The Cult of the In-Group

Well, it was only a matter of time until someone made this argument:In Matt 25, when Jesus talks about caring for "the least of these," he isn't talking about the poor in general, but fellow Christians.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 17, 2017Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goats, has long been a thorn in the side of the religious right. It's a story that's supposed to take place on judgment day, where Jesus exalts some people and condemns others for how they … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Roaring Twenties

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 4The 1920s in America were a glamorous, atmospheric decade of excess, social upheaval and cultural ferment. Al Capone and other legendary gangsters shot their way into the public consciousness, whether as lurid villains or Robin Hood-esque antiheroes. F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized Jazz Age wealth and decadence in novels like The Great Gatsby. Radio and cinema conquered culture as the new organs of mass media. The Harlem Renaissance was at its height, … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: The Art of the Interview

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3We've seen that Howard Roark's goal is to apprentice with Henry Cameron, a once-renowned modernist architect who lost his business and sank into obscurity when he refused to move with the times. In this chapter, while Peter Keating is reporting for his first day of work at Francon & Heyer, Roark is across town climbing the stairs to Cameron's crumbling slum of an office:Henry Cameron sat at his desk at the end of a long, bare room. He sat bent … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Market Forces

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3In last week's post, we met Guy Francon, who was once a famous architect but now spends all his time drinking and gorging himself at fancy dinners. Here's how he made his reputation:The Frink National Bank Building displayed the entire history of Roman art in well-chosen specimens; for a long time it had been considered the best building of the city, because no other structure could boast a single Classical item which it did not possess. It offered so … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: McMansion Hell

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3Peter Keating shows up for his first day of work at Francon & Heyer, the prestigious New York architectural firm. At first he's impressed by the well-dressed people and the lavish office (its walls decorated with "etchings of Greek temples", naturally - damn those evil Greeks).When he sits down at a drafting table, he fears the plans he's been given to work on are "someone's tremendous achievement which he could neither question nor equal". But he soon … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Know Thyself

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 2When Peter Keating returns to his mother's house in town that night, Howard Roark is sitting on the porch. The two of them are roommates; Roark is renting a room in his mother's boarding house.The two of them are friends (frenemies?), of a sort. Roark congratulates Keating for his graduation, utterly indifferent to his own expulsion. Meanwhile, Keating thinks that Roark is "the one person whom he had wanted to see tonight". He tells Roark that he … [Read more...]

Some Right-Wing Christians Enthusiastically Promoting a Form of Genocide

This column was originally published on AlterNet.In 2014, Charisma magazine, a major media outlet for evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, published an open call to genocide. The article in question, titled "Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic" [sic] and written by Gary Cass, begins with the premise that "every true follower of Mohammed" wants to "subjugate and murder" non-Muslims, and therefore it's impossible for Christians to live together peacefully with them.Cass proposes three … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: No Man Is an Island

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 2It's graduation day at Stanton, where Howard Roark has just been expelled. A line from the previous chapter fixes the date as 1922:WELCOME TO THE CLASS OF '22! GOOD LUCK, CLASS OF '22! The Class of '22 of the Stanton Institute of Technology was holding its commencement exercises that afternoon.The graduating students are crowded into an auditorium for the ceremony. Among them, we meet the second major character of The Fountainhead, Peter … [Read more...]

Can Married Christians Go to Heaven?

Christians today are known for obsessively policing people's sexual behavior. But hard as it is to believe, their ancient predecessors were even more strict. To see how this can be so, let's examine a surprising, little-known Bible verse.In this New Testament passage, Jesus is being interrogated by the Sadducees, a Jewish sect skeptical of resurrection. They ask, if a woman's husband dies and she remarries, which one's husband will she be in heaven? Jesus' astonishing response is that the … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Very Bad Architect

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 1As we've learned, Howard Roark has his own idiosyncratic style which is the only way he'll design buildings. He even refuses to do schoolwork that requires him to sketch a building in a classical style. Because of this, he's dropping out of college to launch his career. But with an attitude like that, what makes him think he's going to fare any better in the working world?"Look here, Roark," said the Dean gently. "You have worked hard for your … [Read more...]