In a time of chaos and misrule, Mardi Gras’ subversive message is virtually meaningless

Historically amongst the revelers at Venice’s celebrated Mardi Gras Carnival, are those costumed in the distinctive beaked mask of the Medico della Peste—the plague doctor. Wearing black robes and white gloves, those celebrants who deck the uniform of the Renaissance plague doctors are most recognizable by the long avian proboscis of the mask, with its […]

Stop praising anti-Trump evangelicals: Their embrace of authoritarianism is a big part of the problem

At this critical moment for American democracy our media landscape is doing a poor job in its coverage of conservative white evangelicals. Coverage of this relatively large segment of the population is characterized by, on the one hand, effusive praise for the slightest milquetoast criticism of Donald Trump, and on the other, by a periodic […]

Decoding the Christian paradox: Evangelical historian explains how right-wingers ignore Jesus to support a corrupt and greedy president

To quote the bumper sticker: “What would Jesus do?” Assuming that he existed and held the views imputed to him, Jesus Christ would not support Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s behavior, values, policies and their consequences are the opposite of what Jesus Christ represented. Trump has put migrants and refugees in cages and delighted in their suffering. He […]

Minnesota pastor leads campaign to try to shift evangelical vote away from Trump

MINNEAPOLIS — The Rev. Doug Pagitt jumped on stage at his former Minneapolis church with a message that he and his entourage are repeating across the country: Evangelical voters, you can stay true to your Christian faith but not vote for President Donald Trump.Their “Vote Common Good” campaign, conducted from a bright orange bus making […]

‘Empty the Pews’ chronicles the ‘nurtured insanity’ of a fundamentalist upbringing

There is a great exodus taking place in Christian circles. Can it be called a loss of faith? I don’t think so. It is rather a loss of confidence in everything at once. Christianity has always been about “the Word,” but these days, words don’t seem to matter. They’ve lost their power to describe and […]

Religious leaders need ‘Empty the Pews’ — which chronicles the darker side of the ‘Nones’ phenomenon

Empty the Pews Edited by Lauren O’Neal and Chrissy Stroop Epiphany Publishing (November, 2019) In 2020, the rise of the so-called religious “Nones”—those who claim no religious affiliation—has evolved from a story of interest to a small niche of readers into an entire genre on the religion beat. While the term None has some usefulness […]

How playing the good Christian housewife almost killed me

Whenever I talk about my escape from the Quiverfull movement, Christians immediately dismiss my experience by saying, “Your problem was not with Jesus or Christianity. Your problem was that you were following an extreme, legalistic cult. Let me tell you about my personal relationship with Jesus.” It can be extremely frustrating. I was in a […]

Pete Buttigieg: Citing ‘Matthew 25’ isn’t a viable Democratic faith outreach strategy

John Stoehr, who has been one of my favorite political commentators for a while now, went ding-an-sich in yesterday’s column, discussing the difference between politics itself and the way we talk about politics. “It’s good to step back and talk about how we talk about politics,” Stoehr says, “especially given that how we talk about […]

Orthodox church cancellation of Louvre exhibit is a classic authoritarian move

This week has not been a very good one for the arts. Or history. The very same week President Trump announced that he was, once again, trying to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bulgarian Minister of Culture, Boil Banov, announced that his office would put a stop to an exhibition […]

Trump admin grant to Christian supporters ignites Twitter firestorm over taxpayer funded religious coercion

Reuters’ Sarah N. Lynch broke a big story on Monday morning highlighting one of the more outrageous examples of the Trump administration’s penchant for rewarding supporters and punishing opponents: A U.S. Justice Department anti-human trafficking grant program is facing internal complaints, after two nonprofits were denied funding in favor of two less established groups whose applications […]