Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Recommended: Daniel Schultz's Critique of Peter Beinart on Trump's White Evangelical Supporters — Are They Really Non-Churchgoing?

Also in news commentary worth our consideration today: I highly recommend to you both Peter Beinart's essay in the current issue of The Atlantic, which argues that the (white) evangelicals supporting Donald Trump tend to be non-churchgoers and even non-church-affiliated Christians, and Daniel Schultz's response to this essay at Religion Dispatches. Beinart's essay argues that church attendance will be a corrective for Trump and what Trump stands for. Schultz is dubious about that proposal — and I think he's right to be dubious.

Gay Student Becomes Student Body President at Texas A&M, Opponent Claims Persecution Because He Is a "Heterosexual, White, Christian Male": Points to Consider

As Sam King explains in an op-ed piece in today's New York Times, last week, the energy secretary of the U.S., Rick Perry, took the astonishing step of issuing a statement about the election of a study body president at Texas A&M University. Perry is angry that an openly gay young man, Bobby Brooks, was elected president of the A&M student body, when the candidate who got the most votes in this election, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified by the student government court on grounds that he had violated strict rules at the university regarding disclosure of campaign expenses. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Backwards-Focused and Angry: Parallels Between Trump Voters and One Nation Voters in Australia

Yesterday, The Guardian published an excerpt from an essay written by David Marr for the Australian journal Quarterly Essay, entitled "The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race." The Guardian's excerpt is called "Looking Back, and Angry: What Drives Pauline Hanson's Voters." Marr's commentary on what's driving Australian One Nation voters is fascinating, because of the clear parallels between what he discovers and what has also been noted regarding Trump voters in the U.S. As Nate Silver has found, educational levels and not income levels predicted who voted for Trump. College graduates voted for Hillary by a 9-point margin, while those without college education voted for Trump 52%-44%, by far the largest gap between college- and non-college-educated voters in exit polls since before 1980.

Michael Boyle on Princeton Seminary Controversy: "Progressive Christianity Only Has a Future if Progressive Christians Have the Courage of Their Convictions"

Because I think this conversation is essential — and important — I'd like to add one more statement to the set of reflections I've posted in the last several days about the controversy that ensued when Princeton Theological Seminary chose not to give an award to Rev. Tim Keller. I've discussed that controversy in three previous postings — here, here, and here. These three postings engage, in particular, Jonathan Merritt's claim that, in pressing for Keller not to receive an award from Princeton due to his opposition to the ordination of women and openly gay folks and his defense of a "complementarianism" that requires wives to be subordinated to their husbands, liberals are marginalizing people like Keller.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Healthcare Debacle and the GOP Culture of Cruelty: "A Display of Incompetence and Cruelty"

New York Times, "The TrumpRyanCare Debacle": 

Anita Little Comments on Princeton Controversy: "Growing Trend to Cry 'Oppression' When the Opinions of Influential White Men" Are Challenged

In an essay entitled "The 'Marginalization' of Tim Keller: When Anything Short of Adulation Is Oppression," Anita Little, editor of the Remapping American Christianities initiative at Religion Dispatches, comments on Jonathan Merritt's insistence that Tim Keller is being "marginalized" by the liberals who objected to his receiving an award from Princeton Seminary (on this controversy, see my two previous postings, here and here). She writes, 

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Reader Writes: Trump's Election Is "White America's Dorian Gray Moment"

The following response by Dulcis Memoria to yesterday's discussion of the Princeton seminary controversy is so powerful that I want to lift it from the comboxes here and share it with all of you as a posting. Dulcis writes, 

The Princeton Seminary Controversy: Concluding Thoughts About White Male Privilege and Intersectionality

The discussion about the furor regarding Princeton Seminary's decision to withhold its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness from Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller continued at various internet sites yesterday. I blogged about the controversy yesterday morning, and about Jonathan Merritt's response at RNS to Princeton's decision.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

As Day Goes On, William J. Barber's Prophetic Moral Testimony about Trump-Ryan Take Health Care Away Death Bill

Reverend William J. Barber II speaking yesterday at a protest of the Trumpcare legislation — by way of Charles Pierce

What's at Stake with Trumpcare: Educational Resources from Social Media (and Other) Sources

From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Jonathan Chait, "7 Charts Explain the Horrors of Trumpcare": 

Princeton Seminary Steps Back from Award for Pastor Who Promotes Female Subordination, Opposes Ordination of Women and Openly Gay Folks: Controversy Ensues

Yesterday, following controversy, Princeton Theological Seminary Seminary reversed a decision to give its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness to Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian church in Manhattan. Keller has been vocal in opposing the ordination of women and openly LGBT people by the Presbyterian Church USA. He belongs to a conservative wing of that church, the Presbyterian Church in America, which is largely identified with and known for its opposition to full inclusion of women and LGBTQ people in Presbyterian churches. He also promotes the ideology of female subordination to males, using a theology of "complementarism" to justify this stance.

As Trumpcare Goes Up for Vote, Commentary on Theological-Ideological Roots of GOP Cruelty Towards the Poor

As healthcare coverage for between 20 and 30 million Americans goes on the chopping block today due to the voting decisions of large percentages of white American Christians claiming to be "pro-life," some religion-and-politics things for us to think about, most of them hot off the press:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

America Magazine Features Confession of "Porn-Addicted" Priest: In Era of Donald Trump, Diversionary Moral Analysis

Among many disappointing aspects of the papacy of Francis: the stepped-up clericalism.

As GOP Moves to Strip Healthcare Coverage from Millions, U.S. White Christian Leaders Revise the Gospels: Eric Erickson's Attack on Scripture

In what I posted earlier today, I provided an excerpt from an article David Roberts has just posted at Vox, analysing the "tribal epistemology" that holds together Trump's base, a base Roberts (along with many others) characterizes as "mostly white, non-urban, and Christian" and moved by traditionalist zero-sum values. Tribal epistemology — here's how Roberts defines the phrase:

"Alt-Right Supplied Trump with His Agenda; the Christian Right Supplied Him with His Votes": Trump, White Evangelicals and White Supremacy

Sarah Posner, "How Donald Trump Hijacked the Religious Right": 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Irish Diaspora, Donald Trump, and Race Matters: We. Must. Talk. About. Race.

Travis Gettys, "'Irish Slaves': Historian Destroys Racist Myth Conservatives Love to Share on Facebook":

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rachel Held Evans Responds to Rev. Mike Huckabee's Defense of Trail of Tears: White Male Christian Leaders Pounce on Her

Rachel Held Evans made the preceding two tweets yesterday after Southern Baptist minister Reverend Mike Huckabee had tweeted that he hoped Mr. Trump would treat the ruling of Judge Derrick Watson putting a hold on his anti-Muslim travel ban the same way Andrew Jackson treated the Supreme Court ruling declaring the eviction of the Cherokees from their homes unconstitutional. The result of Jackson's defiance of the Supreme Court was the Trail of Tears, on which some 4,000 of 15,000 Cherokees forcibly removed from their land and homes died.

Liberal "Practicing Catholics" Express Shock That Trump Was Elected; I Don't Buy Their Shock

When I read a liberal Catholic commentator (who happens to be white, heterosexual, and married) touting himself/herself as a "practicing Catholic," and lamenting the way in which Trump's election has taken liberal or progressive Catholics by surprise, I feel like tearing my hair out. Where have all these "liberal" Catholics been for years now as some of us tried to tell them what has been brewing in the American heartland and in the heart of the white American churches?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"A Hard Core of Those Enthralled by Trump Cannot Be Convinced Otherwise": America's "Triumph of the Will" Moment

John Feffer, "The Trump Dystopian Nightmare: Nuclear War, Climate Change and a Clash of Civilizations Are All on the Horizon":

"The Abdication of Civil (and Gospel) Responsibility by White Churches Is to a Great Degree Responsible for Trump": Twitter Commentary

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Important Finding in New PRRI Survey: "White Evangelical Protestants Stand Out" — As Opponents of LGBTQ Rights, With Claims That "Christians" Are Uniquely Persecuted

Yesterday, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) published the findings of a survey it conducted in February 2017, which breaks down perceptions of discrimination by American religious groups, and which also looks at the response of various U.S. religious groups to LGBTQ rights. A key finding of this survey, confirming findings of other surveys by different polling groups in recent years: white evangelicals are a significant outlier group when it comes to the claim that Christians experience stark, serious persecution in American culture, and as opponents of LGBTQ rights. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Reactions to the Trumpcare "Healthcare Plan" = Tax Cut for the Super-Rich: "How About Everyone Gets the Same Healthcare Coverage Congress Gets. Easy!"

Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo

David Dayen, "The Republican Health-Care Bill Is the Worst of So Many Worlds":

Fundamentally, the ACHA is a tax cut bill, which just happens to make millions of Americans sicker and more vulnerable in the process.

Religion and Politics in the News: "It Is No Surprise to Me That Online Debate Has Become the International Sport of Cis White Men"

An assortment of items I've read in the past few days on religion, politics, culture — and their intersection — in American public discourse right now; these range from commentary on women's rights and misogyny to white supremacy to homophobia to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trumpcare, Some Questions You Might Ask: Will the "Pro-Life" Catholic Bishops Provide Access to Healthcare for Millions Who Lose Coverage?

To borrow shamelessly from the title of a Mary Oliver poem, some questions you (and I) might ask now that the horror show of the Trumpcare "replacement" plan for the Affordable Care Act has been unveiled:

Monday, March 6, 2017

With Help from Conservative Catholics, White Evangelicals Broke America: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Creation of Post-Truth Culture of Trump

An interesting conversation on Twitter today after Chris Stroop published his essay "Educated Evangelicals, Academic Achievement, and Trumpism: On the Tensions in Valuing Education in an Anti-Intellectual Subculture" at his blog site this morning. Drawing on his experiences growing up in the conservative subculture of white evangelical America — the people who, more than anyone else, inflicted Donald Trump on all the rest of us (with ample help from white Catholics and Mormons) — Chris has been doing yeoman's work to help unpack why white evangelicals could support a morally bankrupt authoritarian of the ilk of Trump.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Catherine Corless' Research About Mass Grave at Irish Catholic Home for Unwed Mothers and Children Confirmed: "They Leech the Light Out of a Room"

When Catherine Corless's research suggesting that there was a mass grave at a home for unwed mothers and their children at Tuam in County Galway, Ireland, first began to be circulated, the blowback from some apologists in the Catholic institution was enormous. It took real grit and determination for her to keep investigating this story in the face of claims she was lying, that she was out to get the church, that she had exaggerated her findings and what they meant, and on and on.

Good, Bad, Ugly: Week in News — "We Judge This to Be Hypocrisy Unprecedented in the History of American Politics"

The past week in tweets and newsfeed, as I've captured it for you readers (reflecting my  preoccupation with matters like the obligation to speak truth and defend the least among us, and what happens to social groups that succumb to moral vacuity and do not push back against leaders channeling dark, destructive energies):

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is the Term "Shyster" Anti-Semitic? A Footnote to Yesterday's Posting

I'm grateful to Cleveland Girl for a comment yesterday when I used the term "shyster" in a posting. She tells me that the term has anti-Semitic overtones.