7 things @ 9 o’clock (9.12)

1. Mama McFly gets raptured: Lea Thompson will be playing Irene Steele in the Left Behind reboot. That CinemaBlend piece by Kristy Puchko has a good rundown of the other apocalyptic and Rapture-related movies and TV projects we’ve seen of late — including HBO’s potential series based on Tom Perotta’s Left-Behind-ish The Leftovers.

2.U.S. bans sale and trade of white rhino horns.” Wait — you mean selling white rhino horns wasn’t already illegal? Better late than never, I guess. But at least such sales are banned now, since rhinoceros horn causes impotence, baldness, cancer, halitosis and gout.

3. To paraphrase Emma Goldman: These folks can dance, and I want to be part of their revolution.

4. Congratulations to James Holmes on his recent election victory in Colorado. Big win for his team!

5. Joe Murray has contributed a video to the NALT Christians Project — which now has more than 60 videos posted (this is easy to do). Murray’s contribution is interesting because he used to be a culture-warrior for the religious right, working for the American Family Association and the Alliance Defense Fund. Murray tells his story at Truth Wins Out, confirming my suspicions about the squabbles among religious-right groups over market share of the shrinking pie of direct-mail donors.

The main weapon of the religious right, Murray says, is its perceived “monopoly on morality.” Efforts like NALT, he says, are “a devastating blow to the Christian Right” by demonstrating that this claim of a monopoly on morality is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

6. Kittredge Cherry marked the anniversary of 9/11 by remembering Fr. Mychal Judge, “gay saint of 9/11 and chaplain to New York firefighters.” What was that again about a monopoly on morality?

7. John Turner continues reading Carolyn Dupont’s Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975:

Indeed, her book is more than a chronicle of Deep South white evangelicals in the civil rights era. It is also an indictment of the individualistic theology of white evangelicalism. Readers should ponder this indictment. In Mississippi Praying, those Protestants with more complicated views of scripture and an openness to the social implications of the gospel are the moderates and progressives. At least some of them took (for Mississippi) bold stances on civil rights. Those with literalist views of scripture and an overwhelming focus on individual salvation backed segregation to the hilt. Furthermore, that conservative evangelical theology lived on in more monolithic denominations after the 1960s.

… At the same time, while I agree with Dupont that one cannot simply blame a “culture” while absolving a “theology” (as if the two are not tightly connected), I hesitate to label “evangelical theology” the problem. One could take a rather literalist approach to scripture and arrive at very different conclusions about race and social justice.

One could do so, in theory, but isn’t it interesting that one so very rarely does? When justice is perceived as a threat to one’s theology, that’s probably an indication that one’s theology is also a threat to justice. And if your theology can’t be reconciled with justice, then you’re doing it wrong.

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  • Oswald Carnes

    Sadly, the sale of human horn remains a galactic problem.

  • aunursa

    Rayford: Honey, is that you?
    Irene: There, there, now. Just relax.

    [Irene pats Rayford’s forehead with a damp cloth.]

    Irene: You’ve been asleep for almost nine hours now.
    Rayford: I had a horrible nightmare. The Rapture you keep warning me about happened while I was flying to London. The world was in chaos, and Chloe and I were left to face the Great Tribulation alone. It was terrible!
    Irene: Well, you’re safe and sound for now, back in good ol’ Mount Pr –

    [Irene vanishes.]

    Rayford: Irene? IRENE? [opens his eyes wide] IREEEEENNNNE!!!

  • GeniusLemur

    “Those with literalist views of scripture and an overwhelming focus on individual salvation backed segregation to the hilt.”

    Sorry, no. They may call themselves literalists, but taking the gospels literally and backing segregation is impossible.

  • Seraph4377

    Don’t usually like to toot my own horn, at least not here, but I had a few theological/political thoughts yesterday that I think the crew here might find interesting:

    Little-Known Facts About The Third Horseman Of The Apocalypse

  • DCFem

    When you first brought NALT to my attention all I could think was, “It is about goddamned time!” I am so sick of Christians whining about how they are not like religious right bigots but not challenging them, just sitting back and expecting atheists like Dan Savage to do the work for them. Changing perceptions about Christians will only happen when Christians insist upon being seen and heard as “not all like that”. People who have been hurt by religious bigots (like Savage) have been sharing their painful stories for years, but they need allies. No one listens to the oppressed as much as they listen to the guy in the next pew who looks just like them but has the guts to speak up and speak out.

  • Mark

    As a Colorado Springs resident, I was sickened by the results of the recall. So were many of my friends, even conservative ones. Apathy mixed with confusing last-minute changes to the voting policies made for a sad turnout.

  • MikeJ

    Sadly, off year special elections always produce small turnouts, and that favors the loons. There’s a reason why they didn’t simply wait for regular election.

    Yet another reason why the way elections are run in the US should change.

  • linty

    As a gay Christian who never stopped going to church (and who went to a Christian college), I’ve encountered no shortage of not-all-like-that Christian allies. Many of them are doing exactly the work you describe–speaking to the people in the pews, but also marching in pride parades, speaking with and crying with their local gay communities, chewing out their local bishops, marrying couples, saying mass, and holding funerals and loving, sometimes at great risk to their own careers and avocations as pastors/priests/lay ministers. I’m not saying the NALT project isn’t another valid way of doing this, but I’ve known so many people who have done a lot (and risked a lot) in the name of the supporting LGBTQ individuals among them, that I consider it a little unfair to claim it’s hasn’t been happening, just because it hasn’t happened in a particular way or through a particular forum.

  • Loki1001

    I hope Rayford will be played by an animatronic duck, which would still be more human than he is in the books.

  • Kirala

    Does Nic Cage count?

  • aunursa

    Howard the Duck, the Sequel, starring Nicolas Cage as Howard, and Lea Thompson returning as Beverly

    Beverly: You’ve been asleep for almost nine hours now.
    Howard: I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamt that I was a teenager in a time travel movie in which I bumped into my parents. That part was actually interesting. But then everything switched to an awful end-times apocalyptic thriller in which the good guys didn’t do anything. In fact the “good guys” were actually evil, and the plot was incomprehensible. It was terrible!
    Beverly: Well, you’re safe and sound now Howard, back in good ol’ Cleveland.

  • 6. Fr. Mychal Judge – That guy makes me hope I’m wrong about the afterlife; namely I hope there is one, and that it’s beautiful.

    It’s funny, the rationalistic atheist side of me is saying “Well he really didn’t do a whole lot of good being there” and yet part of me is also saying “But he did what he knew to do and somehow that has meaning even if I don’t believe in the same things he did.” Maybe I’m nuts or delusional or whatever, but on some level it makes me feel better that a person like that existed.

    What a horrible day though. It’s been 12 years and I still can’t think about it too much or I start to cry.

  • The general national trend of white rural/suburban conservatives losing social control is very much on fast forward in Colorado. It will be interesting to see just how resentfully wrathful they get about it before all is said and done.
    I know there is talk of succession on the ‘eastern’ plains and elsewhere. Naturally supporters are in total denial about being economically dependent on Denver instead of vice versa.

  • The worse thing is, that’s pretty much the ending to ‘A Thief in the Night’.

  • Fusina

    That was very informative. Thank you. Sadly, to get rid of that horseman, it would, as Miracle Max said about the resurrection pill, take a miracle.

  • mountainguy

    Hello Mr Clark and all slacktivites here:

    I might be out of focus here, but this important to read, as some of you may remember that yesterday was the 40 aniversary of Chile’s coup detat that put an end to Allende’s government:

    here is some of American Exceptionalism in Mark Tooley attacking Shane Caliborne and Stanley Hauerwas for daring to suggest 11 september 2001 was not the first tragig 9/11:


    original here:


  • Susan Paxton

    We were knee deep in that, and the blood of thousands is on our hands. We are not exceptional in any way, and I hate the term “American exceptionalism.” What a horrible doctrine.

  • mountainguy

    For me is so easy to be antiamerican, but this time I don’t want to push hard on usamericans. My complaint is how easily a card-carrying conservative christian as Mark Tooley, who probably is very critic of moral relativism, can be SO moral relativist when it goes to supporting some thug (Pinochet) leading a coup detat against a democratically elected socialist government (as bad as Allende could have been, but I don’t claim expertise on that field) only because said thug supported free market economies.

  • A modern example of the “third horseman” problem (Romans demanding crops of olives and grapes instead of food stuffs) is Afghanistan. Warlords are demanding that the locals grow poppies for the heroin trade instead of tomatoes or grain or, well, anything they could use to feed themselves, really.

  • Albanaeon

    Same. It is telling that the NRA went with two more vulnerable seats, set it up for an off season year (heck, a fair amount of people I know were surprised that it wasn’t happening in November), cut out mail in ballots, blitzed with a five to one spending campaign, and got a bare two percent to oust Morse and won’t change anything.

    Unfortunately, the point for the NRA wasn’t to win a straight up election,but to just win so they could ‘send a message’ to all politicians. Too bad I’ll be willing to bet that it won’t be that the NRA is a paper tiger that can barely swing a win with everything going for them.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    A deeply depressing thing I read about Afghanistan some years ago – it seems that the country used to be full of orchards. But the trees depended on irrigation canals, and in the war and chaos of the last thirty-forty years, the canals have been wrecked and the fruit trees are all dead. And no one dares to risk planting anything that will take several years to start producing a cash crop.

  • Jared James

    Said thug’s support for a “free” market was far less important than his support for Alcoa’s monopoly on mining concessions, and its abusive labor practices. We can guess what the socialist Allende might have done to bring more competition to the labor and mining markets in Chile, but thanks to US fear of monolithic “global Communism,” there’s simply no way to know.

    Also notable: “Global Communism” never really existed outside of Trotsky and later Stalin’s imaginations, and of course, all of the fear junkies here in the US.

  • crazylikeafox

    “4. Congratulations to James Holmes on his recent election victory in Colorado. Big win for his team!”

    Fred, I’m sorry, but that is such a horrible thing you’ve just said (I’m insulted as a Coloradan). They don’t agree with you on gun control. That doesn’t mean they support mass murderers. Please stick with actual facts, not strawman arguments. All sides of every issue can have an honest, good debate if they don’t invent things about each other. No side wins when strawman insults are used.

  • crazylikeafox

    I think the media is making a bigger deal of this than it really is. Secession won’t win in the election. I’d frankly be shocked if it even comes close to winning.

  • Matri

    Please stick with actual facts, not strawman arguments.

    Ahh, you are butthurt because Fred congratulated someone who holds a view opposite to yours while saying nothing disparaging about you or yours either.

    The fact is that Fred congratulated him. Fred did not say anything about gun control. Fred did not say anything about murder. In fact, Fred did not say anything except to congratulate him on a win. You are the one bringing in “gun control” and “mass murderer”, ergo you are the one constructing the strawman here. Nobody but you has used any form of strawman insult.

    Aww, did he hurt your itty-bitty strawman feelings?

    Good, cause I don’t give a fuck.

  • Matri

    *sigh* Okay, I’m sorry. I jumped the gun on this one.

    My lame defense is that it’s been a rough week, so my sarcasm detector isn’t functional.

    Again, I apologise for that post, and really wish Disqus would let me actually log in so none of this ever happens again.

  • crazylikeafox

    Lol apology accepted. Can’t say such a thing has never happened to me on the internet.

  • Madhabmatics

    That is a horrible and horrifying article.

  • Turcano

    I still can’t believe they had the balls to rule Allende’s death a suicide.

  • FearlessSon

    It is not so much that compassionate Christians are doing too little, it is that the bigots tend to hold metaphorical megaphones with which to drown out any more reasoned voice. In the media, the loudest and most shrill voices are the ones that get the most attention, and inevitable it is the craziest and most bigoted people who stand out the starkest.

    A compassionate Christian will speak their own conscience. A bigoted Christian will claim to speak for Christianity in general. Watch how they try to asset control of tribal boundaries to keep that impression.

  • With a rifle? What kind of rifle? I’ve seen people ruled as having committed suicide by shooting themselves six times with a bolt-action rifle.
    Though the best one I’ve ever seen was in Michigan, wherein the owner of a video store apparently committed suicide by cutting himself apart with an axe.

    This is why I find it hard to trust the police. :

  • Alix

    the owner of a video store apparently committed suicide by cutting himself apart with an axe.


  • Rakka

    So, basically what IMF is requiring countries in Africa do? Except it’s roses and shit instead of poppies.

  • G.G.

    Love that Robert Lentz painting, It’s nice to see modern religious art that isn’t just terrible schmaltz.

  • I thought of you, Fred, when my husband and I went out for an early morning before-work breakfast at our favorite diner, and ended up sitting next to what appeared to be a three-man Bible-study group… and one of them said to the others, “There’s this group of people out there now who want to spread the word that Christians aren’t all like that…”

    I didn’t hear much else of the conversation, but I’m pretty sure he was talking about NALT. I think he was in favor of it.

  • Dash1

    Fred, your video on NALT is fantastic. Serious theology in less than three minutes. And I loved the very last bit (which I should have seen coming, but didn’t).