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Bill Stuntz on "Secular Universities and Evangelical Christians":

Bill Stuntz, a longtime member of evangelical churches, adds some thoughts based on his personal experience to our discussion on religion and the academy over at "Less Than the Least."

Ilya Somin:
I think his argument confirms my theory that this is more a matter of political bias than religious bias.
6.20.2008 10:01pm
John Neff:
My experience is that you don't discuss religion or politics with an evangelical christian.
6.20.2008 10:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
So if Mr. Stuntz is correct, things are going in the right direction. Anything wrong with that?
6.20.2008 11:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
One thing I find interesting is his comment that in the 80s, people thought religious people were 'mean spirited."

Now, where do you think that perception came from? Could it be that people like Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schafly, Pat Robertson and so on did more to harm their cause then move it along? Perhaps if these people didn't get such support from Christians, then they wouldn't be able to claim that they, and they alone, represent true Christianity.

Even today, people like Dobson are furious that the flock isn't going to the culture war on abortion and gays, but rather more and more they are concerned with poverty and the environment.

Well, it's about time, in my opinion. Religious people suffered huge adverse consequences at the hands of these self appointed leaders, whether they supported them or not. Hopefully, they will fade away and we can go back a more normal life.
6.20.2008 11:36pm
Dave N (mail):
Pat Buchanan? Phyllis Schafly? Neither is a religious leader in any sense of the word. Buchanan is actually Catholic. I have no idea what Schafly's religious views are--but to suggest either was religious in their political activities nature is revisionist at best, dishonest at worst.
6.20.2008 11:50pm
Suzy (mail):
Although this link provides an interesting discussion of personal experiences and intuitions, to contrast against those seen on this blog, I have yet to see an argument made here on this topic that goes beyond personal experience and "intuition", accompanied by a smattering of poorly interpreted data.

Bottom line, most "academics" are religious. More than 10% are even self-described Evangelical Christians. Faculty report having negative attitudes towards various religions at about the same or even a lower rate than the general public does. The big exception is that faculty are more likely to report negative views of Evangelical Christianity. So all of these comments about a supposed general academic hostility towards religion, or political bias against it, are perfectly fallacious. What you are really trying to answer is the much narrower question: why the specially negative attitude towards Evangelicals, at a higher rate than we'd expect in the general public?

The proffered solutions are complete speculation. Academics aren't exposed to Evangelicals? Nonsense. 10% of their co-workers and even more of their students are Evangelicals, and faculty probably are more likely than the average bears to hear detailed discussions of what those persons believe, precisely because they encounter one another in a university setting.
Academics (presumably, the non-Evangelical ones?) are bigoted against Evangelicals? Why would they be, any more than non-Evangelicals in the general public are bigoted? Also, how does a negative assessment suddenly transform into bigotry?
Academics have a political bias against Evangelicals? Then why aren't they specially biased against Mormons, when Mormons are widely known to be an even more reliably Republican-voting group? Why aren't they specially biased against Catholics, given the supposed disagreement about front-and-center political issues like abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research?

Basically, a group of bloggers here--despite being "academics" themselves--apparently want to use this issue to falsely portray academics in general as hostile to religion. Why? If we weren't in such a hurry to leap to that conclusion, since it's not supported by the facts, what else could explain why academics are more likely to view Evangelical Christianity negatively? Is there anything else unusual about each of those two groups that might be like oil and water?
6.21.2008 12:11am
L.A. Brave:
I hope he is wrong about there being a long-term trend toward greater tolerance of religious believers. Personally, I think he is wrong. We are in the autumn of "true belief"; at least as far as religious true belief goes. In 20 years we will tolerate religious true believers the same way we will tolerate people that believe that WiFi signals cause cancer.

As science advances, as we reverse engineer the brain, as we demolish mind-body dualism, there may be an uptick in true belief. That is to be expected in the face of incomprehensible scientific progress, but it is nevertheless fleeting.
6.21.2008 1:57am
unhyphenatedconservative (mail):
Randy R, you're right. I mean aside from the fact that Buchanan and Schafly are well known religious leaders )what with them having Reverend or some such title, right?) I'm sure they just erupted without any cultural context. I mean the sixties and seventies had no hostility toward believers. So the idea that religious believers, feeling under attack from pop culture elites, might vent their opinions is just crazy.
6.21.2008 2:29am
Cornellian (mail):
My experience is that you don't discuss religion or politics with an evangelical christian.

Judging from the example set by guys like James Dobson, evangelicals can't see any difference between religion and politics.
6.21.2008 4:38am
Cornellian (mail):
Even today, people like Dobson are furious that the flock isn't going to the culture war on abortion and gays, but rather more and more they are concerned with poverty and the environment.

It would seem the flock knows the Bible better than Mr. Dobson.
6.21.2008 4:39am
curiouslyme:
Now, where do you think that perception came from? Could it be that people like Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schafly...

By that logic I'm right to have my bigoted feelings about blacks because of people like Al Sharpton, Farrakhan, etc.

Bottom line, most "academics" are religious. More than 10% are even self-described Evangelical Christians.

Unless you're going to provide some proof of this claim, I highly doubt it. Academics have very little in common with the general population when it comes to politics or religious belief. A cursory examination of the courses offered at most universities and the monetary donations by faculty almost exclusively to Dems suggest that most faculty suggest otherwise.

Besides, does anyone really believe that "10%" of faculty are evangelicals? (and don't point me to this study, which was seriously flawed...).
6.21.2008 5:09am
JoshuaHerring (mail) (www):

Basically, a group of bloggers here--despite being "academics" themselves--apparently want to use this issue to falsely portray academics in general as hostile to religion.


I don't think it's only bloggers. There seems to have been a rise in Christian apologia recently, and unlike in the past, where they simply attempted to advance a rational defense of the existence of God, these days they seem to be additionally ridiculing atheism instead. This trend is visible in books like "I don't have Enough Faith to be an Atheist." Increasingly, their arguments are straw mans ("Atheism requires faith in the non-existence of God") and manipulative attempts to stack the deck ("Distaste for religion is 'theophobia'" etc.). I see it as evidence of desperation. I agree with L.A. Brave - we're seeing the autumn of "true belief." My experience is that true faith is rare in young people these days. Plenty of my students are religious, but for most of them it seems to be a cultural identification more than a solid belief system.
6.21.2008 6:58am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
In 20 years we will tolerate religious true believers the same way we will tolerate people that believe that WiFi signals cause cancer.

Actually, the religious takeover proceeds apace. Africa is now split Muslim/Christian. The anamists have mostly been converted.

As China opens up, it will go solid Christian thus retaining our solid hegemony on a worldwide basis.

India will probably remain Hindu/Muslim.

Meanwhile back in the world...

Asian and African missionaries will flood Europe and the US reconquering at least the US for Christianity. Europe will be one big fight between God and Allah.

Be very afraid...
6.21.2008 7:54am
Hopper:
Curiously me writes: "By that logic I'm right to have my bigoted feelings about blacks because of people like Al Sharpton, Farrakhan, etc."

Dislike of religion is nothing like racism. Religion is a choice -- it's a set of voluntary beliefs about the nature of the universe. And religious beliefs inform or inspire moral or political opinions, some of which are decent and some of which are deplorable. "Race," on the other hand, is something we're all born with and obviously doesn't entail any particular beliefs about anything.

The confusion you exhibit on this point has been exploited by Islamists and their fellow travelers, who use the term "Islamophobia" to describe both (1) anti-Arab, anti-Persian, anti-Pakistani, etc., racism, and (2) criticism of Islam the religion. It's an insidious term because the former is deplorable while the latter is (in my opinion) morally required.

It would be bigoted (and also stupid) to say, "I dislike black people because of Sharpton and Farrakhan" -- just as it would be bigoted (and stupid) to say, "I dislike white people because of Falwell and Robertson." It would not, however, be bigoted (or stupid) to say, "I think the Nation of Islam is a racket that advances nasty falsehoods," and to cite Louis Farrakhan's views as evidence of this. He's a prominent and vocal member of that sect who has attracted a large following and claims to know what God thinks.

Nor would it be bigoted to question Evangelical Christianity in a similar manner, and to cite the views of Evangelical leaders in doing so. (We could argue about whether Falwell and Robertson are representative of most believers, but that's just an empirical question.) If a significant number of your co-religionists believe, for example, that God has a violently powerful opinion about who each of us sleeps with, then those people who disagree with that view are perfectly justified in questioning your choice of religion -- even if you haven't adopted that particular tenet.

Religious beliefs can be right or wrong. They can be moral or immoral. Religious believers concede this: Almost all "true believers" think some other set of "true believers" has stupid or nasty beliefs. (An atheist and an Evangelical might say similar things about, e.g., Mormonism and Islam.) I don't think that makes every religious believer a bigot against all adherents of every other religion. It's just disagreement.

The only way I would accept that you can be an anti-religious bigot is if you go out of your way to be affirmatively nasty to people who disagree with you on religious matters -- beyond merely disagreeing with them about the truth of their religion. If I were to say, "the central tenets of Mormonism are false and morally questionable," that would not be bigoted in the least (in part because that statement is true, or at least easily defensible). If I were to say, "all Mormons are twisted, evil freaks," that would be bigoted (in part because that statement is obviously reckless and false).
6.21.2008 8:05am
Bad (mail) (www):
Again: what is the opinion of evangelicals about "liberal academics"? If it's comparatively low, then we're really sort of missing and/or ignoring a rather large piece of the puzzle, as well as being quite selective in our judgments of who is the bigot and who is the innocent victim.
6.21.2008 9:19am
NI:

Dislike of religion is nothing like racism. Religion is a choice -- it's a set of voluntary beliefs about the nature of the universe. And religious beliefs inform or inspire moral or political opinions, some of which are decent and some of which are deplorable. "Race," on the other hand, is something we're all born with and obviously doesn't entail any particular beliefs about anything.


I'm not sure I agree with that. I think religion is a choice only in the sense that sexual orientation is a choice: I can't force myself to believe things that don't seem to me to be true, and I can't force myself to be attracted to a gender I'm not attracted to. I think belief (and for that matter unbelief) has as much to do with an individual's temperament and psychology as anything else; people are either born religious or not. That explains the large number of people raised in the church who leave it as adults, and vice versa.

None of this is to say that there's no such thing as objective truth. God either exists or he doesn't; it's a yes or no question. But I'm not sure a person makes a conscious, deliberate choice whether or not to be a believer.
6.21.2008 9:35am
TM Lutas (mail) (www):
First a statement of fact, Both Pat Buchanen and Phyllis Schlafly are Roman Catholic. I think that Randy R's inclusion of them on his list shows that it's not belief per se that's the prolem but how much belief matters. Kerry was a Roman Catholic too but he didn't let it get in the way (much) of his preferred policy choices. He reaped a large share of academia's votes.

But an animus against religion that matters is not at all better than an animus against religion per se. It just takes a bit more to tease out the actual boundaries of the bigotry.
6.21.2008 9:51am
Suzy (mail):
Curious, here is one study from which I'm taking my info: http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/soc/faculty/gross/religions.pdf. Prof. Somin provided similar statistics (11%), though I don't know if that came from the study you objected to. The number of Evangelical faculty is higher in 4 year colleges and universities and community colleges than it is in the top-ranked PhD granting institutions, but the disparity is not extreme. The percentage of Evangelicals in the general public is around double the number in academia, which doesn't strike me as a shocking disparity. Though most academics are religious, a slightly lower percentage claim this than in the general public, but the religious academics tend to be more regular church-goers than the rest of the public.

I am not surprised that you doubt this, because it's fashionable and "pc" in many circles to pretend that academia is a bastion of leftist atheists who hate God. It's not.

Bad, that's a good question, which you asked before in the other comment section. Why might evangelicals have a negative view of academics? Is there anything we know is commonly true of both groups that could explain this?
6.21.2008 10:07am
wm13:
"Plenty of my students are religious, but for most of them it seems to be a cultural identification more than a solid belief system."

JoshuaHerring, given your attitude, why would any student be stupid enough to share his or her true beliefs with you?
6.21.2008 10:18am
Suzy (mail):
Please let me correct something I wrote above by accident, since I was thinking too quickly of the next point... The percentage of Evangelicals is indeed tiny in elite PhD granting institutions and the difference between those schools and other, non-elite PhD, 4 year, and community colleges is indeed extreme. I only meant to say that the disparity between Evangelicals in academia and the general public as a whole is not extreme. So, the real puzzle is why so few would be at the top ranked PhD schools. My point is that blanket statements about academics being hostile to or politically biased against religion are not a useful explanation of the real phenomena here.

So what is? Why the widespread negative attitude towards Evangelicals, and as Bad asks, does it go both ways? Are so few Evangelicals employed in the elite PhD schools because they don't want to be there, because the schools are hostile towards them, or perhaps because of geographical differences or some other reasons? That would be interesting to know, and I doubt that we're going to get a good causal explanation as long as our own political biases about academia carry the day.
6.21.2008 10:21am
Randy R. (mail):
"I have no idea what Schafly's religious views are--but to suggest either was religious in their political activities nature is revisionist at best, dishonest at worst."

Not at all. Schafly regularly invokes God and the Bible in her columns and her website, and has certainly used both to bash gays. She is part of the whole Robertson/Dobson gang. Famously, they forced the Republican platform in 1992 to be harsh on gays and abortion.

Buchanan isn't really part of that tribe, I'll admit. Yet his call to a Culture War repeatedly, his distaste for gays, invocation of the Bible and God often are enough to put him in that circle of people who give religion a bad name.

Although religion has had a bad name since at least the 60s, as someone else pointed out, it really didn't get the black mark in the eye of liberals until the 80s, as Mr. Stuntz observed.

And it's interesting that although no one defends this claque, no one agrees either. They just argue about who is included.
6.21.2008 10:30am
Hopper:
NI says, responding to me: "I'm not sure I agree [that religion is a choice]. I think religion is a choice only in the sense that sexual orientation is a choice: I can't force myself to believe things that don't seem to me to be true, and I can't force myself to be attracted to a gender I'm not attracted to."

I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure the analogy works. As you say, people switch in and out of religions. It's also very common for people to adopt certain tenets of a faith (e.g., the Church's position on abortion) and not others (e.g., its position on the death penalty). And my sense is that people generally try to reason their way through these things, even if they use sources, like Scripture, that I would consider questionable. They can identify a passage or a book or an experience or a sermon or a conversation that changed their mind.

I'm not an expert on sexuality, but I don't think it's quite this protean as this, and it certainly doesn't have the same intellectual component. As far as I know, nobody has ever become genuinely straight by deciding that homosexuality is irrational or become genuinely gay because they like the fact that homosexuality is subversive. You can convince a creationist that his church is wrong about the origin of the human species, but you can't convince a straight guy to desire men.

A better analogy might be between religion and Marxism. A Marxist will tell you that he didn't choose to be a Marxist -- he simply can't help but think that Marx was right. But he might differ with Marx on a few points. And at some point in his life, he might abandon Marxism in favor of, say, neoconservatism or liberalism. Presumably he will have stated reasons for doing so -- and presumably there will also be subrational, psychological factors that influenced his conversion.

I don't think it makes sense to say that to be anti-Marxist is to be "bigoted" against Marxists. In some literal sense, nobody "chooses" to be a Marxist in the same way that nobody "chooses" to be a Catholic or a Muslim. But if Marxism is factually inaccurate and morally unattractive (which it is), then then people ought to criticize its adherents, even if many of them are pleasant, civic-minded individuals.

Ditto religion. If somebody believes a lot of things that you think are stupid or dangerous, you ought to criticize them. Maybe you'll win some people over. Religious beliefs are often irrational, but religious believers respond to arguments the same way that non-believers do -- they reason through them, and can be won over. Sexuality is different: You can convince someone not to have sex with members of their own gender, and even that the desire to do so is sinful, but you can't reason them out of wanting it. It's true that religions tend to be anti-rational, but they are still belief systems, and can be debated like scientific theories, moral schemes, and political ideologies.

So yeah, "choice" is not a perfect word. I agree with you there. But the analogy to sexuality doesn't work, and I stand by the thesis of my earlier post.
6.21.2008 10:53am
Randy R. (mail):
unhyphenated conservative: " I mean the sixties and seventies had no hostility toward believers. So the idea that religious believers, feeling under attack from pop culture elites, might vent their opinions is just crazy."

I have no problem with people voicing their opinions. But I don't think that Pat Robertson has a high degree of credibility with anyone outside of his Christian Coalition. That may have served himself well, but it didn't serve the image of Christians very well in the long run, did it?

I think this claque of people really thought that they would be able, through the political process, to ban all abortion, criminalize and ban all gays, put women back in the home, ban environmentalism, and get laws to 'moralize' our country. (Oh, and support wars in the middle east for good measure). The people have rebelled and rejected this approach, by and large, but it has been a long and bruising campaign, with a lot of name calling and mud slinging. It was a risky strategy, and they are losing, of course, but you can't have any sympathy for them or their supporters.

Who I do feel sympathy are the real Christians who were disagree with their radical agenda and felt pushed aside by these social conservatives, as they are tarred with a label that is unfair. They therefore need to work to distance them selves from this claque.
6.21.2008 10:58am
hawkins:
Im still trying to figure out where the surprise is in any of this. Of course academics view Evangelicals with skepticism, so does practically everyone else! My good friends tend to be fairly conservative. Yet they are nearly as skeptical of Evangelicals and extreme social conservatives as most of the liberals I know.
6.21.2008 11:07am
Ken Arromdee:
Academics have a political bias against Evangelicals? Then why aren't they specially biased against Mormons, when Mormons are widely known to be an even more reliably Republican-voting group? Why aren't they specially biased against Catholics, given the supposed disagreement about front-and-center political issues like abortion, euthanasia and stem-cell research?

My guess about Mormons would be that Mormons are concentrated in one area of the country, without much influence outside it, so academics don't see Mormons as common enough to be threatening.

My guess for Roman Catholics is that they are perceived as not actually following their religion most of the time, and therefore not a threat on that basis.
6.21.2008 11:10am
hawkins:

My guess for Roman Catholics is that they are perceived as not actually following their religion most of the time, and therefore not a threat on that basis.


There are also a lot of Catholic academics. I dont know if the same is true for Evangelicals.
6.21.2008 11:14am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Im still trying to figure out where the surprise is in any of this. Of course academics view Evangelicals with skepticism, so does practically everyone else! My good friends tend to be fairly conservative. Yet they are nearly as skeptical of Evangelicals and extreme social conservatives as most of the liberals I know.
News flash: your friends aren't representative of anything. I mean, seriously. Your good friends are probably of similar income and education levels, come from similar class backgrounds, practice similar professions, share a number of your interests, live in the same geographic area, have similar political beliefs, and have general overall worldview that resembles yours (though they may not be all of those things at once). They're probably also disproportionately of your race and sex. This is why they're your friends. The idea that you could come to any meaningful generalization about people in general from such a small, homogeneous group is just silly.

This should be obvious, but commenters in these threads have been extremely willing to come to conclusions from their personal experiences and/or one or two anecdotes. The plural of anecdote is not data, folks. The singular of anecdote certainly isn't.
6.21.2008 11:24am
Elliot Reed (mail):
My guess about Mormons would be that Mormons are concentrated in one area of the country, without much influence outside it, so academics don't see Mormons as common enough to be threatening.
This sounds plausible enough to me.
6.21.2008 11:28am
hawkins:

News flash: your friends aren't representative of anything.


I did not mean to imply that they are. My point - it is no secret that a good number people view Evangelicals with skepticism, even many of their political allies do. This should not be surprising to anyone. Obviously, there are many people who do not share this view, but I would assume they are mostly Evangelicals.
6.21.2008 11:32am
Elliot Reed (mail):
I did not mean to imply that they are. My point - it is no secret that a good number people view Evangelicals with skepticism, even many of their political allies do.Obviously, there are many people who do not share this view, but I would assume they are mostly Evangelicals.
Certainly a lot of conservative elites of the pro-business variety view evangelical Christians with skepticism. But we are living in an age where intradenominational divisions are becoming more important than interdenominational ones. Conservative Protestants of all stripes find themselves allied with each other and with conservative Catholics, while liberal Protestants and Catholics are similarly allied. Since there are lots of evangelical Christians, it seems plausible that they're a majority of those with positive views of evangelical Christianity, but "most" tends to suggest a substantial majority rather than a bare majority.
6.21.2008 12:23pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
I am not surprised that you doubt this, because it's fashionable and "pc" in many circles to pretend that academia is a bastion of leftist atheists who hate God. It's not.
Can we please stop with this idiotic use of "fashionable" to mean "popular"? These days it seems to be mostly the province of the right to dismiss left-wing views as no more than a fashion trend held just to gain popularity with others, but that doesn't make it OK for us to do it back to them. But I agree that the right has their own version of political correctness. Never say anything that could be construed as attributing a negative trait to any our troops. Criticism of the war is an unpatriotic, treasonous attack on the troops per se. Criticism of theologically conservative Christianity is a bigoted attack on all religion. And so forth and so on.
6.21.2008 12:33pm
Suzy (mail):
Sorry, I was using fashionable to indicate something with no real substance, that appeals to the sort of people who care about that sort of thing.
6.21.2008 1:33pm
LM (mail):
NI:

I'm not sure I agree with that. I think religion is a choice only in the sense that sexual orientation is a choice [...]. I'm not sure a person makes a conscious, deliberate choice whether or not to be a believer.

True enough, as to belief. But isn't the operant state for religious observance faith, not belief? And doesn't faith require an act of free will?
6.21.2008 1:36pm
Suzy (mail):
Ken, your point about Mormonism is good, but I'm still skeptical that political bias is the reason that more academics have a negative assessment of evangelicals. For example, one might argue that the biased profs see Catholics less negatively because they don't think all Catholics follow the Church's rules, or they consider it easier to be liberal or progressive and still be a Catholic. On the other hand, Catholicism has a strong intellectual tradition, many excellent universities, and embraces a wide range of academic research including evolutionary theory.

Evangelicals, however, might be more likely to be hostile to what academics actually do. Fewer of them attend or graduate from college. Many of them have beliefs about how and whether to read a text, or what kinds of questions are appropriate to investigate, that would be anathema to the intellectual enterprise. This does not mean that evangelicals are wrong to have such views, it just means that they aren't as compatible with academia, for reasons that have nothing to do with the supposed bigotry or bias of liberal professors.
6.21.2008 1:48pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Boo-freakin'-hoo.

Has anybody listened to what evangelicals say about non-evangelicals?

Like, f'rinstance, they cannot be moral?
6.21.2008 1:51pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I have to assume that Randy R. is fairly young and has been educated in a public school and filled with all the popular ideas. Otherwise he would not write twaddle such as this:

unhyphenated conservative: " I mean the sixties and seventies had no hostility toward believers. So the idea that religious believers, feeling under attack from pop culture elites, might vent their opinions is just crazy."


I got a chuckle out of that since what was once known as "the counterculture" (and is now the reigning culture of the university system) was born in the sixties and seventies and trust me, Randy, they were hostile to all aspects of conservative culture especially including religion.


I have no problem with people voicing their opinions. But I don't think that Pat Robertson has a high degree of credibility with anyone outside of his Christian Coalition. That may have served himself well, but it didn't serve the image of Christians very well in the long run, did it?



But you do seem to have a problem with people voicing their opinions. Oh, you mean people voicing their opinions that influence other people? I notice that Pat Robertson is dragged out in these discussions as something of a boogey man. I wonder why that is? What has Pat done that frightens you and the rest of the atheists? Pat's just a guy with a TV show and a campus in Virginia Beach. He holds not office and writes no laws. He has no police force and can't arrest you. As far as I know he hasn't killed any babies, blown up any buses, beheaded any infidels.

This is the part I found so hilarious:

I think this claque of people really thought that they would be able, through the political process, to ban all abortion, criminalize and ban all gays, put women back in the home, ban environmentalism, and get laws to 'moralize' our country. (Oh, and support wars in the middle east for good measure). The people have rebelled and rejected this approach, by and large, but it has been a long and bruising campaign, with a lot of name calling and mud slinging. It was a risky strategy, and they are losing, of course, but you can't have any sympathy for them or their supporters.

Notice that for Randy, time began with Roe v. Wade. Randy, Randy, Randy, the universe was not created when you were born. Abortions have been illegal for most of American history. Homosexuality was once a criminal offense and has been looked upon as a perversion for most cultures and most of human history (spare me the Greek example). Women have been homemakers for most of human history and worked very hard in that role until angry feminists told them that they needed to get a "real job." And you have a problem with moralizing? Good God, we get nothing but sanctimonious moralizing about pretty much everything. From the environment, our speech, our "bigotry," our use of oil, our very existence as people who pollute our planet by our very being. And it's constant; from the time we get up until we finally fall asleep. And it comes from people like you.

And then you have the insufferable gall to try to define "real Christians."


Who I do feel sympathy are the real Christians who were disagree with their radical agenda and felt pushed aside by these social conservatives, as they are tarred with a label that is unfair. They therefore need to work to distance them selves from this claque.


God may love you but I find you and your "claque" more than a little unhinged.
6.21.2008 2:29pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Abortions have been illegal for most of American history. Homosexuality was once a criminal offense and has been looked upon as a perversion for most cultures and most of human history (spare me the Greek example). Women have been homemakers for most of human history and worked very hard in that role until angry feminists told them that they needed to get a "real job." And you have a problem with moralizing? Good God, we get nothing but sanctimonious moralizing about pretty much everything. From the environment, our speech, our "bigotry," our use of oil, our very existence as people who pollute our planet by our very being. And it's constant; from the time we get up until we finally fall asleep. And it comes from people like you.
If a majority of people in the past had jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?
6.21.2008 2:44pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
True enough, as to belief. But isn't the operant state for religious observance faith, not belief? And doesn't faith require an act of free will?
The idea that religion is principally about faith is an extremely Protestant idea. The idea that faith is the defining attribute of, say, Buddhism is just silly.
6.21.2008 2:47pm
Suzy (mail):
Actually, only the wealthier women were homemakers in the past. The rest of the women were working elsewhere in addition to being homemakers--in fields, in factories, in someone else's home. For many of these working women, the role of stay at home mom might have sounded very nice indeed! Nowadays if poor women want to stay at home with their kids, "angry" people tell them to get a "real job" so that they won't receive any taxpayer dollars.
6.21.2008 2:57pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Elliott, my friend. Randy R. implied that abortion, gay marriage, women in the work force and his other hobbyhorses were the norm and Christians were trying to change that. It takes a simple-minded and a-historical view of reality to make that claim.

Apparently you did not get that.

Is it your claim that all or recorded history is simply mankind jumping off a cliff until the "enlightend" showed up in the form of a Liberal claque? (I'm beginning to like that word)
6.21.2008 2:58pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Suzie, despsite what feminist have taught you, women have been responsible for the home throughtout human history. Part of the reason for that is biology. Pregnancy, you know.

I am aware that in primitive societies everyone: men, women and children are required to work to avoid starvation. But especially in primitive societies there is a severe division of labor.
6.21.2008 3:03pm
Suzy (mail):
Where's the disagreement, and why are you calling me a feminist? Yes, women have been responsible for the home. But only wealthy women were able to be responsible for their own homes and nothing else. Those are the women that most feminists of the 60s and 70s wanted to enlighten and send out into the workforce. Poor women were already out there, doing jobs that these feminists presumably would not have prized.
6.21.2008 3:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
Sorry, Moneyrunner, but I did not make this statemetn -- unhyphenated conservative did, and I was merely quoting him: "unhyphenated conservative: " I mean the sixties and seventies had no hostility toward believers. So the idea that religious believers, feeling under attack from pop culture elites, might vent their opinions is just crazy."

Pat Robertson ran for President of the United States. That's more than just voicing your opinion, it's attempting to be in office to foist your values upon others.

Appparently you agree with everything that the radical religious right proposes, such as putting women back in the home, and banning abortion and homosexuality. Of course, that is your right, but (except for abortion), they are certainly not moral issues. And regardless, if you are going to argue that that women in the workforce or gays are going to hell and don't deserve basic rights, then you can't complain that acedemics might think less of you.
6.21.2008 3:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
Moneyrunner: "And then you have the insufferable gall to try to define "real Christians."

I sure do. Here's why.

When I read the Bible, I read what Jesus Christ said and did. Now, I consider that anyone who calls himself a "Christian" and a follow of Christ would do the same thing. And when I read this, I find that Christ had nothing at all to say about gays, women in the workforce or abortion. His actions showed me that he was more concerned about poverty and people helping other people. In fact, he is quoted as saying in Matthew that he has no commandments for us, but if he did, it was to love one another.

I don't see how oppressing or discriminating against a group of people can be construed as love.

But if you must, then call yourself a Bibleist, or call yourself and Oldtestamentalist, but you certainly can't yourself a Christian. Leave that one to people who actually follow his teachings.

And if you are going to be an evangelical Bibleist, then you can hardly be surprised when women, gays, and people who have no problem with women or gays in the workforce laugh at you. As is their right, no?
6.21.2008 4:03pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Randy pulls the old "what would Jesus do" trick. Jesus does tell us to love one another, a characteristic that seems to be notably absent from the comments found on this thread with regard to Christians. But Christ came to earth to die for our sins because, as has been evidenced by the religious bashing on the Volokh conspiracy, we do not love one another. In fact we find that "our" kind of Christians are despised.

Christ mixed with sinners of all descriptions. However he did not do so to put his seal of approval on sinful acts, but to lead those who sin to salvation.

Christ was not a social worker. He fed the five thousand not as a welfare program but to bring the people of his time to him.

The Left would like to highjack Christ and turn him into a supporter of the Democrat platform. In that guise he would be accepted. As someone who threw the money changers from the temple, he would be ostracized, called judgmental, definitely dangerous. In fact, it was because he was considered dangerous that he was crucified.

And Randy, when you pull out that old chestnut about

… that Christ had nothing at all to say about gays, women in the workforce or abortion.


I am reminded of the fact that Christ condemned the Pharisees who tried to live according to the letter of the law, not to its spirit. He referred to them as whitened sepulchers. Christ never condemned genocide, fratricide, incest or necrophilia … or any of a host of sins by name. There was no need.

So Randy, play your games with someone else.
6.21.2008 4:56pm
Public_Defender (mail):
There are levels of disagreements and ways of dealing with people of different beliefs. Here's one way of explaining it:

1) I disagree, but reasonable people could disagree.
2) I disagree, but your wrong position is harmless.
3) I disagree, your position is morally wrong, and by my actions, I want to make it clear that your position (and actions based on your position) is morally wrong.
4) I disagree, and the I should be able to sue you if you act on your beliefs in a way that hurts me.
5) I disagree, and you should go to prison if you act on your beliefs.
6) I disagree, and you should go to prison (or be killed) just because you believe what you believe.

If by "unfavorable," people mean items one or two above, there's nothing wrong with it. Putting people in category three (social sanctions) is the next step.

One of the legitimate fear of anti-gay religious people is that they are increasingly receiving social sanctions based on expressing anti-gay beliefs. Whether that's appropriate or not depends on your view on the merits of the underlying gay rights arguments. Is being anti-gay like being anti-Semitic? If so, then it is appropriate to look on people with anti-gay views unfavorably.
6.21.2008 5:15pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
There's another spirit running through these threads about the so-called "radical religious right" whoever that boogieman is. This undefined, but scary group wants to "put women back in the home." Really? Is there a law being proposed by the "radical religious right" that women are to be denied the right to work outside the home? Please, anyone, cite any Christian denomination that proposes that. Then there is the "banning [of] homosexuality." Again, really? How can homosexuality be banned? I understood that the homosexual position was that it was genetic. Is there a move afoot among the "radical religious right" to abort homosexual fetuses? Abort … uhh probably not. Then perhaps imprisonment? Who's proposing that? And who is shouting from the pulpit that "women in the workforce or gays are going to hell and don't deserve basic rights?" The only ranting I have heard coming from the pulpit recently has been Obama's spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright.

I'm rather surprised that with people like Randy explaining their side so eloquently, academics are willing to put their names on this site.
6.21.2008 5:31pm
Federal Dog:
"My experience is that you don't discuss religion or politics with an evangelical christian."


Unless you agree with them, the same principle applies to academics.
6.21.2008 5:58pm
Public_Defender (mail):

Then there is the "banning [of] homosexuality." Again, really? How can homosexuality be banned? I understood that the homosexual position was that it was genetic.


Many conservative American Episcopalians have pledged their loyalty to a Nigerian Archbishop who supports jailing gay people for 1) being gay; or 2) publicly advocating gay rights. Worse, they are cleaving to the Nigerian thug specifically because he is anti-gay.

I have an "unfavorable view" of those Episcopalians.
6.21.2008 6:03pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I am reminded of the fact that Christ condemned the Pharisees who tried to live according to the letter of the law, not to its spirit. "

of course not. And so when people trot out Leviticus to condemn homosexuality, they are, like the Pharisees, living according to the letter of a few chosen laws but not the spirit. And they don't even have the honesty of consistency, and they merely pick and choose a handful of laws but disregard all the others, according to nothing more than whim.

Phyllis Shafley made her career out of opposing the ERA, and throughout the 70s and 80s wrote many columns advocating for the return of women to the home. Moneyrunner himself has stated: Women have been homemakers for most of human history and worked very hard in that role until angry feminists told them that they needed to get a "real job." "

Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer and the entire radical right regularly condemn homosexuality, and make up lies about a so-called Homosexual Agenda, which includes the ridiculous notion that we want to convert children to being gay, that we are all pedophiles, that we are diseased, and so on. Don't believe me? Then please read their own websites for their view on gays. Even you state : ""Homosexuality was once a criminal offense and has been looked upon as a perversion for most cultures and most of human history (spare me the Greek example)." And yes, many of these same people still would love to criminilize gay sex -- they openly said so after the decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

There are in fact many Christian churches that accept gays, working women, heck even women as ministers. However, they are labeled as not 'really' Christian by the other conservative Christian churches. I guess you can only have the 'gall' to call another church 'not really Christian' so long as you are a conservative Christian, right?

But these several threads have been all about how evangelicals are viewed in academia. Moneyrunner, I believe you have proved why people like you are viewed with distain by them. So long as you think that an entire group of people are sinners just because of who they are, and base it on nothing more than what was written over 2000 years ago, you will not be welcome in most academia. Thank goodness for that. But again, if you are angry that a majority of people no longer share you views, then either change your views, or don't be concerned with what academics think about you.

Publi:"One of the legitimate fear of anti-gay religious people is that they are increasingly receiving social sanctions based on expressing anti-gay beliefs."

I'm sure it's a fear, but I'm not sure if it is legitimate. If I were a racist, and I usually spout racist beliefs in the workplace, I would now certainly have a fear about social sanctions, or even worse. If I limited my racist comments to my home, my only real fear is that my children would think I'm an racist, and may try to dissuade me from making such comments, at least around their friends.

So yes, making fag jokes is really less commonly accepted than it was ten years ago. Thank goodness for that. However, I have yet to see anyone taken to court over a fag joke, so those sorts of fears are baseless.
6.21.2008 6:06pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Public defender,
You are perfectly right in your analysis. I would argue that much of the opposition to "gay rights" is the position that homosexual acts are considered one of many sins by many people of a variety of religious persuasions. I would add that Christians merely condemn sin verbally. And even then, only in formalistic ways, such as an admonition to avoid sin from the pulpit. I have never considered saying anything to my friends who are homosexual. I have enough sins on my conscience to avoid admonishing them.

On the other hand, Moslems kill the sinner.

The "gay rights" movement appears to demand that religions re-define their list of sins to correspond with their social objectives. This, many religions refuse to do, claiming a mandate from a higher authority than a social movement.

An associated (but not identical) issue is homosexual marriage. This is an area that unites both religious and non-religious people. In this we are being asked to re-define a fundamental institution. The objection to that is both religious and secular.

Because the institution of marriage has been degraded during the last century so that its sanctity has been eroded, it is now not too much of a stretch to re-define it. My objection to this is that there really is no logical stopping point if we do this. It is logically absurd to argue that the purpose of marriage is to institutionalize the bond between two people who love each other. If people love each other what is the constitutional reason to limit the number to two? What is the constitutional reason to limit the bond to people? What is the constitutional reason to prohibit incest? There may be prudential reasons, but prudential reasons of an earlier age are now considered discriminatory and its adherents hateful.

When issues like these are raised in places like this they are either ignored, made light of or met with the response that there is no "polygamist rights" movement. So what? Does there need to be a movement for "rights" to be extended to the "disenfranchised?" Perhaps the people whose job it is to discuss these issues will come forward.
6.21.2008 6:13pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Public defender,

Your comments regarding the Nigerian Archbishop are off track. I am not Episcopalian, but my understanding is that those who support Akinola do so because they oppose the ordination of openly gay men or women as priests, not because they wish to jail homosexuals.

That appears to be an African tradition.

Multiculturalism anyone?
6.21.2008 6:26pm
LM (mail):
Elliot,

The idea that religion is principally about faith is an extremely Protestant idea. The idea that faith is the defining attribute of, say, Buddhism is just silly.

I thought the Protestant context of my comment was evident, but on second look I can see the ambiguity. Thanks for the clarification.
6.21.2008 6:46pm
Gesundheit:
One of the strangest things about conservative Christians is how whiny they are. Once upon a time, conservatives deplored the "culture of victimhood" in minority communities (which was fair enough -- self pity is bad for you). Now conservative Christians seem to have concocted a fantasy world in which they're the victims of a giant secular conspiracy.

This is ludicrous. As far as I know, there's only one self-identified atheist in Congress, and there are none on the Supreme Court (though two or three of the justices are admittedly fairly secular). And we all know about the White House. There's a reason for this, of course: Polling suggests that atheists are the most distrusted group in the United States -- ahead of Muslims and gays.

My point is not that atheists are the real victims. Not many of us get elected to high office, but that's just how democracy works: If you have unpopular views, people don't vote for you. Which is how it ought to be. And I don't consider Christian opposition to atheism to be a form of bigotry. It's just an intellectual disagreement, albeit one with moral and political overtones.

I just think it's pathetic that conservative Christians have to imagine themselves to be part of an embattled minority when non-believers make up maybe 10% of the U.S. population and hold essentially no political power. What narcissistic, self-pitying nonsense.

Yeah, naturally you're not going to find tons of Evangelicals on the faculties of Princeton, Stanford and Yale, but that's just because religion hasn't done so hot in the war of ideas over the last few centuries. That doesn't mean you're oppressed. If you want to change that, get more smart people to adopt your belief system. I don't see it happening any time soon, but you should at least try before you go crying about how the big bad secular conspiracy is keeping you down. I'll say it again: Pathetic.
6.21.2008 8:11pm
L.A. Brave:
Gesundheit:
It is a shame, especially considering our fine country was established by scientifically literate deists. There is little distinction between an 18th century deist and a modern atheist. What we today call "scientific determinism" they simply labeled "God."

I have to disagree slightly. As a statistical matter, Congress is probably over represented with atheists (compared to the general population). As Dan Dennet says, there aren't any good reasons to believe in God, but there are plenty of good reasons to pretend to believe in God. Improving your chances of getting elected to office is probably one of those reasons.
6.21.2008 8:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Moneyrunner: :"The "gay rights" movement appears to demand that religions re-define their list of sins to correspond with their social objectives. This, many religions refuse to do, claiming a mandate from a higher authority than a social movement. "

Gesunheit is correct when he says the many religious right people are whiny. No gays rights organization or supporters have evey stated that any religion should redefine anything. In fact, all gays rights legislation *specifically* exempts religions. Therefore, where laws a passed the prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing, all religious groups are exempt. They are free to discriminate against gays much as they like. Furthermore, no church would be required to marry a gay couple if they do not wish to.

So, the religious right has it's own bogey men -- the scary "gay activists: who will force them to declare homosexuality is no longer a sin, and force them to marry gays in their church. But it simply not true.

" I am not Episcopalian, but my understanding is that those who support Akinola do so because they oppose the ordination of openly gay men or women as priests, not because they wish to jail homosexuals. "

On this point, you are correct. And they reason they are breaking away from the greater Episcopalian body is because they have the gall to suggest that the ones who have supported gay priests are "not real Christians." However, there is an old saying, if you play with pigs, you're gonna get dirty. Another one says you are judged by the company you keep. If you join up with an organization that wishes to jail gays (among other punishments), don't be surprised if you are viewed as anti-gay.

So it appears that many Christians, on both right and left, are more than happy to declare everyone else not real Christians.
6.21.2008 9:17pm
Hoosier:
Gesundheit: "Yeah, naturally you're not going to find tons of Evangelicals on the faculties of Princeton, Stanford and Yale, but that's just because religion hasn't done so hot in the war of ideas over the last few centuries."

Would you mind clarifying what the @&^# you mean by that? That seems to be a blanket statement that does not actually mean anything. But I'd be happy to hear your take on it.

As to whether religious folks are "whiny," I'll leave that to you and Randy R. But anti-religious bigotry is still well-tolerated at universities. Toleration of any sort of bias against any sort of group of people in contemporary academia is very selective, and (coincidentally?) always against those with more traditional leanings.

But you claim that it's "pathetic" to think there is discrimination against Christians in universities; and, anyway, it's justified by the failure of their ideas.

Now, this is what Aristotelians call the "Eric Cartman Fallacy:

"Your mom Posed Naked in Crack Whore Magazine."

Eric Cartman: "No she didn't! And anyway she was young and needed the money."
6.21.2008 10:10pm
Federal Dog:
"One of the strangest things about conservative Christians is how whiny they are."


Again, interestingly, the same exact observation is applicable to academics.
6.22.2008 7:49am
Public_Defender (mail):

In fact, all gays rights legislation *specifically* exempts religions.


Not really. Gay rights laws don't require a Catholic priest to marry gays in California or Massachusetts, but they can require anti-gay religiously-based organizations from discriminating against gay people. Just ask the Massachusetts Catholic adoption agency who had to close when its bishop ordered the agency not to stop complying with state law barring discrimination against gay people.

Statement: " I am not Episcopalian, but my understanding is that those who support Akinola do so because they oppose the ordination of openly gay men or women as priests, not because they wish to jail homosexuals. "

Response: "On this point, you are correct. And they reason they are breaking away from the greater Episcopalian body is because they have the gall to suggest that the ones who have supported gay priests are 'not real Christians. However, there is an old saying, if you play with pigs, you're gonna get dirty. Another one says you are judged by the company you keep. If you join up with an organization that wishes to jail gays (among other punishments), don't be surprised if you are viewed as anti-gay."

And it's perfectly fair to view people "unfavorably" when they consciously chose to affiliate with bigoted thugs like Akinola.
6.22.2008 9:01am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Public_Defender,

Are channelling Randy R., a sock puppet, or doing your own name calling?
6.22.2008 9:12am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Public_Defender [What a misnomer you have there]
RE: Gay Rights Trump...

"Gay rights laws don't require a Catholic priest to marry gays in California or Massachusetts, but they can require anti-gay religiously-based organizations from discriminating against gay people." -- Public_Defender

....religious beliefs.

You must have missed all the discussion on this blog heretofore.

Homosexuals are taking other people to court for not photographing their marriages, allowing them the use of religious property to perform acts of what christians believe to be sacrilege, etc., etc., etc.

Therefore, you are either very ignorant or you lie.

Which is it?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.22.2008 11:05am
Michael B (mail):
"As science advances, as we reverse engineer the brain, as we demolish mind-body dualism ..." L.A.

Excerpt:

"Arguments for materialism are few. Tyler Burge and others have maintained that the naturalistic picture of the world is more like a political or religious ideology than like a position well supported by evidence, and that materialism is an article of faith based on the worship of science. That is an overstatement. But Ryle (to start with) gave no argument that I can recall for materialism per se; he only inveighed against the particularly Cartesian "dogma of the Ghost in the Machine." Ullin Place, founder of the Identity Theory, gave none; he was originally a Behaviorist who bravely and honestly acknowledged that introspectible occurrent sensations were a problem for Behaviorism and, while making an exception for them, tried to account for them within the materialist framework, but without defending the need to do so.

"J.J.C. Smart was perhaps the first to offer reasons. First, he appealed to the scientific view of the world:"
[S]ensations, states of consciousness,...seem to be the one sort of thing left outside the physicalist picture, and for various reasons I just cannot believe that this can be so... That everything should be explicable in terms of physics...except the occurrence of sensations seems to me frankly unbelievable...
The above is largely a confession of faith... (pp. 142-43)
"Just so, and just so. I too simply refuse to believe in spookstuff or surds in nature. But this argumentum ad recuso credere is no argument at all; it is at best, in David Lewis' famous phrase, an incredulous stare."

And that, from a prof who is in your corner - and decidedly so.

B.S. "demolishes" nothing. Nihil ex nihilo.
6.22.2008 1:11pm
Gesundheit:
I wrote: "Yeah, naturally you're not going to find tons of Evangelicals on the faculties of Princeton, Stanford and Yale, but that's just because religion hasn't done so hot in the war of ideas over the last few centuries."

Hoover asked: "Would you mind clarifying what the @&^# you mean by that? That seems to be a blanket statement that does not actually mean anything. But I'd be happy to hear your take on it."

I'm happy to clarify. As a preliminary matter, I should note that I'm well aware that there are some orthodox believers -- as opposed to, say, secular Unitarians or Reform Jews -- of various stripes on the faculties of elite universities. But they're certainly in the minority, which makes elite universities quite different from America at large.

When I said that religion hasn't fared well in the war of ideas, here's what I meant: Only two hundred years ago, we had no explanation of how humans came to exist other than those accounts found in myths and scriptures. We had only a very rudimentary knowledge of the universe and of our planet's position in it. We didn't know how old the Earth or human species was; we had no good explanation for ancient fossils; and so on.

In such a world, the story of Genesis was almost plausible. If we weren't created by God, where did we come from? How did this complex world and these complex beings come into existence if not by the hand of God?

Today, the scriptural account of human origin is widely considered to be a man-made myth. And many responsible and serious historians and scientists consider much of the rest of the Bible to be fictional, too. In addition, we have seen the development of serious rivals to religion in the moral sphere. One may be a utilitarian or even a Kantian without believing in God. Many things that were long endorsed by religious leaders -- including the subjugation of women -- are now considered by most educated people to be deeply immoral.

A key point: My statement regarding the war of ideas was descriptive rather than normative. I'm not saying that the religious accounts of human origins or of morality are necessarily wrong. For the purposes of my argument, it's possible that the world was created by Brahma on Vishnu's orders; or that Izanagi and Izanami created the Japanese archipelago; or that we ought to be sacrificing more virgins to the sun god; or that "intelligent design" is the best account of human origins.

All I am saying is that these kinds of accounts have not fared well in the war of ideas. Very few highly educated people now believe, as Isaac Newton did, that God created the world in seven days. (Indeed, very few even believe that there is any evidence of intelligent design.) The leading scientists and moral philosophers who are religious generally adhere to a vague, deistic faith that downplays dogma -- the faith of Spinoza, Lincoln, Jefferson, Paine and Einstein.

Some intelligent people are still into the old time religion. But advances in human knowledge have made it far rarer to find an educated person who believes in the literal truth of the Bible than it was two hundred years ago; and revolutions in moral philosophy have given us many new, popular ways to look at right and wrong. Perhaps this is a great disaster for humanity, but it's hard to deny the trend.

Religion certainly hasn't lost the war of ideas, but Christianity is far less intellectually confident and aggressive today than it was two centuries ago, and I think it's fair to say that as our knowledge of the universe and our own collective history has increased, its reputation has taken a big hit -- at least among thinking people. I don't see religious belief ever disappearing (and certainly don't endorse its abolition), but absent a few well-placed miracles, I don't orthodox belief regaining the ground it has lost among intellectuals.

Finally:

I said it was pathetic for conservative Christians to whine about how they're victims of bigotry when they make up such a large majority of the population. I didn't say they're popular at universities. In fact, I said they aren't particularly well represented at elite schools -- and gave a reason, which I have expounded on at length above.

Anyone can come up with a narrative in which they're a victim of bigotry and oppression. I just think it's kind of undignified, at least when your case for victim status is so stunningly weak. I could whine about "anti-atheist bigotry" and how terribly hard it is for me to be part of the most distrusted demographic group in America, but I'd feel slimy and self-pitying as I did it. Evidently right-wing Christians lack such shame.
6.22.2008 2:40pm
Public_Defender (mail):

You must have missed all the discussion on this blog heretofore.


Actually, I was acknowledging that some gay rights laws really do affect the liberty of anti-gay people, and I was contradicting someone who argued to the contrary.


Are channelling Randy R., a sock puppet, or doing your own name calling?


I stand by the statement--Akinola is a bigot and a thug. People who chose follow him deserve disapproval. Sometimes names and labels fit. When you call for the State to use its power to imprison people merely for being gay or for speaking in favor of gay rights, you have earned both the title "thug" and the title "bigot."

That said, that's a lot narrower than expressing "disapproval" to evangelicals generally. Many Evangelical Christians recognize their own sins, and concentrate on improving themselves and taking care of their families and their neighbors. There is too much good and too much diversity in the evangelical community to view the group "disfavorably."
6.22.2008 3:37pm
Jerry F:
Randy R says (regarding the Christian Right's approach to politics): "The people have rebelled and rejected this approach, by and large, but it has been a long and bruising campaign, with a lot of name calling and mud slinging."

By "people," I assume Randy means the Leftist, activist wing of the United States Supreme Court.
6.22.2008 4:43pm
LM (mail):

By "people," I assume Randy means the Leftist, activist wing of the United States Supreme Court.

William O. Douglas?
6.22.2008 8:04pm
Jerry F:
Anderson: "When you call for the State to use its power to imprison people merely for being gay or for speaking in favor of gay rights, you have earned both the title "thug" and the title "bigot.""

Apparently you do not know what a thug is. You should look it up in the dictionary. Words are supposed to have meanings, as much as the extreme Left wants to claim otherwise.

And I trust that Leftists who "call for the State to use its power to imprison people merely for speaking against homosexuality" have also earned the title of bigot, correct? The difference between these people and folks like Akinola, of course, is that Akinola has not yet successfully caused the imprisonment of homosexuals or homosexual enablers.

The sad thing is that the over-the-top rhetoric by Leftists like Anderson makes it impossible to know what has actually been said. Reading the comments above, I still have no idea under what circumstances Akinola calls for imprisonment. I suspect that he does not call for imprisonment of people "merely for being gay" but rather is of the view that people who engage in homosexual conduct should be incarcerated. And I find it hard to believe that Akinola said that anyone who disagrees with him on this view should be incarcerated as well (though if he did, that would be no worst than what is currently the law of the land in Canada or many EU countries).
6.22.2008 9:16pm
Jerry F:
I meant Public_Defender, not Anderson. Wrong Leftist, sorry!
6.22.2008 9:21pm
LM (mail):
Jerry F,

Words are supposed to have meanings, as much as the extreme Left wants to claim otherwise.

How do you define "the Leftist, activist wing of the United States Supreme Court," and which of the presumably seven Republican Justices does it include?
6.22.2008 11:36pm
Public_Defender (mail):

And I trust that Leftists who "call for the State to use its power to imprison people merely for speaking against homosexuality" have also earned the title of bigot, correct? The difference between these people and folks like Akinola, of course, is that Akinola has not yet successfully caused the imprisonment of homosexuals or homosexual enablers.


Who on the left has called for the imprisonment of anti-gay people? To be equivalent to Akinola, they would have to support immediately imprisoning nearly every Catholic priest and bishop in the US, as well as the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the LDS Church, and the breakaway Episcopalians. That just ain't happening.
6.23.2008 7:02am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Public_Defender
RE: Really?

"'You must have missed all the discussion on this blog heretofore.' -- Chuck Pelto to Public_Defender


Actually, I was acknowledging that some gay rights laws really do affect the liberty of anti-gay people, and I was contradicting someone who argued to the contrary." -- Public_Defender

You didn't come across that way. And I'm not the only one who commented such. If you're REALLY a Public Defender, I'd be curious as to your success rate of cases you've defended. I suspect, based on your poor use of English, that it's rather low.

RE: Ignorant or What?

I take it you claim ignorance—as opposed to being a liar—to my last question.

Time will tell. But based on your evasion, I suspect the latter is the more accurate answer.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Obfuscation, n., Trying to confuse an issue to one's own advantage.]
6.23.2008 12:06pm
Hoosier:
Gesundheit:

I think you are making the mistake of allowing American Protestant Fundamentalist ideas to stand-in for the ideas of "orthodox religion". My knowledge of theology is minimal, and so I can only speak in detail regarding the Church in which I was raised. But since that's one billion people, I don't think it's a minor quibble.

(Full Disclosure: I am a lapsed Catholic. Essentially agnostic.)

Roman Catholic philosophy was not undermined by revelations about the age of the Earth, the process of evolution, and so on. Biblical literalism is not a Catholic tradition. This goes back to the patristic period--How could the Church rely exclusively on the Bible before there was a Bible?--but was well in place at the universities by about the 1200s. Medieval Schoolmen might have been debating some recondite topics. But the literal Six Days of Creation was never of much interest.

Because of this, the Church has a tradition, going back to Aquinas, of accepting the teachings of science as reconcilable with doctrine. The Galileo suppression is a shameful event. But it is also a shame that this is the only episode that is remembered in the broad conversation between Rome and the scientists.

More recently, the Catholic Church has gone from taking no position--one way or the other--when Natural Selection was first proposed, to suggesting that this theory is the best available for explaining current biology. The Church position, again going back to Aquinas, is that science can deceive us about the natural world only if God is anxious to deceive us by causing us to see the world as it it *not*. And St. Thomas didn't want to call God a liar.

I feel the need to make this point because I don't like "Christianity" and "One-Hundred Year Old American Fundamentalism" lumped together. And I see this far too often in this country.

As for your second component, ethical systems: Are there really a lot of Kantians running around these days? And what is Spinoza's sales rank on Amazon?

Since the question is 'How well have religious ideas done?', it is unavoidable that one asks about the effects of post-modern theory on secular ethical philosophies. I have yet to see a good response to MacIntyre's case in "After Virtue," namely, that they cannot be held as anything other than "intuitions." Which thus contradicts the Enlightenment rationalist basis for holding them in the first place.

Catholic thinking regarding ethics has done better in the debate with post-modern skepticism than have secular philosophies. One of those ironies of Nietzsche: He attacked religion AND rationalism. In the end, reason took the bigger hit. Oops.
6.23.2008 12:06pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Errata....Obfuscation is a verb. Not a noun.
6.23.2008 12:07pm
Jerry F:
Public_Defender: "Who on the left has called for the imprisonment of anti-gay people? To be equivalent to Akinola, they would have to support immediately imprisoning nearly every Catholic priest and bishop in the US, as well as the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the LDS Church, and the breakaway Episcopalians. That just ain't happening."

I don't think this analogy works. Akinola's proposed bill sought to criminalize homosexual advocacy organizations, i.e., groups that have as their core mission the promotion of homosexuality. I happen to disagree with Akinola on this issue, but the equivalent of this position on the left would be someone who seeks to criminalize organizations that have as their core mission the opposing of homosexuality. The only organization I can think of that would qualify for a ban under this view is the Westboro Baptist Church. Pro-family organizations that oppose homosexuality (e.g., Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, etc.) would not be banned because opposition to homosexuality is just one of their many policy positions and is not their core mission. And the LDS Church, Catholic Church, etc. would be even farther from meeting the standard for a ban than pro-family groups like Focus on the Family.

The existing law in Canada and many European countries today goes farther toward banning anti-homosexual speech than Akinola's proposed legislation would go toward banning pro-homosexual speech: Akinola sought to ban homosexual advocacy group but, to my knowledge, didn't go so far as to say that anyone who speaks in favor of homosexuality be imprisoned.
6.23.2008 12:17pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: [OT] Who Sets Time-Out Here?

I find it rather interesting that the commenting period seems to 'vary' from topic-thread to topic-thread. And I have to wonder at the Rules Of Engagement.

Case in point....

A bit down the 'hall' from here there was a discussion about Religious Liberty and Same Sex Marriage. I was discussing some thinks with people there.

The thread started on June 17. And it terminated on or about June 19. That's two days.

However, I notice this thread has been going on from June 20 until today. That's three days.

Why is it there a 'difference'? Who's 'in charge' of setting the rules? Is it at the blog-level? Or at the thread-level?

What are the criteria for the posting ability on a thread?

Someone recently asked me to review the Rules Of Engagement/Terms Of Service. I don't see anything in there about how long a thread is supposed to be open for comment. But I could be missing it.

Would someone in charge of this think please explain?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.23.2008 4:55pm
guest from Wisconsin/Iowa (mail):
Chuck, ease up, you look like a clown, for one, 'obfuscate' is the verb and secondly, 'corrigendum,' not 'errata,' is the applicable word if you're going to use such terms.
6.24.2008 8:28am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: guest....W/I
RE: Get Real....

"Chuck, ease up, you look like a clown, for one, 'obfuscate' is the verb and secondly, 'corrigendum,' not 'errata,' is the applicable word if you're going to use such terms." -- guest from Wisconsin/Iowa

...and bring forth something other than what I used to hear in high school....almost 50 years ago.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.25.2008 2:33pm