On David Gushee’s Dishonesty

Earlier this week David Gushee continued his sad decline with a cowardly piece for Religion News Service. It’s all par for the course for progressive evangelicals like Gushee, of course, which is why I’m generally not too bothered by what they say. But even so the dishonesty in this particular piece is jarring and merits further comment.

I could quote multiple lines, but this one will suffice, to begin. In talking about those awful backwards bigots (that he used to hang out with), Gushee writes, “(Religious conservatives) are organizing legal defense efforts under the guise of religious liberty, and interpreting their plight as religious persecution.” Continue reading

Global Economies, Immigration, and Precarious Places

I’m pleased to publish this essay by Matthew Peterson.

In response to somewhat shrill claims by some Christian intellectuals that Christians ought to support mass migration, and oppose Brexit, Stephen Wolfe recently published an article at Mere Orthodoxy arguing that Christians can (and perhaps should) oppose immigration. Stephen draws from an impressive array of natural law sources to argue that the differentiation between foreigner and citizen is good, and a natural part of human life. This differentiation is integral in protecting the particularities in and through which communities are formed and given their deep particular character.

This position regarding the deep particularity of places is also argued, persuasively, in a piece by Alastair Roberts published by Mere Orthodoxy on Brexit, and the necessity of making peace between the cosmopolitans who tended to oppose Brexit and the locals who favored it. Alastair lays out the competing anthropologies on which hopes for mass immigration, and opposition to it, are based. According to a liberal anthropology, we are all interchangeable individuals, whose connection to our land, our parents, and our people, is merely accidental; on the other hand, according to a more Biblical anthropology, our person is always deeply embedded in the particularities of a people and a land. Continue reading

Are Religious Liberty Restrictions God’s Judgment on Racism?

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD.

– Amos 4:6

I did a number of medical school rotations in a Catholic hospital, which meant morning and evening prayers were offered over the hospital intercom every day. While “morning” prayer often came after I had already been at work for a few hours, it was still often a relief to have God’s mercy invoked on behalf of my patients and my colleagues. Continue reading

The Cross and ISIS

I’m pleased to publish this guest post by Tim Scheiderer on how Christians ought to be thinking about their response to ISIS and other similar terrorist organizations.

Islamic terrorism’s path continues to widen in the West. Last year, it darkened streets in the City of Light on a November evening. Parisians and others were out for an evening of varied enjoyments, only for 130 of them to be murdered by eleven ruthless men. The next month, 5,600 miles away, a husband and his wife brought death to a facility for the disabled in San Bernadino. In 2016, so far, terror has struck geographically-ranging locales such as Brussels, Orlando, Istanbul and two more horrific events in France—the Bastille Day killings in Nice and the slitting of a priest’s throat in Normandy. All incidents were carried out by ISIS soldiers or associates. Continue reading

The Nine Constellations of Donald Trump

I’m pleased to publish this guest post from first time Mere O contributor Michael Graham. It’s a nice complement to this older piece by Alastair Roberts. Both pieces in different ways explain why Donald Trump has become the Republican nominee for the president and force readers to reckon with the real problems Trumpism addresses in the minds of many voters, even while they ought to reject the odious standard bearer for the movement.

We have all heard the never ending refrains of Trump supporters:

“He speaks his mind”

“He is an outsider”

“He will build a wall”

“He is a successful businessman”

“He is self-funded”

“He is a self-made man”

“He stands up to _______…” Continue reading

An Addendum on Evangelicals Endorsing Trump

We really do have plans to turn our attention toward other issues beyond electoral politics next week. (I’ve got submitted pitches I’m currently reviewing on immigration, a general consideration of the cultural norms that create something like the Trump phenomenon, a book review of a new work on the white working class, and an excellent long essay on podcasting. Plus I’m hoping to do some more personal/reflective work in the next month and to review Katelyn Beaty’s important new work A Woman’s Place.) But as I’ve thought about this issue more, I wanted to draw together a few final notes on the question of evangelicals endorsing Donald Trump. Continue reading

The Evangelical Case for Voting for David Duke

Some of my good Christian friends in the state of Louisiana have told me they cannot vote in good conscience for David Duke in this fall’s senate election. As they consider the Senate field in Louisiana, they look around and dislike all their options so much that they tell me they simply cannot bring themselves to support the lesser evil in this contest and so they will be forced to write in a different third-party candidate or abstain entirely. Continue reading

One Third Party Evangelicals Should Look at Seriously: The American Solidarity Party

For pro-life Christians who want the nation’s highest office to defend the unborn, the pickings are grim. Really, for citizens of any religious persuasion who hold to any sort of principle besides “power at any cost”, the major-party choices for President are depressing to consider. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, in keeping with the general direction of the parties they represent, have demonstrated contempt for the rule of law and disregard for the human dignity of various vulnerable subpopulations.

The bitter Democratic primary fight and the farcical excuse for a Republican nomination contest both served to clearly demonstrate that there are many factions within the American body politic that are otherwise unrepresented in national party politics. For pro-lifers in particulars, the nauseating spectacle of evangelical leaders lining up to offer their services to Donald Trump like Oholah and Oholibah have pushed for calls to form a pro-life third party. Continue reading

Recovering our Confidence: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#4)

Note from Jake: This is the final post in Matt’s social conservatism series published in 2012 which we are re-publishing this week.

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3

One of my underlying themes through this week has been the current lack of confidence among mainstream social conservatism.  I’ll grant this is a somewhat surprising subcurrent:  after all, the religious right hasn’t exactly earned its street cred through timidity and reserve.  But I have always been haunted by that old verse, “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” as though the most authentic and honest sign of assuredness is the mocking silence in the face of those who oppose us. Continue reading