Trump is the logical outcome of the white evangelical narrative of decline

Donald Trump is the end-product (so far) of the white evangelical narrative of decline — the product of generations of jeremiads bemoaning every small step of greater justice and greater equality for women, people of color, and religious and sexual minorities. That narrative has always condemned and rejected “Selma, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall” as — in Howe’s words — “American cultural decline” that is “moving the country farther from resembling [a] Christian society.” [Read more…]

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Postcards from the class & culture wars (2.21.17)

“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” [Read more…]

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Don’t know a soul who’s not been battered

President Donald Trump held a press conference today. It was bonkers. Plus: Elizabeth Drew provides an overview of the first three weeks of Trump’s presidency; a Barton-ite Republican announces his candidacy; and Reverend Bruiser vs. Dr. Viper. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (2.14.17)

It’s never a bad time to re-read George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew congregation at Newport, but now seems like an especially good time. Plus: HIAS on religious liberty; David Blight on Frederick Douglass; and Austin Channing Brown on “identity politics.” [Read more…]

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Baptist identity means religious freedom for all (it’s not about dunking)

The defining distinctive for Baptists isn’t about how we baptize, but about why and when. Baptists get baptized when they choose to do so. Baptists get baptized because they choose to do so. And nobody else has any say in that choice. You’re free to choose — or not to choose — for yourself. This is why — as a matter of core identity and definition — you cannot be a Baptist without defending religious liberty for everyone. [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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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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Go and learn what this means (part 6: patriotism)

The religion and religious expression condemned by the prophets was something that most of their listeners would have assumed was an obvious virtue. Worship, prayer, offerings, praise, sacrifices, holy days, hymn-singing, church-going — these were all assumed to be Good Things done by Good People as evidence and consequence of their goodness. “Patriotism” falls into the same sort of category. [Read more…]

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