The Sunday before Election Day

I attended Sunday services at a white evangelical mega-church in our closely watched swing-state county. Most of the service made no mention of the election just a few hours away. But then, tacked on the end, just after the closing hymn, the pastor and his congregation rushed through an obligatory reminder of the importance of voting because if the wrong side wins they’ll lose their freedom to worship, have their Bibles confiscated, and be rounded up in FEMA camps for real, true Christians. It was simultaneously extreme and insincere — and thus strangely appropriate for 2016. [Read more…]

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This is where we draw the line

“(We Don’t Need No) Color Code,” is a raucous, righteous middle finger directed at Bob Jones University from Steve Taylor’s 1984 “Meltdown” album. It’s a fun, foot-stompin’ anti-racism song. The album’s producer, a long-time CCM recording whiz, even joins in on the call-and-response chorus. That guy? Turns out he was also a member of the KKK who eventually went to prison for his role in an attack on a Nashville synagogue. [Read more…]

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Shenanigans: Evangelical identity and the evangelical brand (part 3)

Say, “Most evangelicals support Donald Trump” and they’ll say it’s unfair to deny the vast diversity of political and theological views that constitute the broader whole of evangelicalism. Say, “It’s possible to be both evangelical and gay” and suddenly you’ll find that such diversity is not allowed. They’ll inform you that it’s impossible to be both gay and evangelical, and impossible to be both gay “affirming” and evangelical. [Read more…]

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Shenanigans: Evangelical identity and the evangelical brand (part 2)

Ten years ago, the National Association of Evangelicals was battered by a string of scandals. The association’s president was forced to resign in 2006, and then two years later, it’s vice president was forced out. First Ted Haggard got caught using drugs with a male prostitute, then Rich Cizik was revealed to be a registered Democrat. Horrified board members and constituents of the NAE didn’t seem sure which was worse. [Read more…]

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Shenanigans: Evangelical identity and the evangelical brand (part 1)

Evangelical Christianity is a notoriously nebulous thing. Religious historians have long struggled to define the term. Pollsters still haven’t figured out how to distinguish the category or to mark its boundaries. And all of their efforts are further complicated by the nature of evangelical Christianity itself, which is perpetually contentious and disputed — a community marked by fierce intramural battles over who does and who does not legitimately belong to it. [Read more…]

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Haw haw haw

Jack Chick’s cartoons were infused with the abominable fancy — the idea that the supreme delight awaiting true believers in Heaven would be that they got to watch the eternal torment of wicked sinners in Hell. That was pretty much the essence of Chick’s faith. He wasn’t driven by his love for God or for God’s love for us, but by the eschatological hope that one day God would settle all the arguments he was never able to win here on earth — settle them with remorseless, bloodthirsty finality. [Read more…]

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Debate night!

In 2011, only 30 percent of white evangelicals said that a candidate’s personal morality shouldn’t disqualify them from public office. In 2016, 71 percent of evangelicals say this. Plus some Aimee Mann. (Consider this post your discuss-the-debate and/or avoid-the-debate open thread.) [Read more…]

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Where are the white evangelicals for McMullin?

For many conservative Republican Mormons, Trumpism is a deal-breaker. For most conservative Republican evangelicals, it’s not. Mormon Republicans are balking at Trump’s misogyny, bigotry, white-nationalism and ignorance. White evangelicals are not. That’s why Evan McMullin’s long-shot campaign is up-ending the polling in Utah but not in the Bible Belt states where white evangelicals dominate Republican politics. [Read more…]

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