Smart people saying smart things (9.13.18)

Smart people saying smart things (9.13.18) September 13, 2018

Kristin Du Mez, “Hobby Lobby Evangelicalism”

By this point it had become clear to me that Hobby Lobby wasn’t just a Christian company because its owners were Christians, because they contributed a large chunk of their profits to evangelistic charities, or because they had emerged as heavyweight champions in the latest round of the culture wars. But Hobby Lobby also reflects (and, by selling Christian material culture, reinforces and shapes) a distinctive white evangelical cultural identity.

It is an identity that is both religious and political. Although any given product might be purchased with a variety of motives or intentions, taken together the material artifacts at Hobby Lobby reflect a compelling and coherent worldview—one infused with race, gender, class, and political assumptions. In the case of Hobby Lobby, it is an identity that is embraced (and sometimes resisted) first and foremost by evangelical women—including many, I would presume, who do not consider themselves particularly political.

Jemar Tisby, “Battle lines form over social justice: Is it gospel or heresy?”

Statements that dismiss social justice send a message that the ongoing marginalization many minorities still experience and struggle against is of no concern to their fellow Christians.

Or to God.

Or to the Bible — despite ample scriptural evidence that demonstrates God’s concern for the poor and the powerless and anger toward those who create oppressive conditions (Amos 5:24, Micah 6:8, Psalm 103:6, Isaiah 10:1, Luke 1:52-53, Luke 4:18).

Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Righteousness or Justice?”

Adam Serwer, “The Supreme Court Is Headed Back to the 19th Century”

The justices did not resurrect Dred Scott v. Sandford’s antebellum declaration that a black man had no rights that a white man was bound to respect. Rather, they carefully framed their arguments in terms of limited government and individual liberty, writing opinion after opinion that allowed the white South to create an oppressive society in which black Americans had almost no rights at all. Their commitment to freedom in the abstract, and only in the abstract, allowed a brutal despotism to take root in Southern soil.

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court today is similarly blinded by a commitment to liberty in theory that ignores the reality of how Americans’ lives are actually lived. Like the Supreme Court of that era, the conservatives on the Court today are opposed to discrimination in principle, and indifferent to it in practice. Chief Justice John Roberts’s June 2018 ruling to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting a list of majority-Muslim countries, despite the voluminous evidence that it had been conceived in animus, showed that the muddled doctrines of the post-Reconstruction period retain a stubborn appeal.

Toni Bond Leonard, “Aretha’s Funeral and the White Supremacist Imagination”

Williams did not properly eulogize Aretha. Yet he did leave us with a valuable lesson in decoding white supremacy rhetoric. His words must be heard for their true meaning, the horrible legacy of vilifying Blackness, Black bodies, and Black culture. We cannot let our silence make us co-conspirators in the pathologizing of Black bodies, especially Black women. It contributes to our invisibility within the very faith institutions we dominate and sustain.

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