Smart people saying smart things (10.29.21)

Smart people saying smart things (10.29.21) October 29, 2021

Danté Stewart, “Writers Like James Baldwin Led Me to a Black Jesus”

If the white people I worshiped with and went to school with and had dinner with had the imagination to see C.S. Lewis’s Aslan the lion in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” as Jesus, then I knew there should have been no problem when Black people said Jesus was Black and Jesus loved Black people and Jesus wanted to see Black people free. But I found out that many could see the symbol of divine goodness and love in an animal before they could ever see the symbol of divine goodness and love in Blackness.

My world changed when I stopped sitting at the feet of white Jesus and began becoming a disciple of Black Jesus. I didn’t have to hate myself, or my people, or our creativity, or our beauty to be human or to be Christian.

Jill Hicks-Keeton, “The Christian Nationalism Behind the New ‘God’s Not Dead’ Film”

Racism is the glue that holds the film’s “grievance gumbo” together. There’s a history that explains why. In the mid-twentieth century, White resistance to desegregation of schools was a major force both in the galvanizing of American evangelicalism as a movement and in the advent and mainstreaming of homeschooling in the United States. As historian of education Milton Gaither has pointed out, key to the development of conservative Christian homeschooling was the combination of the Supreme Court’s desegregation decisions with rulings in the early 1960s making school-sponsored prayer and Bible study unlawful. “With minorities in and God out,” he quips, “many conservative Protestants left.”

Caroline Reilly, “When a miscarriage becomes a jail sentence”

Criminalization of pregnancy loss is rapidly expanding in scope, in ways that continue to target marginalized people. Sussman said NAPW is now seeing cases where a pregnant person faces allegations of lack of prenatal care as part of a larger charge. This is particularly insidious considering which communities lack access to proper prenatal care, and the fact that for low-income families, accessing prenatal care means interacting with a state system that has the potential to surveil them, which in turn leaves them vulnerable to prosecution if they experience pregnancy loss. NAPW is even starting to see cases where parents of newborns become ensnared in the legal system for allegations of drug use during breastfeeding.

Adam Serwer, “By Attacking Me, Justice Alito Proved My Point”

Alito’s speech perfectly encapsulated the new imperious attitude of the Court’s right-wing majority, which wants to act politically without being seen as political, and expects the public to silently acquiesce to its every directive without scrutiny, criticism, or protest. (As if oblivious to the irony, Alito’s office set ground rules barring media outlets from transcribing or broadcasting in full the speech at the University of Notre Dame, in which he delivered his complaint.)

… The rank dishonesty and arrogance of Alito’s speech at Notre Dame are symptoms of the conservative majority’s unchecked power on the Court, and the entitlement that flows from having no one around you who can tell you what you sound like. It is not simply enough for the right-wing justices to have this power; Alito insists that the peasantry be silent about how they use it, and acquiesce not only to their delusions of impartiality but to their mischaracterization of verifiable facts. These are imperious demands for submission from someone who is meant to be a public servant.

Sarah Posner, “How the Christian right embraced voter suppression”

White evangelical Protestants now make up 14 percent of Americans, down from 23 percent in 2006, “the most precipitous drop in affiliation” for any religious group, according to a 2020 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute. Even though white evangelicals made up 34 percent of Trump’s voters, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of election data, their support wasn’t sufficient to propel him to reelection. “Without such broad support for Trump among White evangelicals, [Joe] Biden would have beaten him by more than 20 points,” the Pew analysts wrote earlier this year.

Trump’s defeat proves that even massive conservative Christian turnout is no longer enough to win. The strategy white evangelical supporters have coalesced around to supplement it: election laws built on the lie that the other side’s ability to turn out voters must be “fraudulent.”

Timothy Snyder, “Killing parents in bad faith”

If we set morality aside, the actions of an unmasked young or middle-aged person who visits an elderly parent make perfect sense.  Killing the parent can mean inheriting the wealth.  It can also remove the cost of caring for seniors, one that Americans (unlike people in other rich democracies) have to bear almost entirely by themselves.  To a certain way of thinking, one that seems widespread in this country, acting to gain wealth or cut costs is the essence of rationality.

To be sure, few people would speak like this about what they were doing.  And it is for precisely this reason, I suspect, that we get all the fuss and bother about covid not really existing, or covid not really being dangerous, etc.  If you can convince others that you think that covid is not real or not dangerous, then they will not think that you deliberately tried to kill your parents.  They might believe that, in your ignorance, you recklessly endangered the lives of your loved ones; but it will not occur to them that you were aiming for parricide.

A performance of stupidity is like an alibi.  It also becomes a rationalization for those whose actions have led to the deaths of their parents.  Generally people make a lot of fuss and bother about something not primarily because they are trying to convince others, but because they are trying to convince themselves.  And it is hard not to notice that the people who claim to disbelieve the science of covid are the ones making an awful lot of fuss and bother.

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