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That one time Muhammad Ali met with Billy Graham demonstrates, yet again, the huge change in white evangelicalism as it shifted from Billy Graham mode into Franklin Graham mode. And it reminds us of how disastrously awful that change has been. Plus: Franklin loses a fight with Bella Abzug; Elihu as proto-Calvinist; and a literal re-enactment of Matthew 12:11. [Read more…]

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Calling out in transit

The male leaders of the Roman Catholic Church are now mumbling about maybe, some day, ending the late-developing innovation of a ban on women deacons. We can’t talk about that without talking about Paul’s first-century letter to the church in Rome, which was carried by a woman deacon and greets, by name, a long list of women leaders in the church. Also: Londoners get to vote; all change is incremental; a sexual predator is also a financial predator; and I am really old. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (5.6)

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” [Read more…]

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That rug really tied the room together

When a New Jersey school board member posts Facebook diatribes railing against immigrants and saying “America needs to get rid of people like you,” the main problem isn’t that she’s being “offensive.” The main problem is that she’s forcefully declaring that she is unwilling and unable to serve the students and families in the school district. Also: A “top evangelical school;” biblical dudehood; killing a neighborhood for profit; and “Mercy Ministries” is neither merciful nor a ministry. [Read more…]

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OotGOism: ‘Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it …’

Mychal Denzel Smith: “When your self-conception is centered on the idea of your own goodness, it prevents you from hearing any critique of your ideology/behavior. Thinking of yourself as ‘good’ allows you to justify harmful words and actions, since anything you do, in your mind, is ‘good.’ … We will have to create new selves.” [Read more…]

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White evangelicals and ‘the social upheaval of the ’60s’

Usually, this is stated with a polite euphemism. We don’t name all of these things specifically but, instead, we just say that white evangelicalism arose in response to “the social upheavals of the 1960s.” That allows us to pretend that this is about something else — about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, rather than about the backlash to increased legal equality for people of color and for women. [Read more…]

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The Revolution is just a T-shirt away

Voting isn’t supposed to be about “providing me with indulgence and satisfaction.” It’s not a self-affirming consumer choice or a narcissistic performance of moral superiority. It’s about taking responsibility, not avoiding it. Also: Record-setting heat sets stage for claims of global cooling; a personal testimony; and the breakfast of champions. [Read more…]

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I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one is doing something that doesn’t rhyme

Gordon Klingenschmitt is the kind of far-right fringe nut-job who gives most other far-right fringe nut-jobs the heebie-jeebies. But like dozens of other delirious religious extremists, Klingenschmitt isn’t too extreme for Ted Cruz. Plus: Mary Hunt on “The Joy Love Club;” the Volcano Gambit; cloud-based childhood memories; and a funny (real-life) version of Marmaduke. [Read more…]

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