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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [Read More...]

Marilynne Robinson vs. evangelical tribalism

“We live in a time when the claiming of a religious identity has become more important than abiding in what that truth implies,” Marilynne Robinson said last month at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. That “claiming of a religious identity” and the elevating of it above the meaning, content or substance [Read More...]

One more point on biblicism

I want to mention one more problem that arises from biblicism, or biblical literalism: It fosters conflict. It fosters really nasty conflict — the kind that starts with the belief that The Other Side must be evil and then goes downhill from there with little hope of resolution. Biblicism invites this kind of conflict because [Read More...]