Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken

Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken November 28, 2016

• “I’m more concerned with self-justification than I am with self-fulfillment. Because self-justification breeds resentment and gives people a moral mandate to treat others with contempt.”

• And now, class, we’re going to watch a moving picture, a short educational film from 1946:

Via Open Culture, where Colin Marshall provides some background.

• We could try to explain to David Barton that the oldest church building in America is Catholic — built years before the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock ever set sail — but that wouldn’t fit the story in his head, so he’d never accept the truth.


For Barton, American history is a linear story that reads right to left, East to West. It is a story, in other words, exclusively about Protestant, English-speaking white people.

• John Turner attempts, and mostly fails, to console himself over the Trumpocalypse. Turner’s less-than-reassuring argument seems to be that white evangelicalism’s appalling politics aren’t quite as bad as it’s inclination for “cruel theology”: “We left the church when another minister prayed that a congregant would recognize the sin that had caused her to have a miscarriage.”

What Turner misses, I think, is that cruel theology and cruel politics are not discrete, unrelated phenomena. They feed and inform one another. He wants to regard evangelical support for Trump as simply an expression of their “habitual” support for Republican candidates more generally, but doesn’t explore the basis for that habit — which has everything to do with cruel theologies and with pastors who stubbornly refuse to understand the first thing about human reproduction.

Related: “No, John Piper, God Doesn’t Kill Babies Because Their Dad Looked at Porn.” Piper, like most white evangelicals, subscribes to an anti-abortion ideology that cannot accommodate, cannot allow, any recognition that miscarriage/spontaneous abortion are not rare, exceptional occurrences. (About 10 to 20 percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, and about half of all pregnancies probably end before they are recognized.) Thus a politically driven willful ignorance about biology feeds a cruel theology that, in turn, reinforces a habitually cruel politics. Piper’s pastoral malpractice is just another manifestation of the same “habit” that led most white evangelicals to vote for Trump.

• This song seems to be where we are, and where we may be for quite some time.

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