‘Vote for the crook. It’s important.’

Although David Duke won the Republican nomination, he was not endorsed by Republican officials in Louisiana. Instead, they condemned him as “unfit for office,” urging Louisiana voters to stop him by voting for Edwards. Louisiana Republicans famously distributed bumper stickers reading “Vote for the Crook. It’s important.” [Read more…]

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Tim LaHaye: dead fundamentalist

“Fundamentalist” is a word that means something. It is a useful and necessary descriptive word that conveys meaning and distinction. It is a useful and necessary word that has a definition, and Tim LaHaye fits that definition. Tim LaHaye — separatist, inerrantist, literalist, dispensationalist, creationist — fits that definition definitively. [Read more…]

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How to make a fortune (and lose your soul) prophesying the End Times

Want to make some easy money? A bit of creatively implausible exegesis and some conveniently elastic numerology can give us a new-and-improved End Times countdown that starts next year. There’s a fortune waiting to be made for anyone who doesn’t mind that this would entail becoming a soul-less, blasphemous, predatory monster. [Read more…]

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‘You will find out on that day …’: False prophets and lost endings

The Republican National Convention opened yesterday in Cleveland with a horrifying “benediction” from prosperity-gospel huckster Mark Burns. Burns has me thinking again of Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, the ridiculous court prophet-for-hire from the Bible. But as always when dealing with this story, I wind up getting frustrated and sidetracked by it’s missing ending. [Read more…]

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Culture warriors have weird ideas about how courts work

Litfin is so eager to minimize the legitimacy of LGBT people’s claims to legal and civil equality that he starts from an “activist judges” narrative that fails to grasp even a Schoolhouse Rock-level understanding of how government works. In Litfin’s telling, the “judicial branch” just suddenly decided one day to start legislating from the bench — “pressing hard” to create new “controversial” rights for LGBT people. That’s not how courts work. [Read more…]

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Rewriting evangelicals’ past to preserve our mistakes

Christianity Today was co-founded by L. Nelson Bell — Billy Graham’s father-in-law and also the founder of The Southern Presbyterian Journal, a pro-segregationist magazine explicitly dedicated to what Bell (a Wheaton graduate) called “racial integrity.” Bell’s argument in opposition to the Civil Rights movement was irreducibly and emphatically “moral and religious.” He categorically denied that “bare-knuckled racial discrimination” or animus had anything to do with his position. It was, he insisted, a matter of faithfulness to God and of defending the authority of the Bible. [Read more…]

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The 71-percent heresy

For social scientists like Jones, “white evangelical” is a demographic category classifying religious and ethnic identity. But his findings demonstrate, again and again, that white Christianity is also something else. It is not simply the space on some Venn diagram where adherents of Christianity and people of a particular ethnic group overlap. “White Christian” and “white evangelical” are themselves unique religious categories — distinct theologies. [Read more…]

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When identity is bound up in a lie

It’s never that easy when identity is at stake. Identity means survival is at stake. It’s safer to cling to a lie — even if we know it’s a lie — than to allow the destruction of who and what it is that we’ve always believed ourselves to be. [Read more…]

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