Hobby Lobby is fine with forced abortions and mandatory contraception in China, but balks at voluntary contraception for American women


Pacifists can be exempted from a military draft if they are granted "conscientious objector" status. Participating in military conflict would violate their deepest moral convictions, so in recognition of those convictions, they are not required to serve in combat. Companies opposed to the so-called "contraception mandate" in the Affordable Care Act are demanding similar consideration. Providing the same preventive health coverage for female employees as for male employees, they say, violates … [Read more...]

‘The rich rule over the poor’: Dave Ramsey doesn’t understand poverty, Part 2.5

We've been discussing "personal finance" guru and get-out-of-debt guru Dave Ramsey's misunderstanding of poverty. See part 1: Dave Ramsey, McDonald’s, and the personal salvation of personal finance. And part 2: Ramsey’s II, challenging Pharaoh. I'm calling this post part 2.5 because it's not about Ramsey specifically, but it is about the corrosive, misleading and destructive ideology he preaches and teaches -- the ideology that says poverty is a matter of "You reap what you sow," that … [Read more...]

‘The rich rule over the poor’: Ramsey’s II, challenging Pharaoh

Jacob Marley celebrates debt-free living.

Helaine Olen's in-depth critique of "personal finance" guru Dave Ramsey's victim-blaming, victim-creating media empire -- "The Prophet" -- created some minor ripples. So did Felix Salmon and Susie Poppick's exploration of Ramsey's investment advice, in which they wrote, "Ramsey's investing advice is weak and could get you into trouble if you follow it too closely." But it was Dave Ramsey himself who inspired the larger recent wave of people taking a critical look at his "ministry." Ramsey … [Read more...]

‘The rich rule over the poor’: Dave Ramsey, McDonald’s, and the personal salvation of personal finance (part 1)


Earlier this year McDonald's created a publicity backlash for itself by creating a "personal finance" website for its employees. Like much of the personal finance industry, the site was a mixture of banal common sense, condescension and victim-blaming. Worst of all was the sample household budget that the site offered as a model for McDonald's workers. That budget wound up shining a huge spotlight on the fact that all the site's preachy moralizing about frugality and "personal responsibility" … [Read more...]

‘When the wicked perish, there is jubilation’


So, then, media tycoon, televangelist and fabulously successful grifter Paul Crouch is dead. Adelle M. Banks provides the straight-news story for Religion News Service, "Prosperity gospel televangelist Paul Crouch dead at 79": Paul Crouch, the religious broadcaster who co-founded Trinity Broadcasting Network and was known for his prosperity gospel messages and lavish lifestyle, died Saturday (Nov. 30). He was 79. ... Crouch and his wife, Jan, started the network in a rented facility in … [Read more...]

8 More Things the Rich Do Every Day


Dave Ramsey blames victims and preaches a false gospel of Anti-Jubilee. I understand he speaks in churches. I picture him walking to the pulpit, turning to the same words of Isaiah that Jesus preached from, reading the same passage Jesus read, and then saying, "Today, this scripture has been renounced in your hearing." But then maybe, besides all that, he's a nice guy on some kind of compartmentalized personal level. And maybe there's no such thing as karma, and so he'll never have to pay … [Read more...]

Worth 1,000 words: The awful state of American evangelical Christianity after Billy Graham


This is a picture taken this week at the celebration Franklin Graham held for the 95th birthday of his father, Billy Graham. It is also a parable, a metaphor, an astonishingly revealing snapshot of the sorry state of evangelical Christianity in America in 2013. Seated in the middle there is Billy Graham, the world-famous evangelist who was, for more than 50 years, the face of white evangelical Christianity in America and the second-most influential Baptist pastor of the 20th century. At … [Read more...]

No, private charity can’t handle it alone


Support your local food bank or your church's food pantry. Better yet, support your local food bank and your church's food pantry. What's that? Your church doesn't have a food pantry? Then start one. Go visit the Episcopalians or PCUSA or United Methodists, they can show you how -- those "mainline" Protestant types are good at this sort of thing. (Ask them about Crop Walks, too, and about Church World Service, while you're there.) Habitat for Humanity is amazing. There's probably a local … [Read more...]