J.C. Can Save America

Ted Cruz marshals a rhetoric of Christian America in his campaign for president. Christians should “take back” or “reclaim” America, he says, from secularist liberals who have led the nation from its Christian origins. This vocabulary echoes that of his discredited adviser David Barton. His own father Rafael Cruz preaches a dominionist theology and suggests [Read More…]

The GOP Race: Is Ted Cruz Our Best Option?

When we were in St. Andrews, Scotland for the Spring 2015 semester, I remember our Baptist church there praying for parliamentary elections. The implicit message of the prayers was, “Lord, we have no obvious options here. Please help us to know how to vote.” I have been having the same feeling about the GOP race [Read More…]

Ted Cruz: When Civil Religion Goes Too Far

Our fellow Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton posted about recent comments Glenn Beck made at a Ted Cruz rally, held at a South Carolina church, about the Constitution and the Bible both being “sacred scriptures.” [start at :50] Christian conservatives need to draw a clear line on this topic. Yes, religion and the Bible have had [Read More…]

What Is Deism?

The claim that any of the Founding Fathers were deists generates pushback among certain conservatives. This helps to account for the firestorm of controversy (which I covered for WORLD Magazine) over David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies and the book’s subsequent abandonment by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Barton argued that until late in life, Jefferson was an orthodox, Trinitarian [Read More…]

Re-envisioning Our Public: The Conference on Faith and History 2014

For decades, committed evangelicals such as Richard Pierard, Robert Linder, George Marsden, Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch and others worked towards two different goals aimed at two different audiences.  First, to an evangelical constituency in which fundamentalism’s suspicion of the academy lingered, they cultivated the idea of history as a legitimate Christian vocation.  Second, building on [Read More…]

Scripture as Usable History

The Bicentennial Bible (1975) and the American Patriot’s Bible (2009) tie scripture closely to right-wing politics. The marginal notes feature quotations from Dick Cheney and other conservative activists on the subjects of liberty and the efficacy of public school prayer and free-markets. The Bicentennial Bible declares that Scripture is “America’s Book from Almighty God.” These [Read More…]

The “Evangelicals” Who Are Not Evangelicals

At the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim recently reviewed Steven Miller’s excellent book The Age of Evangelicalism, which I also reviewed at The Gospel Coalition. In my review, I suggested that evangelicals’ necessary engagement in politics has defined evangelicals by their politics and politicians, such as George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Swaim helpfully raises the problem [Read More…]

Five from One: Happy Anniversary Patheos

As Tommy Kidd noted yesterday, we are in the middle of Patheos’ five-year-anniversary celebration.  Congratulations to Patheos for successfully “hosting the conversation on faith” for the past half-decade.  In my estimation, they have done a great job! For my part, this month marks a full year that I have had the privilege of writing for [Read More…]

“Experts” and Evangelical Subculture

In my recent post on platforms and publishing, I noted that certain “experts” seem to be mostly platform and little substance, and that evangelicals have a special fondness for these sorts of pop experts. Matthew Lee Anderson subsequently asked me to address the question “Why do you think evangelicals are especially vulnerable to ‘experts’?” I am [Read More…]

Flipping the Bird: Reflections on a Thanksgiving Fraud

Americans generally view Thanksgiving as an idyllic affair. Kind Indians wearing paper feathers teaching black-and-white clad Pilgrims to survive in the New England wild. Sitting down to eat tryptophan together. And celebrating, if Rush Limbaugh is to be believed in his just-released book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, that “capitalism and Scripture saved the [Read More…]


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