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...]

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...]

Tribal gatekeepers are not in the best interest of baseball


Smith’s payoff secured a change in his behavior. Jones’ payoff ensured that his behavior will not change. We might argue that Jones has more integrity because he never strays from his original ideology, but this is faint praise — like arguing that Pete Rose had more integrity than the Chicago Black Sox because he was betting on his team to win instead of deliberately throwing the game. [Read more...]

Kick a gay, keep your platform: Tribal gatekeepers of white evangelicalism demand their tribute be paid

Why revisit this post now? Because the original post was a lamentation over my old friend Ron Sider’s 2009 endorsement of the pompous and ridiculous “Manhattan Declaration,” and Sider is now doubling down — adding his endorsement to the equally fatuous 2015 statement, “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage.” And also because today we learn that J.R. Daniel Kirk is getting the heave-ho from Fuller Theological Seminary. [Read more...]

The equal protection of the law


“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Yes. Yes it does. [Read more...]

J.R. Daniel Kirk on the heart of the gospel (This is not an Official Statement of a stance on an issue)


If the gospel is not allowed to be audacious, then how can it possibly be good news? Audacity — sheer, mind-boggling audacity — is a core characteristic of the gospel. If your idea of the gospel isn’t so audacious as to give you pause, then your idea of the gospel is far too small. [Read more...]

Tony Campolo offers an Official Statement on his stance on the issue of homosexuality

Tony Campolo (photo via

This is an Official Statement announcing his change of “stance” on an “issue.” Such Official Statements are a kind of ritual genre in the white evangelical tribe, and that genre both limits what can be said and shapes how it can be said. They cannot be about justice or injustice directly, but only about one’s “stance” toward them. And they aren’t constructed to accommodate or acknowledge actual people, only the “issues” that affect them. This displaces the conversation — removing it several steps from the fierce urgency of now and pushing it off toward some more abstract and ethereal discussion of the relative validity of various possible “stances” and their status within the tribe. [Read more...]

Revisiting the immorality of the religious right’s ‘moral high ground’


The religious right’s assertion that it represented the moral high ground was widely accepted for many years. But once they were challenged to defend that assertion, it proved to be indefensible. That’s why anti-gay ballot initiatives in the United States lost in 2012, and it’s why Irish voters overwhelmingly endorsed marriage equality in 2015. [Read more...]