Smart people saying smart things (11.28.23)

Smart people saying smart things (11.28.23) November 28, 2023

Anthony Conwright, “How the Right Retired ‘Negrophile’ — and Substituted ‘Woke'”

The fundamental mendaciousness of “anti-wokeism” is the pretense that Black Americans could somehow oppose systemic racism without triggering white anxiety. As long as the presence of Blackness sparks white phobia, there is no appropriate way for Black people to have legible and viable sociopolitical demands. In American political discourse, all race-consciousness becomes an antagonistic force, a pathology—the contagion once called “negrophilia,” now called “wokeness.”

Nathan Luis Cartagena, “Helping Students See White Jesus”

Students and I read this text [from David Hume] at the end of a class. Then we reread it at the start of the next one, giving special attention to the initial two sentences: “I am apt to suspect the Negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation.” Having had my students hear and read that two times and over the span of two classes, I ask them to list “advanced” non-White civilizations and “eminent” non-White individuals that Hume would’ve known about and that falsify his second sentence. Students rapidly cite civilizations like the Aztecs, Mayans, and Ottomans, but they struggle to recall any “eminent” non-White people. More important for this essay: Only four students have mentioned Jesus. I share this fact with the class. Then I ask them to consider what contributes to this lopsided outcome.

Rana Singh Sodhi, “The man who murdered my brother post-9/11 just died. This is why I mourn him”

Ultimately, if Frank can be changed, I believe we can reach anyone before they succumb to hate. We can reach them with love. So today, I send love to Frank Roque’s family. I express my condolences for their loss.

And I mourn Frank. He’s not outside of our hearts – no one is.

Alicia Roth Weigel, “I Came Out as Intersex in Front of the Texas Legislature”

You may be wondering what intersex means. I’m not surprised. Though statistically we’re as common as redheads (about 2 percent of the world’s population), our identity is erased not just from history books but even in the present day. We are present in society but hidden in plain sight. Yes, the “I” in LGBTQIA+ is for “intersex,” but as of now, it might as well stand for “invisible.” We’re not exotic, but we are exhausted — constantly struggling for recognition or mere acknowledgment of our existence.

Elizabeth L. Jemison, “Proslavery Christianity After the Emancipation”

Such arguments became so widespread that even some northern religious figures defended them. Princeton Theological Seminary’s Charles Hodge, one of the 19th century’s most influential theologians, asserted in his Bible Argument on Slavery, “We believe that the general good requires us to deprive the whole female sex of the right of self-government.” Women, Hodge maintained, “have no voice in the formation of the laws which dispose of their persons and property. … When married, we despoil them almost entirely of a legal existence, and deny them some of the most essential rights of property.” Hodge conflated women’s and children’s positions, explaining “it is because females and minors are judged … incompetent to the proper discharge of the duties of citizenship that they are deprived of the rights of suffrage.” From the self-evident principle that the deprivation of rights and freedoms in women and children was crucial to a biblically sound social order, Fuller and Hodge insisted that slavery likewise represented a divinely ordained institution for the benevolent oversight of those who needed the direction of a (white) man more capable than themselves.

David Bentley Hart, “That All Shall Be Saved—A Response to Benjamin B. DeVan”

DeVan thinks arguments like mine put souls at risk. But I, quite to the contrary, believe the idea of a hell of eternal torment to be unscriptural, logically incoherent, depraved, psychologically destructive, and morally corrosive. And I believe also that far more have been driven away from real faith by the absurd doctrine of eternal torment than have ever been coerced into earnest belief. I do not think that people can be persuaded to love God by teaching them that God is an omnipotent brute of obscene, irrational cruelty. As far as I am concerned, my book demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt the self-evident falsehood and evil of the teaching of eternal torment. Simply said, there is no possible world in which the received Christian teaching of a hell of eternal torment could ever be true. If, therefore, I believed that Christianity did indeed require such a teaching, I would conclude only that it is a false religion, to which no one should adhere. For myself, I worry for the spiritual and mental health of all those many Christians down the centuries who have been deceived into this hideous blasphemy against the love of God poured out in Christ.

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