The Evangelical Movement: Part II

This is a guest post by Kristen J. Kristen J. is a frequent commentor at Feministe and a former member of several Evangelical churches located throughout the U.S.

The Evangelical Christian Movement is a broad social and political group dedicated to reproducing a set of values that are antithetical to the very concept of social justice and equality.

Huh? What was that? Sweeping generalizations are not helpful? You want an explanation of how I got to that? Fine. But this is going to take a bit, so find a comfy chair.

As I mentioned in the comments to the last post, the Evangelical Movement isn’t coterminous with Evangelical Christianity, but the two have sufficient overlap that I think we can begin our analysis of the Movement with a discussion of the religion Fortunately, the hard work on that topic was done a few decades ago by David Bebbington (an academic historian) who famously identified the four characteristics of Evangelical Christianity: (1) biblicism – the belief that the bible is true; (2) conversionism – the belief that to be saved you must be reborn in Christ or experience a transformation of self; (3) crucicentrism – the belief that Christ ‘paid for the sins of all of humanity with the crucifixion; and (4) activism – the belief that salvation occurs by living and acting in accordance with God’s plan. (Amazon)

Bebbington’s definition is helpful, but I would note that, within the U.S. at least, “Evangelical” has expanded in recent years. For example there are Evangelical Catholics, Evangelical Methodists, even Evangelical liberals (GASP!). As a consequence, the adjective “Evangelical” has come to mean orthodoxy or perhaps a heightened focus on Biblicism with an activist component.

In my view it is the biblicism and activism that form the core of the Evangelical Movement. So let’s take a moment to unpack those particular ideas.

Biblicism

Biblicism is a funky kind of belief that reminds me of “strict constructionism” and the U.S. Constitution. Even the strictest adherent of biblical literalism believes that some of the stories in the bible are metaphorical or take the form of a parable. So while Evangelical Christians agree that the bible is the true word of God, there is a vast difference in how that true word is interpreted. This, in part, explains why some Evangelical sects require women to walk a few paces behind their husbands while others officiate same-sex weddings.

Despite their interpretative differences, there are a few generally accepted beliefs that are relevant to our purpose.* First, God gave humankind dominion over all the Earth (Christian Century). Second, there are angels and demons in the sense of real, non-metaphorical beings.

[Pastor Billy Graham from a sermon entitled "Will the World Survive?" - Note: This is an older sermon. It was difficult to find recent sermons that covered this topic explicitly rather than referencing it generally. - Transcript beginning at 8:00 and ending at 8:18.

Because the bible teaches there is such a thing as a devil. And the bible teaches that there is such a thing as demons. And these demons have tremendous power and tremendous influence. And they are at work in our world today. And they are at work in Philadelphia today (Ed Note: Cheap pop!).]

Third, there is a real, non-metaphorical war between good and evil that impacts the lives of human beings on Earth.

[Pastor Tony Evans from a promo entitled "Victory in Spiritual Warfare" - Transcript beginning at 0:00 and ending at 1:26.

One of my all time favorite movies involves a man who had to make a choice. He had to choose between the physical, visible realm and this invisible realm that he did not know. The choice came about when he understood that this invisible realm was controlling what is happening in the visible realm that he lived in and was so accustomed to. This movie, the Matrix, challenged Thomas Anderson to make a decision because he understood what the real world was. There are two worlds. The world we live in and this world behind the world, the spiritual realm. And the principle is simply this: Everything visible and physical is controlled by something invisible and spiritual. Therefore if you want to change the realm that you know then you must draw from the invisible and spiritual realm that you do not see. Cause everything visible and physical is controlled by the invisible and spiritual. He had to make a choice and so do you. We're in a battle, a spiritual war, but unless you know how to access your spiritual resources, in this case the armor of God that he has given us to equip us to fight in this world from that world, you cannot know spiritual victory.]

Fourth, there is some sort of final accounting for one’s actions.

[Pastor Joyce Meyer from a sermon entitled "Its Time to Get Serious" - Transcript beginning at 2:35 and ending 3:10
.
We need more reverential fear of God. Not afraid of God in a wrong way, but we need to realize that Jesus is coming back. And that we will stand before God. We will give an account of our lives. What we've done with them. Our resources, our gifts, our talents, our time. And you don't want to wait too late to get ready for that. I always say "Ready or not here he comes."]

Activism

If you ply me with a few drinks (preferably Macallan 25) such that I wax philosophical (like it takes a lot to do that), I would say that the success of Evangelical Christianity is that it conditions salvation (i.e., not going to the burning flames of hell) on acting in accordance with Godís plan. But what does that mean?

[Pastor John MacArthur, Reality of Hell ñ Transcript beginning at 0:02 and ending at 0:33

Hell is a real place. There is no doubt about that. The scripture defines it, describes it, describes it in very graphic terms as a place of outer darkness, as a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is described as beyond the grave. It is a place where the worm never dies, the fire is not quenched.]

That’s some significant motivation right there. I don’t know about you, but if *I* believed in an eternity of fiery doom, I might stand on corners handing out pamphlets too.

***

So now that we have a better grasp of the central tenants of Evangelical Christianity the question is how those tenants translate into a political and social movement that blocks clinics, bullies children, and mandates death for people who are gay.

The key in my view is Entitlement. I know that in social justice circles we use that word so frequently, that it has been devalued. But I think in this context it takes on a new depth of meaning. Members of the Evangelical Movement genuinely believe that the Earth belongs to them. This deeply seated sense of entitlement underpins many of the seemingly irrational beliefs held by members of the Evangelical Movement from Manifest Destiny to global warming denial. They are the Chosen, the Blessed. God has promised them this world and all its wealth and happiness. And God doesn’t break his promises. So your land? Belongs to them. Global warming can’t be right because that implies that the Earth might not be available for future use.


[Pastor John Hagee, Cornerstone Church from a sermon entitled “The Great Tribulation” – Transcript beginning at:0:12 and ending at 0:47.
[God's wrath is your choice. Don't ever get the idea that God pours it on some people and don't poor it on the others. God's wrath is your choice. If you choose to obey God, he said "I will bless you. Exceedingly, abundantly, above your capacity to contain it. I will give it to you pressed-down, shaken together and running over. You should be like a tree planted by rivers of living water, your leaves shall not wither, your fruit shall bear its season and whatsoever you do shall prosper." That is the blessing of God.]

And what stands between them and all of God’s promises? Me. Also probably you. Its all part of that war between good and evil. They’re good. They are executing God’s will on Earth. They are preparing for those infamous End Times. They are on the side of angels.

I, on the other hand, am a heretic, a God denier, possessed by Satan. (Those are direct quotes by the way.) I am an impediment to God’s will that will probably assist the Anti-Christ in creating that horrible future that will precede the End Times.

Essentially, the Evangelical Movement sets up a sharp dichotomy in which some people are good and the rest are bad, wrong, and possibly inhuman. But it also raises the stakes. I mean, there are lots of people I am not particularly fond of…many of whom you’ve heard from in this post…but I don’t think they are part of some big cosmic battle that will impact my existence for all of eternity. Hell, I don’t even think they’re inhuman. But when you set people in direct opposition, instill fear, and dehumanize their opponent, you shouldn’t be surprised when things get very ugly, very fast.

[Trigger warning: Hateful classism and ableism.]

[Pastor John Hagee, Cornerstone Church from a sermon entitled “Faith Under Fire” [Transcript beginning at 4:50 and ending at 5:15]

[We've rewarded laziness and called it welfare. You no longer look to God, you look to a check in the mail. In the bible, the bible says "The man that does not work, should not eat." I still think that ought to be the law in the United States of America. If you do not want to get up off your blessed assurance and go to work STARVE. I don't care. (applause) STARVE. (more applause) I don't feel sorry for you. (increasing applause) Go to work.]

Disturbing isn’t it. It’s the clapping on that one that made me have to get up and go hug my dog. In fact, here’s a puppy video to ease that nausea you’re probably feeling right now.

[Description: Short video of a small black dog, frolicking in the snow with Mr. Kristen J and myself chuckling in the background.]

Feel better? Okay, cause it gets worse. That activism component of the Evangelical Movement means they don’t just think these things quietly to themselves (or loudly in a church of tens of thousands). They act upon it. Their very salvation depends on acting on it. The horrible things we discussed last time that are the product of that action, this same hate and rage (dressed up as love, compassion, and conviction) underlie each and every one of those events.

God’s Plan

So what is this Plan of God, the correct values that will keep you on God’s good side? Well, to be honest, it depends. Historically, the Evangelical Movement has supported everything from the abolition of slavery and (white) women’s suffrage to soup kitchens. The ideology of the Movement shifts dramatically over time and between churches. At present the political force of the Evangelical Movement is inspired by the “Moral Majority” of the late 70s and early 80s (Wiki). The modern Evangelical Movement is explicitly forced birth, anti-contraceptive, anti-gay, and pro-“Traditional Family Values.” To that mix they seem to have added in pro-starvation, or at least a healthy dose of classism.

A charming brew of hate, no doubt. And clearly anathema to my own notion of social justice.

I suppose we could stop there. That in and of itself is likely to convince most of you that the definition I provided at the beginning of this post is at least serviceable in the current political environment. But I have one more argument to make.

The Evangelical Movement is antithetical to social justice not just because some windbags have fucked up opinions, but because the very notion of God’s Chosen is contrary to equality. The sense of entitlement discussed earlier is wrong not just when its telling women how to use their own bodies, but also when its providing food to those who have no choice but to stomach their sermons or financial assistance to those forced to endure periodic drug testing. The idea that you have greater access to a universal truth, to God’s Plan, tends to make a person a wee bit paternalistic. In my view that paternalism is contrary to treating every person as a full and complete human being. I know I’ve talked about this before, but if you want to know where my aversion to certainty and absolute truth comes from…this is it.

***

Is that enough of a rationale for my “Working” definition? I know some of you have had different experiences with the Evangelical Movement and may have other ideas about what is most important. What’s your take? What do you see as defining the Evangelical Movement?

*The clips are not intended to summarize all of Evangelical belief, but rather to illustrate what is meant. Different sects may have different interpretations of similar biblical precepts.

Author: has written 215 posts for this blog.

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141 Responses

  1. Anna
    Anna March 2, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    So… While this post makes some great points, here’s where I come and get all theology nerd on you. (And FWIW, I’m don’t identify as Evangelical myself.)

    First of all, it’s important to draw a distinction between Fundamentalist Christianity and Evangelical Christianity. Fundamentalists and Evangelicals may seem indistinguishable, and theologically they do have a lot in common. (Both have a crucifixion-centered view of Jesus, both believe in being “born again”.) However a useful rule of thumb is that Evangelicals prioritize ministry over conversion while Fundamentalists prioritize conversion over ministry. In other words, Evangelicals take a more pragmatic approach to charity, reasoning that you should feed people before you worry about their souls. Fundamentalists, however, will say that if you want your charity, it’s going to come with a big dose of Jesus.

    Also, to be fair, #3 is something that is present in ALL Western Christianity – although to varying degrees. It’s true that Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christianity emphasizes this and tends to make it very central to their practice of their faith, but there are other less controversial branches of Christianity that do this as well like Lutheranism. For anything other than “Jesus died to save us from sin” as a model of Jesus, you have to look to Eastern (Orthodox) Christianity. So saying that this is JUST Fundamentalism/Evangelicalism is unfair and inaccurate.

    Now there is some overlap. There are some Evangelicals who use their religion as an excuse to trample on the rights of others. But it would be far more accurate (and fair) to phrase all of this as the problem with FUNDAMENTALIST Christianity. The problem is fundamentalism, not evangelicalism – which really is true of any religion or ideal. So let’s not demonize all Evangelicals unfairly, because Evangelicalism isn’t necessarily incompatible with feminism or social justice. Fundamentalism, with its rigid worldview and insistence of imposing one’s beliefs on others, however, IS.

  2. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. March 2, 2012 at 10:03 am |

    Argh…I forgot to link to the post on Certainty and Social Justice.

  3. ScottInOH
    ScottInOH March 2, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    Holy cow. For some reason, I’ve never seen stuff like the Hagee speech on how the unemployed should starve, and I’ve seen a fair bit of fundamentalist preaching. Is this widespread? Why isn’t it splashed about the media like Ron Paul’s implication that people who can’t pay for medical care themselves should die? That’s horrifying.

  4. Jeremy
    Jeremy March 2, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    As someone raised in evangelicalism (or maybe fundamentalism, if you care to distinguish), I’ve got to contest part of the definition you use. The assertion that salvation is in any way dependent on acts is, as far as I know, widely and loudly regarded as a heresy. Saved by faith and not by works, and all that. Or is this a peculiarity of (non-Southern) Baptists?

  5. S.
    S. March 2, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    I’m sorry to be That Person, but as a religious history TA who comes across this error over and over when grading papers, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves: religions don’t have tenants (occupiers or residents), they have tenets (principles or beliefs).

  6. Christopher J Rankin
    Christopher J Rankin March 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm |

    Yes, the Bible is true and Jesus Christ is the way, the only way. When we quit trying to understand God, we are that much farther down the path. God and His reasoning are beyond our comprehension.

  7. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon March 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

    [blockquote]When we quit trying to understand God, we are that much farther down the path. God and His reasoning are beyond our comprehension.[/blockquote]

    copout nonsense

  8. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon March 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

    Damn, why can’t I ever remember how to do the quotes?

  9. Cécile
    Cécile March 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Holy cow. For some reason, I’ve never seen stuff like the Hagee speech on how the unemployed should starve, and I’ve seen a fair bit of fundamentalist preaching. Is this widespread?

    Hi Scott,

    I can’t make a sweeping comment, but when I got to the Hagee part in Kristen’s post, it made my blood run cold. I live in a northern swing-state, and back during the ’08 election, I encountered someone in a professional atmosphere, ranting about “that Communist, Obama,” who said those very words with such understated, yet spiteful, conviction: “I say, if you don’t work, you don’t eat!”

    Years after the fact, this memory has never failed to fill me with raw, speechless rage. And now that I know this wasn’t just some exceptionally hyperbolical asshole speaking out of political frustration of the times—but actually a philosophy of the movement—I’m horrified.

  10. ClanRomeo
    ClanRomeo March 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    Every time I read something like this, my heart breaks, I want to crawl into a hole, and just – hide. I love the Bible. I has Aspergers, and it is easily my faverate obsession.
    Christ told His people to be servants. He told us to be kind. He told us to look after orphans, and widows. And He was pretty clear that “works” of those kind, were the only things he cared about.
    God alone *owns* the world. He was pretty clear about that in Job. We were told to *care* for it. To tend to it.
    We dont know the human heart, not even our own. God alone, knows that. We cannot judge another person. All we are supposed to do is love them.
    Anything else – is heresy. ANYTHING else, is unbiblical bullshit.
    The “church” today, is sadly, and horrifyingly mislead.
    Now, excuse me while I go away, have some herbal mood lifters, and try not to sob my way through my day, for the state of humanity.

  11. Cécile
    Cécile March 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    Kristen,

    Hagee isn’t out there when it comes to the ideology, he’s just a bit more blunt in expressing it.

    That’s an important point. It seems that one of the directions this series is taking is examining how the apparently “extremist” views of some prominent leaders may not be voiced on a broader scale, but are nonetheless at play and insinuated among less aggressive groups. (I want to finish that sentence with “even if they’re not fully aware that they’re serving and participating in these extremist views” but I’m not actually sure how accurate that would be. Just my speculation.) Hence, I take it, your opening:

    Huh? What was that? Sweeping generalizations are not helpful? You want an explanation of how I got to that? Fine. But this is going to take a bit, so find a comfy chair.

    Much like the overtly hateful rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh as of late. The escalating attacks he keeps directing at Sandra Fluke literally sicken me, but at the same time, part of me is glad he’s saying it. As Limbaugh himself says: “I call it what it is”—”it,” however, meaning Limbaugh’s conservative mindset, and the mindset he’s trying to solidify and promote. I feel, at least he IS calling it—this mindset—what it is, pitching it out in the open in all its flawed, hateful, bigoted, etc. etc. etc., ugliness. His language is so face-slappingly offensive, it makes me wonder how many conservatives he’s unintentionally forcing to disturbedly reflect upon some of the policies and perspectives they’ve been supporting.

  12. Cécile
    Cécile March 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

    Was just reading the Five Facts about Dominionism article you linked:

    Experts identify two main schools of Dominionism: Christian Reconstructionists [....]; and the New Apostolic Reformation, which advocates for Christians to “reclaim the seven mountains of culture”: government, religion, media, family, business, education, and arts and entertainment.

    Who are “Dominionists”?

    Very few Christians identify themselves as “Dominionists.” But experts say the New Apostolic Reformation has gained traction among charismatic Christians and Pentecostals under the influence of…

    Ahhh, yes, what is reality anyway? Just because people might not perceive themselves to be Dominionists… doesn’t guarantee they aren’t Dominionists… does it?

  13. abracadabra
    abracadabra March 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    @Anna

    I don’t think I necessarily disagree with you that all of Western Christianity understands there is a war between good and evil; however, I think there is definitely a difference in understanding between the evangelicals/fundamentalists and mainstream** Protestants/Catholics.

    In my experience the fundy/evangelical understanding is that there are evil people/institutions and good people/institutions and it is incumbent that the evil be identified and defeated. Evil is fundamentally rejected upon professing belief – making a person Good. Not professing belief make a person potentially or actually Evil.

    My understanding of mainstream Protestant/Catholic understanding is that there is evil that humans, in their weakness, can be complicit in – it is part of conversion *and* spiritual growth that this human weakness is overcome and people and institutions are transformed.

    In other words, the evangelical/fundamental battle against evil is primarily between people and an external Satan (often represented by other people — like Muslims, Catholics, or atheists, for example). Thus, there is much less tolerance for people who believe or behave differently. The mainstream Protestant/Catholic understanding is at least as much an internal battle against one’s own sinfulness as against some “other,” which makes it possible to accept people who are different.

    In the actual language, it can be difficult to distinguish. But when fundies/evangelicals talk about Satan, they really mean a literal being that is literally plotting and and scheming – a spiritual Hitler, whereas I don’t know any mainstream Protestants/Catholics who hold such a vivid understanding of the actually embodiment of evil.

    **mainstream applies to both Protestants and Catholics.

  14. Cécile
    Cécile March 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    (i.e., global warming denial)

    There’s nothing I find more absurdly annoying. Maybe this is so glaringly obvious that it goes without saying, but it seems a major component behind the momentum of this movement (or ‘these movements’) is the glorification of narrow, self-congratulatory empirical reasoning, and reductivist/deductivist argumentation.

  15. Verity Khat
    Verity Khat March 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    Thank you, Kristen J, for breaking that down so methodically. It’s somehow even more horrifying to read it put so simply, but at least it’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who’s horrified.

    I’ve never been able to wrap my head around this sort of thinking. In order to assuage one kind of fear (of dying, of only living once, of not going to heaven, of suffering in the next life for the missteps of this one), you have to live in fear of not being good enough.

    Some groups do preach that faith is simply letting go of human definitions of “good enough” and accepting the unfathomable grace of God’s love. The core nugget of this idea I can get on board with, especially from a social justice standpoint; we are all good enough. We can be better, but at our core we are worthy of life and love. Yes! Awesome!

    But when you follow that good idea up with constant reminders that we’re all horrible sinners and Jesus died to make up for the fact that we’re so horrible, the grey between “faith alone will save you” and “good works are holy” gets really grey and I get suspicious. I’m much happier now that I’ve just let GO of all that horrible fear and acknowledged, head on, that this is most likely the only life I’ve got and one day I will cease to exist. Mortality is scary, but less scary than Big Daddy’s Eternal Judgement. If nothing else, this way I can only fuck it up ONCE, not FOR ALL TIME.

    @ Christopher J Rankin (#9): If God just wants us to accept what (a human preacher tells us) is Right, then God shouldn’t have given us brains capable of critical thought. Seriously, a deity creates beings with higher-order thinking, but punishes them for eternity if they don’t choose to follow with the uncomplicated devotion of a dog?! Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen Dogma too, but “I’ll let you choose, but choose what I say OR ELSE!” sounds more ridiculous to me coming from an all-powerful being than a human.

  16. Theophile
    Theophile March 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

    Democracy or Dominionism?
    You know in a “democracy” the majority is the victor. Why is it the same party of people who insist on majority rule(petitions/ballot measures, “will of the people” etc) get upset when people of faith(the majority) want to “vote their conscience”? This is the paradox that a self ruled nation has, You can separate church and state, but not church and voters.
    This article makes a major theological mistake as to “who owns the world” vs “who is in control of it now”, as Jesus didn’t dispute Satan’s claim concerning his possessions here. To discern the difference, read Christian history in Foxes book of Martyrs, about those that would pick up their cross, and follow Jesus, just like those today in Islamic nations.

  17. Verity Khat
    Verity Khat March 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    Ack, left a point out. Of course, the fear of not being good enough quickly gets warped into telling others how they’re not good enough, superficially reassuring those in “the club” that, at least by comparison, they are secure in their position. Meanwhile, the fear rages on, unaddressed, and the cycle continues…and folks who profess to live for love tell people to work or starve. >_<

  18. Chiara
    Chiara March 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

    Theophile you’re totally wack. If you think anti contraception whackjobs are the majority of the peeps then you’ve been munching on the gunch.

  19. EG
    EG March 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

    Why is it the same party of people who insist on majority rule(petitions/ballot measures, “will of the people” etc) get upset when people of faith(the majority) want to “vote their conscience”?

    This is specifically why Thomas Jefferson wrote the Bill of Rights–to make sure that the majority does not infringe upon the essential civil/human rights of the minority. You might be particularly interested in the first amendment, about making no laws regarding the establishment of religion.

    You can have as many Christian fundamentalists as you like, but your numbers do not make it just–or even constitutional–for them to trample on the rights of one atheist or Jew.

  20. SarahJ
    SarahJ March 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    I have to agree with the first poster that there is a pretty significant difference between evangelicalism and fundamentalism, and it really bothers me to see them conflated with each other. There’s definitely overlap, particularly when it comes to politics. While there’s some cultural overlap as well, evangelicals and fundamentalists really do have very distinct subcultures. Fundamentalists (in my experience) are wary of media, while evangelicals see it as a means to an end. And I also believe fundamentalism tends to be far more autocratic, which is why egalitarian evangelicals exist, and egalitarian fundamentalists are like unicorns. They’ve got distinctly different takes on politics and theology.

  21. konkonsn
    konkonsn March 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm |

    @Verity Khat

    Yup. And when you have OCD, which means your brain keeps saying “Something’s wrong. I know you did that prayer thing, but something’s still wrong, so you must not have done it right,” then it gets super scary. Christianity used to be an actual trigger for me after I started going to counseling and taking medication; any mention of God, Jesus, or Hell was enough to cause me to panic because of how terrified I was for a good six to eight years of my life based on the sole fact that I could never be perfect enough (Scrupulosity is what some call it). Except I just kept getting encouraged by the folks I stayed around that I was just so godly and wonderful for being that way. I was a terrible person to some people based entirely out of that fear, and the worst part was that I absolutely hated what I was doing. I’d cry at night because my core, my heart told me that one thing was right, but that God’s ideas were different.

    And this was Catholicism and fairly liberal Catholicism at a college, too (except when I started going online to the more fundamentalist sites and watching that damned EWTN, which is the global Catholic network on TV).

    But, I mean, I don’t think all fundamentalists have an actual overload of fear/diagnosable illness like I did because even I looked for ways to not be as hateful as I thought God wanted me to be.

    Also, Kristen J., you should look up some speeches shown on EWTN if you want Catholic fundie stuff. They aren’t completely terrible, but I do remember watching a lot of stuff about how spirits like angels and devils were real things and how there is a real war of good and evil going on in the world.

  22. Mandolin
    Mandolin March 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    I would add that it’s antithetical to social justice because it is not amenable to contrary information. Social justice broadens. The evangelical beliefs change, but they aren’t directly subject to things like facts. It doesn’t matter if the claim is that homosexuality is wrong because it’s unnatural, and then you can point to the proliferation of homosexual acts among animals to prove it isn’t; the idea of “God says…” is impervious to evidence.

  23. QLH
    QLH March 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |

    Thank you for the puppy video. I appreciated the brief break mid-post to clear my head.

  24. Amy
    Amy March 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

    Thank you for this series!

    As an athiest who didn’t have any kind of religious upbringing I’ve always wondered what the hell kind of logic got Evangelical Christians from point A to picketing abortion clinics and harassing women who don’t make the same choices as them.

    I’d never even considered some of them would believe they and their group alone ‘owns’ the earth. That kind of entitlement really blows me away.

    So for furthering my education of extremist-logic, thanks!

  25. Aydan
    Aydan March 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    This series is very interesting to me. I was raised in one of those evangelical-in-name-only churches, and have since left it for a more “liberal” church. I am appalled at some of the things done in the name of Christianity, but it seems hard to find the line between using my Christian privilege to call out people who are (nominally) members of my “group,” and going all One True Scotsman.

    I also want to third the distinction between fundamentalism and evangelicism. Fundamentalism tends to be found in Baptist and similar denominations, and one of its main principles is separating from the world and all its works. Evangelicism is something I associate more with “non-denominational” and Reformed/neo-Reformed churches, and one of its main principles is converting everyone else. Many of the behaviors are the same, but in my limited experience– as an outsider looking in– fundamentalism focuses on the in-group, while evangelicism focuses on the out-group. Admittedly, sometimes the distinction between “We’re so much better than them” and “They’re so much worse than we are” is not very clear. But as an example– some fundamentalist denominations still get really hung up over women wearing pants, while evangelical denominations get more hung up over women preaching. Both tend to be obsessed about female “modesty.”

  26. Onymous
    Onymous March 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm |

    As a note:
    to any one who is enjoying this series I highly recommend Fred Clark’s exhaustive (and truly mammoth at this point) series on Left Behind at Slacktivist. Which is both a delightful take down of some truly awful write and a springboard which he has been using to talk about exactly these sorts of issues within modern evangelicalism.

  27. Jadey
    Jadey March 2, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    But as an example– some fundamentalist denominations still get really hung up over women wearing pants, while evangelical denominations get more hung up over women preaching. Both tend to be obsessed about female “modesty.”

    I… don’t really get the distinction in that example, other than at the very superficial level of pants v. preaching. Either way, it seems like an expression of the same fundamentally problematic attitude – as you said, the obsession over female “modesty”. Even if the political hobby horses differ in the details, they appear to be running in the same race. (mixed metaphors FTW!)

    I wonder if the distinctions made by church-leaders or the more theologically-informed are really relevant at the level of the average parishioner and the underlying political motives driving them. Maybe at one point there could have been a real difference there, but it seems like the convergence on a common goal is rendering this mainly moot.

  28. EG
    EG March 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

    I… don’t really get the distinction in that example, other than at the very superficial level of pants v. preaching.

    Seconded. I mean, OK, so they show their contempt for women in slightly different ways. So what?

  29. Aydan
    Aydan March 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |

    The difference: Well, for starters, if I had to interact with either, I’d choose evangelicals any day of the week.

    Pants: It was an example from personal experience rather than really illustrating the in-vs-out distinction, so probably a bad choice. Fundamentalists would condemn evangelicals for letting women wear pants, while evangelicals would condemn fundamentalists for legalism.

    (TW fundamentalist ideologies about hell) Compare Temple Baptist Church (where Santorum recently spoke)’s about us/statement of faith with Mars Hill Seattle (Mark Driscoll’s church)’s guide page. TBC’s very first section is about the authority of the KJV; it’s a hill to die on, for them. They have a section commanding separation, living apart from the world. MHS, on the other hand, is all about making themselves relevant to reach the world around them. TBC makes you come to them. MHS comes to you. (Note, I’m not endorsing this or saying this like it’s a good thing; MHS in particular is a church that has a lot of problems, misogyny and controlling behavior among them. But their approaches are different.) TBC is “about” tradition and keeping themselves pure and apart, MHS is “about” Jesus and reaching out to convert the world. (That is, this is how I imagine they would describe themselves, not how I would describe them.)

    I’m not trying to rank them in terms of their misogyny and anti-social justice behaviors. They’re both bad. I’m saying if you’re trying to understand the broad conservative Christian movement, it’s a relevant distinction, because each branch is ostensibly motivated by different ideology.

  30. Aydan
    Aydan March 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

    Following up: the bit about would choose to interact with evangelicals any day of the week was a kneejerk reaction to my own personal history. In retrospect, I should have just deleted it as irrelevant. Please don’t take it as a broader comment on evangelicals vs. fundamentalists or evangelicals > fundamentalists.

  31. EG
    EG March 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm |

    OK, that jibes with my understanding of the term “evangelical.” “Angel” means “messenger,” right? So my understanding was that what made an evangelical evangelical was that proselytizing and converting others was a central part of the mission.

  32. debbie
    debbie March 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm |

    Honestly, I think the distinction is pretty much like the differences between high waters and capris. It only matters to the people who are very interested in pants. To the rest of us…they are pants that don’t cover our mismatched socks.

    That is a great way of putting it! From my (Jewish, atheist, Canadian) point of view, the distinction between evangelicals and fundamentalists is not at all obvious. Obviously, a number of commenters on this thread think it’s a very important distinction, but the attempts to clarify haven’t convinced me that there is a relevant political difference (as opposed to theological).

  33. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll March 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm |

    I once had 3 tickets to hell stuck in my door by those door to door religious folks.

    So not only am I going to Hell, I’m going 1st class baby!

    1. abracadabra
      abracadabra March 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm |

      @pheenobarbidoll

      Fantastic!

      I once had 3 tickets to hell stuck in my door by those door to door religious folks.

      Nothing says “Jesus Loves You” like “go burn for all eternity.”

  34. Aydan
    Aydan March 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    @ Kristen J.: Fair enough. As an outsider to both movements, I can’t really say how the ideological differences play out politically. I’d guess that evangelicals are somewhat more liberal (this being a very relative term), cloak their racism and misogyny in a guise they think is more socially acceptable, and disagree within themselves about a wider spread of issues… but when it comes down to something like a vote, which is yes/no or choose between these two or three people, evangelicals and fundamentalists will almost always end up on the same “side.”

  35. EG
    EG March 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    I once had 3 tickets to hell stuck in my door by those door to door religious folks.

    Hey, at least you get to bring a couple of friends to keep you company…

  36. MD
    MD March 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm |

    @ Anna

    It’s true that you can find the theology that Jesus died as payment for sins in all of western Christianity. But there are and always have been different ideas about the meaning of Jesus’ death. Some western Chistians “allow” dissent on this point within their members, and others push for only the understanding of payment.

  37. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 3, 2012 at 3:01 am |

    I’m really liking the series so far Kristen. Glad this has been cathartic for you; sorry it has been so stressful. I’ve been thinking a lot of things spurred by what you and others have said here, and I think I’m just going to ramble them off. Sorry if this ends up being off topic.

    I normally look at Evangelical Christianity more through the lens of my current biases rather than on its own terms. For example, I try to accept the world as it is–not meaning there aren’t things I hope will change, but that I accept this is reality and I’m going to work within it. However, I see Christianity, generally, and especially its more reactionary elements, as rejecting the world as evil and especially rejecting 1) our shared human instincts and desires, 2) our individual consciences, critical thinking abilities, and intuition, and 3) the compassion and solidarity that results from 1 and 2.

    A pivotal Evangelical idea is that human nature is naturally evil because of original sin. Traditional Christian parenting focuses on suppressing children’s individuality and spontaneity (which are seen as sinful) as early as possible and using as much psychological or physical violence as necessary to accomplish this. Hence shaming children, spanking children, etc. Children are to be broken down and built up as fanatical adherents of abstract metaphysical and moral beliefs that have nothing to do with the actual, observable reality or their own internal experiences. Evangelicals hate this life and want to be in Heaven instead. This entire world is evil and controlled by Satan, the only things that are good are unseen and invisible and can only be accessed in mediated form through such intermediaries as the Bible or pastors. It is a very bleak view based off fear and mistrust as the controlling emotions, I’d say, and I’m glad I don’t buy into it.

    This is pure speculation, but I think at some level fundamentalists are also motivated by a deep death wish that results from their hatred of the world. I think at some deep, probably subconscious level, many or most of them realize things like global warming or nuclear war are possible and are likely actually being furthered by the sorts of policies they support. And I think they want this to be happening because they want the world to be destroyed so it can be replaced with a perfected Earth and/or they will get to go to Heaven sooner. They associate goodness as following destruction, either because of their early childhood abuse and subsequent indoctrination if they are Christians from birth, or because of their became Christians after they hit “bottom” if they are adult converts. So they know that the same thing will have to happen to the world. They will have to destroy this evil world before a good world can exist.

  38. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 3, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    They associate goodness as following destruction, either because of their early childhood abuse and subsequent indoctrination if they are Christians from birth, or because of their became Christians after they hit “bottom” if they are adult converts.

    This sentence of mine should actually read “. . .or because of their becoming Christians after they hit ‘bottom’ if they are adult converts.”

  39. BabyRaptor
    BabyRaptor March 3, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    Please don’t be too rough with this…I promise it’s not trolling or insulting, but an honest question.

    Could someone with a spare minute explain to me the view behind random drug tests for welfare recipients being wrong?

    I see nothing wrong with it personally, but have never seen the opposing view explained, just presented.

  40. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 3, 2012 at 8:43 am |

    Could someone with a spare minute explain to me the view behind random drug tests for welfare recipients being wrong?

    Random drug testing of any kind by the government is an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment says individuals have the right to be “secure in their persons. . .against unreasonable searches.” Forcing someone to take a drug test without any reason to suspect they’ve consumed illegal drugs is an unreasonable search.

  41. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated March 3, 2012 at 8:46 am |

    @LotusBen-Current Evangelical theology emphasizes brokenness so that the group will be allowed to “break” unbelievers or doubters without fear of group reprisal.
    Fundamentalist adherence to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy is probably class-based. People who cannot or will not read are easy converts who, as Jesus’ sheep, are led doctrinally by the denomination or pastor. Evangelicals, as lay missionaries, have to be able to explain Biblical nuance, presumably to a flock less experienced at unquestioned obedience, usually closer to middle-class status.
    I’d love to know the name and church of the fellow who calls bullying suicides “collateral damage”.

  42. j.
    j. March 3, 2012 at 9:29 am |

    But it would be far more accurate (and fair) to phrase all of this as the problem with FUNDAMENTALIST Christianity. The problem is fundamentalism, not evangelicalism

    LOL. One flavor of made-up bullshit versus another. The problem is believing in bullshit to begin with. And the “moderates” give cover to the extremists.
    Theophile, you and your superstition-addled comrades do NOT get to vote on other people’s rights. Maybe if you pulled your noses out of your book of 3,000-year-old fairy tales and read some Constitutional law for a change, you’d realize that.

  43. EG
    EG March 3, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    Could someone with a spare minute explain to me the view behind random drug tests for welfare recipients being wrong?

    1) The unreasonable search that Ben mentions.

    2) The invasion of bodily autonomy and resulting humiliation (forcing somebody to pee in a cup).

    3) The huge waste of money and resources.

    4) The implication that poor people are more likely to be using illegal drugs than anybody else.

    5) The limiting of the testing to those on TANF, or whatever it’s being called now. You never see this sort of testing being called for the CEOs of corporations receiving bail-outs or corporate subsidies or suchlike. Where’s the fairness in that?

    6) What does one thing have to with the other? Why should receiving benefits to which we’re all entitled in times of need be contingent upon not having smoked a joint at your cousin’s birthday two weeks previously? People aren’t poor because they smoke up. Plenty of middle-class and wealthy people do drugs. Why target the poor?

    7) I am personally opposed to the “war on drugs” in all its punitive forms.

  44. Cécile
    Cécile March 3, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    Could someone with a spare minute explain to me the view behind random drug tests for welfare recipients being wrong?

    How about also that it’s “cruel and unusual punishment” to cut off a person’s access to food/basic necessities for using drugs?

    Meanwhile, all the people who aren’t dependent on welfare and use drugs (especially in the middle/upper classes) can continue to party on without being faced with threats from the government to “quit drugs or STARVE.”

    …it’s essentially an extension, as far as I can see it, of the, “You don’t work, you don’t eat!” mentality.

  45. EG
    EG March 3, 2012 at 11:21 am |

    Oh, and:

    8) Essentially, measures like drug testing are proposed to make it more difficult for poor people to get the relief they need and deserve. They set up humiliating hoops and obstacles in order to reduce the number of people on welfare. But they do nothing to see that people who are discouraged from getting or are kicked off the roles are able to find enough money to support themselves and their children. All measures like this do is increase the sum total of human suffering. So thanks but no thanks.

  46. Cécile
    Cécile March 3, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    (Whoops, I just noticed that EG already made this point in #6!)

  47. Ashley
    Ashley March 3, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    You mention “liberal” evangelicals, but then don’t actually talk about them. How do evangelical leaders like Rob Bell or Jim Wallis who don’t believe in dominionism or eternal hell fit into this analysis?

    Not that all of these leaders you post above aren’t important and harmful, but there really is a difference between fundamentalist and evangelical. I went to seminary with evangelicals… evangelical leaders, even, who were also radical social justice activists. In fact, in seminary (a seminary that focuses on liberation theology, to be fair) I only ever met one evangelical who fit the description above. His theology was horrible, but he was also the minority.

    There are also important differences between those evangelical leaders who are part of a larger right-wing political movement, and those who are uninterested in politics. And there is a big difference between white evangelical and black evangelical churches. There are huge differences in what evangelical Christianity means in the lives of white and black Americans. I couldn’t even begin to get into that in any depth here, but it’s pretty important stuff.

  48. Cécile
    Cécile March 3, 2012 at 11:42 am |

    I have to say that writing this series has been cathartic, but also incredibly triggering

    I second LotusBen’s comment, Kristen—thank you for writing this series. I’m working on a research project myself that has been triggering the fuck out of me… but it’s also overwhelmingly compulsive (I’d be ruminating about it anyway, but in a much less constructive way), cathartic (as you mentioned), and something I consciously regard as important to do. This conversation that you’re conducting is important. All the more honorable that you’re barreling across an internal minefield to make it happen—thank you for your sacrifice. (That last bit somewhat tongue-in-cheek to make you grin, but the underlying message is sincere.)

  49. Cécile
    Cécile March 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    I will also add, that I’ve seen moderate churches move fairly quickly towards extremism.

    I’m following this thread for two reasons that remain pretty compartmentalized from one another: 1) out of broad political concerns, and 2) because this issue has affected, and very well might continue to affect, people in my life that I care about.

    One of the more examples:

    Some relatives of mine thankfully made a decision to pull their children from a fundamentalist school and church years ago. One of their daughters was enduring constant misogynistic bullying for the tiniest things. But it was bad. They made her pay, every day. They ostracized her. The teacher actually told her classmates not to socialize with her, and allowed hurtful rumors and accusations about her to circulate. (Presumably because she was on a downward spiral of “joining Evil forces” becoming “filled with Satan” or something.) If I remember correctly, her main offenses were wearing eyeliner, gravitating to guy friends more than girl friends, and “having a bad attitude,” i.e. facial expressions, body language, and vocal intonations that reflected the hurt, anger, and frustration she was being made to feel.

    The family is still Christian, but did an awesome turn-about. Their kids are so much happier, and their family is so much closer and more loving (as a family unit). It was an amazing transformation to see. I’m so glad her parents made that decision—it wasn’t easy for them, either. They first transferred only the daughter I mentioned above to another school, while the others remained at the fundamentalist school, and the family continued going to the adjoined church for awhile. Immediately, the parents and their other kids were turned upon by the congregation and the school. They were suddenly treated with “muted” ostracism and suspicion. It wasn’t overt, but I remember the parents describing how uncomfortable it was to be targeted with all that simmering contempt, sugar-coated under “stiff politeness.” Menacing.

    Churches like this are tyrannical.

  50. Datdamwuf
    Datdamwuf March 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    If you really want to freak out read up on the Pentecostal folks, we are talking spiritual warfare, casting out of witches (and out of entire communities), and the requirement to take over the government to aid in the second coming of Christ, the whole gamut of crazy. This stuff is under the radar mostly, because they don’t want to scare us…

    When Sarah Palin was first announced as VP for McCain I checked out her churches website and the videos I saw there were very scary. I wish I’d downloaded them because 2 days later all the videos had been removed (not just those with Palin in them) and there were no caches anywhere, I tried to find them. Look up “prayer warrior”…be glad she never made VP and is not running for Prez.

    A lot of the religious right crazy is gathered in one place, go here:

  51. Michael Westmoreland-White
    Michael Westmoreland-White March 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm |

    You are right that evangelical Christianity is broad, but you have a narrow conception of it. What you describe is mostly the Religious Right movement which grew out of Fundamentalism. Now Fundamentalists, who began in the early part of the 20th C., are a section of U.S. Evangelicalism, but only a section–though the one that gets all the media attention.

    19th C. evangelicals, who were very conversion and crucifixion centered, as you note, were also the leaders of the Abolitionist movement against slavery. (Meanwhile many liberals, Unitarians, and other non-traditionalists in religion were openly racist, including Emerson.) Many of them were leaders of First Wave Feminism, especially in the 70 year struggle for women’s suffrage. Evangelicals were leaders in prison reform, the abolition of child labor, the rights of labor, and the 19th C. peace movement. If this is “antithetical to decent, democratic civilization,” I think we have a real problem of definitions.

    This progressive heritage of Evangelicals was renewed in the 1970s and is still around, today.

    Outside the U.S., one is completely unable to make generalizations about political affiliation for evangelicals.

  52. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll March 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    “Nothing says “Jesus Loves You” like “go burn for all eternity.”

    Right? Hunka burning love takes on a whole new meaning.

    I think they must have spoken to the Mormon missionaries about me, because after my (now ex) boyfriend went back to practicing the Mormon religion, he invited some in one day and told them I was atheist.

    I think he thought they could convert me.They left crying. And I mean literally in tears.

    Never had a problem with them since.

    The JW folks won’t go the fuck away though, so I’ve taken to standing there with all 4 of my dogs barking their heads off as I repeatedly yell WHAT??? I CAN’T HEAR YOU until they leave.

  53. EG
    EG March 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

    If you ask me whether she’s a bad person, I’m still conflicted.

    Does it matter, though? Most people are complex and have good qualities and bad qualities, but her being essentially a good person doesn’t ameliorate the pain and fear she caused. Is it really so important whether or not she is a good person?

  54. kungfulola
    kungfulola March 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm |

    LOL. One flavor of made-up bullshit versus another. The problem is believing in bullshit to begin with. And the “moderates” give cover to the extremists.
    Theophile, you and your superstition-addled comrades do NOT get to vote on other people’s rights. Maybe if you pulled your noses out of your book of 3,000-year-old fairy tales and read some Constitutional law for a change, you’d realize that.

    You need to read some Chris Hedges. You’d be more educated for it.

  55. Matt
    Matt March 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    I think a lot of people have trouble not only distinguishing people who are both loving and cruel to the same person and trying to fit them into the good or bad box, but also dealing with people who are loving to them and cruel to others, or vice versa. We saw this a lot with people whose favorite priests were child abusers in the Catholic abuse scandals.

  56. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated March 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    @pheenobarbidoll-I had a couple of JWs show up on my front porch, the morning after my father’s death, brandishing a pamphlet entitled “Why Is Life So Short”. A broom handle, used with intent to cause severe bodily harm, did a satisfactory job of sweeping the JWs away, permanently. They’re easily available and don’t have to be licensed or registered.

  57. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon March 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    If you really want to freak out read up on the Pentecostal folks, we are talking spiritual warfare, casting out of witches (and out of entire communities), and the requirement to take over the government to aid in the second coming of Christ, the whole gamut of crazy.

    True. I had demons cast out of many times growing up. Usually just for sassing back or whatever.

  58. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    19th C. evangelicals, who were very conversion and crucifixion centered, as you note, were also the leaders of the Abolitionist movement against slavery. (Meanwhile many liberals, Unitarians, and other non-traditionalists in religion were openly racist, including Emerson.)

    Michael, you are definitely right that Evangelicals were most of the leaders of the Abolitionist movement. Of course, Evangelicals were also most of the leaders of the movement to maintain slavery, and they used the Bible and Evangelical beliefs to explain why slavery was justified. So it cuts both ways. I believe the U.S. population at the time was about 80% Evangelical Christian. So it makes sense that many people of political influence would be Evangelical. This does show that Evangelicals are diverse and complicated, but it doesn’t show that Evangelical beliefs are somehow necessary for or inherently tied to social justice.

    And I’d wager that religiously heterodox folks were more likely to progressive on social issues than Evangelicals, even back then. It’s interesting you mention Emerson, for example. You’re right that he actively promoted some horrible racist beliefs. However, he was also a staunch and vocal Abolitionist. So it’s odd that you focus on how he was racist, but not on how he was Abolitionist, when many of the Evangelical leaders of the Abolitionist movement were also racist, but with them you only focus on the Abolitionism part. Also, almost all the reform movements you mention had prominent Unitarians or Quakers in them from the beginning and later on also prominent Jews, Catholics, and atheists.

    So long story short. The reason there were so many radical and reform-minded Evangelicals in the 19th century was just because 80% of the population was Evangelical and among any group of people it’s natural to have internal diversity. It’s not anything that’s a particular credit to Evangelicalism as a religious or political philosophy.

  59. My Thoughts on Feministe’s Evangelicalism Series Part II | Love Joy Feminism

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  60. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |

    Could someone with a spare minute explain to me the view behind random drug tests for welfare recipients being wrong?

    Everything all the awesome folks said but also – it’s fucking expensive. Why waste resources on something like this? Just so middle-class folks can feel morally superior? No.

  61. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm |

    “Oh, you mean EG’s third point?”

    “Yes that one.”

  62. ephemeradical
    ephemeradical March 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

    @Anna:

    Your comment has inspired me to investigate Eastern Christianity, so thank you.

    But I think possibly there are other streams of Western Christianity which don’t quite fit into crucicentrism? Maybe if you focus on the ‘centrism’ bit rather than the belief in penal substitution. For instance, Giles Fraser (the guy high up in St Pauls in London who quit recently over the church’s attitude to the Occupy movement) wrote a thing saying that lots of churches focusing on Jesus’ death over and above anything he ever said or did, and this is silencing Christ, and kind of objectifying him.

  63. j.
    j. March 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    How do evangelical leaders like Rob Bell or Jim Wallis who don’t believe in dominionism or eternal hell fit into this analysis?

    Would that be Jim Wallis, the antichoicer whose magazine Sojourners rejected a pro-GLBT advertisement? He can fuck right off, too.

    Kungfulola, I’ve read Chris Hedges. I think that when it comes to religion he’s a bloviating twit, and I relished it when PZ Myers kicked his ass the other year.

  64. j.
    j. March 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm |

    Oh, and I’ll be “better educated” for it? Thanks, Lola, for the smarmy condescension I’ve come to expect from “progressive” xtians who think that they’re superior to those of us who’ve eschewed condescension. Fuck you, too.

  65. j.
    j. March 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |

    Oh, and I’ll be “better educated” for it? Thanks, Lola, for the smarmy condescension I’ve come to expect from “progressive” xtians who think that they’re superior to those of us who’ve matured beyond having imaginary friends. Fuck you, too.

  66. kungfulola
    kungfulola March 3, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    Oh, and I’ll be “better educated” for it? Thanks, Lola, for the smarmy condescension I’ve come to expect from “progressive” xtians who think that they’re superior to those of us who’ve matured beyond having imaginary friends. Fuck you, too.

    I’m not a Xian, I am actually a Jew. I have gained a lot of insight from Hedges’ writings and I thought you might benefit from a more nuanced perspective from a person who is knowledgeable on the movements for and against theism, that’s all. Cheers to you, friend.

  67. Ismone
    Ismone March 4, 2012 at 2:54 am |

    BabyRaptor,

    This really sums up brilliantly why the drug testing is a bad idea.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/03/rick-scott-drug-testing_n_1252628.html

    Seriously, it is really informative, not just funny.

  68. konkonsn
    konkonsn March 4, 2012 at 3:15 am |

    I’m kind of frustrated with the commenters coming in and wanting to distinguish Evangelical from “Evangelical” and this nuance from that nuance. Didn’t Kristen J. say something in her first post on this series that this isn’t where these discussions should be going?

    I mean, I get it…you’re part of a group, and you see how not everything can be generalized because that’s certainly not how it is in your life, and that certainly isn’t how it is in the real world. And I know sometimes progressive sites/blogs can get very hard on religion.

    But…

    To me, it sounds like something that I hear in a lot of the spaces I visit (and most of those are fairly progressive, so I don’t think Christians are as persecuted in these spaces as they sometimes feel). And that is: “What you’re talking about aren’t the real Christians (or the real Evangelical Christians, in this case). Those are the outliers. We’re not like them. You can’t blame us for what they do.”

    But, you know, it really upsets me when people do that. It’s not that I’m anti-Christian; I was very involved with Catholicism for a few years until I found it didn’t work for me. It’s just that those conversations completely take away from any discussion about what’s actually happening or how to fix it. Saying, “They’re a minority; they’re not real Christians,” you’re not fixing anything. You’re instead saying that we can’t have a conversation unless we all hedge our ideas and deflate them and make them easy to swallow. And that makes any attempts to fix things useless because we have to narrow and narrow and try to be so specific that nobody feels empowered to do anything.

    Also, if these people are really extremists…if they’re not the real Christians but the outliers, then why the hell are their ideas still ruling so much of our daily lives? If there are more Christians that love me than hate me, why do I feel unsafe coming out as a lesbian in much of the United States? I’m getting that unsafe message from somewhere, you know.

    I don’t want to silence anyone, but I really think it would be good if people who are Evangelical Christian or really intimate with the Evangelical movement to just take a moment and think, “Will this distinction really help in us solving the problem or will it just derail the conversation and make it hard to even formulate a conversation?”

  69. The Evangelical Movement: Part II « Secularity

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  70. rain
    rain March 4, 2012 at 10:41 am |

    Totally agree, konkonsn. I think that maneuver – “but not all (Xians, Evangelicals, …) are like that” is the equivalent of “but not all men are like that” in a conversation about violence against women or misogyny:

    “Yes, but… not all men are like that. And if you’re going to talk about misogyny, you have to be extra-clear about that.”

    And insisting that every reference about men or a religion be qualified in this way is a derailing maneuver:

    It doesn’t matter how many times you say, “Yes, of course, misogyny is terrible.” When you follow that with a “Yes, but…”, it comes across as an excuse. In many cases, it is an excuse. And it contributes to a culture that makes excuses for misogyny.

    It’s the same for religion. By inserting “but they’re not real christians” or “not all evangelicals are like that” into every conversation about Christians/Evangelicals and insisting that every conversation become about that thing, those who consider themselves the “real” Christians/Evangelicals are contributing to a culture that makes excuses for religious-based bigotry and hate.

    And great posts, Kristen J.

  71. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    Yes, well, it was a point so important that it should be repeated by multiple people. ;)

    To be fair, it’s the only point I’ve heard that actually resonates with people who think they’re entitled to belittle people who need welfare. The link Ismone provided quantified it – in the time FL was doing this, they lost $200K. What, exactly, is the point if it’s not to humiliate people?

    And frankly, I’ve never once met a person on welfare who has the time to go and get drug tested whenever.

    Total derail, I guess. I have a brother-in-law who is supportive of those measures and my newly-liberal brother took him to task for it. It’s very top-of-mind.

    Less of a derail, but I’m really enjoying this series. I grew up “liberal” Catholic and am an atheist now. I can’t relate directly, but think you’re providing a fascinating viewpoint/experience that hasn’t been shared in depth on Feministe before. I’m really sorry this is triggering for you. Many hearts.

  72. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 4, 2012 at 11:22 am |

    konkonsn @ 3.4.2012 at 3:15 am, right the fuck on.

  73. Ashley
    Ashley March 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |

    I’m not a Christian, nor do I deny the existence of a very harmful political movement that has attached itself to white evangelical Christianity. However, that political movement was not always aligned with evangelicals. It very skillfully co-opted pre-existing social structures, which is what good grassroots organizers do.

    In other words, corporate and patriarchal interests co-opted evangelical Christianity through the use of grassroots organizing in the 1970s and 80s, but feminists, environmentalists and anti-racist activists could do the same, and instead we’ve unnecessarily ceded all that territory and all those potential allies. That’s why distinctions between fundamentalists and evangelicals, white evangelicals and black evangelicals, evangelical leaders and evangelical followers matter, and why schisms within the movement matter.

    I don’t really have an interest in labeling people “good” or “bad,” and I don’t think that’s a very feminist exercise anyway, so that’s not what I’m talking about.

    (An aside: my college thesis was basically this post with more citations. It’s not that I come from a place that totally disagrees with the OP. Not at all. It’s just that, as the reader of that thesis rightly pointed out, that analysis misses some important information.)

  74. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 4, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    Maybe if you pulled your noses out of your book of 3,000-year-old fairy tales and read some Constitutional law for a change, you’d realize that.

    You realize you have just completely voided your argument of any validity in may have had by condescending and offending a person’s personal beliefs, right?
    If you want people to take you seriously and treat your beliefs – or lack thereof – with respect, you might want to start by doing that yourself.

  75. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    I’m curious as to why this very specific kind of Christian fundamentalism is found by the plethora in the USA but hardly anywhere else.

  76. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |

    If you want people to take you seriously and treat your beliefs – or lack thereof – with respect, you might want to start by doing that yourself.

    Plenty of Christians (of various denominations) have told me to my face that it is their sincere/passionately held religious belief that “homosexuality is a sin” — that very text was in fact posted in an earlier thread in this series by a self-identified Christian — and that their god will condemn me to hell for eternal punishment over my woman-lovin’ ways. They follow that up by telling me that out of their Christian love for me, they want to “help me” (or even worse, “save me”) by “curing my homosexuality”. This is a popular belief.

    It’s also hateful bullshit that’s grounded not in ethics, but in ignorance and obedience-training. It’s been used to pass laws that have taken rights away from me, and have made me into a second/third class citizen. I will never respect it. I DO take it very fuckin’ seriously because these dangerous assholes have raped and beaten and killed my friends, and they’ve done some of the same to me. As long as I’m capable, I will continue to argue that anyone who has a conscience shouldn’t respect that hateful ignorant bullshit either, merely because it’s “a belief”.

  77. William
    William March 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

    Kristen J.:
    Great post!

    Anna:

    The problem is fundamentalism, not evangelicalism – which really is true of any religion or ideal. So let’s not demonize all Evangelicals unfairly, because Evangelicalism isn’t necessarily incompatible with feminism or social justice. Fundamentalism, with its rigid worldview and insistence of imposing one’s beliefs on others, however, IS.

    With all due respect, if someone has the arrogance to try to convert me from my faith, to impose upon me in such a basic and aggressive way, to do so with the full knowledge that their evangelism comes with the weight of nearly two thousand years of murder and violence behind it, that is a problem. The worldview, and shocking entitlement, required to say to someone “I know that people like me have been killing people like you at least since we cozied up to a morally repellant empire, but this is about love and I want you to hear me out because I think that what you believe in your heart is not only wrong but evil and this thing which has wrong hatred and genocide practically since it’s inception is good” is unacceptable. The problem is not fundamentalism, the problem is that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and Christianity has, as a rule, committed itself to violence and oppression whenever possible. Abolitionism and (white) women’s suffrage are the exceptions, creatures like Hagee are the rule.

    Christopher J. Rankin:

    Yes, the Bible is true and Jesus Christ is the way, the only way. When we quit trying to understand God, we are that much farther down the path. God and His reasoning are beyond our comprehension.

    If we are incapable of comprehending god’s will then he has either made a faulty creation or he has something to hide. Neither of those possibilities is compatible with the God you’re selling.

    Abracadabra:

    Nothing says “Jesus Loves You” like “go burn for all eternity.”

    You gotta at least applaud the honesty, though.

    Ashley:

    In other words, corporate and patriarchal interests co-opted evangelical Christianity

    Christianity in general, and evangelical Christianity in specific, are corporate and patriarchal interests in themselves. They haven’t been co-opted or occupied, they made a political alliance. Its the founding of the Roman Catholic Church all over again. Birds of a feather taking a shit on the powerless together.

    but feminists, environmentalists and anti-racist activists could do the same, and instead we’ve unnecessarily ceded all that territory and all those potential allies.

    Evangelicals are no more potential allies than Klansmen or the Stormfront set. You cannot make an ally out of someone who believes that you are less than human for being gay, that your role as a woman is to serve a husband, that the poor should starve, or that those who refuse to worship in the same way are enemy combatants. These are not potential friends.

    Any overture to Evangelical Christianity would necessarily require a compromise that would come at the cost of the basic human rights of others. Look at how well playing nicely has done when it comes to reproductive freedoms: by giving these voices a seat at the table, by engaging in a rational conversation, we are now facing a presidential election in which basic access to contraception is threatened. We are losing ground with this delusion that somehow we can make allies of people who hate us.

    Alexandra:

    If you want people to take you seriously and treat your beliefs – or lack thereof – with respect, you might want to start by doing that yourself.

    I’m not who you were responding to but…

    After years of being abused by the considerate hand of Christianity I feel we’re well past respect. Respect is earned. Respect is reciprocal. Respect is not threatening my rights or humanity or transgressing upon me out of sheer entitlement by interrupting my life with a stale con and stories of a stolen god’s punishment. This is a constitutional republic with inalienable rights. This is not about beliefs but about a small segment of the population feeling entitled to oppress everyone else. The because doesn’t matter, but if someone want to bring it into play they better expect it to be called out as the farce it is. If someone gets a little stung because the bullshit and artifice Evangelical Christians use to rationalize their monstrosity isn’t given enough deference well, as a doctor, I would prescribe that they kiss my ass twice daily. Line forms to the right and I’ve got enough junk in this trunk to go around.

  78. EG
    EG March 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm |

    Seconding every single thing William said. No form of Christianity gets any benefit of the doubt from me. Not at all. I respect the people in Catholic Worker; they have earned that respect despite a long and miserable history of their religion being used as an excuse for killing legions of people. But other than with respect to exceptions of that nature, when I hear Christian rhetoric, I keep an eye out for the knives. I don’t owe adherents of Christianity anything else.

  79. debbie
    debbie March 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    Do people really not understand why the discussion of evangelical Christians as potential allies to feminists and other progressives can be really scary to Jewish people? I don’t want to speak for all Jews (especially since some Jewish communities have found it expedient to forge political alliances with evangelicals), but I find organized Christianity pretty frightening. The role of various churches in politics is never benign when it comes to Jews.

  80. DonnaL
    DonnaL March 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    As an agnostic/atheist, secular humanistic, Jewish woman from New York City with a transsexual history and a gay son, I third everything William, EG, and Debbie have said, as well as konkonsn’s point that this is exactly the kind of “not all men are like that,” no true Scotsman derail that happens in discussions about misogyny. “Feminists, environmentalists and anti-racist activists” could make allies out of Evangelical Christianity”? Not in a thousand lifetimes, and not as long as they’re unwilling to sacrifice LGBT people and a whole lot else.

  81. igglanova
    igglanova March 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm |

    Evangelical apologists can fuck right off. Individual evangelicals may or may not be okay, but that is directly contingent on how much or little of their sect’s own dogma they pay attention to. The ideology itself is absolutely poisonous. Why should we compromise with an ideology based on self-serving lies and simmering in misogyny and homophobia? Such a compromise would not enrich feminism or other progressive movements; it would just dilute their effectiveness at best, and introduce bigotry at worst.

    Christianity in any form deserves no respect, and ought to be excoriated far more often than it is.

  82. DonnaL
    DonnaL March 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Christianity in any form deserves no respect, and ought to be excoriated far more often than it is.

    Well, that part I don’t really agree with at all. There are a number of Christian denominations that aren’t homophobic or particularly misogynistic or fundamentally anti-Jewish, and are politically progressive. I’m just skeptical that there are a whole lot of Evangelical Christian churches with those characteristics, unless you define “evangelical” so broadly as to be virtually meaningless. In fact, as a Jewish person, it would be extremely difficult to view any Christian who believes in “evangelism” as an ally, given how oppressive (to put it mildly) evangelism has always been to Jewish people, in both theory and practice.

  83. William
    William March 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm |

    Well, that part I don’t really agree with at all. There are a number of Christian denominations that aren’t homophobic or particularly misogynistic or fundamentally anti-Jewish, and are politically progressive.

    DonnaL, I respect the hell out of you, but I think you’re falling into a trap here. I’ll come right out and say it. Religions are not value neutral. The existence of a handful of relatively quiet, small, politically weak progressive churches doesn’t change what Christianity has historically been nor what it continues to be today. They are not a way forward because the majority of Christians do not want them to be. As far as dangerous ideologies go Christianity deserves to sit next to Fascism and Communism because that is the place in history that Christianity, and this goes for individual Christians and not just their leaders or churches, has earned. Christianity is something that needs to be challenged, to be excoriated, to even be ridiculed because of the outrageous and openly oppressive power it has stolen from the hands of the peoples it has ground under it’s heel. The fact that some tiny fraction of Christians has somehow managed to find a way past the lust for pogroms and hatred of anyone other than wealthy, celibate, Christian men does not change anything.

    Progressive Christian churches are a minority for a reason: in order to behave oneself and be a good neighbor one has to explain away, ignore, bend, and alter so much of what is basic and central to Christian thought that you’re practically starting a new religion. I’ve immense respect for Quakers, for instance, but they do not somehow alter what Christianity is as a force in the world in which I live. They are an interesting excursion in Christian thought which serves to throw into greater relief just how dangerous Christianity is as an ideology. I know you’re not an apologist, but I worry that sometimes we have a tendency to want to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when it comes to the large group level, and especially when we’re talking about matter of faith. We’ve seen Antisemitism and Islamophobia and we don’t want to fall into that with Christians. But…to talk about progressive churches in the context of this discussion is, I think, to fall into a trap of really wanting there to be an out for Christianity, of really wanting it to be something that does not hate you, or me, or your son. I think its a means of trying to deal with the fact that a lot of people would not only be OK with seeing you and those you love dead, but would think that such deaths would be the will of a just God and maybe that helping them happen would be acts of devotion. I’m a little nauseous just saying it out loud.

  84. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm |

    I really like how you’re expressing yourself here William. I want to get behind it because your passion feels exciting and galvanizing to me. But I just don’t agree with most of your content. I don’t agree with the crux of your analysis. Let me explain.

    To begin with, I don’t even think Christianity is an ideology. I think “Christianity” is more like “socialism”–a vague umbrella term that applies to a assortment of ideologies with some common historical origins. And this isn’t apologism; this is reality IMO. As with “socialists,” “Christians” ideologically oppose each other, hate each other, kill each other, and disagree over who’s a “Christian” and who’s not. Fundamentalist Christians consider Episcopalianism to be as much of any enemy religion as they do Islam or Hinduism. So yeah, I don’t think Christianity is an ideology or even a religion, strange as that sounds–rather it’s a grouping of numerous idelogies and religions. And therefore, it’s not inherently toxic in the same way as National Socialism or Marxist-Leninism is because there’s not much that is inherent to it, period. The different Christian churches are not organizationally unified, they are not philosophically unified, they are not unified or of a common cloth in any sense; they just share a few arbitrary terms and traditions through nothing more than an accident of history, really.

    I mean–to ask a rhetorical question–what unites Christianity? People who like to read the Bible? The Bible is a mess and has no coherent overall message. So a particular person or church, depending on how they interpret it and which parts they emphasize, can basically take any meaning from it they want. Or maybe Christians are people who worship Jesus? Again, this is meaningless. Jesus doesn’t actually exist, so what these people are actually worshipping is a figment of their imaginations. So, what they are worshipping could be one thing or its polar opposite depending on what that person chooses to imagine.

    I’m going to consider people political allies based off what they seem to believe on specific, definable things that actually matter to me. So if there’s a person who accepts the current psychological understanding of being gay and support gay rights, who accepts the scientifc evidence for evolution, who supports full equality for women and a woman’s right to choose–then ze is a potential political ally to me on those sorts of issues. I don’t particularly care whether such a person calls themselves a “Christian,” a “Muslim,” an “atheist” or a “hot tamale”–though I will respect their self-definition, of course, when speaking to them or about them.

    Now I don’t expect to find many political allies among self-identified “Evangelicals,” but from what I’ve seen there’s plenty of them among self-identified “Christians.” And I’m not going to alienate them by putting a lot of emphasis on the abstract metaphysical stuff they may believe in that I don’t think has any inherent meaning or importance anyway–good or bad.

  85. William
    William March 5, 2012 at 12:03 am |

    because there’s not much that is inherent to it, period.

    At their core, just about every Christian church has the same belief: Jesus died for the sins of mankind. You can strip away everything else, but at the bottom there is this idea of Christ. For that idea to work, there needs to be something to have died for. There is a division, a fundamental belief that those who have accepted Jesus are different in some significant way from those who have not. That difference, I would argue, is always going to be one that is viewed as something good. The thing that has allowed so much horror in Christianity is the belief that Christians are chosen, that they are better, that it is important for others to change, that there is something wrong with the Other. At some point someone is always going to come along and turn that into violence.

    I’m going to consider people political allies based off what they seem to believe on specific, definable things that actually matter to me.

    The issue, for me, is that when I sit across from a Christian I cannot shake the feeling that I am sitting across from someone who, at their deepest level, believes that I should be something other than what I am. Monotheism is an exclusive business, and exclusivity tends to lead to oppression.

    Take communism. What is a communist? The word can mean almost anything and, on it’s own, it doesn’t tell you much. I know that it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but when I see the hammer and sickle I see a symbol that stood as a justification for the murder of more people than the third reich. At this point in history the crimes of the Soviets are well known. I don’t much care why someone would want to associate with their symbols because I know that displaying the hammer and sickle means that someone said “ok, so maybe tens of millions of human beings died because of this, but I think theres something more important and redeemable here…” I can be polite, but I can never trust someone like that. The sign of the cross is no different. When someone chooses to call themselves a Christian they choose to associate with a symbol which continues to be primarily used as a means of oppression and which has historically been used as a justification for every kind of crime one human being can commit upon another. And they’ve been at it a lot longer than the communists or the fascists. I might find myself on the same side of a fight as a Christian, but they’ll never be any more a friend to me than Stalin was to Roosevelt or Churchill and I’ll always keep my eyes on their hands and my mind on escape routes.

    Because I know that, until proven otherwise, they are here to go. I know that, at the core of their theology, I will always be seen as less-than. I know that the things I do which make me happy, the thing that harm no one and enrich my life, can (will and have) be used as evidence of my unworthiness. I know that, historically, when Christians have the power they overwhelmingly start sharpening their knives. Without damnation there can be no salvation, and without salvation Jesus is irrelevant. Words mean things, and I just can’t get over the what the “Christ” means in “Christian.”

  86. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 5, 2012 at 6:36 am |

    William and igglanova – as a Jewish person, I can assure you that Judaism is every bit just as condescending, and works on the same premise of superiority towards other religions. Christianity hardly invented that concept. As a matter of fact, the most liberal and open minded people I’ve ever known were Lutheran protestants. The ones who tended to be most condescending and imposing about their faiths were, as a matter of fact, mostly atheists.

  87. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 5, 2012 at 6:46 am |

    The issue, for me, is that when I sit across from a Christian I cannot shake the feeling that I am sitting across from someone who, at their deepest level, believes that I should be something other than what I am. . .I know that the things I do which make me happy, the thing that harm no one and enrich my life, can (will and have) be used as evidence of my unworthiness. I know that, historically, when Christians have the power they overwhelmingly start sharpening their knives.

    I hear you William, and I completely agree that Christians having power over others is not and never will be a good thing. I definitely don’t want to put myself here in the position of defending Christianity–because that’s not something that’s worth doing. And I think you’re right to mistrust Christians given their history of brutally mistreating not only witches and pagans, of course, but many, many others: women, Jews, Muslims, atheists/agnostics [like me], indigenous people, LGBT folks [like me again], people with disabilities [like me again!], and on and on and on.

    It’s simply many of the categorical statements in your posts that somewhat bother me. As much as I think I identify with the emotions behind them, I still dispute their factual accuracy and some of their possible implications. I’ll elaborate.

    At their core, just about every Christian church has the same belief: Jesus died for the sins of mankind.

    I think there are actually a lot of exceptions to this. To use an example from my personal experience, there is a very liberal United Methodist Church a few blocks from my apartment that I visited once last fall out of curiosity. My interest was piqued because I’d heard they really emphasized being welcoming to LGBT people. Anyway, they also support something called Creation Spirituality which (according to their website) teaches that “humanity is created blessed, not tainted by original sin. In this paradigm, Christ is God’s liberating and reconciling energy, transforming individuals and society’s structures into conduits of compassion.” In other words, they don’t believe in a Jesus that died for the sins of mankind. And while I agree that the crucicentrism you reference has been a core belief for most Christians throughout history, I think, from what I’ve read over the years, there has always been significant resistance to it from multiple quarters within Christianity and that the church by my apartment is not an utter anomoly.

    The thing that has allowed so much horror in Christianity is the belief that Christians are chosen, that they are better.

    This sounded pretty good to me, at first, but I think I basically disagree with your framing here. I would say that Christians have done horrible things over the centuries because their emotions and desires motivated them to do those horrible things. The belief that Christians are chosen and better is just invoked from time to time as a convenient rationalization. Any belief can be used as a rationalization for abuse, and I don’t think beliefs in the abstract cause abuse. Which is why I try to not focus too much on what people believe.

    Now, I definitely agree with what is possibly the overall point of your post: the dominant tendencies of Christianity throughout history and today, as well, have been and are ideologically problematic and sources of immense suffering, both to nonbelievers and believers, too (see my comment @48). I just think that within Christianity (as within any religious category) there have always been churches that were different, and within almost any given church there have always been individuals that were different. Different on the crucicentrism, different on the desire to convert others, different on the whole committing abuse with religious dogma as a rationalization thing.

    And why’s this worth pointing out? Well, I used to hate and fear Christians. Still do, in a lot of ways. But at some point I realized that a lot of the things I like in the world can be traced back to people who were Christian. And I don’t just mean: well, his religion was fucked up but he made great music. I mean, ideas and beliefs and practices that were specifically Christian have influenced me, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, in a lot of positive ways. The verse in Matthew about the “lilies of the field” is as beautiful an encouragement to live in the moment as anything I’ve read in similiarly beautiful works of the atheist existentialist philosopher Albert Camus, for example.

    One final point, and you may already agree with this: the basic humanity in people can never be fully suppressed no matter how they are indoctrinated. There are always people who take any given type of cultural programming and turn it into a source of honesty, compassion, and freedom for themselves and others, regardless of the particular words they use to communicate. The tenants of Christianity you rightly object to are ultimately lies, but no lie can completely obscure the shared human nature we all possess. At any moment, we all, whether we are Christian or not, can make the choice that we will look at other people using an open mind and open heart.

    That’s it. Sorry to anyone annoyed by this super long post that got pretty off topic. I just felt the need to say it all and wasn’t able to edit it any shorter than this.

  88. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 5, 2012 at 6:49 am |

    Alexandra, atheism is not a faith, it’s the absence of faith. There are no tenets, there are no requirements, there is no authoritative text that creates an ideology that all atheists must either follow or argue about until they start killing folk. The only thing that makes someone an atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

  89. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 5, 2012 at 7:59 am |

    The ones who tended to be most condescending and imposing about their faiths were, as a matter of fact, mostly atheists.

    Yay! Let’s all hate on the atheists now. I do love how things about religion devolve into, “Well, the real assholes are those pushy atheists.”*

    *Sarcasm. I do not, in fact, love this.

  90. Giddy Monday 3/5 « pervasivegoodness

    [...] is running a series on Evangelical Christianity, and has lots of interesting accompanying videos. This shit is scary, and far too common, [...]

  91. EG
    EG March 5, 2012 at 10:43 am |

    I do love how things about religion devolve into, “Well, the real assholes are those pushy atheists.”

    Well, you know how it is. We push for control of government policy, we justify the bullying gay kids unto suicide, we prevent women from accessing necessary health care–oh, no, wait, we don’t. What is it we do that’s so pushy again? Every so often roll our eyes and say, no, we don’t respect religion? Yeah, I can see how that would be really upsetting.

  92. William
    William March 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

    Lotus Ben:

    I get why categorical statements might make you uncomfortable, and I respect that. Emotion and passion are a strong conduit for me and I like rhetoric that matches whats going on inside of me. I’m willing to give up on accuracy in details if I feel that I’m trading it for a more powerful argument about what I feel is substanative. I get that its not everyone’s style, though.

    “humanity is created blessed, not tainted by original sin. In this paradigm, Christ is God’s liberating and reconciling energy, transforming individuals and society’s structures into conduits of compassion.”

    My response to that would be, simply, that I don’t see it as much different. I don’t need to be liberated or transformed or reconciled by someone else’s god and to suggest otherwise is to, in my mind, transgress against me. That aspect of transformation, the belief that a god in which I do not believe has a goal for me and something to contribute without my consent, is terrifying even when placed in the prettiest of packages because I remember suffering very real abuses that were directly caused by it. I’ve been hurt from a place of love and that fundamental sense of superiority and moral rectitude strikes me as unacceptably dangerous.

    I’ll also say that I just don’t believe the packaging. I was a Christian at one time in my life, I have family members who are Christians, I have coworkers amongst whom I pass. I am, to put it mildly, deeply suspicious because of what I hear when people think that I am part of the group.

    I just think that within Christianity (as within any religious category) there have always been churches that were different, and within almost any given church there have always been individuals that were different.

    I’m not denying that there are individuals and some congregations which buck the trend. What I am saying is that a few good apples cannot redeem the mountains of putrid wormshit they’ve happened to fall into. Perhaps allies can be made of some individual Christians, perhaps some congregations might end up transcending their histories, but Christendom is unaffected by this tiny minority. As a whole, Christianity still stands as a force deeply, aggressively, and almost universally opposed to even the most basic of human rights around the world and Christians have shown absolutely no will to change that. I believe it is because they approve of what their leaders do, but it doesn’t really matter why they do what they do. All that matters is that people are dying in Africa because of campaigns against condoms, that women are being denied reproductive freedom, that people I care about are denied the basic dignity of marriage, that gay children are hounded to suicide, that the death penalty is being touted as a reasonable response to homosexuality, that freedom of speech is constantly eroded in the name of morality, and on and on and on.

    At any moment, we all, whether we are Christian or not, can make the choice that we will look at other people using an open mind and open heart.

    Yes, I do agree. That does not change the fact, however, that I’ve no obligation to wait for or trust in the inherent goodness in someone unless they’re paying my hourly. I do not choose to open myself to more abuse. If an individual Christian wants to choose to be good they are welcome to, but they will have to prove it and I will watch them more closely than I might watch someone else because that is what I must do to keep myself safe. I’m not so far removed from being attacked with a brick that I’ve forgotten the real threat that even liberal Christianity has presented to me in my life.

  93. Megan
    Megan March 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    A little late to this post, but I appreciate all the work on this series.

    For me, I do think that #3 from the OP — the crucicentrism — is actually a fairly important compenent to the Evangelical-specific outlook. I grew up Catholic in the Northeast, and had a brief foray into evangelism while I was in college in Virginia, and what struck me the most comparing those two experiences was just how focused, all the time, the evangelical church was on Jesus dying.

    What I remember from my Catholic upbringing (and I am not saying that all Catholicism is like this – just my personal, fairly liberal experience), was a focus on Easter, and the fact that Jesus came back to life. The dying part didn’t really matter if he hadn’t risen from the dead — because he rose, everything he had said throughout his lifetime was validated, and his death was given context.

    So Easter was always this sort of “Hooray! It’s all true! We’re on our way to better things!” time. It was a positive holiday.

    I spent a little over a year in an evangelical church in Virginia, along with a short stint in an evangelical student organization on campus, and the focus there was much less on the rising from the dead, and much more on the dying. To the point that many, many people I knew described themselves as “washed in Jesus’ blood.”

    All this to say, there is, to me, a weird violent undertone to evangelical ideology, and a normalization of violence. I see this played out in the extremes to which certain churches and groups are willing to go to defend and advance their beliefs, and it stands out to me as a significant difference between evangelical and more mainstream Christianity. The focus on the crucifixion, instead of the whole death/redemption process, seems to create a negative, violent paradigm that frames everything.

    That’s not to excuse Catholicism, which has plenty of problems of its own, including a history of extreme violence. It’s just something that really, really stood out to me in my experience, and that I think does affect the current national discourse.

  94. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 5, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    I get why categorical statements might make you uncomfortable, and I respect that. Emotion and passion are a strong conduit for me and I like rhetoric that matches whats going on inside of me. I’m willing to give up on accuracy in details if I feel that I’m trading it for a more powerful argument about what I feel is substanative. I get that its not everyone’s style, though.

    Thanks. I feel kinda bad now like I’ve been sort of invalidating what you’re saying by nitpicking on details. I’m not entirely sure what has been motivating me to respond to you as I’ve been doing. Honestly, the degree of your anger–though I respect it–also frightens me. I feel like if I were to let myself feel that angry toward Christians something bad would happen to me. So I have to be reasonable. Like I’m not socially allowed to say extreme, intemperate things about Christians that I could get away with saying about another group. Which is a sort of fucked up that I think that, and probably it was Christians growing up that implanted that idea in my head.

    I’ve been hurt from a place of love and that fundamental sense of superiority and moral rectitude strikes me as unacceptably dangerous. I’ll also say that I just don’t believe the packaging. I was a Christian at one time in my life, I have family members who are Christians, I have coworkers amongst whom I pass. I am, to put it mildly, deeply suspicious because of what I hear when people think that I am part of the group.

    I’m sorry for what’s happened to you. Some pretty crappy things like that has happened to me, too. Actually, in my last post directed to you, I was doing some research to see if I could find evidence that backed up my points. I was reading about Rufus Jones, an important 20th century Liberal Quaker, and I was going to use him as evidence for either the assertion that not all Christians believe they are superior or the one that not all Christians focus on converting others. But I was actually disappointed by what I read, and he was a lot more problematic than I had thought. So I didn’t cite him in my post. It’s kinda unsettling to think that as much hatred for Christians as I’ve worked through, I still might actually be overly generous about giving them benefit of the doubt–with the more liberal ones, at least.

    I don’t have much else to say to the rest of your post, other than that I agree with most of your political analysis, and I certainly think it’s appropriate for you to be wary and have heightened boundaries around Christians, and I definitely wasn’t try to imply otherwise earlier.

  95. j.
    j. March 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    Alexandra, nobody is obliged to take your unsubstantiable beliefs seriously or treat them with respect. If you make wildly unlikely claims, such as that some guy died after a three-day ordeal on the cross, came back to life, and was raptured into the skies, prove it or stop whining.

    Oh, and I was raised Jewish myself, and I’ve dispensed with that flavor of supernaturalism, too.

    How sweet that the only meanies you’ve met were atheists. Aren’t you the cutest ickle privileged person. And atheism is a “faith” like bald is a hair color.

  96. Donna L
    Donna L March 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    as a Jewish person, I can assure you that Judaism is every bit just as condescending, and works on the same premise of superiority towards other religions.

    You mean, because you can assure us that salvation and damnation and apocalyptic triumphalism and exclusivism play such incredibly important roles in Jewish theology, and because Jews have been so well-known for organized proselytism, and forcing mass conversions at the point of a sword, over the last 2000 years? I don’t think so. You may be Jewish, but it doesn’t prevent you from having a rather Christian-centric view of Judaism.

    Perhaps if “the Jews” had been in control of most of the Western world all this time (in reality rather than in anti-Jewish fantasy), they would have behaved every bit as badly as Christians; there’s plenty to criticize in Orthodox Judaism in particular. (We’ve had at least one thread about misogyny in Orthodox Judaism, fairly recently.) But even if that sort of speculation were in any way relevant to this thread, the theology is so fundamentally different (for all the misleading talk of the so-called “Judeo-Christian tradition,” the subject of at least one thread not so long ago as well) that I very much doubt they would have behaved badly in anything like the same way — the way we’re talking about here. Is there anything in traditional Christianity resembling the Talmudic principle that “Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come”? And you do understand that the concept of “chosen-ness” for Jews is one of obligation, not of privilege?

    In any event, the fact remains that as a practical matter, the actual influence of Judaism on religious discourse and practice in the USA is (and always has been) minimal, and it’s far less in Europe. So I’m not sure why you even brought up your contention, other than as an exercise in apologetics for Christianity.

  97. William
    William March 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm |

    LotusBen:

    I wouldn’t feel bad. My anger is hot and forward, but thats me. It comes from where I’ve been and from who I am, but it is also rooted in my ability to be angry. I know that I have the will and the letters after my name to stand up in any discussion, and I know that I’m large enough and threatening enough to be physically safe in most situations as well while also being white enough to get away with it. We all have our own way of dealing with whats been done to us, and I certainly don’t feel like you’ve been nitpicking.

  98. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

    Thanks William. I appreciate what you just said.

  99. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm |

    Alexandra, atheism is not a faith, it’s the absence of faith. There are no tenets, there are no requirements, there is no authoritative text that creates an ideology that all atheists must either follow or argue about until they start killing folk. The only thing that makes someone an atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

    Actually, atheism is a faith. It is a faith in the lack of a god(s). But that’s splitting hairs, and is, anyway, not the issue at hand.

  100. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll March 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm |

    Atheism is a faith in the lack of god(s) like I have faith in my lack of a penis.

  101. Alexandra
    Alexandra March 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |

    Alexandra, nobody is obliged to take your unsubstantiable beliefs seriously or treat them with respect. If you make wildly unlikely claims, such as that some guy died after a three-day ordeal on the cross, came back to life, and was raptured into the skies, prove it or stop whining.

    Actually, as long as they don’t hurt anyone – yes, you’re obliged to treat it with respect. You’re obliged to respect humans beings in general as long as they don’t hurt you personally – which was precisely my point regarding Christianity, or any religion for that matter, in general. It come with that whole deal of being a liberal. You may have heard of that concept, I’m sure you define yourself as one.

    Oh, and I was raised Jewish myself, and I’ve dispensed with that flavor of supernaturalism, too.

    Huh?

    How sweet that the only meanies you’ve met were atheists. Aren’t you the cutest ickle privileged person.

    Have I said “only”? How sweet of you to puts word in my mouth. There, you just proved it’s not just atheists. :P

    And atheism is a “faith” like bald is a hair color.

    Actually, since there is no hard boiled evidence to the existence of a god or lack thereof, it IS a faith. At least, judging by the way great many atheists feel the need to impose their world view on others ad “re-educate” them to “see the light and cut the bullshit”.

  102. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |

    Actually, atheism is a faith.

    No it’s not. If I have to respect your choice to be Christian, you can damn well fucking respect my thoughts too. Stop telling me what I am.

  103. igglanova
    igglanova March 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm |

    Actually, as long as they don’t hurt anyone – yes, you’re obliged to treat it with respect. You’re obliged to respect humans beings in general as long as they don’t hurt you personally – which was precisely my point regarding Christianity, or any religion for that matter, in general.

    Bullshit. Even leaving aside the fact that Christianity does, in fact, hurt this atheist dyke personally, the fact that it hurts anyone, has no basis in truth, and serves no practical utility leaves it wide open for a thrashing. People ridicule beliefs all the time. We do it here on a daily basis, and the outside world does the same to feminism. Why should religion be any different?

    And don’t even start on the whole ‘atheism is a faith’ bullshit. You’re not taking it on ‘faith’ that the Loch Ness Monster, Thor, or the FSM don’t exist. Yadda yadda can’t prove a negative and all that.

  104. EG
    EG March 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |

    Actually, as long as they don’t hurt anyone – yes, you’re obliged to treat it with respect. You’re obliged to respect humans beings in general as long as they don’t hurt you personally

    No, I’m not. Respecting human beings is not the same thing as respecting any old story they choose to believe or tell. I am fully capable of respecting people as people while reserving the right to think that their beliefs are…seriously misguided and completely screwed up. For instance, there are people who believe that gay people and trans people are “intrinsically evil.” And even if they keep themselves to themselves and don’t try to legislate those beliefs, those beliefs merit no respect whatsoever.

    Actually, since there is no hard boiled evidence to the existence of a god or lack thereof, it IS a faith.

    No. It is actually impossible to prove a negative, particularly when religious people keep on shifting goalposts (“Oh, there’s a god, he’s just invisible and doesn’t make himself known but he’s good” “Oh, really?”). What atheism is is the practice of looking around and acknowledging that there is absolutely no evidence for any deities whatsoever. If you choose to believe in invisible entities for which there are no evidence, I certainly can’t help that, but I don’t have to respect it, either.

    At least, judging by the way great many atheists feel the need to impose their world view on others ad “re-educate” them to “see the light and cut the bullshit”.

    Again, could you just give some examples of this, besides some individual atheists being big meanies? Because lots of people have been jerks to me, but that doesn’t make sexism a religion, no matter how hard they try to convince me that sexually harassing me is acceptable.

  105. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm |

    Because lots of people have been jerks to me, but that doesn’t make sexism a religion, no matter how hard they try to convince me that sexually harassing me is acceptable.

    HA.

  106. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 7, 2012 at 2:40 am |

    For instance, there are people who believe that gay people and trans people are “intrinsically evil.” And even if they keep themselves to themselves and don’t try to legislate those beliefs, those beliefs merit no respect whatsoever.

    This is a great point. And it reminds me–why should I respect a belief that is itself inherently disrespectful? 70% of Americans believe in Hell. Most Christians believe that atheists will go to Hell. Am I supposed to respect someone for believing that I’m going to be tortured for trillions and trillions and trillions of years–that I will weep and gnash my teeth, that I will be burned alive endlessly–for simply choosing not to believe in their magic man in the sky, a magic man, who despite his decision to torture countless people for eternity, that they love and call great? Sorry. You respect me with your fucking beliefs, and I’ll respect your beliefs back.

  107. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 7, 2012 at 3:49 am |

    You respect me with your fucking beliefs, and I’ll respect your beliefs back.

    The single most disrespectful thing religious people do when I say I’m an atheist is say, “I’ll pray for you.” Fuck You. I’m going to unpray. I’m going to write out that logic equation I have that proves there is no god.

  108. matlun
    matlun March 7, 2012 at 3:58 am |

    Respecting human beings is not the same thing as respecting any old story they choose to believe or tell.

    QFT.
    The argument “you need to respect the beliefs of others” just seems deeply dishonest to me. Nobody does this as general principle.

    Who respects the political beliefs of neo nazis, the racial and ideological beliefs of KKK, or the religious beliefs of OBL and other violent extremists?

    We can certainly respect some beliefs we do not actually share, but it is not a general and absolute rule.

    In public conversation we should not always attack the beliefs of others too harshly, but again: This is just because of the respect for persons – not the beliefs themselves (and/or for tactical reasons as it might be unproductive).

  109. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 7, 2012 at 4:03 am |

    The single most disrespectful thing religious people do when I say I’m an atheist is say, “I’ll pray for you.” Fuck You. I’m going to unpray. I’m going to write out that logic equation I have that proves there is no god.

    LOL. I’d like to see that logic equation! Personally, I identify as an “apatheist,” which means I don’t care if any god or gods exist. One thing I like about it is that most religious people don’t know how to deal with it. Hey, I’m not even saying your god doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s just that I don’t care, at all. Now leave me alone please.

  110. librarygoose
    librarygoose March 7, 2012 at 4:09 am |

    Personally, I identify as an “apatheist,” which means I don’t care if any god or gods exist. One thing I like about it is that most religious people don’t know how to deal with it. Hey, I’m not even saying your god doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s just that I don’t care, at all. Now leave me alone please.

    Exactly! I may steal your word. I don’t give a flying fuck what you believe, just quit caring about what I believe (or don’t).

  111. LotusBen
    LotusBen March 7, 2012 at 4:30 am |

    I may steal your word.

    Go right ahead. I first heard it because that’s apparently how Bill Maher identifies, sexist douchebag that he is. I was like, hey, I think that word would work for me, too–before this I sorta had been straddling the atheist/agnostic border.

  112. matlun
    matlun March 7, 2012 at 7:49 am |

    “apatheist” is a fairly well established concept. At least on the internet. As to the “straddling the atheist/agnostic line”: that is a very hard line to find. (It is hardly well defined in actual usage)

  113. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 7, 2012 at 8:05 am |

    Personally, I identify as an “apatheist,” which means I don’t care if any god or gods exist.

    Me too, although I’ve never called it that specifically. If some god or another ever shows the fuck up for duty, they’ll be likely to get my attention, but until then? Meh, it’s not even an interesting question when I’m really stoned. I would think about it even less if it weren’t for all these loving-god-believers trying to eliminate me.

  114. EG
    EG March 7, 2012 at 9:02 am |

    You’re not taking it on ‘faith’ that the Loch Ness Monster, Thor, or the FSM don’t exist.

    Heh. I kind of believe in the Loch Ness Monster, because I really, really want it to exist. I so much want to live in a world that contains a freakish surviving dinosaur in Scotland. That said, I’m not going to run around claiming that anybody has to respect that belief or pretend it’s anything other than the manifestation of a strongly-held desire in the face of all the evidence…

  115. William
    William March 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm |

    Actually, as long as they don’t hurt anyone – yes, you’re obliged to treat it with respect.

    Care to show me the relevant case law?

    You’re obliged to respect humans beings in general as long as they don’t hurt you personally – which was precisely my point regarding Christianity, or any religion for that matter, in general. It come with that whole deal of being a liberal. You may have heard of that concept, I’m sure you define yourself as one.

    Let me be clear: Christianity has hurt a lot of people. It has hurt me in specific. It has annihilated the culture of my ancestors, it directly threatens the human rights of people I love, both organized Christianity in general and individual Christians seek to discriminate against me for my religious beliefs. I’m not required to respect that and I won’t be shamed for saying it in public. I don’t want your respect, I’ve no use for it. I don’t want your tolerance, either, for that implies that somehow you’ve a right to be intolerant. I want you and yours to stay the fuck out of my life and I’ve got a closet full of little responses cased in polished brass if it turns out that words aren’t enough. This here what you’re seeing? This is as nice as you’re likely to see. We’re passed respect a dialog of mutual respect, now you get demands.

    And, though I know this wasn’t directed at me, I’m not a liberal. A libertine? Maybe. A classical liberal? Kinda. But not all of us are going to wilt at the idea that we’re not ideologically pure. I could give two shits about your offense.

  116. konkonsn
    konkonsn March 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

    @matlun

    Oh, wow, that’s where I am, too. I had someone call a mutual friend a (forgive me) “pussy,” though, for saying she was agnostic even though her beliefs fell more towards atheism. The name caller thought she was being a chicken and didn’t want to deal with the grief from other people of being outright atheist.

    And as I’ve come to grips with my own beliefs, that’s kind of how I felt. Like, because I’m agnostic/borderline atheist, that it’s just because I’m too chicken to admit the truth. But it’s nice to know there are others that fall somewhere in between.

  117. dontshootme | Pearltrees
    dontshootme | Pearltrees March 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    [...] As I mentioned in the comments to the last post, the Evangelical Movement isn’t coterminous with Evangelical Christianity, but the two have sufficient overlap that I think we can begin our analysis of the Movement with a discussion of the religion Fortunately, the hard work on that topic was done a few decades ago by David Bebbington (an academic historian) who famously identified the four characteristics of Evangelical Christianity: (1) biblicism – the belief that the bible is true; (2) conversionism – the belief that to be saved you must be reborn in Christ or experience a transformation of self; (3) crucicentrism – the belief that Christ ‘paid for the sins of all of humanity with the crucifixion; and (4) activism – the belief that salvation occurs by living and acting in accordance with God’s plan. The Evangelical Movement: Part II [...]

  118. matlun
    matlun March 9, 2012 at 2:45 am |

    Oh, wow, that’s where I am, too. I had someone call a mutual friend a (forgive me) “pussy,” though, for saying she was agnostic even though her beliefs fell more towards atheism. The name caller thought she was being a chicken and didn’t want to deal with the grief from other people of being outright atheist.

    I call myself an atheist. I just pointed to the eternally recurring semantic discussions about what the words agnostic and atheist actually means.

    I use atheist to mean “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god”.

    Some people claim that to be called an atheist you have to make an absolute truth claim that there is no god, but this is a somewhat strange definition since very few people are atheists according to it. For example Richard Dawkins would not be an atheist using that definition.

    The semantic use of “agnostic” is also problematic. Most people seem to use this for anyone who is unsure about the existence of God, but there is also the classical philosophical definition of someone who believes that the question about the existence of god is intrinsically unknowable.

    All these questions and disagreements about what the words mean means that “the atheist/agnostic line” is not well defined in general usage of the words. That was my whole point.

    (This became a rather long and off topic comment it seems. I just wanted to clarify since it seemed I was misunderstood…)

  119. Religions Aren’t People (Why Ideology Matters) « The Discerning Spiritualist

    [...] The Evangelical Christian Movement: Part II Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on this post ) [...]

  120. maggiemay
    maggiemay March 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    the work or starve thing comes from a verse in the bible that’s been taken out of context—the apostle paul was dealing w/ christians in the church who were able-bodied and REFUSED to work, not ppl w disabilities, or others who were UNABLE to work. and he was addressing church charity, NOT the roman secular welfare state—(yes, ancient rome had one)—i cant think of the exact reference now, but i think its either in one of the timothy letters, or titus

    I do know of a verse in 1 corinthians 6 where paul says that christians have NO BUSINESS judging those outside the church—that they were only to police their own ranks of bad behavior—these ppl who preach all of this vitriol dont even know the very bible they claim is the inerrant word of God—and twist it to suit their own agenda—-they are extremely dangerous, and their goal is nothing short of a nominally christian police state

  121. William
    William March 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    I do know of a verse in 1 corinthians 6 where paul says that christians have NO BUSINESS judging those outside the church—that they were only to police their own ranks of bad behavior—these ppl who preach all of this vitriol dont even know the very bible they claim is the inerrant word of God—and twist it to suit their own agenda—-they are extremely dangerous, and their goal is nothing short of a nominally christian police state

    Thats hardly new. Just look at what the monsters did to Hypatia.

  122. My Thoughts on Feministe’s Evangelicalism Series Part II | Love, Joy, Feminism

    [...] Evangelicalism Series Part II Posted on March 3, 2012 by Libby AnneFeministe just put up the next segment of its series on the evangelical movement. I would encourage you to read it – it has some interesting video clips as illustrations. [...]

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