That time when a terrorist attack struck the Olympic Games

Both Ryan Lochte’s clumsy cover story and the media’s initial credulous acceptance of it reveal our willingness to assume the worst about South America as opposed to our more civilized society here in the “real” America. That’s ironic when we remember what happened when the Olympic Games were hosted here in America, in Atlanta, in 1996. A bomb planted by a right-wing, anti-abortion terrorist killed one spectator and injured 111 others. [Read more…]

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Culture warriors have weird ideas about how courts work

Litfin is so eager to minimize the legitimacy of LGBT people’s claims to legal and civil equality that he starts from an “activist judges” narrative that fails to grasp even a Schoolhouse Rock-level understanding of how government works. In Litfin’s telling, the “judicial branch” just suddenly decided one day to start legislating from the bench — “pressing hard” to create new “controversial” rights for LGBT people. That’s not how courts work. [Read more…]

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Rewriting evangelicals’ past to preserve our mistakes

Christianity Today was co-founded by L. Nelson Bell — Billy Graham’s father-in-law and also the founder of The Southern Presbyterian Journal, a pro-segregationist magazine explicitly dedicated to what Bell (a Wheaton graduate) called “racial integrity.” Bell’s argument in opposition to the Civil Rights movement was irreducibly and emphatically “moral and religious.” He categorically denied that “bare-knuckled racial discrimination” or animus had anything to do with his position. It was, he insisted, a matter of faithfulness to God and of defending the authority of the Bible. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (7.2)

Sonia Sotomayor on lawless police; Ben Moberg on Orlando; Loretta Lynch on being seen; Alex Massie on the consequences of hateful rhetoric; and Carvell Wallace on the “Negro Motorist Green Book” and the meaning of home. [Read more…]

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‘Religious outreach’

While Donald Trump’s evangelical outreach continues to flail — “We’ve gotta spiritize this country!” — another election year brings about the quadrennial ritual of articles fretting about the need for “religious outreach” by Democrats. Remember, though, that Hillary Clinton’s long history with her United Methodist Church and her involvement with its women’s groups doesn’t count, because mainline Protestantism doesn’t count. “Religious outreach by Democrats” only counts if it involves obsequious overtures to white evangelicals. [Read more…]

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The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning

What if we rewrote “The Da Vinci Code” as an extended episode of “Leverage”? That’s what you’ll find in Ariel Sabar’s amazing attempt to determine the provenance of the allegedly ancient papyrus fragment known as the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. Also: “Hating Hillary” ca. 1996; baby steps for the SBC and a Catholic bishop; and another reminder that Eric Metaxas is a silly, silly man. [Read more…]

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We’ve gotten better at mourning. That’s a sick form of ‘progress’

The enormous change in public response might be more encouraging if the unit of measurement weren’t so horrifying. It is, undeniably, evidence of progress that our communities, our media, our politicians and churches have gotten better at publicly mourning the mass-slaughter of gay men. It is damnably indefensible that violence against LGBT people remains such a constant that it can serve as such a measurement of cultural attitudes over time. [Read more…]

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Chapter and verse

But when I read a story like this, I want to know more. When a member of Congress is leaning on “a passage from the Bible denouncing homosexuality” as the primary basis for his legislative decisions, thereby disgusting his GOP colleagues with his ignorant rejection of the First Amendment, I also want to know which passage from the Bible, specifically, this guy is quoting. [Read more…]

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