American-style socialism (Do you wish to continue this transaction?)

The new law was a Good Thing. From now on, banks could no longer charge you ATM fees without telling you about them beforehand. They were still allowed to take $2 out of your account every time you wanted to check your balance or just to get access to $20 of your own money, but they had to tell you they were doing it. In America, in the 1990s, this is what constituted “socialism.” [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (2.12)

Kali Holloway on “How Delusional Nostalgia Is Killing the White Working Class” (i.e., why Trump is winning). Walter Brueggeman sides with the Gospel against the Bible. Margo Kaplan asks and answers a question about how we treat IVF clinics. And Daniel José Camacho on how multicultural churches can wind up reinforcing racism. [Read more…]

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This generation has far too many ‘Ezras’ already, thanks

Ezra was such an abusive, wrong-headed jerk that whole chunks elsewhere in scripture go out of their way to repudiate his ideology and behavior. That’s why Ruth is in the canon. It’s why Ruth is in every story of David and why Ruth is in the genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels. [Read more…]

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I do not care for primary season

Primary campaigns, and particularly primary debates, tend to get bogged down in purity disputes. When the candidates mostly agree on policies, programs, and priorities, they turn to debating purity, and the focus shifts to accusations and counter-accusations in which old votes and speeches are parsed for supposed evidence of a failure to uphold 100-percent purity on the agreed-upon stance. This is play-acting and pretense and it’s worse than meaningless. [Read more…]

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Marco Rubio and the Hebrew Congregation of Newport

To Sen. Marco Rubio, President Obama’s visit yesterday to a Baltimore mosque was “divisive.” Obama’s acknowledgement of the equal rights of religious minorities, to Rubio, amounts to “pitting people against each other.” So let’s revisit President George Washington’s 1790 “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport.” It’s really good, but Marco Rubio isn’t gonna like it. [Read more…]

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Maybe God is trying to tell you something

I’d advise Trump to stick to some nice, safe evangelical church this week — somewhere that doesn’t use the lectionary shared by most of the world’s Christians. I’m sure he can get his new fundie friends to recommend some local church that would be better-suited for him. Someplace more hospitable to Trump’s central campaign theme of inhospitality.
Some nice, safe white evangelical church, in other words, where Trump won’t have to worry about encountering a God who might be trying to tell him something. [Read more…]

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Empathy turned to fear and resentment

In 1741, white New Yorkers panicked due to their fear of a potential slave revolt. That fear refutes all the nonsense we often hear about how the stark immorality of the slave system was perceived differently back in those days, and how we should all be more generous toward the defenders and exploiters of slavery because things were different back then and (white) folks just didn’t know any better. They knew. That’s why they were scared [Read more…]

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Slaves in the hands of an angry white God

The New York Conspiracy of 1741 probably wasn’t a conspiracy at all. While there’s little evidence to suggest that any significant “slave revolt” had been planned, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that white New Yorkers lost their collective minds in a fearful frenzy that led to 18 hangings and 13 people being burned at the stake in the streets of Manhattan. [Read more…]

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