‘Everybody’: Blazing Saddles, religious pluralism and the American Constitution


The history of America is summed up in one brief scene of Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks’ ridiculous, exuberantly rude 1974 masterpiece. It’s the story of how “But we don’t want the Irish!” slowly evolves into “Everybody!” [Read more...]

Texas evangelicals argue against evangelism


If you’re an evangelical Christian and you find yourself arguing that “religious liberty” means that religious identity is immutable and unchangeable, and therefore that evangelism is unnecessary and impossible, then you need to rethink the trap you’ve set for yourself. [Read more...]

Postcards from the culture wars (9.3)


“They fear freedom. They don’t trust themselves or others to do the right thing without strict rules to follow.” Especially if those others are women. Or LGBT people. Or poor people. Or black, or Latino, or Asian, or Muslim, or atheist, or … [Read more...]

Versus and clobber verses: ‘It’s an almost impossible situation’


But the next word Peter says is “but.” “The Bible says one thing, but …” That’s terrifying for folks like poor Doug Anderson. They revere the Bible as their authority, their lifeline and lifeblood. And so, for them, if “the Bible says” we must never say “but.” If “it is unlawful” then it is unlawful no matter what else the Bible says about a whole theology of welcoming and loving people. [Read more...]

First guarantee minority rights. Elections come later.


Government cannot be sectarian. If the sectarian identity of the government — and therefore of the governed — can be changed in the next election, then no one has freedom of conscience, only the possibility of privilege of conscience contingent on whether one’s own beliefs correspond with those of the majority. The stakes are too high. Freedom of conscience cannot be dependent on whether or not your sect wins the next election. Without a guaranteed right of religious liberty for religious minorities, dissenters and outsiders, elections are profoundly anti-democratic. [Read more...]

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...]