Smart people saying smart things (9.3)

Smart people saying smart things (9.3) September 3, 2015

Jon Corvino, “It’s time to remove Kentucky clerk Kim Davis”

Unlike the conscientious objector, Davis is not being drafted into service against her will. She has chosen a job that requires her to grant licenses in accordance with civil law. She is no longer willing to do that. She should not expect to keep her job, any more than a military commander would keep his job if he became a pacifist, or a surgeon would keep her job if she became a Christian Scientist and refused to perform surgery. Religious liberty does not entitle the bearer to line-item vetoes for essential job functions.

… Private citizens are free to express their religious views about homosexuality — however hypocritically and inconsistently — and to practice their faith as they see fit. But religious liberty is not a “get out of your job free” card.

Julie Ingersoll, “Meet the Tea Party’s evangelical quack”

Because he says very little about contemporary Democrats, it’s clear that [David] Barton’s purpose is to connect them with racist Southern Democrats, while completely ignoring the relationship of modern-day Republicans with racism. Most glaringly, the Republican “Southern strategy” is entirely missing from Barton’s account of the parties’ political strategies with regard to race. From the Johnson administration through the Nixon and Reagan campaigns, Republican strategists effectively used race as a “wedge issue.” Southern Democrats would not support efforts by the national party to secure civil rights for African Americans. By focusing on specific racial issues (like segregation), Republicans split off voters who had traditionally voted for Democrats. The contemporary “states’ rights” battle cry at the core of the conservative movement and Tea Party rhetoric is rooted in this very tactic. Barton and Beck want to rewrite American history on race and slavery in order to cleanse the founding fathers of responsibility for slavery and, more importantly, blame it and subsequent racism on Democrats.

Elias Isquith, “Donald Trump & white America’s anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country”

While I cannot relate to the substance of these people’s grievances, I can imagine that experiencing the transition from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama is profoundly disorienting. I also can imagine that the mix of loss and fear that seizes them is a pain not easily forgotten. If I were in similar circumstances, I might decide to go down swinging, too. I might be drawn to the candidate who says we’re halfway across the point of no return already. I might not want to go gently into that good night.

Derek Penwell, “9 Arguments From the Bible Fundamentalists Should Have to Make”

I am weary of playing defense against fundamentalism, as if it holds some sort of privileged theological position that requires a special deference, as well as the expectation of an explanation from those who would deviate.

It’s not that I resent having to come clean about my own hermeneutical presuppositions, to be required to set down the story I’m telling about how I interpret scripture. What makes me unutterably exhausted is the popular assumption that a fundamentalist reading of scripture is somehow the hermeneutical true north by which all interpretations are to be judged. The assertion that the Bible is to be read in a common sense fashion, as close to literally as possible, is not only itself merely one interpretative strategy among other strategies, it’s also a fairly recent development in the history of interpretation.

T. Christian Miller, “The FBI Built a Database That Can Catch Serial Rapists—and Almost Nobody Uses It”

That’s what’s striking about ViCAP today: the paucity of information it contains. Only about 1,400 police agencies in the United States, out of roughly 18,000, participate in the system. The database receives reports from far less than one percent of the violent crimes committed annually. It’s not even clear how many crimes the database has helped solve. The FBI does not release any figures. A review in the 1990s found it had linked only 33 crimes in 12 years.


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