White evangelical voters, Donald Trump, and the evolution of the religious right

"There's a bear in the woods," Ronald Reagan reminded voters in 1984. That bear was not abortion or gays. It was Russia (and black people).

This isn’t really about Donald Trump. It’s about white evangelical voters and their support (later revoked) for Jimmy Carter and their support (later regretted) for George W. Bush. And it’s about why it’s misleading and anachronistic to imagine that the religious right of 1980 was anything at all like the religious right of 1988 or of 2004 or of 2015. [Read more...]

Tribal gatekeepers are not in the best interest of baseball

peteroseTime

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...]

The historical roots of white evangelical anti-environmentalism

The theological and historical basis for white evangelical anti-environmentalism, in two pictures.

Mainly, though, the historical roots of white evangelical antipathy to environmentalism and of white evangelical climate denialism comes down to two things: Shirley MacLaine and Al Gore. That’s it. [Read more...]

Tony Campolo offers an Official Statement on his stance on the issue of homosexuality

Tony Campolo (photo via Eastern.edu)

This is an Official Statement announcing his change of “stance” on an “issue.” Such Official Statements are a kind of ritual genre in the white evangelical tribe, and that genre both limits what can be said and shapes how it can be said. They cannot be about justice or injustice directly, but only about one’s “stance” toward them. And they aren’t constructed to accommodate or acknowledge actual people, only the “issues” that affect them. This displaces the conversation — removing it several steps from the fierce urgency of now and pushing it off toward some more abstract and ethereal discussion of the relative validity of various possible “stances” and their status within the tribe. [Read more...]

Never gonna fall for modern love: A personal testimony in The New York Times

Bowie_ModernLove

But the main thing in that youth group — the paramount, central thing — was sex. Sex, and the not having of it, was the essential defining characteristic of that youth group, and of the subculture and tribe that produced it. In practice, in the undeniable day-to-day experience of that youth group and that tribe, sex and the not having of it were the most important thing that was said and taught and experienced of God. Sex and the not having of it were conveyed as the essential meaning of the faith. [Read more...]

A closed circle of squares: Hipster costumes can’t make exclusion cool

Skinny jeans, Red Wing shoes, and Brooklyn beards still wouldn't make these guys "cool."

The uncoolness of Q Ideas, I think, stems from its desire to attain insider status — its need for permission and approval and influence. Insider status always depends on a willingness to accept the rules of the insiders, which means a willingness to keep the outsiders outside. And excluding outsiders is the definition of uncool. Excluding outsiders precludes the possibility of coolness. [Read more...]

Now and then another bud unfolds

Gatsby

Please, please someone get an account for “Christian dating” app Collide and list Ruth 3:4 as your favorite verse. Also: NYC strikes a blow against the “credit score” scam; another post-sincerity religious exemption; everything you need to know about journalism in one headline; and a reminder that God is not a lethally incompetent railway worker. [Read more...]


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