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Republican Scandals Drag Secretive ‘Family’ Into the Big Time

…oment of apparent evangelical transformation by reviewing our history of revivals. I chose to position Jonathan Edwards, chief author of the First Great Awakening, and Charles Finney, spark of the second, as precursors to fundamentalism (not, as Randy writes, fundamentalist precursors) because A) the people I write about in the 20th century saw them as such; and B) they both undermine stereotypes of evangelicalism. Look at Edwards: he was fascinat…

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How Trump’s Assertion of “Power to Pardon” Tramples the American Sacred

…eling over the identity of their national God, the Union could not have survived. So the Articles of Confederation and Constitution were silent about religion, not because the American Revolution was secular, but because it was too religious. Therein lay the secret of the First Amendment. By prohibiting Congress from establishing any particular religion, it silently established a civil religion to which all sectarian believers must bow. This gener…

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RDBook: Power Belongs to God

…The roots of this eerie ideology, for him, go back to the early American revivalists like Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney. They preached a Jesus of the frontier: muscular, self-reliant, and terse with words. Then comes a sequence of prosperity preachers and cowboy evangelists who have never ceased to capture American hearts. The master narrative arrives all the way at the door of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, the megachurch that Sharlet…

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Clinton vs. Sanders isn’t About Policy, it’s About Power

…ne the right and ethical thing for the body politic? The problem of effective power and ineffective purity goes back to the Greeks and to the canny authors of the Bible, who can be read in a number of ways. One is to look at the plain words on the page (an approach that emerged from Protestantism’s mandate that the text be read by each person for herself), while another is not to read it as a surface text—as a set of instructions to carry out—but…

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Raw Power Is Just What The Religious Left Needs

…ecial elections in Georgia, Virginia, and Alabama demonstrate anything, it’s that turning out the vote is the way to win elections these days. Getting citizens to literally drive other citizens to the polls is far more effective than any “moral revival” or religious celebrity could ever be. Raw power is real power. If the religious left ever wants to be more than a bit player with prophetic sprinkles on top, it’s going to have to get comfortable w…

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A King for Jesus: What the Religious Right Sees in Trump

…mp is not a Christian warrior; he is, however, a warrior for Christ. Conservative evangelicals may want Jesus to save them, but not to rule them. It is not the character, but the capacity, of the candidate, that moves them. Culture warriors have not been able to move their agenda forward. If anything it is the reverse. A candidate’s faith, virtue and public praying have not converted to national political power—and it is political power to protect…

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From Empire to Shire: Rod Dreher’s Nostalgia for Middle-Earth

…less have they had political power. Too often they have merely tried to survive and resist Empire’s demands, domination, and death. Dreher speaks as someone who has lost status and power and laments its loss—he and his people need to regroup and organize their resistance to the insurgency. But that is not a perspective that most Christians of color will share. That’s not to say that black and brown Christians are completely at ease with recent cul…

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The Quiet Part is Very Much Out Loud: Conservative Publication Calls For Embrace of Totalitarianism

…iding serious commentary that is typically written by young, pop culture–savvy writers.” In recent years, this has meant increasingly bellicose rhetoric, as well as a focus on “owning the libs” and “culture wars.” They’ve published incendiary pieces that smear transgender people and the doctors who care for them; and spread COVID misinformation and climate change denial. Just like its editor-in-chief, Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, The Federalist has g…

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Let Us Now Praise Wealthy Men? Structural Poverty, Religiously (Re)Considered

…t. Radical inequality will not self-correct. Those of us who have alternative visions and are linked to alternative movements need consciously to come together to challenge all religion that valorizes—literally—a deeply unjust system. This is what we will be doing in Houston. We will draw upon potent if sometimes neglected strands within our religious inheritance, and because we know that we cannot change the world by ourselves, we will bring toge…

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Becoming the Common: Why I Got Arrested in North Carolina

…is inextricably bound to real criminality. Christians of the modern West have never really grasped our deep connection to the criminal mind, our mind. We should always understand ourselves as what Edward Said called “secular critics,” who unrelentingly call into question the gods of this age, that is, the prevailing social, cultural, political, economic and academic logics that support or are at ease with the status quo of grotesquely differentiat…

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