White evangelical gatekeeping: A particularly ugly example in real time

Say you have a disagreement with another person about the meaning of a particular passage in the Bible. Do you engage them in an argument to try to show them why your interpretation is better? Or do you proclaim them a dangerous heretic and then demand that they be expelled from the tribe and fired from their job?

If you chose the latter, then you’ve got what it takes to be a Gatekeeper in the white evangelical tribe.

Let’s look at a current example of white evangelical gatekeeping as it unfolds before us in real time. This one involves Christianity Today in its usual role as good cop, and one of Al Mohler’s henchmen in his gang’s usual role as bad cop. This is an ugly, ugly business.

The subject is Eric A. Siebert, professor of Old Testament at Messiah College. Siebert is to be chastened by the tribe for a series of recent posts on Peter Enns’ blog:

1. When the “Good Book” Is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God

2. When the Bible Sanctions Violence, Must We?

3. Learning to Read the Bible Nonviolently

These are thoughtful, cautious essays on a subject that every Christian who has read the Bible must contend with. Genocide, slavery, concubinage, atrocities, slaughter and pillage are all part of the biblical story. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commended. At times in the Bible, these horrors are commanded.

Every Christian who reads the Bible must deal with this.

But white evangelicalism isn’t really about reading the Bible. It’s about using the Bible to enforce the boundaries of the tribe and the hierarchies within it.

Owen Strachan: Tribalist.

So the gatekeepers don’t share Siebert’s questions about these biblical tales of genocide, slavery, concubinage, etc. Those might be excellent questions, thoughtful questions, and crucially important questions, but that’s just the problem — they are questions.

Gatekeepers are not fond of questions. And those who ask them must be chastened.

So first up, the good cop. Christianity Today does its best to portray Siebert as “controversial” right off the bat with its headline: “Is the Bible Immoral? Messiah College Professor Says Yes, Sometimes.”

CT doesn’t engage Siebert’s argument because the important thing — the reason for its report — is not the substance of what Siebert says, but whether or not the tribe finds him acceptable. CT doesn’t want its readers to trouble their little heads wrestling with the texts of terror or with Siebert’s response to them. It’s just sounding the perimeter alarm and informing readers that Eric A. Siebert is dangerous, controversial, etc.

CT’s Melissa Steffan manages to use “mainline” as a pejorative and to hint that Siebert may be a heretic, but she fails to work in the usual gratuitous John Shelby Spong reference. I’m sure her bosses will take that up with her at her next performance evaluation.

Steffan’s piece is mainly just an introduction for the hatchet job by the designated bad cop in this piece of gatekeeping. Frame Siebert as the suspect, guilty until proven innocent. Then frame his inquisitor — the bad cop — as the presumed and unquestioned authority qualified to evaluate Siebert’s standing with and transgressions against the tribe. That inquisitor is Owen Strachan of Boyce College.

And Owen Strachan of Boyce College is a nasty piece of work.

Like CT’s piece, Strachan’s screed isn’t interested in the substance of Siebert’s argument as much as whether or not it is acceptable for tribal consumption. He’s not writing to tell us that Siebert’s argument is wrong, but that it is forbidden. It is out of bounds. And throughout his smarmy little attack job, Strachan keeps the focus on Siebert himself, as a person, and not on his ideas.

Strachan’s title — “Can a Messiah College OT Professor Really Teach the Bible’s ‘Immoral’?” — gives a sense of the awkward style to follow. (I know we’re supposed to recoil in horror from that rhetorical question, but I can’t tell whether we’re supposed to cry Yes! or No!)

Recoiling in horror is Strachan’s preferred mode of gatekeeping. This is the pearl-clutching, fainting-couch, oh-my-I-have-the-vapors school of faux-lamentation preferred by many white evangelical gatekeepers. The more they despise any person or institution, the more they will pretend to be saddened and disappointed  at what has recently befallen them. How art the mighty fallen and oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown, etc. etc.

Strachan lays that on pretty thick, indicating he must really hate Messiah College. Here’s his intro:

A Messiah College Old Testament professor named Eric Siebert just posted a shocking piece on Pete Enns’s blog. It’s entitled “When the Good Book is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God.” You should read it.

If you love the Lord and his Word, it will take your breath away.

You don’t need me to say this, though. Here are a couple of quotations that show just how far this piece is from an evangelical, or even orthodox, conception of Scripture. …

So three paragraphs in and Strachan has already told us that Siebert is a shocking nobody (note that condescending indefinite article), that he has a  breathtaking contempt for God and the Bible, and that he is far from evangelical and far from orthodox.

But that’s the nicest part of Strachan’s punitive gatekeeping effort here.

Strachan’s main objective comes in the next bit, in which he seeks to get Siebert fired:

This is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the statement of faith that guides Messiah College. … At the very least, there is serious friction here between Siebert and his school’s statement of faith.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who has had respect for Messiah College. I know a number of alumni, and the school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. That a faculty member would publish that that the Bible has material that is “immoral,” “problematic,” and is not fully trustworthy is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not tearing it down.

Won’t someone think of the children?

The irony here is that Siebert’s piece was posted on Peter Enns’ blog, shortly after Enns himself wrote this:

Calling for Evangelical involvement in public academic discourse is useless if trained Evangelicals are legitimately afraid of what will happen to them if they do.

There’s no evidence that Strachan read that — or that he read Siebert’s piece either, actually — but if he had set out to prove Enns’ point deliberately, he couldn’t have done a better job.

Strachan isn’t satisfied with merely slapping a “controversial” warning label on Siebert. He wants him expelled from the tribe. And he wants him to lose his job.

This is despicable behavior. Strachan doesn’t like Siebert’s argument, so he tries to get him fired. That’s a total dick move.

Oh, right, we Christians aren’t supposed to say things like “total dick move” — no matter how totally dickish someone is behaving.

So let me put this in language that gatekeepers like Strachan will understand:

A Boyce College professor named Owen Strachan just posted a shocking piece. You should read it.

If you are capable of love, it will take your breath away.

It is a shameful piece. It does not line up with the fruits of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, or the Greatest Commandments.

I’m deeply concerned by this, as one who is now pretending to have had respect for Boyce College. The school has over the years enjoyed a strong reputation in the Christian community. Be a shame if anything happened to that.

That a faculty member would publish something suggesting that the gospel somehow is compatible with his unctuous, oily, disingenuous, stick-so-far-up-his-backside-you-can-see-the-tip-when-he-talks attitude toward those he wants to keep in line is frightening to me, primarily because of what many Christian students must be encountering in classes ostensibly devoted to building up students’ faith, not turning them into twice as much a child of hell as himself.

Or, in the vernacular: Total dick move, Owen Strachan. Total dick move.


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  • P J Evans

     Y’know, the Muslims that I’m acquainted with are far better people than you are.

  • And, as we all know, concern trolling could never be characterized as shallow or condescending.

  • Tricksterson

    Aunursa had at least one comment so yes, the conservative wing was heard from.  And I define myself as a political non-Euclidean so I don’t fit in there either.

  • Tricksterson

    You broke the first rule.

  • JustoneK

    Man.  You are amazingly rude.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “You just keep digging the hole deeper. First rule of holes—stop digging.”

    Thanks for that well-researched and thought out response to what is either a) an easily disprovable, or b) an easily provable fact. Which you did neither.  

    I’ll help you. This isn’t even one of the more recent examples: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7411762

    So tell me, when was the last time White American Evangelicals did this sort of thing? Meaning, burning each others churches, killing each other, forming death squads. Please, any citation will do.

    “The fact that you would ask about my gentility is a clear indicator that you’re new around here”

    I wasn’t asking. I was mocking you.

    And, who is this “us” you refer to (as in “you don’t know us”). You mean, you guys the regulars on this site who are…. hmmm…gatekeepers  perhaps about what is acceptable discourse on this site and what is not? You have just proven my point so clearly. And you’re not even a male. You may not even be an evangelical. Even better, then.

    “If so, consider yourself told.”

    No. I want to hear you say it. In the active voice this time. If it means you need to go get a photo of gonads and tape them to your crotch when you say it, whatever works. Just in the active voice, please.

  • David Starner

    “an evangelical who is trying
    to defend his intellectual position, against another white theologian
    who is arguing against it” is exactly not what we’re seeing here. One person is not arguing against it; he’s trying to impose social pressure to make sure no one fairly considers it, an entirely different game.

  • JustoneK

    Also rather amazingly rude.  Bravo, sir.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Hey, I didn’t start it, but thought I’d finish it. I was under the impression this kind of snarky was only reserved for Salon, but I guess not. Its alive and well here in Christian-blog-land.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So tell me, when was the last time White American Evangelicals did this sort of thing? Meaning, burning each others churches, killing each other, forming death squads. Please, any citation will do.

    Go to Wikipedia and read up on the murder of Dr. George Tiller. Dude shot him? Was Army of God. That’s an extreme group even for conservagelicals, but it’s still a conservagelical group.

  • JustoneK

    And yet you’re still here with the commentariat hoi polloi.  You sure showed us.

  • AnonymousSam

    Okay, I got a good chuckle out of having my mental avatar of you throw out his chest and declare that in his best tough guy voice. Thanks for that. If you think it actually accomplished anything, much less “finished it,” though… no. Just no. We’ve seen our share of trolls. You’re nothing special.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “One person is not arguing against it; he’s trying to impose social pressure to make sure no one fairly considers it, an entirely different game.”

    Yawn. Do you feel the social pressure to swallow Strecher’s “argument”? I sure don’t. I am utterly non-plussed by his discourse, falsely-so-called. Not only that, even though space isn’t precious on the internet, I still think it was a waste of space. So what. Saying he was “gatekeeping” is like trying to pass out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. Maybe people around here are really offended by intellectual gates people put up. To me, that’s like being offended by trees in the forest. Get out of the forest if you don’t like trees. If a person doesn’t like intellectual gatekeepers, go watch TV, and stay out of the arena. Or, get in there, and beat their “arguments” with better arguments. Don’t just sit there and say “Waaa! He’s gatekeeping!” Ugh, what simpering madness. Anything that’s not a rifle pointed at your head is an opportunity to make a better intellectual argument. 

  • JustoneK

    Are you sure you know what a logical argument is?  Nonplussed means confused, btw.

  • Green Eggs and Ham

     He also keeps talking to them; telling them they are doing it wrong.  Me?  I walked away from the whole, sorry evangelical mess a very long time ago.  I deeply respect Fred’s efforts pointing out how they do not live up to their own ideals.

  • cyllan

     Oh for the love of little golden apples…

    A public service announcement for those who are new to this blog:

    The majority of regular commentators on Mr. Clark’s blog are not Christian.  To claim that you are disappointed/offended/sad/emo that the commentary here is not living up to Christian Standards is, in fact, laughable. Please do not do this.  Most of us do not care. Those who are christian generally do comport themselves according to what they believe to be christ-like behavior.  The rest of us have entirely different standards that we abide by; if you are interested in what those standards are, you should ask.

  • I was using the movie’s lines to make the point that if we wanna talk about tribal conflicts, for all intents and purposes World War I and World War II were the white man’s tribal conflicts.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Right, the murder of one guy by one other guy, from a group that evangelicals would not consider to be an evangelical in any way (but let’s put aside the gatekeeping of WHO is an evangelical for now, to give you a boost). OK – one guy. Versus, and I quote from the link I sent you: 

    “In 2006, the Shia fought back through militia attacks and murder. Shiite-Sunni violence now predominates in Iraq.”

    Yes, I see your point. They are exactly the same thing. Same scale, same state sponsorship, same everything. One guy, acting alone. And thousands of people massacred year after year by local militias who have government support. Yep, happens all the time in the US.

    That’s called a false equivalence. Please go to Google news and look up “Sectarian violence”. You won’t find one example of it in the US, in, oh, I don’t even think the internet is old enough. Not that I don’t think Americans don’t like violence and killing, and all. Oh we do. But we prefer it in our cities over material goods or road rage. We just don’t do it so much over religion. And my “so much” I mean, pretty much never.

    But, and I’ll say it again: We used to do that a lot in the West. But not so much anymore. Doesn’t mean we got over it, it’s just not as culturally acceptable anymore. Who knows, maybe we’ll get back to it soon.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    Like all projections, they come from within you and impose themselves on reality. They’re not reality, or usually even close.

  • EllieMurasaki

    You asked for a single example. I provided a single example. Don’t move the goalposts, it’s unbecoming.
    …though it seems I’m speaking to someone who prefers to be addressed as Sir Pants-shitter, so ‘unbecoming’ is probably irrelevant.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I’m sorry, I should have been more clear. A single “relevant” example that actually compares apples to apples is what I should have said, silly me. I should have assumed, this being the internet and all, that you’d take to it find one example of a guy who might have the remotest connection to being classified as an evangelical, killing another human being as perfectly equivocal to thousands of people being murdered in a year in “sectarian violence”, which is by definition, killing over ideological differences.

    It’s a false equivalence, Ellie! It’s not moving the goalpost when it’s not actually an equivalence. 

  • JustoneK

    Does changing the definition of what you wanted also count as changing a goalpost?  It really rather seems like it should.

  • AnonymousSam

    If you actually thought I was projecting insecure delusions of superior masculinity upon you, you’d making an even worse assumption than you were when you automatically decided most of us were Christian. Fortunately, you, I, and everyone else can clearly see the context of your last few posts and very few people here are young enough to spring for your bait. Piss off, troll.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    I’m not sure how anyone could deduce that I was talking about finding one person who might be labeled an evangelical killing another human being (which isn’t ultimately hard to find), and comparing that to Muslim violence in the middle east, which involves whole masses of people, is often state-sponsored, and results in the deaths of thousands every year, and which ultimately, isn’t even original point but has become a sideshow because nobody is willing to address why on earth whiteness is a criterion for “gatekeeping” when whiteness isn’t causative of gatekeeping itself. 

    But back to this little sideshow: I said, cite an example of modern evangelicals doing what modern Sunnis, Shiites, and Wahhabists do amongst themselves – burning churches, murdering thousands, having state sponsorship. The last thing even remotely close to that was what the KKK used to do in the 30s-60s, and even that is barely an equivalence, but at least it shares SOME of the same features. Jesus Mary and Joseph, you can see, right, that this doesn’t really happen anymore in the US among Christians? Right, you see this distinction? The modern equivalent in this country would roving bands of evangelicals in Texas going out and blowing up coffee shops where Progressives or “liberal christians” meet, and then those groups getting their own set of weapons and blowing up churches in response. And everyone in between living in fear. This is the equivalent. Not like I don’t believe that couldn’t happen here at some point, but it doesn’t right now. But one guy on a lone mission to kill an abortion provider is called an”exception”. It’s not the primary, or even a statistically significant way evangelicals gatekeep against those they disagree with because of theology. Every other evangelical inclined towards keeping the barbarians at bay writes blog posts and articles and flames others on the internet (like here on this thread) and that’s about the extent of it. See how much more “genteel” that is?

  • JustoneK

    Do go on, this is fascinating.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How is Army of God not Christian? How is killing an abortion provider for daring to do something that his ideology says is perfectly acceptable, even (since Dr. Tiller specialized in abortions that the pregnant person’s health and safety required) necessary, just against the ideology of the person who killed him, not a murder over an ideological difference? You do realize Dr. Tiller isn’t the only abortion provider killed by a conservagelical? Rachel Maddow does segments on this at irregular intervals, and I forget the other names, and she pointedly doesn’t let us know who the abortion providers are who’ve been outed as such on wanted posters (‘wanted dead or alive’ being all but outright stated, with the additional implication that ‘dead’ is preferable), so Dr. Tiller’s the only name I know off the top of my head, but he’s far from the only one.

    And you’re still moving the goalposts.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh. Sorry, I misunderstood. What you’re after here is lynchings in the Jim Crow South.

  • JustoneK

    One interesting thing I keep seeing in this thread is the shifting of what a gatekeeper actually is or does.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    It also means unperturbed. It’s one of those words that has become, through usage, it’s own antonym, like “cleave”.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    ” if you are interested in what those standards are, you should ask.” 

    I get it now. The reason the post is about the evils of gatekeeping in the first place, is because the audience itself is a bunch of gatekeepers, who don’t like it when others gatekeep. Because if there are “standards”, there are gatekeepers of those standards. And they are the laity, which is exactly what I said in the first place. 

  • JustoneK


  • I think it’s less a matter of ‘maybe the Old Testament isn’t important’ and more a matter of ‘Evangelicals (or at least those Fred is describing here) have absolutely no idea of what the Old Testament is about and no means of contextualizing it so maybe they should just kind of do without’

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Never observed that myself.

    Besides which, from a pro-life point of view guilt is immaterial when it comes to the morality of capital punishment. The argument is that killing a human being is immoral, not that killing a possibly innocent human being is immoral.

    The fact that people subjected to capital punishment are not always guilty of the crime they were convicted for just makes it more abhorrent. The difference between the state murdering an innocent vs a guilty person is a matter of degree, not a qualitative change. From a pro-life perspective.

  • dang, this is a good piece. Its called censorship. They censor what goes into the church.

  • This reminds me that CT was co-founded by “voluntary” segregationist activist and “moderate”white supremacist Dr. L. Nelson Bell (Billy Graham’s father in law). He had earlier founded  the Southern Presbyterian Journal (now the far right WORLD).  CT was initially financed  Mr. J. Howard Pew who fervently believed in the Golden Rule…those who have the gold make the rules.

    “Pew and Bell understood white power and privilege and were not eager to see it unveiled and dismantled.”  Thus, they began to censor a CT editor, Frank E. Gaebelein, who was moved by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the March from Birmingham to Selma, unlike, if memory serves,  most other CT pundits and reporters. (Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race, and American Politics; by Peter Heltzel)  If memory serves from a long ago research project, CT even had a long, sniffy editorial that chastised the rather few Evangelicals, like 70 year old  Mr. Gabelein, who joined the march with Dr. King.  CT now seems to want people to think that Mr. Gabelein was representative of CT.  He was instead, a very rare exception to their passive/aggressive campaign of petulant hostility towards Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement in general.Of course, lots of respectable American organizations  had now eyebrow raising founders, but they have left that sort of thing behind… apparently even the Pew trusts. Not Christianity Today. Still passive/aggressive in defending the disgusting fantasy of white  patriarchal privilege.

  • Turcano

    I know it’s a bit late, but I believe the term you’re looking for is “future endeavored.”

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Oh, is “Progressive” now an actual Christian denomination, then?’Cause last I checked, the Anchoress’ blog is not under “Reactionary Christian.”

    This.If “progressive” is a denomination then there needs to be a portal for “right wing socially conservative American Christianity”. At various points last year a number of the portals were almost entirely consumed by anti-Obama shit. It’s bad enough to represent right wing socially conservative preoccupations as the foundation of Christianity, but as a non-American I can’t overstate how brain-explodingly frustrating the obsession with American politics to the exclusion of nearly all else is on a site that claims to be the centre of religious discussion on the internet.A “pissing and moaning about Obamacare” portal would have come in pretty bloody handy over the last few years, so those who want to read about actual religious issues of interest to most of the world could avoid it.

  • Senor_Hosenscheisser

    “Oh. Sorry, I misunderstood. What you’re after here is lynchings in the Jim Crow South”

    Had you used that example, it would have been more applicable, in that at least the two examples share some of the same metrics. Instead you’re citing the one-off killings of abortion providers, of which there have been 6 in the last 20 years, as an equivalence of large-scale cultural sectarian violence which engulfs whole nations and masses of people, both being killed, and doing the killing, one example of which I gave has been between Sunnis, Shiites, and Wahhabists. Not 100 years ago. Like yesterday in Syria. Examples of which are so easy to find I don’t even need to go to page 2 of Google. So, yes, the 6 abortion murders are really a bad thing, and which I personally find utterly repulsive, but it’s just not even remotely representative on any meaningful level of either Christianity, Christians in America, or Evangelical Christians in America, of which there are between 90-100 million, in spite of the fact that the people involved all claimed to be doing it in a Christian God’s name. That this sort of things happens at all isn’t surprising, but Evangelicals don’t endorse it, it’s not an prescribed or implied part of Evangelical doctrine (it is, in fact, vociferously proscribed by almost every Christian, evangelical or not), and who, for the most part, think those people are nutjobs. So, it’s a false equivalence, pretty much on every level. There haven’t been 6 sectarian killings in Syria over the last 20 years. There were 6 like 10 minutes ago. I’m not making the comparison that Christians never EVER (and have never) do (done) anything like this, are thus are good and in contrast, that Muslims are bad. I’m just trying to make the extremely minor point that isn’t even worth either of our time that we’ve spent on it, that killing one’s neighbor en masse over ideology as cultural norm doesn’t really happen much here in the US “anymore”. What happens nowadays is a lot of monkey s%*# fights with words. That’s PREDOMINANTLY how it happens here, these days, in America, right now, with Evangelicals. Words, not killings. Which, if we can recall back that far, is what Fred’s post was about in the first place (words), and about which I was making my own criticism. But it seems that should a person even think the word “Muslim” at the time one is in close proximity to a computer, the very thought releases the religious equivalence police (or, concern trolls) who jump out from the internet about how bigoted is whatever you were thinking, regardless of whether that thought is actually provable on page 1 of Google. 

    So, Fred’s post is about one white guy making, what I think is a relatively ill thought out observation about violence in the OT (which is his right to do, and which I understand because he comes from a pacifist tradition), with another white guy saying that first guy is a heretic and you should watch your children when around him (which is, I don’t even know what…stupid is too banal a word), with a 3rd white guy saying the 2nd white guy is really offensive for slathering his worse-than-stupidity on the internet, and that, interestingly enough, his stupidity originates in his whiteness. Which miraculously doesn’t originate in the 1st guy’s whiteness, or his own whiteness. Even though, imho, all three of them have shown that, yes, white people can indeed be stupid. 

    So what else is new. 

    Had Fred just said “Will you take a gander at what this dickhead had to say?” I would have no criticism, and would agree, Strachan was pretty much a dick. But for some inexplicable reason, he had to “white” it up, as if “unwhiting” it would have had any affect on the behavior of the two parties involved. If it isn’t the cause of anything, or doesn’t solve anything, it’s a pointless observation, even if it’s currently a popular one. The argument in question is about violence, pacifism, and Biblical hermeneutics, none of which wellspring out of the color of one’s skin. Or if they do, they ALL come out of whiteness, because most Christian thinkers throughout the whole of Christian history have been white. In which case, the whiteness call-out is still unnecessary as it variously applies to diametrically opposing arguments, and as is common to the whole of humanity, and  in practically every religious tradition. This isn’t “concern trolling”, it’s called Criticism. Criticism of Fred’s Criticism. Which is what everyone on this thread thinks should be allowed without gatekeeping by those in power. Which about half the participants in this thread engaged in, overtly, with me, saying crap like “You must not be from around here stranger…” and “Let me tell you what the rules are about commenting on Fred’s posts…” and on and on. If that isn’t gatekeeping for a particular subgroup trying to maintain it’s distinctiveness, then nothing is. 

  • caryjamesbond

    Had you used that example, it would have been more applicable, in that at least the two examples share some of the same metrics. 

    Heck with this little bs.  Multiple evangelical leaders have repeatedly come out on record as saying that the view fighting Islam as being a holy crusade. They have repeatedly encouraged this attitude among fundamentalist soldiers, and most of the high level architects of the Iraq war were fundie Christers that saw it as a religious crusade fighting Islam- not the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq, not the group Al-Qaeda, but the religion. 

    I dunno- when multiple religious leaders and political leaders of the same religion as aforementioned religious leaders attack the same people for the same reasons heavily based in a tribal attitude, that sounds pretty much exactly like what you describe.

     Jesus Mary and Joseph, you can see, right, that this doesn’t really happen anymore in the US among Christians? 

    Yes- within the bounds of the US, Christian gatekeepers do not, as a matter of active policy, advocate violent tribal battles. They do, however, encourage, fund and guide them OUTSIDE US borders. See the “Kill the Gays” law in Uganada for another example. 

    Yes, if you narrow it down enough, you can get any result you want: “Inside the boundaries of the US, no systemic, sectarian, large-scale, specifically religious violence above an arbitrary level on my scale has occurred on a regular basis for nearly FIFTY YEARS!”  Yes! You’ve sold me on your inherent moral superiority! That, combined with your clearly expert opinions on the nature of conflict in the Middle East have changed my mind. 

    I get your argument and indignation, but help me understand how a blog post condemning one man who condemns another man makes much sense or is sny more loving or Christian?

    Ultimately, the replies to your question boil down to this. Our indignation is, at heart,  saying “How dare you exclude these people?” And Strachan’s indignation is, at heart, saying “how dare you include these people?”

    See the difference? It’s those prefixes. Tricky little bastards.

  • smrnda

    Yes, Heaven forbid anyone focuses on the whiteness of a person engaging in tribalism. They might distract from the (snark) equally valid concern we should show towards the harmful consequences of anti-white bias shown by disenfranchised minorities.

  • Carstonio

    Very true. I was making the related point that Christians have had their religious wars just like Muslims. Biko’s own nation was once home to the Boer War, arguably the ultimate example of the ethnocentric denial you’re talking about, where thousands of Africans died in a European tribal conflict that had nothing to do with them.

  • Carstonio

    I can appreciate the stance of folks who are opposed to both abortion and capital punishment for those reasons. In the US it’s far more common to support capital punishment and oppose abortion, and such people typically argue that the latter involves innocent life. They’re saying that death is deserved for some people, and I take the absolutist position that no one deserves to die.

  • Beroli

    Proper spelling and grammar?

    Not posting “I’m leaving” every few posts while continuing to whine and whine and whine about  her and other peoples’ tone?

  • duckbunny

    One person condemns an innocent.

    Another person says that condemning an innocent was wrong

    These are not the same thing.

    (Incidentally, demanding that someone address their insults to you in exactly your preferred form is an obvious and obnoxious power play. Furthermore, the state of ones genitals is irrelevant to their courage.)

  • Those who are christian generally do comport themselves according to what they believe to be christ-like behavior.

    Generally. Although I sometimes lose it and just tell people to fuck off.

  • The_L1985

    “Self-policing by the laity (of whatever organization) is how
    organizations with distinctives KEEP their traditions. Traditions that
    are mandated from the top-down, and not followed by the laity, are never
    held on to in that organization for any length of time.”

    Sometimes, but not always.  The Catholic Church is pretty much led by the Vatican, and any self-policing by Catholic laity is in response to “The Pope said this, and the Pope’s decisions on doctrine are infallible.”  I’ve heard the phrase “cherry-picking Catholics” used (very condescendingly) against Catholics who have sensible views about birth control, because the Vatican holds the opposite view, and the Vatican is more-or-less In Charge.

    #3: Yeah, I went a bit overboard with that.  But 26% of the U.S. population is Catholic, and only about 12% is Hispanic, so that leaves a lot of white Catholics (and black Haitians are mostly Catholic, so in areas with a high number of Haitian immigrants, you’ll see more black Catholics than in other areas). 

    #5 is exactly what I’ve been trying to say the whole time.  Whiteness isn’t causative, but it is correlative.  All I’ve been trying to say is that there is a high level of correlation. 

    #6 You’re right.  Defining tribal markers isn’t bad, in and of itself.  But “tribalism” doesn’t mean “defining who is a member of group X and who is not.”  Tribalism refers specifically to a zero-sum view of EVERYTHING, where Tribe X has to keep Tribe Y from getting/winning things, or it somehow hurts Tribe X.  You see this a lot with the common anti-gay sentiment “I support traditional marriage.”  They have the false idea that allowing gay people to take part in civil marriage agreements (and religious ceremonies in those religious groups that support it) will somehow diminish heterosexual marriage.  This is tribalism:  “If They have it, then that means less for Us”–whether “it” is love, rights, dignity, or things that actually are zero-sum like food.

    “Tribalism” is when you use tribal markers specifically to hurt people who are not of your tribe.

    #7 if by “the Christian message,” you mean a combination of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and “everyone bears the image of the Divine,” then I can get behind that 100%.  If you’re implying that everyone needs to worship Jesus, specifically, then I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree with you on that.

  • Lover of Questions

    Since those against tribalism are for honest questions, I have a few. Is this article advocating there be a tribe against tribalism? Is attempting to tarnish someone as a tribalist consistent with the fruit of the Spirit, the Beatitudes, and the Greatest Commandments? Is there even such a thing as heresy? Is asking questions sometimes merely a passive aggressive way of making statements? Wait…I see my own hypocrisy, do you?

  • Lori


    I see my own hypocrisy, do you?   

    Yes, we see your hypocrisy.

  • Lori

    I’m going to go with the assumption that this entire comment was an attempt at humor because that seems fair kinder that assuming that you are actually pathetic enough to have written it in all seriousness.

  • JustoneK

    Gatekeeper no longer looks like a word.