Proximity, affinity, and mutuality


“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” the epistle says. But anywhere and everywhere are beyond my finite ability to comprehend, to act or to pay attention. Fortunately, the letter continues, and the following sentences point toward something that can help us to move beyond the prejudices of our affinities or the paralysis of our finitude. [Read more...]

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s a contemptuous distrust


Here we have a choice that — according to the pope himself — can be made for either good or bad reasons. As a spiritual leader, then, the pope has a choice to make about this choice. One possibility would be for him to teach and encourage his followers to make good choices for good reasons. Another possibility would be for him to preclude the possibility of his followers making bad choices by arrogating to himself the right to make this choice on behalf of everyone else. And he chose the second one. That is immoral and unjust. [Read more...]

And just when I’d grown colder


I ask for help casting the movie based on televangelist Paul Crouch’s FBI file. Plus: affirmative consent, advertising upselling, the Devil’s advocacy, 15 yards for a Muslim Tebow, convertible grace, and subsidiarity — it’s on us. [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things (9.1)


Peter Goodwin Heltzel and Mary McClintock Fulkerson reflect on Willie James Jennings’ “The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.” Sarah Stillman on how the expanding for-profit justice system is becoming a poor tax. Bryce Covert on how opposition to day care helped to create the religious right. [Read more...]

Time for the ‘let the churches handle it’ crowd to fish or get off the pot: 1.3 million unemployed lose their lifeline


Many of the people advocating this theory are religious leaders — church people who criticize government for not “allowing” the churches room to care for the poor and the jobless through private charity. Here’s their chance to put their money where their mouth is. Here’s their chance to prove they’ve been speaking truth and not just spouting hateful anti-poor garbage. Let’s see these religious leaders step up and replace federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million families. [Read more...]

Haiti should not be the model for America’s future

Haiti, one year after the earthquake. Photo by Mario Tama via Bag News Notes.

What would it mean to do what they’re suggesting? What would it look like if we took government out of the picture, “liberating” health care, education and assistance for the poor from the hands of government and leaving it entirely up to the free market and to churches and private charities? As it happens, this is not a hypothetical question. We know precisely what this would look like because we have a model of precisely this kind of society: Haiti. [Read more...]

Reformed seminaries ought to understand Reformed political theology


Michael Kruger is a Reformed theologian. He teaches, and serves as president, at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. Yet Kruger seems wholly unfamiliar with, and wholly ignorant of, Reformed political theology. That’s more shocking than the credulous falsehoods Kruger swallows and regurgitates as his talking points against universal health care. [Read more...]

American evangelicalism is defined by political tribalism


Michael Bird: “When it comes to the American evangelical opposition to universal health care, global evangelicals look at them with a mix of disbelief and disgust. Its not just N.T. Wright, ask someone at the Lausanne Congress or at the World Evangelical Alliance or at the Tyndale Fellowship what they think about American evangelicals howling protests against Obamacare! We are mystified as to how can good Christian men and women oppose – in some cases in the name of religion — providing health care for it citizens.” [Read more...]