1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  |  39  |  40  |  41  |  42  |  43  |  44  |  45  |  46  |  47  |  48  |  49  |  50  |  51  |  52  |  53  |  54  |  55  |  56  |  57  |  58  |  59  |  60  |  61  |  62  |  63  |  64  |  65  |  66  |  67  |  68  |  69  |  70  |  71  |  72  |  73  |  74  |  75  |  76  |  77  |  78  |  79  |  80  |  81  |  82  |  83  |  84  |  85  |  86  |  87  |  88  |  89  |  90  |  91  |  92  |  93  |  94  |  95  |  96  |  97  |  98  |  99  |  100  |  101  |  102  |  103  |  104  |  105  |  106  |  107  |  108  |  109  |  110  |  111  |  112  |  113  |  114  |  115  |  116  |  117  |  118 

July 17, 2012

What effect has suburbanization had on American Christianity?

Fred Clark, responding to yet another lazy and dumb column by the NYT's Ross Douthat. ‘Suburban’ is not the same as ‘theologically conservative’
America in 2012 is far more suburban than it was in 1950. American Christianity in 2012 is far more suburban than it was in 1950. We can begin to consider what this entails in terms of allegedly “liberal” or allegedly “conservative” theology only after we first consider another pair of questions: How has American Christianity shaped the suburbs? And how have the suburbs shaped American Christianity? I contend that the latter influence has been far greater than the former. I believe, in other words, that American Christianity has been shaped by the suburbs far more than the suburbs have been shaped by American Christianity. To borrow a word from the Apostle Paul in Romans 12, American churches have conformed to the suburbs. The effect of this has been huge and pervasive. It has tended to favor forms of church and flavors of theology that fall toward the conservative end of the culture-war spectrum, but it’s misleading to therefore refer to this as a more “conservative” theology. Radical changes and a massive break with the theology, traditions and institutions of the past aren’t usually the sorts of things we describe as “conservative.” The suburbanization of American Christianity has had a huge impact on institutional and denominational structures. Automobile-shaped development has produced an automobile-shaped ecclesiology. The car has abolished the possibility of the parish. And that, in turn, has helped to redefine “neighbor” as a matter of preference more than of proximity — as optional rather than obligatory. That redefinition is rather significant, since “Who is my neighbor?” is kind of an important question for Christians. . . .

July 05, 2012

"I'm not a racist, God is."

This is seriously the defense an Alabama pastor gave as for why he was limiting attendance to his annual conference to only white Christians. He isn't a racist, it was God who made white people the Chosen race. Stay classy, Alabama pastors! Alabama Pastor Holds 'Whites Only' Conference | ThinkProgress
All loving Christians are invited to celebrate the word of God at Rev. William Collier’s annual conference — that is, as long and they are white. Collier’s Alabama town is outraged over the flyer for his pastors’ conference, which specifies “All White Christians Invited.” The town’s mayor is renouncing the Reverend, saying that such hate speech is unwelcome in the town. But Collier defended the flyer this week, saying that he isn’t a racist — just that “the white race is God’s chosen people”: The organizer of the event, Rev. William C. Collier says that his Church of God’s Chosen (Christian Identity Ministries) is not a hate group but adds that he believes “the white race is God’s chosen people.” Collier defends why only white Christians are invited. “We don’t have the facilities to accommodate other people. We haven’t got any invitations to black, Muslim events. Of course we are not invited to Jewish events and stuff,” Collier said. Collier does not specify what sort of special “facilities” people of color may need, but the line harkens back to old southern segregation, when water fountains and bathrooms had “whites only” signs similar to Collier’s flyer. . . .

June 23, 2012

"The religious right is a direct-mail fundraising machine fueled by fear"

What doth it profit religious demagogues to gain direct mail millions and lose their souls?
Weyrich confirms what I’ve often argued here: It’s about money. The religious right is a direct-mail fueled fundraising machine fueled by fear. It sends out millions of fundraising letters designed to create, instill, nurture and exploit fear of The Other. The particular form of that Other-ing depends on which fundraising letters get the best returns: Advocacy groups like the A.F.A. survive largely on direct-mail contributions. During the Presidency of George W. Bush, evangelicals went from outsiders to insiders, and it was a mixed blessing for them: with Republican ascendancy in Washington came grassroots complacency, slowing fund-raising. In 2003, Wildmon and a dozen or so other top Christian conservatives met to devise ways to energize the faithful. They decided to create a new organization, the Arlington Group, whose sole focus was opposing same-sex marriage. In 2004, Paul Weyrich, a leading figure of the Christian right, told the Times, “Things have not gone well in the past couple of years,” but added that opposition to gay marriage “appears to be turning things around.” Fund-raising picked up, and socially conservative voters were drawn to the polls. Bush, who had received sixty-eight per cent of the evangelical vote in 2000, got seventy-eight per cent in 2004.