• A Dayton-esque reminder of evangelicalism’s forgotten and now forbidden past, from historian Daniel Walker Howe’s essay on “The Shameful Way Donald Trump Is Like Andrew Jackson“:
A significant difference between the two Presidents has yet to receive public notice. Trump has been enjoying support from Evangelical Protestants. Jackson did not. Evangelicals mobilized against his Indian policy because they identified with tribal members who had converted to Christianity, and they recognized Removal as a betrayal. Denied political participation, the Native Americans depended on white sympathizers to help make their case. Christian missionaries to tribal communities proved courageous leaders in the unsuccessful fight against Indian Removal.
Howe is correct to say that (some) evangelical Protestants “mobilized against” Jackson’s Indian Removal. But, as with most of the heroes profiled in Donald Dayton’s book, those folks soon found the majority of white evangelicals mobilized against them. The evangelicals who were on the right side of Indian Removal wound up on the wrong side of evangelicalism, so — as I wrote in the footnote to this post — claiming their opposition to Removal as part of our evangelical heritage makes about as much sense as, today, embracing Oberlin as a flagship evangelical college.
• NPR’s “150 Greatest Albums Made By Women” offers a terrific list of amazing music. Think of it as a syllabus for a class in musical literacy.
The idea of “ranking” them all from 150 to 1 is kind of silly, of course, as are some of the rankings themselves. But then if NPR hadn’t ranked them, we wouldn’t have as much to fight about and the whole thing wouldn’t be as much fun.
That’s the point of all pop-culture or literary “rankings” — fun. It’s playful. It’s a game, the rules of which involve participants understanding that: A) we should not seriously imagine that any such rankings are canonical or authoritative, and B) we should pretend that they are so that we can all be more hyperbolic and emphatic in sharing and defending our own favorites and recommendations and enthusiasms, introducing one another to new and worthy things.
This law suggests that, before its enactment, the state of Colorado “had no choice” but to prosecute to the fullest extent the “criminal” act of breaking into a car to rescue a trapped infant. Smashing the windows of someone else’s car is wrong, except for when it’s not. A legal system that needs that spelled out in excruciating detail — that finds it necessary to codify all the potential circumstances in which that’s not a criminal act — will be brutish and inhuman. This is one of the differences between the rule of law and a police state.
On a less substantial level, this is the same mentality that resulted in the “dress code” at my fundamentalist Christian high school expanding to be dozens of pages long.
• Ann Neumann brings a Mennonite eye to the subject of faith-based “Healthcare Sharing Ministries” (following Laura Turner’s excellent piece on the woes of Samaritan Ministries).
I have a lot of other concerns about these organizations, but my main one is still that I’m not convinced any of these folks have the actuarial chops to make this work. I suspect that’s especially true for those with only the best of intentions. The bubble is going to burst on one or more of these soon, and it won’t be pretty — even if they manage to come up with a pious-sounding euphemism for “rescission.”
• Richard Beck tag-teams with Sarah Coakley to discuss “The Wicked Problem of Jails and Prisons” for those seeking to minister to the incarcerated:
The system forces you into the pastoral position — helping the men “cope” with their lot (i.e., submit to their punishment). Anything that has the men question the justice of their condition is risky. If I address these issues I may never see the men ever again, or be allowed to work in a prison again. In short, the principality and power of the prison forces you to divorce the pastoral from justice.
That’s right. But this wicked problem is also not limited to those attempting to minister in jails and prisons.
• Sad to hear of the death, at age 41, of Linkin Park singer and songwriter Chester Bennington. Their album with Jay-Z is a favorite of the Slacktivixen’s, with this track always finding its way onto her road-trip playlists:
And that, in turn, always reminds me of the source of that riff, from peak-’80s Erasure: