In which I mercilessly criticize Ed Stetzer

I linked to Southern Baptist pollster Ed Stetzer’s lamentation about Fox-induced fantasies replacing reality, and I compared his comments to Rachel Maddow’s sharp response to the “conservative bubble” that burst on Election Day.

Turns out Stetzer also thought Maddow had a good point:

It is time to face reality for some evangelicals — making up your own set of facts is not helping. Being known for conspiracies is hurting. It’s not everyone, and perhaps it is not most, but it is just too many.

Stetzer’s post is notable, too, as a window on what it’s like to operate within the evangelical subculture. In recommending a commentary from Rachel Maddow, he has to preface and qualify and clarify and delineate, repeatedly, that he isn’t offering a blank-check endorsement of everything she has ever said or ever might say.

To avoid causing him trouble with “the usual suspects,” let’s just pretend I have nothing at all nice to say about Ed Stetzer.

“I recognize the usual suspects will likely forward this around and say I am promoting Rachel Maddow’s worldview,” Stetzer writes. “This is not the case …”

He makes it very, very clear that this is not the case, pre-empting this criticism from “the usual suspects” in every way possible.

But it’s unlikely that will satisfy them. Nitpickers gotta pick nits. Gatekeepers gotta keep gates. He mentioned Rachel Maddow favorably, and in the subculture of Southern Baptists, that’s a crime that will need to be punished.

I feel bad for Stetzer. I very much disagree with him on many points — he’s a conservative and I’m a liberal. But he seems like a nice guy and a reasonable fellow.

I worry, though, that my saying as much may be compounding his troubles. It won’t help his standing with “the usual suspects” for a pro-choice, pro-gay, evolutionist northern Baptist like myself to be found saying nice things about him.

As President Obama joked after saying nice things about Paul Ryan in 2010, “By the way, in case he’s going to get a [primary] challenge, I didn’t mean it. … Don’t want to hurt you, man.”

So if anyone asks, just say I viciously attacked Stetzer, calling him a right-wing hack and all sorts of other nasty names.

Related, from Goblinbooks: “A Message to America From Reality

And from Adam Serwer: “Conservative media lies to its audience because much of its audience wants to be lied to. Those lies actually have far more drastic consequences for governance (think birthers and death panels) than for elections, where the results can’t be, for lack of a better word, ‘skewed.'”

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Steve Buchheit notes that interactive digital TV isn’t as developed as it should be:

For all this talk about interactive television (viewing experience), there should be a setting you could make that would say, “I’ve voted, no need to show me political ads anymore.” Although I would expect people would hit that in any case.

I like where this is going. What if such an “Already Voted” setting weren’t controlled on the user’s end, but was coordinated by the local elections board and the digital TV provider? As soon as the votes of everyone in your household are processed, your account switches to AV status and election ads are replaced with the somewhat-less-shrill-and-annoying ads that run when it’s not campaign season.

That would be a great incentive to encourage early voting.

Of course, digital TV doesn’t have its act together anywhere near enough to be able to do this. Just like with the Web, it seems to introduce all kinds of potential for targeted advertising, but also just like with the Web, no one has figured out how to sell such ads.

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Darlene Kelley has some sharp thoughts on “local church diversity.”

What she says here seems true not just for local church congregations but maybe also, I think, for national political parties beginning the process of self-examination after getting shellacked due to their utter failure to appeal to a diverse range of voters:

It’s one thing to invite people of various cultures to the table – changing them positionally from being an outsider to an insider, it’s a totally different dynamic to share the authority that comes with the position. I learned this during my time on staff at the Caucasian congregation as I was repeatedly left out of important meetings and decisions, as my authority even in the area where I was invited to lead was even nonexistent. The dynamics of being a women on a male staff, and not only a woman, but the only person of color, made it nearly impossible for me to lead. I had a position, but I soon discovered that the authority that was to accompany the position was not a reality. Sadly, this eventually lead to feelings of tokenism. If you are a church leader, particularly if you are a member of the dominant group/race/culture, remember not just to embrace the lofty idea of giving positions to people of minority groups/race/cultures, but be prepared to also share the power and authority that is appropriate for such positions.

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