Wise as serpents and innocent as doves

"He broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it; it was called Nehushtan."

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...]

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...]

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...]

The culture war has always been about race

Sen. Jesse Helms accepts the "Proudly Pro-Life" award from the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund in 1998.

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...]

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...]

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...]