Postcards from the culture wars (7.20)


Those who believe God wants them to be “a bad guy.” What the Ultra-Neo-Reformed and the paleo-Catholic have in common (spoiler: it has to do with penises). Helping the poor a distraction from hating the gay. Reading the Lord’s Prayer in public — but not the verses that precede it. “Of course it’s a war on birth control, abortion, everything.” [Read more...]

Neil Steinberg & Dave Gushee on the damaging idea that ‘hating gays is a bedrock of Christian faith’


From Neil Steinberg: “Ask the next rabbi you see if he feels oppressed because the United States government doesn’t enforce Jewish dietary laws. He’ll take a step back — distancing himself from the crazy person — and say, ‘No, and believe me, we know what real oppression is.’” [Read more...]

Christian denominations and marriage equality: A simple quiz

Sectarian arguments against same-sex marriage all boil down to arguments that only sectarian marriages should be legal. These are not good arguments.

Does your denomination regard marriage as a sacrament? If so, Congratulations! You support marriage equality! Or does your denomination regard marriage as an “ordinance”? If so, Congratulations! You support marriage equality!
[Read more...]

North Carolina Republicans introduce bill to outlaw Baptist churches and establish N.C. Staatskirche

This will be the official Southern Baptist baptistry, for baptizing all infants born into the official Southern Baptist Church of North Carolina.

“A resolution filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.” [Read more...]

President Obama’s Easter statement


This is President Obama’s fifth Easter statement. It’s a routine pronouncement of the sort that presidents make on various religious holidays. But during the Obama administration there’s been a pattern of religious right groups pretending that this president never makes such statements — or that he only makes them in recognition of non-Christian holidays. These religious-right groups, in other words, lie. [Read more...]

Praise for Melissa Rogers as choice to head White House faith-based office

Melissa Rogers is Baptist in the Roger Williams sense of the word, and I agree with the Baptist Joint Committee, the ACLU, the Interfaith Alliance, Americans United, the American Humanist Association, the Anti-Defamation League, Mark Silk, John Fea, Hemant Mehta, Joel Hunter and David Saperstein that Rogers is an excellent choice to direct the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. [Read more...]

Don’t treat people as symbols for a tribal loyalty quiz


Worse than that, though, is what these tribal trustees are doing when it comes to LGBT people. They’re not treated as people at all — just as short-hand symbols who provide a convenient test. For the tribal gatekeepers, LGBT people do not matter as people. They do not even exist as people, but only as a useful gauge of any given defendant’s beliefs about the “authority of the Bible.” [Read more...]

Culture-war diaries


Rob Bell and Hillary Clinton take sides; reinventing Promise Keepers; biblical special effects; a new Salem witch hunt; someone really said “This is a government institution, not a secular institution;” Lindsey Graham mistakes “Birth of a Nation” for CNN; and CPAC activists want to see more Republican outreach to white people. [Read more...]