Smart people saying smart things (1.28)


Panti Bliss on what it is that homophobes are afraid of. Rachel L. Martin on “The Brave and Tragic Trail of Reverend Turner.” Scott Hancock and Alexandra Milano on the real rebels who overthrew the traitors. Anne Mellinger-Birdsong says, “Trust women.” Mark Danner on “Our New Politics of Torture.” [Read more...]

Al Mohler’s ‘erotic liberty’ rhetoric is a sinful, unbiblical, indecent, nasty lie


Lies don’t get much uglier than Al Mohler’s “erotic liberty vs. religious liberty” slur. This rhetoric is designed to deny the humanity of other human beings, refusing to acknowledge them as anything more than walking sex acts. Humans are capable of religion, Mohler is saying. Those sub-humans over there — those bestial walking sex acts — are incapable of religion, only of “eroticism.” [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (1.2)

The ethics and economics of Baileyism; John Cleese on stupidity; Alan Bean on pro-torture Christians; James Baldwin on the price we’re still paying for refusing to see; and Bethany Suckrow on “pro-lifers” who bully children into suicide. [Read more...]


Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara as Quasimodo and Esmeralda in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939).

Are sacred spaces recognized as refuges because they are sacred? Or are they sacred because they are recognized as places of refuge? Are they able to stand against the Powers That Be because they are holy? Or are they holy because they stand against the Powers That Be? [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (11.21)

Questions From a Ewe has a request for Cardinal Sean O’Malley; Eliel Cruz and Darnell Moore on what it’s like to be hated in a “sanctuary;” Maria Joanna Krol-Sinclair writes to the guy she punched in the face in Prague; and Doktor Zoom on the right’s horror whenever Obama quotes the Bible. [Read more...]

‘God hates shrimp’: Picking and choosing among abominations


The key thing to notice when asking this question of white evangelicals in America is that they don’t usually try to answer it. They don’t respond with a hermeneutical argument for how to approach the Bible, but rather with a defense of their affirmation of particular commandments. Such non-answers don’t provide an explanation of the principles by which we can determine whether or not a biblical teaching ought to be regarded as binding. They offer, instead, after-the-fact, ad hoc rationalizations — attempts to defend our current practice by creating some retroactive explanation for them. I want to look here at three popular variations on this non-answer. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (11.9)

Walter Brueggeman on the need for “more honest and abrasive speech;” Judge Martha Craig Daughtry dissents; Dianna E. Anderson on “MRAs for Jesus;” Jamelle Bouie on Mississippi goddam; and Paul Rosenberg on “racial codespeak in the Obama era.” [Read more...]

‘God hates shrimp’: A case study

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The function of that argument is purely internal. It’s not an attempt to persuade others. It’s not addressed to others. It’s a therapeutic, self-help affirmation addressed to themselves — a way of reassuring themselves that they’re not being as cruel and unfair as it sounds. This mantra of self-assurance always includes a denial of personal responsibility: “It’s not me. It’s the Bible. The Bible is making me say these cruel things.” [Read more...]