‘The End of White Christian America’ is meaningless

Robert P. Jones seems to be making a bold claim in his new book, The End of White Christian America. According to the publisher, the book addresses "a new reality---America is no longer a majority white Christian nation."

If that doesn't seem right, it's because it isn't.

Jones isn't writing about "Christian" in the normal meaning of the term. This isn't an America of Catholic or Orthodox Christians. As Jones states clearly between the covers, "I use the term White Christian America to describe the domain of Protestants in America" (emphasis in original).

The book would be better titled,

The End of White Christian Protestant America

(Actually, since "white" is really short for "non-Hispanic white" it should be The End of Non-Hispanic White Christian Protestant America, but I digress).

I admit that I'm nitpicking, but I like a title that tells what's in the book. This is a book about white Protestantism, how it's declining, and why it matters.

The problem is that speaking of "white Protestants" is meaningless. Historically, there has never been a unified Protestantism in the US. Instead, what we now look back and see as Protestantism has always been divided into camps that do not recognize each other as legitimate.

In the early years of the nation, Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Quakers each saw themselves more as distinct religions. Over time, there developed some partnerships and shared identities. A Protestant identity developed, largely in response to Catholic immigration. The creation of a common Protestant identity grew in the 20th Century, including associations such as the Federal Council of Churches (the forerunner of the current National Council of Churches).

Yet, even as some were coming together under a new ecumenism, there were others who were separating themselves. Fundamentalists left denominations to retain what they saw as the true faith. Pentecostal and Holiness churches formed new churches. Together, these conservative Protestants formed a new identity as "evangelicals" to differentiate themselves from "mainline" or "liberal" Protestants.

What Protestant consensus may have existed in the first half of the 20th Century changed after World War II. It was part of what Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow calls the restructuring of American religion. Debates over race, sexuality, gender, and other issues led to some denominations splitting; others joined together. Evangelicals were defined by their theological and political conservatism; mainline Protestants were more moderate theologically and maintained their status as America's establishment.

Jones knows this divide between evangelicals and mainline Protestants, but he still sees them as part of the same declining demographic.

I can only wonder why Jones puts back together what a century has pulled apart. Whatever his reasons, the result is a new story for how American religion has changed. Without mainline Protestants, there would be no Protestant hegemony, nor is there a significant decline in numbers. Without evangelicals, there is no angry mob reacting to their loss of power. Put the two groups together, you have the story of a once mighty religion in the midst of its death throes.

This is a story that is not without implications for today's politics. For example, in yesterday's opinion piece he wrote for the New York Times, Jones talks about the angst evangelicals are feeling. They are more than just threatened by the world around them, he says.

But the anger, anxiety and insecurity many contemporary white evangelicals feel are better understood as a response to an internal identity crisis precipitated by the recent demise of “white Christian America,” the cultural and institutional world built primarily by white Protestants that dominated American culture until the last decade.

I agree that evangelicals see themselves as losing their place in America. Where Jones and I disagree is why this perception exists.

Jones, by putting evangelicals and mainline Protestants together, finds a demographic decline (albeit mostly among mainline Protestants) that leads to a reaction (albeit mostly among evangelicals). This loss of cultural control is most clearly represented in the shift in public opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage.

My view, however, is that evangelicals don't see any decline in mainline Protestants as being related to their own churches. Mainline Protestants, in their view, sold out to liberalism and are declining as a result.

Evangelicals do, however, believe that America once held their values, but no longer. Their perceived decline in importance is based on a false memory. Christian revisionist history sees the Founding Fathers as a group of Bible study leaders who constituted the nation on God's directives. The changes in America today are seen as only the latest in a history of America turning away from God.

The polling on same-sex marriage does not show that America moved away from white Protestants. Instead, it showed how divided white Protestants are. Same-sex marriage was never a debate between white Protestants and the rest of America. Instead, evangelicals remained opposed to same-sex marriage while mainline Protestants grew to be supportive. Public opinion did not change despite Protestant objections; opinion changed because mainline Protestants shifted their positions.

In Jones' narrative, evangelicals once held a central place in American life. But that's now changed. Their current angst and angry politics is, to Jones, a reaction to a real decline in power. The problem, then, is that evangelicals grieving their loss need to move from denial and anger to acceptance. As he stated in the New York Times,

If, however, white evangelicals somehow summon a response that is rooted in real acceptance of their decentered place in a new America, they may find that they have a critical role to play in the revitalization of our civic life.

But are evangelicals really living in a "decentered place in a new America"? If Jones is correct and this is what has happened, then why is it that it is just the evangelical wing of white Protestantism that is most animated by this decline? Why aren't Lutherans and Episcopalians the vanguard of Trump's campaign?

What Jones has found in the polling he has done on evangelicals and their views of the past and loss at the present is a perennial feature of evangelicalism. It views itself as holding on to the faith of the past against the challenges of today. Today's Tea Party and Trump voters aren't the first evangelicals to be active in conservative, reactionary politics.

Jones presents evangelicals as responding to something real. I don't. In my experience, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry are not driven by facts. This time around it was Islam and same-sex marriage. Earlier it was communism and Playboys in 7-11's. Before that it was stopping the Equal Rights Amendment. Further back, it was the dangers of Catholicism, secret societies, or alcohol.

To really understand evangelical politics, you need to start by recognizing their diversity. Large meaningless categories like "white Protestant" aren't helpful.

Indeed, even evangelicalism is diverse (like other religious traditions). To give one example missing from the book: Pentecostalism. While no author can cover all topics, it was striking that Jones could give a timeline (literally) of evangelicalism in the 20th Century without any mention of Pentecostalism. In fact, I can't find it discussed anywhere in the book (the closest was a statement linking charismatics to the founding of the Crystal Cathedral--that's a news to me). To talk about evangelicals and recent politics without including any discussion of Pentecostals ignores a major division within evangelicalism.

There is also racial and ethnic diversity that many denominations (evangelical and mainline) are working toward improving. While President Obama is presented as a threat to White Christian America, Southern Baptists elected its first black president and The Episcopal Church elected its first black leader. The United Methodists are now in full communion with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and others who left because of racism within Methodism. These are few of the ways that leaders with Protestant churches are working against racial and ethnic divisions.

The End of White Christian America isn't about such diversity. It's focused on a big, new narrative. White Protestants controlled America until Obama was elected president and same-sex marriage became legal. Their time is over. The white Protestants who can't accept this are angry, but they would be better off accepting their fate rather than trying to make America great again.

It's not a simple story. It's a simplistic one. The real story is complicated but far more meaningful.

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  1. The entire narrative Tobin Grant describes is a mare’s nest and, as he points out, nothing new, and will continue. For the atheist (generally speaking) the answer lies in smothering religious faith under the pillow of secularism…it won’t happen… I’m not being combative, just stating what I believe to be a fact. As an evangelical, I’m too tired to be angry; nor is anger productive, as I’ve learned. As per Christianity, I embrace all sects as brethren who embrace certain specific fundamental biblical truths. I may disagree with Catholics over certain points of doctrine but agree with them on essentials. Odd that the author thinks that white Protestants should refrain from trying to return America to greatness. Is he suggesting we should settle for decline? All Americans should strive to make America the best it can be. We will disagree, as always, on means and ends, but let us continue the journey. The bible, which I believe is the highest revelation of spiritual truth, prophesies’ an end to all things of mere human governance, perhaps we approaching that end.

  2. The author is clearly referring to Trump’s fictionalized understanding of “greatness” which was apparently a magical utopia where only white men ruled America and women were in the kitchen and racial minorities had no rights. In any case, “greatness” seems like a very vaguely defined term to aspire America to be like. Has anyone ever even defined what is “great” about America? It seems about as useless of a term to aspire to as “American expecitonalism” was.

  3. Re: “Odd that the author thinks that white Protestants should refrain from trying to return America to greatness.”

    Just because there are people who disagree with you — or with Donald “it’s my own orange hair!” Trump, or both — doesn’t mean they don’t want to “return America to greatness” (whatever that might entail).

    Which brings up another matter: Precisely what is “American greatness”? Exactly when was “American greatness” lost? What are all the possible ways to restore it, and what makes the Trumpster’s — and/or white Protestants’ — ideas about how to do so the best of them?

    I question whether or not Trumpie and/or his fanbois actually want the entire country to be “great.” Seems to me what they want is to be in charge once more, so they can give all the orders and the rest of America has to bow and scrape before them. That would certainly make things “great” for them, but not for anyone else. How convenient is it for them, that many of them just happen to envision “greatness” in that particular way … so that it benefits them at everyone else’s expense?

  4. “…the answer lies in smothering religious faith under the pillow of secularism…it won’t happen.”

    If your religious faith is “smothered by secularism”, it speaks badly for your beliefs. It means you not only lack respect for faiths but your own but feel it’s somehow necessary to compel and coerce others into complying with it. Secularism is that religion is a personal belief. One that is cheapened by entanglement with apparatus of state. To equate secularism with atheism is to show a clear disregard for the existence of minority faiths and beliefs. Secularism is a concept originating from minority religious views as a way to protect themselves from sectarian discrimination. To attack secularism is to say you support sectarian discrimination.

    “Return America to greatness” is a reactionary mantra to extol undue privilege and attacks on civil liberties. A pseudo fascist belief in white Christian supremacy. Something at odds with everything which makes America great.

    Although you consider the Bible to be of great spiritual value, what makes America great is the recognition that ones mileage may vary on such beliefs among others and that you respect such differences.

  5. I really have to disagree with you, but then, we have a different perspective.

    “Smothering religious faith under the pillow of secularism?” No one wants to restrict your faith. I want you to practice it in whatever way you feel completes you. by far, the biggest argument I have with “faith” in general is the belief that because you believe something, I have to believe it, too, and that your beliefs should have dominion in my life. Every issue that hyper Christians seem to care about involves control over other people’s lives,and are always purely theological concerns– gay rights, sex education, science education, abortion, religious discrimination, Christian supremacy.

    You would be amazed at how little most secularists and atheists would care about your faith if only you would leave it at your church doors. E

  6. “To equate secularism with atheism is to show a clear disregard for the existence of minority faiths and beliefs. Secularism is a concept originating from minority religious views as a way to protect themselves from sectarian discrimination. To attack secularism is to say you support sectarian discrimination.”

    As a religious minority, I am not your shield.

    Secularism can be used to protect religious minorities, but it CAN go to far and turn into oppressing religious minorities. Take France for example, where the fashion choices of religious minorities are forbidden in the cause of “secularism”.

    By its dictionary definition, secularism is great!! It’s defined merely as separating religions from government. But there are those who advocate in the name of “secularism” who push for MORE than that. Who want a total separation of religion and public society. That is the point when things turn from protecting religious minorities like myself and turn into suppression of religious minorities such as myself.

    You could, I suppose, argue that that is not “true secularism” because of the dictionary definition, but that seems to enter No True Scotsman territory no different form persons of a religion arguing that a self-identified extremist co-religionist was not REALLY a member of their religion because they broke its rules.

    Like every ideology those who follow secularism are not bound to the dictionary definition, and many go above and beyond it in pursuit of simply removing religions they don’t like from places where they would have to see them.

  7. “Seems to me what they want is to be in charge once more, so they can give all the orders and the rest of America has to bow and scrape before them.”

    Congratulations!! You’ve discovered the secret behind every political movement ever!! 😛

  8. It has been clear to me that ‘White Jesus’ the God of the Religious Right is actually SATAN.
    The professed beliefs of the Religious Right – Bigotry, Greed, Loathing of the ‘Stranger in the Land’ and Disdain for the needs of the Poor are the OPPOSITE of the Teachings of Real Jesus

  9. Yeah, Trump’s never called for ANYTHING in your “magical utopia”.

    For goodness sake, it’s DONALD TRUMP. You shouldn’t need to MAKE STUFF UP to criticize Trump!!

    I mean, the man’s statements on trade deficits being bad clearly underline the fact that he doesn’t understand what a trade deficit is. See that sentence there?? You CAN criticize Trump without inventing racist strawmen to fight in his place!!

  10. what you believe isn’t necessarily fact. and the idea of a “great” white Protestant America wasn’t great for a lot of people, including women, blacks, asians, and hispanics. It was a world of segregation, poverty, and misogyny based on faulty interpretations of specious Christian teachings. The end of “mere human governance” is the same sort of thing that ISIS says that they believe. So, then, according to your thinking, should we carve up the world according to what various nations believe is the truth according to their holy book (or books)? or should we go back to a time of Crusades and other types of Holy Wars so that one group attempts to conquer the other and assert their beliefs by coercion (which usually means through some sort of force?) This doesn’t sound like much of a solution.

  11. But has the U.S. gone in the same place as France? No, we haven’t. Let’s not confound an argument about the U.S. with France, which has made decisions for the French people in a way that *they* feel is necessary for their country. We don’t know everything about France to say that they are unduly repressing religious minorities. If they are, then that’s their issue, not ours.

  12. If you are oppressed by secularism, then you are probably being stopped from oppressing others.

    France is a terrible example. They don’t guarantee free exercise of religion and have to deal with s long history of established national faith and sectarian discrimination that the US never had.

    Separation of church and state protects both. Entanglement of religion with state undermines the authority of both to a coercive degree.

    Your “true secularism” argument is a strawman with self definition. The first amendment religious freedoms give the best and most effective definition out there. It is secularism in practice.

  13. Which is why I refuse to belong to any political movements … of any kind. I’m a committed anti-ideologue

    Oh, and since when was Christianity ever supposed to be a “political movement”? The founder of that faith was explicitly apolitical. He said “render to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” The apostle Paul elaborated on this principle, e.g. in Romans 13:1-7. Christians are supposed to acquiesce to government, not meddle in it, or worse, take it over.

  14. “You CAN criticize Trump without inventing racist strawmen to fight in his place!!”

    Which is ironic given your strawman argument.Trump’s magical racist thinking is implied with his stance and statements. You are being purposefully dense here.

  15. “White Christian America” is not ending. It is experiencing a decline in its dominance. When the day comes that the majority of public office holders are not Christian, I’ll accept Jones’ thesis that “White Christian America” is ending. Until then, he’s just bemoaning a little less power and control.

  16. Except that Christians are instructed by the Gospel to share the gospel, and of course, as you point out, others are free to receive it or reject it. As a staunch defender of free speech, I don’t believe you would restrict my “right” to share that gospel. I have the right, as you, to pursue through democratic/republican processes the model of America that makes the most sense to me. But I recognize as the culture is shifting under my feet, that throwing a tantrum about it is not helpful to anyone. This is why I am striving to engage in cordial discourse with anyone who is prepared to do so. Religious discrimination is not just a theological issue, it is also a human rights issue. Abortion too, I think is a human rights issue. Where we disagree on this of course, is that you are in favor of a woman’s right to choose, and I favor alternatives that will allow the spark of life growing within her to inherit the right to a life of its own.

  17. I have every confidence that what I believe will be demonstrated as fact by an objective Judge in the Future; I could be wrong. As for the past wrongs done in America, no country has ever had a perfect record in regards to human rights and wishes, but by comparison America has done better than most past empires, that is why people continue to flock here in droves. Because people of every stripe HAVE been able to achieve their political and economic dreams here. Your own description as “HighFashionAverageWoman” is a declaration that you have not done so badly yourself. As I have asserted over and over on this website, I hold no brief with the oppression of anyone, I merely reserve the right to proffer an opinion on what seems best in my view for this nation. I am considered a white male, but my father was viewed as an undesirable when he migrated from New York to Oregon because of the swarthiness of his skin; he had the pleasure of Anglo fisherman on the Columbia River throwing rotten fruit at him because they didn’t want him around. He rose to be the Superintendent of The Oregon Humane Society in the 1950’s. He died early and I was raised on Social Security. So I am not a child of white privilege. I simply believe the basic precepts taught by Jesus Christ are the best recipe for the good of any nation. You are absolutely free to disagree.

  18. I’m not a particular fan of Trump, as far as greatness goes, if you measure America against past world empires, more people have had more opportunity, more freedom politically, and a host of other “mores” by comparison than anywhere else, except perhaps for the British Empire. Have there been horrors, wars, and warts, on the body political/social of the United States? Absolutely, but how many of us could honestly say they wish they’d lived heir lives somewhere else?

  19. I’m going to go out on a limb here and just point out that what constitutes “greatness” is, more or less, subjective in nature. Some would say America already is “great.” Others, like Trumpie, say it once had been “great” but is no longer. Still others might say America never has been “great” at all.

    The Trumpster and his fanbois appear to define “greatness” based on the degree to which they’re in charge of the country and whether or not the things they demand be done, get done. If that’s how they define “greatness,” then ironically, and in reality, they’re NOT actually concerned with “greatness” at all. They’re just demanding that they get their way all the time. They’re not actually thinking about the country as a whole, just pitching fits over the fact that they’re not in charge any more.

  20. Bravo! You said it well, PsiCop! Mainline Christianity has been taken over by “progressive” politics, and the Christian message co-opted by activists trying to save the world from Republicans and climate change! Their ministers should just be honest and be further certified/legitimized by a seminary degree in Political Science!

  21. Re: “Mainline Christianity has been taken over by ‘progressive’ politics …”

    Nope. I’m not buying that … at all. Sure, some “mainline” denominations seem “Leftist,” but overall, the country’s Christian majority (which includes, in turn, a majority of members of those denominations) is very, very conservative. Otherwise, both houses of Congress would not now be in the hands of conservative Christianists. It just can’t happen any other way … sheer numbers rule it out.

    What’s more, that doesn’t grant Right-wingers in Christendom any right to fashion themselves into a political engine, as they’ve done since 1980.

  22. Episcopalians are very, very, very conservative?! YOu need to get out and breathe more fresh air. You’re breathing too many of your own fumes!

  23. It’s true. There’s a reason why it has earned the nickname “The Republican Party at prayer”.

  24. No, I would not restrict your free speech to share the gospel. My question is, does sharing the gospel include passing laws that restrict my freedom of faith? Does freedom of religion and speech include the deliberate lies told by a certain class of so called Christian in order to force their theological concerns upon people who don’t share them through the force of civil law? I’m not saying that’s you, but it certainly describes some people.
    Abortion is a good example. I don’t like it, but I also recognize that its not my body and not my life. I have commented many times before that the anti-abortion movement is at heart a grifter’s dream. If only all of that money and manpower had gone to responsible family planning, birth control ,sex education, and providing alternatives to abortion. But there is no power, no money, and no dominion in providing a sane, responsible, practical solution.

  25. Yeah, not all of us are so ethnocentric that we can’t look past our own borders. People do cause bad things in the name of the ideal of “Secularism”.

    YOUR ignorance on the topic of French politics is NOT evidence that I am incorrect on the topic. It still remains valid evidence that someone can take the ~idea~ of secularism and do it in such a backwards way it ends up harming instead of protecting.

  26. “France is a terrible example. They don’t guarantee free exercise of religion”

    “The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State (French: loi du 9 décembre 1905 concernant la séparation des Églises et de l’État) was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1905. Enacted during the Third Republic, it established state secularism in France.[1] France was then governed by the Bloc des gauches (Left Coalition) led by Emile Combes.”

    Like HighFashion above, YOUR ignorance on the topic of French politics is not proof that I am wrong that France does bad things in the name of Secularism, “Laicite”.

    “Separation of church and state protects both.”

    Indeed. Though the things advocated by French and Turkish “Secularists” violates the separation of church and state by meddling the state into affairs of church. Again, I’ll concede that one can argue that French/Turkish “Secularism” isn’t TRUE secularism, but I don’t see how that isn’t covered by No True Scotsman.

    “The first amendment religious freedoms give the best and most effective definition out there.”

    The “definition” of secularism, as I’ve stated, DOES NOT change the actions people have taken in the name of secularism!!

    Take ISIS, as an extreme example. The Islamic faith explicitly demands “You must not mutilate dead bodies.” The definition of Islam involves not mutilating dead bodies. ISIS mutilates dead bodies, yet if you say the members of ISIS are not Muslim, that is a No True Scotsman fallacy.

    Secularism ITSELF, as the idea, as it defined, poses no problems whatsoever and is a good idea. Secularism in PRACTICE sometimes violates the definition. The truth of the matter is, as laws in Turkey and France passed under the name of “Secularism” shows, that not everyone waving the banner of “Secularism” is out to defend the separation of church and state.

    I’ve seen self-professed “secularists” on this site call for taxing religions, as if that did not violate the division between church and state. Some Secularists ONLY believe in keeping the Church out of the State, not in keeping the State out of the Church, and those kind of “Secularists”, regardless of whether they are true secularists or not, are no help for religious minorities.

  27. Re: “Episcopalians are very, very, very conservative?!”

    They are, if they’ve been voting for Christianists.

  28. Do you honestly think a hijab ban would fly here? Of course not, it is a straight up 1st Amendment/14th Amendment violation. But France with its vaunted religious freedom laws didn’t find it so objectionable.
    French historical entanglement with the Catholic church was one of the inspirations for the first amendment.

    You are spending more time defending a terrible example than addressing the facts. The definition of secularism you use is self defined. A saner one is the principles of the first amendment religious freedoms. As I stated, it is the ur-example of secularist government/law. You can claim to be at odds with secularism but doing so means,being at odds with the underlying concepts of religious freedom.

  29. Vis’ a’ vis Trump, you certainly make a fair point.

  30. I want to frame this carefully. I think that, in general terms, one basis for the practice of religion is that it typically provides a moral framework that people find comfort in; call it a roadmap, a guidepost, etc.. All people, religious or otherwise, have a set of moral values. So far, so good. I believe it was James Madison who said, “If men were angels, there would be no need for government.” Well, I think you and I agree that humanity is far from angelic. So in a nation based on a constitutional system, applying both democratic, and republican principles, all citizens are free to participate and express their desires for the direction of both the nation and the government. It should not be surprising that there is conflict in this model. The fact that one set of citizens’ moral framework is based on religious faith does not bar them from the political process. You and I may not agree about what is “best” regarding specific civil liberties, but our governmental framework allows each of us to work towards the end that makes the most sense to us, moral or otherwise. In the end it comes down usually to a consensus of the public, but not always. Politicians are not above pandering to special interests, or promoting their particular societal view, the people that elected them be damned. At that point the voters have the right to turn them out of office. This is one of the great benefits of local electoral politics. Some portions of this nation lean well to the Left, others to the Right. So as far as “forcing theological concerns” goes (I’m not being snide here), such actions really come down to a particular societal perspective that such voters would like to see enshrined in law…and in our nation it cuts both ways. I don’t think this is going to change unless one side or the other gains total political dominance. I often speculate (re: Madison) how many of us are truly Moderates in the end. A wo(man’s) home is her/his castle, and people have every right to an expectation of privacy. On the other hand (no particular group in mind) we have come to the point in public that almost any sort of behavior is glorified as liberty rather than license. For example, and I don’t know where it started, but it’s certainly popular in Portland, we have the “Naked Bike Ride.” I’m sorry, but I confess I find such an event improper and distasteful. Particularly when viewed by children. But I guess that’s my problem. Even as a Christian, if someone wants to walk around naked in there own backyard, as long as their properly screened I don’t have a problem, I view that as a matter of privacy, if it indeed is practiced privately. I’ve really given you a long winded reply, but I truly wanted to make plain why I think moral views, politics, and civil law making are a natural nexus. I wanted to answer your first point, so I’m afraid I’ve neglected your 2nd. Peace.

  31. How is this ANY different from No True Scotsman??

    “Scotsmen believe in religious freedom!!”

    “These Scotsmen in France don’t believe in religious freedom!!”

    “French Scotsmen are a terrible example (because they challenge my narrative), they aren’t TRUE Scotsmen!!”

    Sorry, buddy, You don’t get to pick and choose who associates with your ideological movement. Many people who DON’T believe in Freedom of Religion have tacked themselves on to “Secularism”. If you want me to take secularism seriously as a purely good thing, then work to remove the anti-free religion “secularists” from your ranks.

    I don’t care if those secularists come from a different country. I don’t care if you think a hijab ban would not happen in your country.

    Because in YOUR country, in BOTH political parties, people are calling for using a list that NOTORIOUSLY targets and profiles religious minorities as the basis for stripping away their second amendment rights, in violation of their SIXTH amendment rights, so DO NOT pretend like the little piece of paper filled with rules will stop anything, when American politicians already pick and choose the parts they want to acknowledge.

    In YOUR country, “secularists” call for taxing religions in blatant violation of the first amendment. For taking a cut of people’s money because they choose to spend it on worship.

    Fix the anti-free religion people within your own damn movement BEFORE you PRESUME to be speaking in support of MY RIGHTS. What have YOU done to protect me from the “secularists” who think they should be able to tax my tiny religious group?? What have YOU done to protect the second and sixth amendments rights of those who end up on the no fly list??

    I don’t see you “secularists” doing anything to advance my rights in this country nor the rights of other religious minorities. When that changes, then you’ll be a force for good.

  32. The crucial nexus is the first amendment. It’s one thing to have a set of theological concerns that you want to live by. That “you” is a generic you, not you in particular. For example, you can believe my homosexuality is a sin. I disagree for a lot of reasons, as do a great many religious people., but you have that right. It’s quite another thing to then declare that my sin ought to be subject to criminal sanctions, or to claim that my life, love, family, children, faith, freedom, participation in society, and assets are just not as valuable as yours, and should be denied the protections readily available to people like a certain for fornicating, adulterous former republican congressman, as often and badly as he wishes, because you think that God thinks that my CIVIL marriage–or in my are, my civil marriage performed by a minister– is offensive to your faith.

    If the rosary were on the other hand, you –again, a generic you, as all of this is– would scream bloody murder if the law stated by majority rule that belief in, say, the Trinity would be replaced by the Mormon belief that Jesus and Satan are brothers.

    And this is my entire point,

  33. Because it highlights how inappropriate your example is. France doesn’t protect religious freedoms in law or practice. It’s not a secularist society. The Catholic Church was been entangled with its government for centuries. Still is in many respects.

    Besides the fact that there is in an entirely different context than here. Like anyone who uses poor examples and analogies you get hung up on trying to justify it and ignore clear factual distinctions, rather than get to a point.

  34. Or perhaps…think of white Mainline moderates and liberals as being sort of less white than white Evangelical conservatives?

    After all, whiteness is an evolving socio-political construct.

  35. A little trouble following you, in this post there are some construction errors not typical of your usual posts. I’ve progressed beyond thinking that criminal sanctions are an appropriate approach to the issue of homosexuality. Nor do I believe for one minute that your life and your contributions to it lack value. It’s my policy to deal with individuals on a one to one basis, it’s much the best way. You have given me enough to clues to guess the former Republican congressman, I think: Gingrich? Another non-favorite. Legislation may have a moral impetus, but generally its purpose is more utilitarian. Rarely, if ever, has the Congress issued laws relating to specific theological positions, other than generic references to God. I would be surprised indeed if they promulgated the particular law you suggest. The courts would certainly have something to say in that event, another important feature in our system of government. Have I been unhappy with many of the Supreme Court’s decisions? Absolutely. Have I screamed bloody murder on occasion? Yes, that as well. But again I make the point that it is a dynamic tension that never pleases everyone entirely. Unless the government does something utterly unconscionable it’s unlikely that I would rise up against it. The Apostle Paul clearly recognized injustices within the apparatus of the Roman Empire, but he never counseled believers to rebellion. I am undoubtedly going to take certain positions that you would view with anathema and oppose if they became legislative proposals; the banning of abortion for example, but at no point would I use that as an argument that I am a superior human being. My most basic belief is that I and all my fellow beings are equally sinners and require a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ. For anyone else willing to embrace that view, the details can be worked out over time. Good wishes.

  36. I think you did understand my point, the lack of the usual quality of my writing notwithstanding. ?

    I don’t really have s lot of time to write today, but I will try to explain this a little further. I’m only on my first cup of coffee, so I may not be entirely coherent.

    Purely theological concerns are indeed the issue– an article of your faith, not of mine, becomes the civil law that governs everyone. Marriage is the perfect example. When I say that my life, love, family, children etc., are not as important as yours, denying me CIVIL marriage, or religious marriage were we believers, is saying precisely that– because of your theological concerns. Gingrich could commit adultery AGAIN, get divorced AGAIN, and get married AGAIN. AND in the Church. Yet by the bible, he is living in unrepentant sin. Yet he could do it, with nary a peep from anyone.

    To me, the conservative religious beliefs about homosexuality and our place in society– which, BTW, do not follow each other as day follows night, but depend upon an already existing prejudice for “legitimacy”– is a first amendment issue of the highest priority. Believe it’s a sin? I think it’s an abuse of scripture, but I don’t care. Tell me that my position in a secular society hangs from that? expect a fight.

  37. You raise an excellent point with regard to Gingrich and others who practice serial monogamy, which the bible clearly defines as adultery, especially as the church today has generally failed to call its members out on it; this no doubt demonstrates a grave hypocrisy. It is an issue I’ve raised within the context of my own spiritual community without (sadly) much of a response. All in all, I think you need not fear for your position in society.

  38. I hope you are right. But the Republican Party platform would love to have it otherwise, if they could. As do a great many religious conservatives.

  39. You are wrong on every statement. But you do have the talking points down quite well.

  40. I sense this author is experiencing the first stage… denial. Although Jones’ book is flawed in many ways, the overall trajectory he describes is spot on. And his spotlight on religious extremists’ anger is there to see and read about every day. The ‘end’ will probably not happen in my lifetime (I was born in the ’50’s), but I’ve seen the seismic shifts in real time, and I’m glad these sanctimonious skunks are losing power. But this makes them very dangerous. The insistence on calling America a ‘christian’ nation, and negating the essential separation between church and state are blatant examples of revisionist propaganda.

  41. I neither need nor want your ‘moral framework’. Just say NO. We are. Very loudly.

  42. Otherwise. Otherwise would be a perfect world in perfect harmony. Beyond the (unlikely) potentiality of a Republican platform that would endorse the reversal of civil marriage for gays, which would now require a constitutional amendment, what other potentialities do you foresee with a Republican victory? I, as you know, am a staunch religious conservative, and we have many areas of disagreement, but I prefer, without compromising what I believe, to live in peaceable disagreement.

  43. This leftist rant only demonstrates the level of anti-white Protestant subversion being pushed within our once great Republic. The new age elitist Zionist/Jesuit/Islamic secular pagan holy war and inquisition is recognized within this racist enemy coreligionist genocidal rant. What comes around goes around.

  44. Maybe “The End of WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant) America” would better clarify the book’s premise.

  45. America is still 77% white and still the majority of this great nation that’s a fact get over it lefties quit spreading your lies in ur dreams we r a Christian nation also.

  46. The fact is, non-scientific concepts such as genetic differences between the “races” and the whole human race coming from Adam and Eve (which are unto themselves logically incompatible) are being ignored by young white kids born into religious homes.

    People who get all their information from Fox News, the 700 Club, NASCar coverage and the King James Bible are finding that Christianity is no greater/different than Islam. Both are Bronze/Iron-Age superstitions being replaced by such Satanic institutions as Education, Science and Critical Thinking.

  47. “Satan is the best friend the Church has ever had. He’s kept it in business all these years”-Anton Levay

    ” ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ shall be the whole of the Law”- Aleister Crowley

  48. ‘The government of the United States of America is
    not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.’- President John Adams


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