Following up on the evangelical persecution complex, Hobby Lobby and tribalism

Some terrific bloggers advance the conversation. “True sociopaths are not delusional,” Alan Bean says. The corporate behavior Jason Dye describes might be either sociopathic or delusional. And William Lindsey contrasts Catholic and evangelical tribalism. [Read more...]

Variations on a theme: Why evangelicals don’t do scholarship, humor or philosophy

A vintage cartoon illustrating both: A) the sorry state of evangelical humor; and B) the reason why evangelicals are not funny.

An apologetic or defensive culture primarily concerned with preserving “certain theological distinctives” will not just defend its boundaries against anything that might violate them. It will defend those boundaries against anything that might transcend them. The transcendent — the good, the beautiful, the true — becomes the forbidden. [Read more...]

Why should the Devil have all the good music — and Taylor Swift and One Direction too?


The Billboard charts, as filtered through Dan Le Sac and Christianity Today, can tell us which recording artists are destined for an eternity of conscious torment. (Sorry, Marcus Mumford, One Direction and Pink, but it looks like you’ll be joining the Singing Nun … in Hell!) [Read more...]

Evangelicals still trail Jehovah’s Witnesses in tribal Billboard No. 1 contest

Sorry, sister, but Christianity Today says you're not a Christian artist.

For some people, Christianity is a life-shaping faith and a source of hope and meaning. For others, it’s a tribal competition in which life is all about scoring points for Team Christian. Good news for people in the latter category, Christianity Today reports that Team Christian now has the No. 1 album in the U.S. [Read more...]

Who should pray at the inauguration? How about nobody?


We do not need prayers at inaugurations. We need to not have prayers at inaugurations. Those sentences are true whether the “we” refers to we Americans as a nation or to “we” Christians or “we” religious people. Mingling of church and state is not good for either church or state. [Read more...]

When Christians argue that Jesus Christ has no religious significance

This is not Sallman's "Head of Christ." This is Hunstein's Head of Cash. I like this better.

An Ohio public school superintendent is defending the ginormous reproduction of Sallman’s Head of Christ that hangs in a Jackson City school building. He says the iconic portrayal of a white Gentile Jesus does not privilege or establish religion, but merely reflects “the culture of our community.” [Read more...]

Tribalism isn’t about feelings, it’s about the zero-sum outlook


It’s very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to separate out the various threads of tribal identity as distinct factors. The tribal anxiety that comes from the idea of a zero-sum world is all of a piece. Antitribalism struggles to be “intersectional,” but tribalism has always been intersectional. Tribalism was intersectional before intersectionality was cool. [Read more...]

Dobson, Huckabee get a bit of push-back from mainstream evangelicals

(Image snitched from Laryn Kragt Bakker.)

Following some particularly egregious comments on the Sandy Hook massacre by prominent religious-right evangelicals like Mike Huckabee and James Dobson, there’s been a bit of push-back. A few folks from the evangelical mainstream establishment are speaking out and condemning those comments. [Read more...]