Top posts of the year, from Chick-fil-A to Happy Meals

Thank you to everyone who visited, read and commented here in 2012.

Here’s a quick video recap of the highlights of the past year:

That’s actually “Our Story in 1 Minute” — which covers a bit more than just the past year, but I think there’s a couple seconds there at the end from 2012. I saw that via Phil Plait, who also points to the video “Timeline: The Age of the Universe,” a history of everything in 14 minutes — thus covering roughly a billion years per minute. Helps keep all the usual Dec. 31 retrospectives in retroperspective.

Anyway, here are the posts from the past year here that got the most attention.

15. Who’s afraid of Rachel Held Evans?

Evangelical gatekeepers are scared of Rachel Held Evans. Her next book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, comes out later this month and already they’re panicking.

14. Why the white evangelical religious right can no longer presume to claim moral superiority

Part of what happened on Tuesday was that millions of people rejected that claim on moral grounds. This was not just a political or pragmatic disagreement that preserved their essential claim of godly morality. It was a powerful counter-claim — the claim that the religious right is advocating immoral, unjust and cruelly unfair policies on both of its hallmark issues. Knee-jerk opposition to legal abortion and to gay rights weren’t just rejected as bad policy, but as bad morals — as being on the wrong side of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, biblical vs. unbiblical, moral vs. immoral.

13. The men of the Gospel Coalition really, really hate women

Doug Wilson is unwell, unwhole and unhinged. God have mercy on Mrs. Wilson, and on all her daughters.

12. Stance vs. substance: Why evangelicals are confused about the actual harm Chick-fil-A is doing to actual people

For evangelicals, one’s “stance” determines one’s standing. What does it mean that a stance is the all-important determinant of one’s status and legitimacy in the community? Part of what it shows, I think, is the way that stance trumps sub-stance.

11. Election predictions from the sub-Christian religious right

What happens if Obama wins? The sky will fall, the moon will turn to blood, the seas will boil, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria!

10. No, no, no: We were fine with the racism, but the adultery is upsetting

Conspiratorial warnings about Africans and anti-colonialism contributed to Dinesh D’Souza’s legitimacy among evangelicals.

9. NRA: Marchons, marchons!

That scene from Casablanca is what it should mean to sing hymns in church under the reign of the imperial beast. John of Patmos would understand that scene. I don’t think Tim LaHaye would.

8. You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it

It’s probably best to be fair and also kind, but fairness is the important part. As long as you’re fair, no one else will really care whether or not you’re particularly kindly about it. But if you’re not fair, then kindness isn’t even a possibility.

7. Hey, remember when evangelicals were pro-choice because of the Bible? What a difference 30 years makes

Maybe the best summary of that history is just to quote Spike and Denzel: “I say and I say it again, you’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok.”

6. Do Republicans realize they’ve just called for the repeal of welfare reform?

No matter what women do, it’s their fault. If they get a job and earn a living in the marketplace, then it’s their fault because they should be staying home to raise their children. If they stay at home to raise their children, then it’s their fault because they need to stop being so lazy and go get a job. If you’re a mother, the GOP says, then whatever it is you’re doing is wrong.

5. The Wire: Season 6

I’m both relieved and disappointed that the show did not continue for a sixth season. That left another key institution spared from this same harsh examination. I’m thinking of the church — a powerful, visible, historically important institution in Baltimore and other great American cities.

4. A documented case of false prophecy: Four years later, ‘Letter from 2012’ makes Focus on the Family look ridiculous

Focus on the Family made 34 specific, detailed predictions about what would happen in “Obama’s America.” They came up 0-for-34.

3. The biblical view that’s younger than the Happy Meal

At some point between 1968 and 2012, the Bible began to say something different. That’s interesting.

Even more interesting is how thoroughly the record has been rewritten. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

2. Mischief follows in partisan Bible translations

The New American Standard Bible translated this passage that same way up until 1977. But something changed between 1977 and 1995 — something that had nothing to do with scholarship, language, accuracy, fidelity or readability.

American politics had changed between 1977 and 1995. It had polarized and radicalized millions of American Protestants, rallying them around a single issue and thus, as intended, rallying them behind a single political party.

In 1977, the sort of American Protestants who purchased most Bibles couldn’t be summed up in a single word. But by 1995, they could be: “abortion.”

1. Mitt Romney tells 533 lies in 30 weeks, Steve Benen documents them

Mitt Romney lies. A lot. He lies more than any other national candidate for office in my lifetime. And I was born before the Nixon administration.


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  • Reading over these posts, it’s always amazing how the comment threads resemble hedgerows more than they resemble strings. :)

  • aunursa

    The only Left Behind post appears in the rankings, not because of our host’s brilliant insight into The Rise of Antichrist, but because of the traffic generated by the concurrent meltdown of the Slacktiverse site.  Figures.

  • Guest

    with love from the UK.

  • Incidentally, upon reading this in the old LB post…

    For example, on Slactiverse, I just asked for an explination of the
    transhuman trigger, after looking up what “transhumanism” is.

    I am now actually quite curious as to the story behind this. If whoever wants to explain would mind commenting on my blog to allow me to e-mail them regarding this I would appreciate it.

  • WalterC

     Well, these things are based only on the number of comments, not the depth of the comments or even how many people responded (if it’s an argument between three people that went on for three weeks, it’ll likely have more replies than a discussion that involved two dozen people that lasted five days.)

    It’s analogous to those “box office record breaker” things that people do with movies, that never take into account inflation, rises in ticket prices, ease of obtaining international box office receipts, etc. If you just look at those, you get the impression that every successful movie in 2012 is inherently more profitable than every successful movie from 30 years ago, when that’s not usually the case.

  • LL

    My wish for 2013 is to hear a lot less from Republican politicians. 

    I’m not holding my breath on that one, but I can dream …

  • Jeff Weskamp

    Where I’m at (Colorado), it will be 2013 in 3 more hours.  And in 1 hour, America will go off the edge of the Fiscal Cliff.  It doesn’t look like a deal will be made anytime soon….

    Happy New Year to everybody here!

  • Trixie_Belden

    Happy New Year to Fred and everybody here!  Thank to Fred for all the great posts he’s written!  Thanks also to the other commenters – I’ve received a lot of pleasure from reading the comments as well as Fred’s posts.

  • J_Enigma23

     I’m actually the genius behind that.  I’ll post the story over on your blog.

  • Got it, thanks. :)

  • Andrew_Ryans_Caddy

    Especially because sometimes there’s a bustle in them. 

  • Trixie_Belden

    I’m not alarmed, though.

  • Redcrow

    Happy New Year!

  • christopher_y

    Happy new year Mr (Dr?) Clark, and all the usual suspects!

  • vsm

    My first act this year was reading through that entire thread. I’m not very knowledgeable about New Year’s magic, but that can’t be good.

    It’s a fascinating case, though. Very R.W. Fassbinder in Deutschland im Herbst.

  • Carstonio

    Congratulations to all the same-sex couples in my state who are getting legally married today:,0,4132167.story

  • Lori


    If you just look at those, you get the impression that every successful
    movie in 2012 is inherently more profitable than every successful movie
    from 30 years ago, when that’s not usually the case. 

    Today’s trivia fun fact—in inflation adjusted dollars Gone With The Wind is still the highest grossing movie.

    (There are movies on that list that surprised me quite a bit and a few that are just depressing.)

  • Happy 2013 everyone! :D (so far :P )

  • Rowen

     I thought that was me, because I know I had a similar issue of seeing the TW, looking it up, being really confused and asking what it was and then getting my head bitten off for asking, and then when I explained that I HAD looked it up, got a long, drawn out “well, I hate explaining this but I guess I’ll have to do this AGAIN” non-explination.