Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Quote for Day: "People Voted for Hitler as They Voted for Putin and Trump, Because They Didn't Want to Give up Their Own Privileges"

PRRI, "Despite Chaos and Controversy, Trump Favorability Stable Throughout 2019," 26 Feb. 2020

In her book Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2019), Susan Neiman cites German philosopher Bettina Stangneth, author of Eichmann Before Jerusalem (NY: Knopf, 2014; German edition, 2011):

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Centering Religion on Possession or Lack of a Penis Seems to Have Some Significant Downsides

Tina Beattie, "A 'frozen idea of the feminine," The Tablet, 20 Feb. 2020

I think this morning of three famous men in the world of religion I met while I was active in the religion academy as a scholar and teacher. One was a theologian whose work has been very influential in the area of peace studies, especially in his Protestant world.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Is It That the Democrats "Lost" White Christians, or That Obama's Elections Re-Energized GOP's "White Christian Strategy"?

Yesterday's PRRI "Morning Buzz" email newsletter* discusses a recent article by Jack Jenkins' entitled "Democrats lost white Christians. Can they win them back?" As I read this article yesterday, the thought that kept running around in my head was this: But the Democratic party did not "lose" white Christians. White Christians have walked away from the Democratic party because US white Christianity is deeply racist.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Notes on Gerardo Marti's American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency

I recently read Gerardo Marti's American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), and would like to share some thoughts about that book with you. A key insight of Marti's book is that, in looking at Donald Trump, we Americans are looking in a mirror and seeing our own faces. It is not, as many in the media have wanted to imagine, a fluke that he seized the White House in 2016, riding significant backlash against the nation's first African-American president to do so. This outcome is consistent with ugly currents long present in American history — from the outset of the nation, in fact — that many Americans appear determined not to see.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Holocaust and Christian Theologies of Sin and Forgiveness: Imperative Need for Christians to Listen to Jews

Elizabeth Johnson, The Quest for the Living God (London: Bloomsbury, 2007)

Ruth Krall's recent sounding of various ecclesial responses to the sexual abuse of minors and how they raise profound questions about theologies of sin and forgiveness has made me think about the valuable contribution of Jewish thinkers to Christian theological reflection about these matters. Ruth's essay includes a paragraph surveying some Jewish thinkers on the topic of sin and forgiveness.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A Report from Trump Country on the United Methodist Split Over Whether to Welcome LGBTQ People or Not

This is a report from the ground, which is to say, from the white evangelical heartland of the U.S. that is solidly Trump country. It's a report of an encounter a cousin of mine had several days back at a bible-study group he attends, which is connected to a United Methodist church he no longer attends. He left that church — and, without a formal resignation, the United Methodist Church in general and any church in general — after the election of Donald Trump. As he says to me, "I told them that if I had wanted to join a Republican country club, I wouldn't have joined a church."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Ruth Krall, "A Sin or a Crime?"

David Stoltzfus Smucker (age 75) wheeled into court in Lancaster, PA, Pittsburg Post-Gazette, 24 Jan. 2020

I'm happy to share today a recent essay by Ruth Krall that packs a lot of valuable information and theological reflection into a small space. Though it's specifically focused on questions about how abuse of vulnerable people is handled in her own religious community of origin, it offers a valuable lens through with those studying abuse in other religious or institutional settings can also look. Ruth writes:

Sentence: 38-76 years of imprisonment: This means that Smucker will likely die in jail.  The crime: 20 felony counts for sexually molesting children, i.e., rape, of his grandchildren.