If ‘evangelical morality’ harms others and can’t justify itself, is it ‘unfair’ to mention that it’s losing the argument?

Pluralism does not mean bumper bowling.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Alan Noble is not being disingenuous in his recent Atlantic essay, "Is Evangelical Morality Still Acceptable in America?"That stipulation is a bit of a stretch, since Noble generally seems like a fairly bright man, and thus the self-serving obtuseness he affects here seems to be a pose. But let's pretend the pretense is genuine and treat his faux-naive argument as genuine naiveté. Let us answer his question as though he didn't already … [Read more...]

A whiskey priest is not the same as a Nazi


Roger Olson, bless him, approaches an interesting and important subject, then trips over it in a splendid pratfall. "Should a Theologian's Life Affect How We Regard His/Her Theology?" Olson asks.Olson begins, as many do when addressing this topic, with a discussion of Paul Tillich: "Reinhold Niebuhr was widely reported to have cut off his friendship with Tillich due to his observations of Tillich’s treatment of women students at Union Theological Seminary." That enhances my admiration for N … [Read more...]

Whatever happened to the clobber texts for slavery? (Unlearning the lies, cont’d.)


For centuries, Christians have been arguing over the clobber texts used to deny women's equality in the church and in society. Those Bible passages -- a dozen or so verses selected from the origin stories of Genesis, the laws of Moses, and the epistles of Paul -- are hotly contested in an ongoing argument over their meaning and interpretation. Every year we see a new crop of books devoted to the exegesis of those verses, granular studies of first-century Greek terms and their cultural … [Read more...]

Seeking ‘religious liberty’ just like Elijah at Kishon

Executing prisoners is a vital expression of religious liberty, Kishon style.

Robert Knight is kind of a journeyman utility infielder of the religious right. I forget which team he's with these days -- might be the Family Research Council, might be Concerned Women of America or one of the others. It's one of those groups that insists that good Christians must have no fellowship with unrighteousness and no communion with darkness.Except for the Unification Church, because the Moonies' newspaper is a reliable source of right-wing partisan hackery and that's what's most … [Read more...]

Gatekeepers are losing their grip

Some gatekeepers keep outsiders out. Others keep insiders in.

"Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage," Jim Hinch reports for Politico: Increasingly, even evangelical Christians, long known for doctrinally condemning homosexuality, are embracing gay people, too.Over the past decade, evangelical support for gay marriage has more than doubled, according to polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. About a quarter of evangelicals now support same-sex unions, the institute has found, with an equal number occupying what r … [Read more...]

Who Would Jesus Sue? This week in weird religious copyright trolling


Who Would Jesus Sue? We saw a couple of suggested answers to that question this week is a pair of high-profile copyright cases pursued by some of my fellow Christians.First up is this story from The Hollywood Reporter, which is dismaying on several different levels: "Tyler Perry Wins 'What Would Jesus Do' Trademark Battle." Eriq Gardner reports: The other contestant in this bout was Kimberly Kearney, who was once known as "Poprah" on the VH1 series, I Want to Work for Diddy.In May 2008, … [Read more...]

Unlearning the lies we learned from the theologians of slavery (part 3)


In 1850, at Andover Theological Seminary, the biblical scholar Moses Stuart wrote Conscience and the Constitution with Remarks on the Recent Speech of the Hon. Daniel Webster in the Senate of the United States on the Subject of Slavery.Webster had spoken against "the subject of slavery." Stuart's thought on that subject was, in his view, more nuanced. Like all Very Serious People, he sought a Third Way between polar extremes, taking great care to avoid what he saw as the impieties of the … [Read more...]

Forget about those kids, real, true Christians are the real victims here


Browsing about looking for an article from earlier this year, I came across this disturbing headline from Christianity Today: "Parents Sentenced to Prison for Belief in Healing Power of Prayer."That sounds like a terrible miscarriage of justice. That sounds like clear evidence that the persecution of Christians here in Obama's America is more than just a delusional self-aggrandizing fantasy.Believers are being sent off to prison. Good Christian people are being jailed just because of … [Read more...]