The battle against the culture wars II

More smart people saying more smart things about the "culture wars" and the culture warriors who fight them.Chris Clarke: "An open letter to the right wing in the wake of the passage of Amendment One in N.C." We are people who would really rather be left alone to live our lives. And we would rather leave other people alone to live theirs. That’s why you’ve been able to push things this far. We’ve kind of been hoping that you’d wake up one morning, look at the things you’d written or said, t … [Read more...]

The battle against the culture wars

Three smart people saying smart things about the "culture wars."John Aravosis: "Mr. Cantor, your culture war is my life" Brad Dayspring, the former spokesman for the number two Republican in the US House, Eric Cantor, had the following to say about President Obama's support for same-sex marriage: "With the economy in stagnation and crippling amounts of debt, the President seeks to further divide America by launching in a culture war." Your culture war is my life. And isn't that the … [Read more...]

Will the majority allow minority rights in N.C.?

The citizens of North Carolina vote today on Amendment One, a ridiculous exercise in "Scissors for Hitler" silliness that makes the Tarheel State look just as foolish as if they were voting on a ban against left-handedness or an amendment decreeing that people with blue eyes can't be licensed to drive.It's ugly, stupid and deeply immoral. It's supported by liars, by racists, by Neo-Nazis and by the Catholic bishops -- none of which is the sort of authority that decent people can turn to for … [Read more...]

Is Billy Graham being exploited for political gain?


Both Alvin McEwen and Jan Edmiston wonder if the Rev. Billy Graham is being exploited and manipulated.The iconic evangelist, who is now 93 years old and has been in poor health, has a long history of avoiding taking sides on partisan political disputes, fearing that doing so would distract from his primary concern of preaching revival. He's always been a very conservative man, politically and culturally, but he's also usually previously avoided taking sides publicly on matters that were to … [Read more...]

Three commentaries on N.C. that are far more moral than Billy Graham’s cruel embrace of ignorance

Each of these commentators also offers a far better understanding of the Bible than you'll find in Billy Graham's shameful, pandering advertisements. ...Leonard Pitts Jr.: "Don't Blame the Bible" Sometimes, people hide inside the Bible. That is, they use the Christian holy book as authority and excuse for biases that have nothing to do with God. They did this when women sought to vote and when African Americans sought freedom. They are doing it now, as gay men and lesbians seek the right … [Read more...]

The ‘Big Four’ markers of the evangelical tribe

Not all of the Big Four carry equal weight.I've commended Jonathan Dudley's excellent book, Broken Words, for his frank and insightful assessment of the four tribal markers that characterize the boundaries of American evangelicalism: abortion, homosexuality, evolution and environmentalism. Opposition to all four of those constitutes evangelical tribal identity.Such opposition need not be active or particularly outspoken. What's important is the "stance" of opposition, to use the lingo of … [Read more...]

The boundaries of the evangelical tribe are political

David Sessions offers some interesting thoughts on the Rev. Billy Graham's unusual decision to aggressively enter a partisan political dispute -- "Why Moderate Billy Graham Supports North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban": But what appears to be a departure for Graham actually illustrates an ongoing dilemma for evangelical Christians: the fact that they’ve realized they need to change their tone while remaining determined to hold on to the old message. There have been signs of progress: young e … [Read more...]

Tribalism and affinity scams

Here's another downside to evangelical tribalism: It makes evangelicals more prone to being suckered by affinity scams. Two brothers ran a phony $6 million securities offering and Ponzi scheme that preyed on evangelical Christians tied to a private school, according to federal prosecutors. The SEC sued Usee Inc. and brothers Terry Wiese, 64, of Little Elm, Texas, and Scott Wiese, 48, of Temecula, Calif., and three relief defendants. The Wieses pumped Usee as a Dallas-area Voice over Internet … [Read more...]