Do white evangelicals have a delusional persecution complex? Barna says yes, and provides quantifiable proof

After discussing the limits of the survey research and data supplied by the Barna Group, let’s turn to the merits of it, and what such research can tell us.

Barna surveys may not always help to tell us about how behavior actually corresponds to attitudes or perceptions, but they can be quite helpful in telling us how widespread particular attitudes or perceptions actually are.

For example, a friend of mine dislikes Brussels sprouts and says, “No one likes Brussels sprouts.” That’s quite a sweeping claim, but to what extent is it true? A survey is a useful way of finding out. We can measure what percentage of people share my friend’s dislike,* and thereby see whether her opinion is broadly representative or if she is an outlier — whether she is an exception to the norm or an accurate reflection of the majority view. It might be even better to find measurements of actual behavior — sales and consumption figures, for example, but a survey can still be a valuable tool for putting her comments in context.

Here’s a more concrete example relating to an actual bit of recent research reported by the Barna Group. Libby Anne recently highlighted a comment on her blog that seems to epitomize what many of us have observed as a widespread, delusional sense of persecution on the part of many members of America’s privileged religious majority. The comment provides a remarkable specimen of what I call the “persecuted hegemon” — a person enjoying the rewards of cultural dominance while simultaneously insisting that they are aggrieved and suffering an injustice at the hands of people who are, in fact, marginalized minorities.

Here’s that comment:

As a matter of fact, it is [Christians'] rights that are being limited and we are becoming the minority in this nation. In many countries to even hint at being a Christian is the same as signing a death warrant. In our country they have taken away our right to pray in school, in some states we cannot even have private Bible study groups in our homes because it constitutes an illegal gathering, our organizations are being required to make the “abortion pill” a covered product on our insurance or be fined an absurd amount of money, our Christian doctors are being forced to consider if they even want to be doctors anymore or not because of a mandate that they must perform abortions……..and gay people are saying they don’t have rights?

As Libby Anne correctly notes, none of this person’s complaints correspond with reality. The examples of her perceived persecution are all imaginary and false. All of them.

Most of these false examples are, in fact, perversions and inversions of the actual facts of the matter. The comment is contradicted by the daily lived experience of the commenter.

This is a picture of Anne Hutchinson being expelled by the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Or, for white evangelicals, this is a picture of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony being cruelly persecuted by the wicked Anne Hutchinson.

This is delusional, and the delusion is doubly cruel. It is cruel, foremost, to the people who are actually marginalized and disenfranchised — who are being denied full and equal participation in society because they do not conform to the majority beliefs that this commenter insists must be mandatory for everyone else, and who are then, on top of that, being scapegoated and blamed as the supposed cause of the non-existent “persecution” being suffered by the privileged majority.

But it is also cruel to the commenter herself, fabricating a causeless source of misery and aggrievement, unnecessarily introducing stress where no such stress actually exists.

Now, both Libby Anne and I regard this comment as broadly representative of an attitude that we both see as widespread throughout the white evangelical subculture in America. But is that true? It’s possible, after all, that we’re simply cherry-picking data to support our thesis. Perhaps this one comment is not representative of anything other than the views of this lone commenter.

We can certainly demonstrate that this commenter is not unique. Scroll back through the archives of Libby Anne’s blog, or of this one, and you’ll see we both can provide dozens more examples of evangelical Christians exhibiting the same delusional persecution complex. But all of those examples put together still don’t prove that we’ve done anything more than identified what might still be only a small fringe sub-set of deluded white evangelicals. It may be that all of the anecdotes and examples we’ve collected and reported over the years are still just cherry-picked data selected only because they support our thesis of a broader evangelical persecution complex.

Another indicator of support for that thesis comes from the public statements of prominent white evangelical leaders. A single blog comment may reflect nothing more than the opinions of a lone commenter, but if the sentiments it expresses are repeated by a host of prominent white evangelicals in leadership positions, that would seem to indicate that such sentiments are more widely held.

That’s one thing that can be gleaned from a recent post at Homebrewed Christianity titled “On Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society,” which cites several such prominent evangelical luminaries echoing the persecution complex described by Libby Anne’s commenter.

Christian at Homebrewed Theology mentions the “Manhattan Declaration,” a 2009 manifesto embodying this same persecution complex which was endorsed by a who’s who of white evangelical leaders. And then he points to a recent column by three of those Manhattan declarers, Robert George, Timothy George and Eric “Call Me Dietrich” Metaxas, in which they lament the supposed persecution of the Christian majority:

They say there are numerous examples, and then pick three:

1. The brouhaha over Louie Giglio and the Inaguration.

2. The contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

3. The demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Of these three, exactly none are “religious freedom” issues.

None.

They are, without exception, religious primacy issues.

None of these impact, in any measurable way, the ability of the Conservative Christian community to practice their faith openly and without fear of persecution in the United States.

In a pluralistic society, there’s a general rule. Your right to swing your fist ends at the other guy’s nose. That means, in a pluralistic society, for the health of the society, there’s a give and take. It’s the essence of the social contract that we live under when we decide to become a society.

When people like the authors above, or the creators of the Manhattan Declaration, complain that, not faith, but that their particular embodiment of faith isn’t given supremacy above all others and cries of “persecution” are heard, it is rightfully interpreted as an innate hatred of the rest of society and disdain for the social contract we all live under.

There’s a name for people who believe they, and their beliefs, should always be kowtowed to no matter what …

… they’re called sociopaths.

Well, yes. But it’s one thing to say that Metaxas and the Georges and the commenter at Libby Anne’s blog are delusional sociopaths who hate the rest of society — that much is obvious. It’s quite another thing to demonstrate that this hate-fueled delusion is more widely present within the broader white evangelical subculture.

And that’s where the latest survey from the Barna Group comes in. Because that survey provides what all those anecdotal examples cannot provide: Quantifiable proof that a majority of white evangelical Americans are hate-fueled sociopaths making themselves and others miserable with a perverse and delusional persecution complex.

Barna doesn’t quite put it as strongly as that, but the implication is identical. A majority of white evangelicals “want Judeo-Christians to dominate the culture,” said David Kinnamon, president of the Barna Group.

“Dominate.” Or, as Christian said, it’s not about religious liberty, it’s about religious primacy.

The findings of a poll published Wednesday (Jan. 23), reveal a “double standard” among a significant portion of evangelicals on the question of religious liberty, said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, a California think tank that studies American religion and culture.

While these Christians are particularly concerned that religious freedoms are being eroded in this country, “they also want Judeo-Christians to dominate the culture,” said Kinnamon.

“They cannot have it both ways,” he said. “This does not mean putting Judeo-Christian values aside, but it will require a renegotiation of those values in the public square as America increasingly becomes a multi-faith nation.”

Barna’s survey also found white evangelicals enthusiastically eager to lay blame to others for their perceived “persecution.” Nearly three-fourths of white evangelicals, “72 percent … agreed that gays and lesbians were the group ‘most active in trying to remove Christian values from the country.’”

Again, that’s a direct inversion and deliberate perversion of the daily, felt, known and experienced reality for those very same evangelicals. They cannot be unaware that evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country. In a sense, I suppose, this survey response is an expression of that same desire to rid society of all such unwanted people — a way of restating the emphatic belief that their presence and very existence is a threat to the majority’s “values.”

That survey finding cannot be explained other than, in Christian’s words again, as evidence of “an innate hatred of the rest of society and disdain for the social contract we all live under.”

And it’s not just the attitude of a few outliers nut-picked from comment sections or of a few of the more outrageous pseudo-intellectual posers like Metaxas or the Georges. This delusional sociopathy is the majority view.

An old professor of mine used to say that social science sometimes amounted only to “the statistical approximation of the known,” and this survey may seem like that to many of us who have long observed what it quantifies. But that quantification also serves as evidence, as proof, of what we have been saying.

A great many white evangelicals have a delusional persecution complex. That delusion is an expression of a desire to dominate others and to scapegoat any others who refuse to be dominated.

Thanks to Barna’s survey, we know that’s not just a theory or just an argument, it’s a fact.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* I suspect those who agree with her are thinking mainly of boiled Brussels sprouts, which is unfair. Nothing is very appealing if you insist on cooking all the flavor out of it.

Brussels sprouts should be broiled — cut in half, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper or lemon, then cooked in an oven, not boiled on a stove. Just saying.

  • Jeff

    Where in the survey does it say that the evangelical respondents were white?  Fred, the sad fact is that you are much more of a racist than the evangelicals you so bitterly loathe, because you obsess much more about skin color than they do.

    That aside, it seems to me you’re reading far too much into what appears to be a badly written survey question.  If you asked me (an evangelical) whether one set of values should “dominate” culture, it’s hard to answer; I’d want to know if the questioner meant dominate in the sense of being the majority view (in which case I’d agree), or dominate in the sense of suppressing other views (in which case I’d disagree).  And I’d want to know if it had in view “domination” by being the most popular, or being compulsory.  Of course, the survey question doesn’t allow for that level of nuance.  But judging from the overwhelming affirmative response to the 3rd item (religious freedom), it strongly suggests that your characterization of the evangelical response as hate-fueled and sociopathic is merely a case of confirmation bias on your part, and not a clear-headed objective analysis of the actual data.   

  • P J Evans

     Well, the doughnut ball I tried that was frosted, with bacon bits in the frosting, would have been much better without the bacon bits. (Too much smoke. Doesn’t go with sugar.)

  • Lunch Meat

    the evangelicals you so bitterly loathe

    Fred’s an evangelical.

    But judging from the overwhelming affirmative response to the 3rd item (religious freedom), it strongly suggests that your characterization of
    the evangelical response as hate-fueled and sociopathic is merely a case
    of confirmation bias on your part, and not a clear-headed objective
    analysis of the actual data.

    Or that they don’t understand what religious freedom for everyone means.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    there was a video on YouTube on why it’s important to call out *racism* but not call people *racist*

    You’re thinking, I think, of a rather excellent talk by Jay Smooth, which I shan’t look up now because I’m in work. Yes, I know the word excellent is redundant before the phrase by Jay Smooth, but still, this one was even more excellent than most.

    TRiG.

  • CutThroughIt

    So Christians are sociopaths, people with no empathy or compassion, unless it’s people in their sphere, that they agree with.

    That certainly would explain why Christians began and sustain some of the world’s largest international relief groups, like the Salvation Army, World Vision, Compassion International, and Samaritan’s Purse.

    Yeah, makes sense.

  • Sara

    Jeff, part of the privilege means that people who have it don’t have to think about, or even acknowledge, their privilege.  Being white in the U.S. means that I very seldom have to think about my race.  I often don’t think of myself as white, I just think of myself as myself.  But people of other ethnicities very seldom get to do that.   Because our culture sees whiteness as “the norm”, a message is communicated in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that they are “other.”  It makes sense that Fred thinks about race more than many white evangelicals.  So much of what this blog does is call out privilege.

  • Sara

    Hi MaryKaye,

    Thanks so much.  I’ve found a wonderful church and I’m starting to rebuild that sense of community.  I know that many Christians in our area don’t recognize my church as legitimate (because there’s a bunch of LGBT people in it), but opinions are changing, slowly but surely.  And I suppose the opinions of people who believe the the phrase “LGBT Christians” is an oxymoron should stop mattering to me anyway.  :)

  • Wednesday

    I thought you were asking a question you wanted an answer to. So I answered it, admittedly using things you already probably knew, since I figured you wouldn’t have asked the question if you’d made the connection between all of those things. I also figured that if you’d made those connections, you probably would’ve known better than to use the phrase “playing the minority card when things don’t go their way” in a way that included reference to legitimately oppressed groups.

  • Zorya_EvenStar

    I saw these attitudes over 30 years ago when I was a college student.  The difference is the Christian Evangelical community has more access to the levers of power in the US.

  • monarchos8@hotmail.com

     I don’t know how to reply to the article and not individual posts.  This is not meant specifically for Zorya EvenStar (although I like the name.)

    I read through all of the responses to this article, taking out the suggestions for Brussel Sprouts, most of the comments are debating whether or not Evangelicals are sociopaths or psychopaths (or both).

    Does nobody see any persecution in that trend?

    I am not an Evangelical.  Truthfully, I don’t even know what it means to be one.  That being said, I am disappointed when their opinions are marginalized.  On the internet it seems all too common.

    Also (stupid question), according to the blog, “They cannot be unaware that evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country.”

    Where is this happening?  Is anybody really trying to remove LGBT’s from the country?  Or is that just an exaggeration?

  • Makabit

    She’s read all of the Left Behind books (and made me read them, too, which is why I’ve been coming to this blog–it’s my support group) and is terrified that our president could be the antichrist, even though he’s not from Romania (or the UN).

    I’m sorry she, and you, are going through this. I would add, though, that Barack Obama looks very little like Robert Redford at any age, which might be a bit of a consolation. Or not.

  • Makabit

    Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman described this phenomenon well in Good Omens. There’s a character described as an Anglican because while he never went to church, the church he didn’t go to was the local Anglican church. He would never have considered not going to the local Catholic church.

    Years ago, I read a piece by an American Catholic photographer who wandered into a Protestant neighborhood in Belfast during the 12th of July festivities. He was asked his religion. He says that if he’d had the guts, he would have told them that he was a Catholic, which meant that he didn’t attend a different church from the one they didn’t attend, but he was afraid of being lynched, so he told them he was a Jew. He says he’s quite proud of being one of a very small and select group of people who have claimed to be Jewish to avoid religious persecution.

    They quoted some anti-Semitic jingle and gave him a drink.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Salvation Army is known to have problems dealing fairly and properly with QUILTBAG people.

    Let’s not pat ourselves on the back, CutThroughIt, mmkay?

  • formerHACgirl

    Great post! Thanks for your well-thought-out discussion, although I do agree with other commenters that the “sociopath” comments were a little much.
    Also, not to offend you, but the picture you posted is of Mary Dyer being led to her execution, not of Anne Hutchinson on her way to banishment.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    most of the comments are debating whether or not Evangelicals are sociopaths or psychopaths (or both)

    I think most of the comments are saying that neither term is appropriate here and are taking Fred (the blog writer) to task for misusing sociopathy in a way unfair to both sociopaths and Evangelicals.

    Is anybody really trying to remove LGBT’s from the country? Or is that just an exaggeration?

    I think you are misunderstanding the use of “remove” in this context. Aside from some notable exceptions, this is not about a physical removal, but about the results- both explicit and implicit- that would follow the successful denial of both equal rights for LGBT people and the denial of even their existence (as seen with the language of “lifestyle choices,” “reparative therapy,” “everyone already has the same rights,” “don’t shove it down our throats,” etc etc).

    Whether they recognize it or not, when Evangelicals and their allies fight against marriage rights, employment rights, housing rights, anti-bullying campaigns; when they fight for DOMA and DADT; when they use bad science to conflate gay men with child molesters and deny the reality and experience of LGBT people in general; when they fight to keep LGBT people politically, socially, culturally marginalized (Ellen isn’t even allowed to have a job, fer chrissakes!); they are effectively trying to force millions of Americans back into the closet and keep millions more from ever coming out. That is the sense in which “evangelicals are the group most active in trying to remove LGBT people from the country.”

  • P J Evans

    It’s still a picture religious persecution. (The people in Massachusetts didn’t like Baptists and Antinomians any more than they liked Quakers – although they’d probably have admitted that Baptists and Antinomians were kind-of-Christians and thrown them in prison instead of executing them.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.leach Gary Leach

    This is the fundamental way…

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > Does nobody see any persecution in that trend?

    As I’ve said a few times before, I invite you to look at the big picture.

    Is it physical abuse if you shove me into a wall? Sure, absolutely.

    If I’m three times bigger than you are and I have been consistently shoving you around, knocking you down, and walking over you, and I’ve showed no signs of responding to your attempts to talk to me or get me to stop, and you eventually shove me into a wall to get me out of your face, is it still physical abuse?

    Sure, absolutely.

    If everyone then gathers around and chastises you for how badly you treated me by shoving me into a wall, but takes no steps to address how I’ve been treating you and continue to treat you, are they correct that shoving me into a wall wasn’t a good choice?

    Yes, probably.

    Are they treating you fairly or decently? No.

    Context matters. In the context I describe, as long as I keep insisting that we should be talking about how you’ve shoved me into a wall and how bad that is and how abused I am and how abusive you are, and refusing to talk about the larger context of how I’ve been treating you, I’m not actually fighting abuse. I’m facilitating it. And everyone who goes along with me is facilitating it.

    Maybe I don’t realize that.
    Then again, maybe I realize it perfectly well.

    So, again, I invite you to look at the big picture.

  • AnonymousSam

    The problem with psychology is that there are countless divisions in what practitioners feel is the best method for treatment and diagnosis. As an example, I’ve participated in the debate about removing Schizophrenia from the DSM and divide up its components into separate diagnoses. At the time I was in college, the first edition of the DSM-IV had just been published and we were taught that Schizophrenia fell into three categories- Delusional, Disorganized and Catatonic (Catatonic wasn’t the word, but I can’t recall what it was and that’s what it’s being called now). According to Wikipedia, there are two additional subtypes in the DSM-IV-TR–Undifferentiated and Residual–and the people putting together the DSM-V want to remove all five and reclassify them.

    So yeah, on the one hand, I can fully understand disagreement on what constitutes Antisocial Personality Disorder or sociopathy. On the other hand, I have my own experiences to draw from and one would think I’d be somewhat of an authority on the subject. On the third hand, I have a problem where I listen to the words coming out of my mouth/from my fingers and recognize how often I begin a sentence with the letter “I” and start to think it sounds ridiculous (in other words, I am narcissistic, but I also have low self-esteem).

    It’s enough to make me wish I could afford treatment, because I’m curious whether a new clinician would affirm my previous diagnosis. If you ask a psychiatrist how you cure APD, he or she would probably say “You don’t, really.” Personality disorders as a genre earn their designation by consisting of negative personality types that are inflexible, slow to change and establish patterns of behavior that the patient will often revert to in times of stress or inattentiveness. You can treat them, but curing them is kind of like curing alcoholism — one day at a time keeping a stern eye so the patient doesn’t fall off the wagon.

    Yet here I am, not in prison, not in therapy, not on medication, and even if I struggle with my nature, the fact that I recognize that and override my impulses to demonstrate concern for others would be considered an anomaly in every sense of the word. I’ve never heard of anyone in my shoes who wasn’t just faking it to keep out of prison, much less had taken long-term commitments that make falling off the wagon a non-option.

  • http://spiritnewsdaily.com/ Donovan Moore

    It’s easier to put the blame on others than to take the log out of our own eye.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Since it took me a while to track it down, and then I saw your post:

    He quite liked nuns. Not that he was a, you know, left-footer or anything like that. No, when it came to avoiding going to church, the church he stolidly avoided going to was St. Cecil and All Angels, no-nonsense C. of E., and he wouldn’t have dreamed of avoiding going to any other.

  • 65snake

     Well, since christianity  basically branched off from judaism, “judeo-christian”  is not an inaccurate descriptor, and the christian holy book includes the jewish holy book.

  • AnonymousSam

    No, not “Christians.” Certain groups of people calling themselves Christians, usually conservative ideological groups, in particular those who exercise political power in an attempt to force people to conform to their beliefs. Saying “Christians” by fiat would be silly considering both the blog writer and many of the people here identify as Christians.

    Would also note, though, the Salvation Army has been reported discriminating against homosexuals and refusing to distribute “pagan” merchandise, such as Harry Potter books. They’re not above criticism.

  • AnonymousSam

     Short answer: Yes, there are people trying to remove LGBT’s from the country, or at least make any expression of homosexuality punishable by law.

    Long answer: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/frc-offers-prayer-calling-to-make-homosexuality-and-gay-marriage-illegal/politics/2012/09/14/48999

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Disqus is being its usual helpful self wrt identifying what this is a reply to, so sorry if I’m missing context here.

    Insofar as “judeo-christian” is used as an identifier of the shared subset of text, practices, etc., I have no problem with the term. E.g., neither keeping kosher nor using a cross as a holy symbol are judeo-christian practices, but treating the Old Testament as scripture is.

    In the same sense, we can talk about “islamo-christian” practices, or “christo-buddhist” practices, or various other overlaps.

    That said, I generally doubt that “judeo-christian” is being used to mean that in practice.

  • http://bramboniusinenglish.wordpress.com Brambonius

    I love Brussels sprouts. But then again, I’m a Belgian. 

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Brussel sprouts are best pickled.  You’re welcome.

    OMG you just put a thought in my head: Brussel sprout kimchi.

    makes shopping list for cabbage season

    So, I dislike cilantro. And any time it’s come up in conversation, I have had friends enthusiastically and knowingly cut me off with, “Oh, you must be one of those genetically predisposed to think cilantro tastes like soap!” I have to wait for them to calm down a bit so I can explain, “No, I don’t think cilantro tastes like soap. I think it tastes like cilantro. I simply dislike cilantro.”

    So I cringe when I hear, “You don’t like brussel sprouts? Your parents must have overboiled it/you must be a supertaster/you must be genetically disposed to find brassicas overwhelmingly bitter.” There’s another possibility: Maybe they just don’t like brussel sprouts.

    So. To my brassica-disliking friends: I respect you. I respect your likes and dislikes. I pity you, because I think brussel sprouts when prepared well are like candy, but I respect you. Salud!

  • Charles

    MaryKaye, I couldn’t agree more.   The article makes a good point, but its sad to see the author being reactive and name calling.  That’s being dragged down to the level of many of the intolerant fundamentalists, as tempting as that may be.  More effective to take the high ground, than to get defamatory and inaccurate.  

  • Charles

    So we should drop to their level?

  • Leum

     Well,
    since christianity  basically branched off from judaism,
    “judeo-christian”  is not an inaccurate descriptor, and the christian
    holy book includes the jewish holy book.

    Not really. Judaism and Christianity both branched off of what might be called”proto-Judaism,” a religion centered around a Temple and animal sacrifices. Modern (i.e. rabbinical) Judaism is Torah-centered, has canonized the Tanach (while there were other sacred scriptures in proto-Judaism, they weren’t canonized, hence the inclusion of works in the Septuagint not included in the Tanach), and has values that differ in many ways from Christian values. One of the biggest that springs to mind is that Judaism requires you be forgiven by the person against whom you sinned before God can forgive you. Hence murder is an unforgivable sin in Judaism.

  • veejayem

    Especially roasted, with bacon and chestnuts. Trust me.

  • veejayem

    I spent my childhood firmly believing that sausages were only available in black, with a thick coating of carbon. My mother wasn’t a bad cook, just easily distracted.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Jeudeo-Christian’ as a term is generally used by conservative/evangelical Christians who seem to prefer Moses and Leviticus to the teachings of Jesus. (What they really seem to mean is ‘our way or no way’.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1490048298 Ellen S Goodridge

     Yeah; I was just thinking that I will have to try them that way. I’ve only had them boiled, and found them unpleasantly bitter.

  • veejayem

    Thank you for the recipe! I am definitely going to try it.

  • Slow Learner

    http://xkcd.com/774/

    Fred has been calling out bad behaviour amongst Evangelicals for *years*. He had been doing it for years before I found his blog, and that was a while ago now.
    I can forgive him more than a little snark by now, as they keep doing the same things, often even bigger.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    “Judeo-Christian values” is one of those terms that conservative ideologues use when they want Christian primacy, but don’t want to admit it.  There’s nothing “Judeo” about insisting on keeping a Jesus picture prominently displayed in a public school, for instance.

    It’s also a none-too-subtle snub of Islam, even though the three religions have the same roots.  A more accurate term would be “Abrahamic”.

  • Janey

    Why do you type white in lowercase? It should be capitalized just like every other people.

  • LivinginVA

    Wonder if it’s the same sort of thing as cilantro.    My husband thought he was nuts because he said cilantro was like chewing on tin foil until he read an article about it.  Turns out that is true of a certain portion of the population (there’s also a group to whom it tastes like soap).

  • LivinginVA

    Some of the extreme evangelicals will openly say you have no right to identify yourself as Christian unless you believe what they do.  I’ve had folks tell me that it is a sin and mockery to call myself a Christian – I belong to a denomination that supports same sex marriage.  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I’m surprised they didn’t ask him if he was a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew.

  • fraser

     Actually this is a halfway valid complaint. There have been cases of people having prayer or Bible study groups in their home and getting a code-enforcement violation: Some neighbor with a grudge complained that it was a “house of worship” and improperly zoned for that.
    But only half because it’s not state law, and it also happens to Jewish groups (probably more). And, of course, Muslims have trouble even building houses of worship in legally zoned sites.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I get a metallic taste from cilantro, too.  The first few times I ate something with cilantro in it, I thought that they’d left a metal spoon in the pot for too long.  Eventually I figured out that it was the cilantro and started picking it out.  I haven’t had that metallic taste since.

    I don’t really have an opinion on Brussels sprouts. I like some brassicas raw (cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi, specifically), though. I suspect that I would feel the same about Brussels sprouts.

    My mom always overcooked her asparagus. The first time I had asparagus that was actually crunchy, it was like discovering a whole new food.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Re: Judeo-Christian – Has it been pointed out yet that the “Old Testament” is not a point of commonality between Judaism and Christianity? For one thing, it would make no sense for a Jew to call their holy book the “Old Testament”, as they do not have a “New Testament” to call the first “Old” in relation to; secondly, as I understand it, the Tanakh doesn’t have its books in the same order as the Old Testament does, and it doesn’t have precisely the same set of books, either. (Then again, not all Christian Bibles are alike in that respect either.)

    I have to agree that I rarely hear that phrase outside of the context of “This isn’t religious! This is just a nod to the Judeo-Christian heritage of America! Never mind that there are more religions in American than Judaism and Christianity, and never mind that the ISwearIt’sNotReligious display is of a Christian cross…”

    The term I hear when the context is an actual good faith reference to shared elements between the faiths that revere/respect some form or set of the scripture in question is, as someone else pointed out, Abrahamic, and that includes Islam.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Kohlrabi!  nom nom nom

    Asparagus is great just lightly steamed.  It can be roasted, too, but roast it for more than 0.6 seconds and the texture becomes that of rope. 

    My dad often recalls his epiphany about asparagus–he hated it as a kid, because he grew up in 1950s Suburbia, U.S.A., and asparagus came in a can.  It was a revelation when he actually had it fresh.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I feel extremely weird being apparently the only person in the world who gets nostalgiac for canned vegetables and finds most fresh or frozen ones to be too tough and too aggressive in flavor..

  • Carstonio

     I love sautéed asparagus because of the way it caramelizes.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    I just tried the brussel sprouts with chicken broth/dijon mustard sauce method from upthread. I’m here to say it makes a tastiness out of frozen brussel sprouts which one fears might have a touch of the freezer burn.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Well, since christianity basically branched off from judaism, “judeo-christian” is not an inaccurate descriptor, and the christian holy book includes the jewish holy book.

    It is inaccurate when attempting to use Judaism and Jewish texts to support things that Christians believe and Jews do not. Which is, in my experience, most of the time the term is used.

  • PsychMajor

    sociopathy is not a mental illness.


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