The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism

I’m not going to dignify the CBMW’s Nashville Statement with any kind of point by point response, the whole thing is a tiresome rehash of what evangelicals have been saying about LGBT people for years. I already did a point by point breakdown of the SBC’s anti-trans resolution a few years ago, it basically covers the same things I would say here, so consider that my response to the statement itself. What I’d rather talk about is what evangelicals aren’t issuing joint statements condemning, namely, white nationalism. Their silence in the face of the rising tide of fascism and white supremacy in this country is deafening.

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Amazing Grace

How do you encapsulate a day like today? This day, when by some coincidence of fate or of providence, two moments in the long struggles to ensure that the ideals of freedom and equality upon which this nation was founded were available to all, just happened to converge. It does not seem right, somehow, to talk about today’s marriage equality ruling without talking about Charleston and President Obama’s eulogy of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, with all of the deep sadness mingled with a glint of promise that just maybe equality will advance once more. For the last seven years, through accident of history, the struggles of racial equality and LGBT equality have found themselves intertwined, the highs and lows in contrast with one another. In 2008 the country did what so many never dreamed possible and elected a black president, but that same night the joy was tempered by the passage of Prop 8 in California. Two years ago, we celebrated as the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, but at the same time mourned the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Each time a step forward in equality for some, a step backwards for others. Joy and sadness, justice and injustice, mingled together. I can only try and imagine the whiplash that African American members of the LGBT community had to have felt. A nation lurching towards equality, but never quite able to get on the right track for everyone at once. Here we are again. I haven’t written about Charleston because I’ve been unable to find the words to express the depth of the pain and tragedy, how people who have suffered such loss due to pure unbridled hatred can show such immeasurable grace to someone so evil. How can you write about the fragile, budding[…]

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This Week in Imaginary Persecution: Chris Pratt and Women’s World Cup edition

Did you hear about how Chris Pratt is totes persecuted for being a Christian and liberals are literally blackballing him for talking about his faith? We know it’s true because Facebook told us so and random clickbait from rightwing websites never lies. I mean, he’s so persecuted that his blockbuster summer popcorn franchise only made half a billion dollars opening weekend. And in the unfairness of it all, he just signed on to costar with Jennifer Lawrence in a big budget sci-fi space opera, because what choice of films does he have, being blackballed by Hollywood and everything? Without this dreadful persecution, he’d be the biggest, most beloved action-star-of-the-moment on both Earth and Mars, but because everyone hates Christians he’s going to have to settle for being loved by just earthlings. The tragedy of it all. Plus, I thought we were supposed to hate Jurassic Park because EVILution! Also taking a bold stand for their faith in the face of risking persecution from the homogheys are the professing Christians on the USWNT at the World Cup. Or at least that’s what WORLD Magazine would like us to infer: At least four professing Christians join hands on the current team, including Amy Rodriguez and Heather O’Reilly, as the U.S. team tries to get back to the World Cup Final July 5, where the United States women lost to Japan in 2011. In World Cup defeat or gold medal glory, “when I walk away my identity is still the same,” Holiday told Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I’m still a follower of Jesus Christ.” In contrast, team leaders Megan Rapinoe and Abby Wambach and coach Jill Ellis all identify as lesbians. A national team, of necessity, creates a functional pluralism with mutual respect and practical sacrificial love as teammates work toward a common[…]

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Is opposing LGBT equality now the highest doctrinal issue?

They all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.–Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. I Continuing their efforts to turn “religious freedom” into a dirty word and a dog-whistle buzzword for bigotry, nineteen religious groups filed an amicus brief arguing that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would imperil their religious freedom. I’ll allow you a second or two to do a double take before we continue. The idea that granting the same marriage rights to LGBT people as everyone else would infringe on their religious freedom because people would think them bigots is so abjectly preposterous that it doesn’t deserve to be treated as an argument any more worthy of serious consideration than someone standing on a street corner insisting that the sky was puce and clouds are made of cotton candy’s argument does. What is worth noting, however, is who the amici are. One of these things is not like the other. All but one of the groups signed on to this brief can be described as evangelical or fundamentalist protestant Christian groups. The other group is the Mormon Church. Let me note that all of the Christian denominations and groups signing on to this amicus brief opposing marriage equality believe that the LDS are heretical and not a Christian denomination, but rather a false religion destined for hell. For that matter, half of these Christian groups aren’t even entirely convinced that the other half are really Christians. They have, however, chosen to downplay that into “theological differences” because[…]

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Which one of you have we wronged?

I’ve got a guest post for you all today. Sophie Anna Platt wrote this on Facebook in response to James Dobson’s recent statement that marriage equality will lead to a civil war. She was was kind enough to let me republish it here.  To the James Dobsons and Mike Farrises of the world who literally want a civil war over gay rights and gay marriage, I ask this. In fact, I should ask certain members of my own family. I ask the same thing Jesus once asked. Which one of you have we wronged? Which one of you have we cheated or stolen from or harmed in any way? I’m not saying we are perfect, but what did we ever do to you that could make you hate us SO MUCH that you literally want a civil war over us being allowed the same rights that you have? What could possess you to put us through the things you have? How can you bring yourself to hate another person – much less a whole group of people- to the point that you force us even as children into “reparative therapy” which is just a fancy word for psychological and physical torture? I’m not even speaking metaphorically here. After everything you have done to us one might expect we would be the ones with hatred in our hearts. That we would be trying to outlaw the religion that has been used in such vile ways against us. The truth is that many, many of us still believe in God, and we certainly support your right to do so. We do not support your right to use your religion as a weapon against us, and that really shouldn’t surprise you. How can you say that we and those who love us and[…]

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Top 10 posts of 2014

Here are my top ten posts from 2014. One thing I realized while compiling this list is that I really need to blog more, so here’s to a more productive 2015. 10. #DefendTheDuggars (Sort of) I’ve said it before on social media and I’ll say it again here. The mocking of Duggar children is not something I can get behind. Criticize the Duggar parents for what they’re doing to their children, criticize Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh for their anti-LGBT activism, that’s fair game. Mocking the kids isn’t. Kids like the Duggars, who aren’t being given a real education (you don’t get a real education from ATI Wisdom Booklets), who aren’t allowed college, and who aren’t even allowed a single private conversation with someone of the opposite sex until they’re married, are the ones I’m trying to help.  9. “You went to a Christian college, what did you expect?” The campus climate problems may be different at Christian colleges than secular ones, but don’t kid yourself, the environment can be pretty bad at state schools too. I don’t want my criticism of how Covenant handled my alumni update situation and the erasing of LGBT alumni to suggest that it’s a problem limited to Christian schools. 8. Kevin Swanson Bingo Inspired by the Kevin Swanson Watch bingo, Twitterer @Apostate_X created this handy dandy Kevin Swanson Bingo for you and all your friends to play along at home while you listen to K-Swizzle’s Generations Radio. Or, as we prefer to call it, the #KSwanComedyHalfHour. The #KSwanComedyHalfHour is where you can learn about how Frozen turns children gay, how Girl Scouts turn children gay, how homosexuals are like cannibals, how lesbians eat feces (I think he saw Two Girls, One Cup, please, please, please nobody tell him about goatse), and well, you might be noticing a theme here. You’ll also learn about the Neronic[…]

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What in the name of all that is good and right is John Piper tweeting about?

Tweeted tonight. Whatever he was trying to say, all I can picture is young John Piper hiding behind a tree staring at the cool kids, silently fuming with jealousy. Or current John Piper peering out of an attic window, wishing for the freshness of youth that he can never reattain.  Either way, it reads like the birth of a super villain. Or maybe I need to stop binge-watching Buffy.  So creepy.

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Breaking down the SBC14 Resolution on Transgender Identity

I figured that while I was at it on blogging about the Southern Baptist Convention, I might as well do a section by section dissection of the SBC’s resolution condemning trans people. One of the talking points attacking critics of the resolution is to claim that we mustn’t have read the whole thing, well, here’s the proof that I have read it all and found it wanting. The text I break down below is taken from the website of Denny Burk, author of the resolution and associate professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College. The tl:dr version: This is all about reinforcing patriarchy at the expense of our trans siblings. — ON TRANSGENDER IDENTITY WHEREAS, All persons are created in God’s image and are made to glorify Him (Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 43:7); and I won’t argue with you there. The answer to question one of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” Actually, scratch that, I am going to argue with this one. The “enjoy Him forever” part of the Westminster Catechism is important, when you only talk about glorifying God and leave out the enjoying bit, you forget that God didn’t create us to be miserable automatons that exist just to make Him look good. WHEREAS, God’s design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6) which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race; and WHEREAS, Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God are part of the created order and should find expression in every human heart (Genesis 2:18, 21–24; 1 Corinthians 11:7–9; Ephesians 5:22–33; 1 Timothy 2:12–14); and First, isn’t it funny how biological[…]

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Dark day: The Southern Baptist Convention officially condemns trans people

The Southern Baptist Convention managed to double down on their awfulness. The anti-trans resolution they passed today is in direct contradiction with scripture. The word “eunuch” as used in the near east did not just refer to people who were castrated, but also to what Jesus referred to as “born eunuchs,” those who occupied a space outside of the gender binary. Many of those individuals were what we would understand today to be transgender. The SBC today has condemned that which Jesus specifically mentioned approvingly. Not only that, the very first Gentile convert was the Ethiopian eunuch, and while scripture does not distinguish what category he fell into, it cannot be overemphasized that scripture makes it clear that this person, who existed outside the gender binary that the SBC has chosen to so rigidly enforce, was blessed by God to be the first Gentile ushered into the kingdom. While I will acknowledge that the gay thing is open to theological debate, the trans issue is quite clear when you have a basic knowledge of the historical context. The SBC has put their own bigotry ahead of the very words of Christ himself. I weep for our trans brothers and sisters who have been rejected today. 

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Has Tim Keller’s theology always been this terrible?

Have I not been paying enough attention to Tim Keller or is this kind of judgmental neo-Calvinism a new thing for him? In what I’ve read from him, I’ve never agreed with him fully (I think he has a tendency to be sloppy and to take leaps not supported by the text or the historical context), but this isn’t sloppy exegesis or logical leaps. It’s a theology of suffering that equates emotional pain with idolatry. Ignoring the extraordinarily judgmental nature of this post towards those who suffer from anxiety and depression, Keller has created a world where feeling too deeply is idolatry. Emotions are only okay if they are not felt too strongly. Don’t feel too much, don’t hurt too much, don’t weep too much, if you’re a godly Christian you’ll get your emotions under control.  No.  This is beyond wrong. Job expressed deep anguish at his losses. Jesus wept with Martha and empathized with her anguish over the death of Lazarus. The Old Testament is filled with examples of godly men and women feeling deep anger, discouragement, and pain because of what they have experienced. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Many of the Psalms are David pouring out his innermost anxieties, anger, and discouragement, his utter devastation over the trials, the pain, the loss he lived through. We are created to feel, and to feel deeply. It’s part of what makes us human. Tim Keller is not asking us to avoid idolatry, he’s asking us to erase our humanity.

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