It hurts down here on Earth, Lord

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Eliel Cruz’s “Faithfully LGBT” project shows us the beautiful faces of the real people often sidelined by the church as an abstract “issue” to be debated. They’re not issues — they’re our brothers and sisters. Deal with it. Plus: Parents rising up in Flint; John McCain condemns the Torture Party; surprising decency in Georgia; and the British Mycological Society has something for everyone. [Read more...]

I do not care for primary season


Primary campaigns, and particularly primary debates, tend to get bogged down in purity disputes. When the candidates mostly agree on policies, programs, and priorities, they turn to debating purity, and the focus shifts to accusations and counter-accusations in which old votes and speeches are parsed for supposed evidence of a failure to uphold 100-percent purity on the agreed-upon stance. This is play-acting and pretense and it’s worse than meaningless. [Read more...]

Maybe God is trying to tell you something

Your fingers too short to box with God.

I’d advise Trump to stick to some nice, safe evangelical church this week — somewhere that doesn’t use the lectionary shared by most of the world’s Christians. I’m sure he can get his new fundie friends to recommend some local church that would be better-suited for him. Someplace more hospitable to Trump’s central campaign theme of inhospitality.
Some nice, safe white evangelical church, in other words, where Trump won’t have to worry about encountering a God who might be trying to tell him something. [Read more...]

It can happen here: Trumpism, Franklin Graham, and respectable white evangelicalism

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The widespread popular support for Trump and Trumpism has been the subject of much consternation among white evangelical leaders dismayed to realize that much of that support is coming from their own white evangelical tribe. This, inexplicably, suprises them. It does not surprise me. Nothing that Donald Trump is saying on the campaign trail is substantially different from what Franklin Graham has been posting on Facebook for years now. [Read more...]

Brother Paul and the Ship of Miracles: Good stories


“The Meredith was designed to haul cargo and only had accommodations for 12 passengers and a 47-person crew. On the afternoon of Dec. 22, in gale force winds and swirling snow, the crew began to load the refugees into the cargo holds using makeshift booms and gangplanks. … It took nearly 24 hours, but the crew somehow managed to fit 14,000 refugees within the ship’s five cargo holds.” [Read more...]

Abd el-Kader and Syrian refugees

Abd el-Kader, photographed in Damascus, 1860.

With the rejection of Syrian refugees becoming an ugly political issue for Republican presidential candidates, and with those same candidates campaigning in and around Elkader, Iowa, it seems like a good time to revisit the story of the man that city is named after. This story has something to teach all of us about protecting and sheltering refugees. It’s something those candidates desperately need to learn. [Read more...]

Lancaster County exposes the fraudulent misleadership of GOP governors and candidates


Lancaster County is doing both. It has ended homelessness among veterans in the county and it is welcoming and assisting desperate refugees fleeing ISIS’s brutality in Syria. It is doing both because in order to be the kind of community that is capable of doing one it had to also be the kind of community capable of doing the other. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (11.20)

The Economist explains why the investigation and screening that already occurs makes it the least likely route for potential terrorists to try to enter the U.S. Dahlia Lithwick, Laurel Reiman Henneman, and George Takei on the disgraceful history of American concentration camps and the awful Supreme Court validation of them. And Adam Kotsko on the only kind of logic that can lead to this irrational, heartless, fearful politics (Hint: It’s racism). [Read more...]