We would have taken part with them

When we first learn about the hanging of witches in Salem or wherever else, we hear and absorb this story the same way we do the story of Cain and Abel. We’re Abel. If that had been us, we’d have been Abel. Or, if we stretch a bit more, we can just barely imagine that we might be Cain, except that if we had been Cain, then we would not have killed Abel. And we do the same thing with every other story of injustice and the slaughtering of the prophets, every story about fascism or slavery or Jim Crow. [Read more…]

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But you can’t expect to be bright and bon vivant

The most important (and interesting) thing about outrageous fake news and ridiculous lies from politicians isn’t why the speakers say such things. It’s why their audiences want and choose and wish those things were true. Also: Economic anxiety in the heartland; a fake Baptist doesn’t understand religious freedom; and making things uncomfortable for complacent senators. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (2.8.17)

Coretta Scott King on why Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has proved himself an enemy of voting rights and is unfit to serve as a federal judge. Rebecca Traister on what mass killers have in common. The United States Holocaust Museum refuses to be All-Lives-Mattered. Hitler scholar Ron Rosenbaum recognizes the playbook. And a pep talk of sorts from John Scalzi. [Read more…]

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I’m just weary to my bones

Wherein I amend my earlier discussion of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the timid poetry editor who was also a beast in the streets for abolitionism. Also: Historical models for full-on Harriet-Tubman/Robin-Hood style resistance; Mark 9:38-41 in practice; Melania’s money-making scheme; and a look back at “A Thief in the Night.” [Read more…]

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Ezra isn’t the Good Guy in this story

I recently realized that one popular theory holds that the book of Malachi may have been written by Ezra. This isn’t a new idea — it gets kicked around in one ancient targum, and St. Jerome apparently liked the idea too. So I wanted to take a moment to explain why this is a silly [Read More…]

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LBCF, No. 120: ‘Muggletonians’

L&J’s placement of the two witnesses here, in the earliest days of the Tribulation, is regarded by some of their fellow Darbytonians as controversial. We needn’t get into the details of this intramural dispute — that would be too much like walking into a room full of conspiracy theorists arguing over who Jack Ruby was really working for — but it’s worth keeping in mind that such disputes helped to shape the authors’ imagined audience for this book. It’s not only about reassuring their followers and condemning the pagans and False Christians. It’s also about condemning the mid-Trib Rapturists and all the other PMD factions whose tribulation timelines vary from L&J’s preferred version. [Read more…]

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A deal with the devil: embracing complicity, abandoning principle

David Brooks’ column, like Eliot Cohen’s before it, produced a hearty round of somber head-nodding from the International Brotherhood of Very Serious People. This was, they all agreed, undeniably true. We must not be tempted to make a deal with the devil. And then, 12 hours later, they all applauded as one of their own made exactly such a deal. [Read more…]

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Cast-off

The cast is off and the Slacktivixen is back at work with a full complement of untorn tendons. The doctor says they’ve healed nicely and that it seems surgery won’t be necessary. Thank you, again, to all of you whose generosity and support made it possible for her to take all those weeks off of work. You’re amazing and we’re so grateful to all of you. [Read more…]

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