Donald Trump, ‘Playboy,’ and when bigots were kids

The world is supposed to be just like it was before — back when we were kids. That means bedtime stories, playing in the back yard, prayer in schools, leaded gasoline and lousy lightbulbs, women and minorities who knew their place, gays in the closet, white men in the White House, and centerfolds in Playboy. [Read more…]

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Wise as serpents and innocent as doves

A nice university professor has studied “Why some religious Americans see same-sex marriage as a threat.” And I’m sure his findings accurately describe SOME religious Americans. But I think his study misses at least two of the major reasons that many white American Christians oppose same-sex marriage. For many, I think, such opposition is mostly an abstract proxy for a separate debate about the meaning of the Bible. And for others it’s just a scary story that makes for a lucrative fundraising pitch. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (9.21)

GOP analyst Steve Schmidt analyzes the GOP. Amy Davidson on the right’s backwards Dred Scott analogies. Reggie L. Williams on the whiteness of American theology. Benjamin Park on Kim Davis’ Christian nationalism. And the New England Journal of Medicine on Planned Parenthood. [Read more…]

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The uncanny sex fiends of Christianity Today (No. 1)

To play up the claim that this is newsworthy, CT tries to portray this man’s “fall” as part of a trend affecting all of society. That larger trend, in CT’s view, doesn’t have anything to do with the ongoing pattern of repressed social conservatives exposed for the hypocrisy of their private lives. Of course not. For CT, the trend can only be the same trend they see everywhere — the narrative of decline that sees libertine liberals threatening to turn America into Sodom due to their no-co-pay birth control and their equality under the law for LGBT people. [Read more…]

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The culture war has always been about race

Before the Reagan years, the culture wars were an anti-civil-rights struggle focused on race (“states’ rights,” busing, etc.), which drew support from white evangelical voters. After the Reagan years, the culture wars became an anti-feminist struggle focused on sex (abortion, LGBT rights, etc.), which solidified that white evangelical support into the GOP’s largest and most reliable voting bloc. That was a huge change. Or, maybe, it wasn’t. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (8.13)

“Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (8.7)

Max Ehrenfreund on Kansas’ efforts to kick the poors. Ta-Nehisi Coates on “Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality.” Randall Kennedy on “The Civil Rights Movement and the Politics of Memory.” Jill Lepore on arguments from privacy and arguments from equality. And Sr. Joan Chittister on “pro-life” vs. pro-birth. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (8.6)

“The commandments — ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”,’ and any other commandment — are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” [Read more…]

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