Chapter and verse

But when I read a story like this, I want to know more. When a member of Congress is leaning on “a passage from the Bible denouncing homosexuality” as the primary basis for his legislative decisions, thereby disgusting his GOP colleagues with his ignorant rejection of the First Amendment, I also want to know which passage from the Bible, specifically, this guy is quoting. [Read more…]

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Clobber-texting isn’t a principled hermeneutic: A horrifying case study

You have heard it said that if a man meets a virgin who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her, she shall become his wife; but I say unto you, screw that. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Get that rapist behind bars and keep him as far away from his victim as possible. Love is the fulfillment of the law. [Read more…]

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The sins of the fathers

“Few people had more influence on Billy Graham than Bell,” reads the Wikipedia entry for Nelson Bell, Billy’s father-in-law. And the more you know about Nelson Bell and the journal he founded to promote and defend segregation, the more disturbing that sentence becomes. [Read more…]

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Bowling with Jesus

Would Jesus bowl? That question has been asked and answered. Even among the fundiest of the fundies I grew up around, bowling was never condemned as an impermissible form of “worldliness.” We bowled. And we prayed that God would guide the ball to help us nail that 7-10 split. [Read more…]

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The Fall of the House of Graham (ongoing)

The transition from Billy Graham to his son Franklin Graham is a microcosm of the past 40 years of white evangelical Christianity in America. For Billy, the primary thing was always proclamation evangelism. That was the core of his identity. For Franklin, the primary thing is always the culture wars — anti-feminism, white supremacy, and the lucrative demonizing of the Other. That is the core of his identity. [Read more…]

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Whatever happened to ‘pro-life Democrats’? Go see ‘Spotlight’

The once mostly Catholic phenomenon of congressional “pro-life Democrats” ended due to the horror of the clergy abuse scandal. Thus nowadays, most “pro-life Democrats” are really blue dogs — “social conservatives” who have found other, more effective, ways of signaling that social conservatism and all that it entails. [Read more…]

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Relitigating the Golden Rule

Protect religious groups you admire by protecting religious groups you do not admire. Otherwise you’re just trying to find a loophole in the Golden Rule — trying to compel others to do unto us as we would have them do while exempting ourselves from any obligation to do unto them as they would have us do. And that’s not good. [Read more…]

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White evangelicals and ‘the social upheaval of the ’60s’

Usually, this is stated with a polite euphemism. We don’t name all of these things specifically but, instead, we just say that white evangelicalism arose in response to “the social upheavals of the 1960s.” That allows us to pretend that this is about something else — about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, rather than about the backlash to increased legal equality for people of color and for women. [Read more…]

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