Just me and my dog and an impossible view

Just me and my dog and an impossible view December 3, 2018

• At the Orlando Sentinel, Lauren Ritchie writes about Florida’s version of Christine O’Donnell: “Unqualified legislator to chair House education committee — nothing could go wrong there, eh?

[Jennifer] Sullivan, 27, a Mount Dora Republican whose district covers north Orange County and most of Lake, was home-schooled. She lived with her mom and worked as a tea room waitress and babysitter before she was elected.

What little education she may have beyond a high school diploma is a muddle. She has claimed through the House Speaker’s communications director — poor dear thing can’t answer simple questions on her own — that she has more credits than the evangelical Christian universities where she was enrolled will confirm.

Sullivan did a semester at Liberty University, then a few more in a business program at Pat Robertson’s college. Her mother previously ran for Congress, also as a tea-party style Republican, and Jennifer Sullivan’s first entry into politics seems to have been when she was a teenager — working for a failed state amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

In an interview with the scandal-ridden, far-right HSLDA, Sullivan discusses her white evangelical faith in the grammar of a native-speaker of that subculture. (Lifelong white evangelicals love to just use the word just to just punctuate their speech in a distinctive manner. The word is always an adverb, never an adjective, as they do not approve of what its use as an adjective signifies.):

I’m so very grateful to the Lord that I’ve really had an incredible homeschool experience. And I think at the heart of that was just my parent’s desire to just be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. And you know the Lord leads differently in everyone’s life, but I know for my mom specifically that the Lord had laid on her heart that he had given her these children and it was her responsibility to care for them and raise them up and to train them to be God-fearing individuals. Our verse for our family was “To virtue add knowledge,” and the emphasis of just making sure that you’re growing in your relationship with the Lord and to that then adding the academic knowledge to be equipped to use to further the kingdom.

Sullivan’s travels from home-schooler to state legislator epitomizes how white evangelical piety and zeal has changed over the past generation. Back in the 1980s, a young white evangelical who was just wanting to just grow in their relationship with the Lord and just to just be sensitive to the Lord’s leading would sign up for the Urbana conference and then head off to Bible college to prepare for a life of “full-time Christian service” on the mission field. In the 1990s, a young white evangelical with that same kind of pious zeal might have decided to become a youth minister.

Today, piously zealous young white evangelicals of the same sort now insist that what the Lord is calling them to do, what the Lord has laid on their heart and given them a burden for, is to run for political office as right-wing, tea-party, white-nationalist Republicans.

That’s just, Lord, that’s not good.

This is where devout young white evangelicals go now instead of Urbana. That’s not a positive development.

• You weren’t lucky enough to have Mr. Baehr as your junior high Bible class teacher, so you may not share my fascination with the barely mentioned biblical character of Shamgar. The story of Shamgar is tantalizingly brief — consisting of a single verse, Judges 3:31: “After [Ehud] came Shamgar son of Anath, who killed six hundred of the Philistines with an oxgoad. He too delivered Israel.”

So, wait — did he kill 600 Philistines all at once in a single epic battle? Or was he some kind of guerrilla assassin, sneaking out after dark with his oxgoad to strike fear into the hearts of the occupying invaders?

Happily, Paul Davidson addresses that, and much more, in a delightful post about this strange biblical story-fragment: “Shamgar Son of Anat and Israel’s Age of Heroes.”

• “‘Nothing on this page is real’: How lies become truth in online America.”

That’s a Washington Post link, but it’s worth using one of your free stories to read Eli Saslow’s patient, insightful story. It’s a dismaying read. Saslow introduces us to two people, both of whom seem broken and lost. One of them writes a “satiric” website intended to bait and shame credulous conservatives because … well, because that’s his job now even if he’s lost track of why he ever thought that was a constructive thing to do. The other person we meet reads that site and believes every word of it as a more trustworthy source of information than anything in the evil liberal media. She’s lost track of almost everything.

• As a Mets fan, I admire the Red Sox because of the transitive property of Hating the Yankees. That’s only partly why I enjoyed this post on “Mookie Betts, the Red Sox, and Race.”

Libby Anne shares a story of North Carolina Republicans, and reminds us that “The Founding Fathers Never Pledged Allegiance to the Flag.” I’ll add that loyalty oaths are creepy. Requiring children to recite a loyalty oath, daily, is creepy squared.

• Let’s follow one super-trio with another: boygenius, the informal band consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. Here’s their lovely set for NPR’s Tiny Desk series. I’m happy to hear these three talented songwriters writing and performing together, but I’m also happy that they’re all apparently continuing to work, create, and perform independently. If they decide to crank out a boygenius album of nothing but covers every year, I would be happy about that too.

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