Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Miguel de la Torre on How Christianity Has Died in the Hands of (White U.S.) Evangelicals, and a Bunch of Other Good Commentary


From ordained Baptist minister Miguel de la Torre, who was raised both Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist, and who teaches social ethics and Latinx studies at Iliff School of Theology: 


Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus' teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate. 
Evangelicals have constructed an exclusive interpretation which fuses and confuses white supremacy with salvation. Only those from the dominant culture, along with their supposed inferiors who with colonized minds embrace assimilation, can be saved. But their salvation damns Jesus. To save Jesus from those claiming to be his heirs, we must wrench him from the hands of those who use him as a fa├žade from which to hide their phobias — their fear of blacks, their fear of the undocumented, their fear of Muslims, their fear of everything queer.

Todd Gitlin at the Moyers blog: 

But don't think American Evangelicals are alone in the casuistry of the cover-up. Don't think any institution is immune to the depredations of toxic masculinity and the life-throttling maneuvers of (to use the columnist Heather Havrilesky’s term) the Sociopathic Baby-Man. The Catholic Church long and famously practiced its own tolerance for sex crimes in their priesthood — though their leadership did not offer up criminal priests as fit candidates for the world’s most respective deliberative bodies.



Adam Serwer at the Atlantic on the nationalist's delusion and how the political movement that placed the moral monstrosity in the White House is deeply rooted in American history — though we love to pretend about this: 

One hundred thirty-nine years since Reconstruction, and half a century since the tail end of the civil-rights movement, a majority of white voters backed a candidate who explicitly pledged to use the power of the state against people of color and religious minorities, and stood by him as that pledge has been among the few to survive the first year of his presidency. Their support was enough to win the White House, and has solidified a return to a politics of white identity that has been one of the most destructive forces in American history. This all occurred before the eyes of a disbelieving press and political class, who plunged into fierce denial about how and why this had happened. That is the story of the 2016 election. . . . 
The plain meaning of Trumpism exists in tandem with denials of its implications; supporters and opponents alike understand that the president’s policies and rhetoric target religious and ethnic minorities, and behave accordingly. But both supporters and opponents usually stop short of calling these policies racist. It is as if there were a pothole in the middle of the street that every driver studiously avoided, but that most insisted did not exist even as they swerved around it. 
That this shared understanding is seldom spoken aloud does not prevent people from acting according to its logic.


Fred Clark at his Slacktivist site commenting on Jemar Tisby's tweet: 

Came across this today on the Twitters, an important point well-expressed by Jemar Tisby: 
"I wish I had realized sooner how some American Christians make social justice into a boogeyman by constantly saying that such concerns 'replace' the gospel. In reality, a gospel without justice is no gospel at all.— Jemar Tisby (@JemarTisby) November 20, 2017"
This bogeyman concern he refers to — the idea that justice must not "replace" the gospel — goes way back in white evangelicalism.

Peter Beaumont and Oliver Laughland in The Guardian on how it's emerging that wealthy U.S. evangelicals are being rooked by fakers producing bogus scraps of biblical texts for sale at high prices: 

A multimillion-dollar trade in fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls fuelled by a surge in interest from wealthy evangelicals in the US includes a significant number of suspected forgeries, two prominent experts have said. 
On scholar said the problem was so serious that up to 90% of the 75 fragments sold since 2002 could be fakes. Six of 13 fragments bought by Steve Green, owner of the US arts and crafts retail chain Hobby Lobby, are among the potential fakes, another expert said.

Remember Hobby Lobby? Hobby Lobby of the fake lawsuit making the fake claim that some contraceptives are abortifacients, and the tender conscience of corporations (who are persons with consciences) cannot abide providing contraceptives in healthcare plans, when contraceptives are abortifacients? Remember how that fakery reached the ears of the Supreme Court, who chose to rubber-stamp it, ruling that corporations are persons with consciences and that it's not the business of courts to judge whether their claims (contraceptives = abortifacients are) fake, but only to rubber-stamp the sincerity of their "consciences"?

Sure you do. Catholics cannot possibly forget any of this because their bishops were right in the thick of the battle pushing the fake claims as they attacked the Obama administration on fake "religious freedom" grounds due to its contraceptive mandate in the ACA.

Michelangelo Signorile at HuffPo on Roy Moore and the dangerous rise of Christian nationalism: 

It’s becoming clear that, for many evangelicals and many in the alt-right and white nationalist movements, sexual assault against women and girls is not only not a deal-breaker for a candidate but is also perfectly acceptable, whether they want to admit this or not. The uniting of white nationalists and the religious right, and the rise of Christian nationalism, is premised not only on the false idea that people of color, LGBTQ people and other minorities are exerting too much control, but also very much so on the belief that women ― coming forward now and speaking out about sexual assault and demanding equality ― must be put in their place. 
That’s perhaps one reason why Roy Moore and everything he represents is galvanizing both the religious and the secular far right. And that’s why the rise of Christian nationalism is very dangerous."

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