it could have been read by the colonists who made the place famous by their treatment of witches? Or is it really an enhancement of Halloween, tempestuous winds to make the party spookier and [Read More…]


If you don’t understand what’s happening in the Muslim world, you’ve probably been following the US media. There certainly are people in this country who are naïve on the subject of terrorism, and play down the menace of Islamist terrorist movements to a ludicrous extent. I am certainly not one, and have published fairly extensively [Read More…]

Mormons Are (Different) Christians, Not Cultists

The idea that Mormonism is a cult is beyond absurd, unless by cult one simply means a religion that one does not like. In recent days, observant reporters noticed that after Billy Graham’s recent meeting with Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed “Mormons” from a list of non-Christian cults. The included [Read More…]

What Does Democracy Require of Us?

On March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln stood before the crowd at the United States capitol building to deliver his second inaugural address.  Lincoln was addressing a nation nearing the conclusion of a long and bloody Civil War that took 600,000 lives.  The speech was far from triumphant.  It was a meditation on one of the [Read More…]

Should a Candidate’s Faith Matter to Paleo Evangelicals?

In last week’s column, “Paleo Evangelicals as Reluctant Republicans,” I argued that there are many conservative evangelicals who do not feel quite at home with today’s Republican Party. Some have undoubtedly balked at wholesale commitment to the Republican Party’s general election nominees in ’08 and ’12 because they were not evangelicals. John McCain had some [Read More…]


Although debates about morality should not be based on quantitative evidence, in practice they tend to be. At a time when homosexuality is so central to religious and cultural controversies, some weight attaches to the numbers involved. Gay rights advocates favor higher statistics for the gay and Lesbian population, to magnify the impact of discrimination. [Read More…]

Sunday Night Odds and Ends

Starting today, I will be offering the readers of The Anxious Bench a taste of “Sunday Night Odds and Ends,” a weekly feature from my blog, The Way of Improvement Leads Home.   –JF   Ron Sider is retiring Alison Collis Greene vs. H.L. Mencken.  The topic is Mississippi Roundtable on Blum and Harvey’s The Color [Read More…]


Over the past century or so, worldwide Christianity has definitively moved South. In 1900, Christianity firmly rooted in Europe and North America, while by the mid-21st century it will find by far its greatest strongholds in Africa and Latin America. Arguably, the secularization that has been such a marked feature of European life is now [Read More…]