David Barton Gets Called Out in Colorado

There isn’t much new here for regular followers of this blog, but I just wanted to give a shout out to Rich Allen and the Aspen Daily News.

David Barton and friends have been traveling around the country on a post-COVID, pre-midterm election scare out the vote tour. Reporter Allen and the Daily News folks were on top of it. Allen noted that Barton’s 2012 book on Jefferson “was voted the least credible history book in print by the independent History News Network.” Oh, and Allen just happened to cite a certain blogger and his co-author, who opined on Barton’s The Jefferson Lies. What was it The Blogger and Michael Coulter said?

“Barton misrepresents and distorts a host of Jefferson’s ideas and actions, particularly his views and practices regarding religion, slavery and church-state relations,” they said in a co-statement.

As good as Allen’s article was, it could have gone a little deeper. I wish some enterprising reporter would do a deep dive into Barton’s fleeting claim to have an earned doctorate. Of course that turned out to be a big old story about as true as his NCAA basketball story.

In any case, readers in that part of the country have a little more of the story than people usually get when Mr. Barton shows up.

Mises Caucus Takes Over the Libertarian Party

This looks like an interesting story going into the mid-term elections.

As the Republican party continues to deny the Big Truth (Trump did not win the 2020 election) and pretend the January 6 insurrection was a picnic, many conservative and moderate minded people will look for a third party. While many voted for Joe Biden, there is discontent with Biden and the Dems which may lead people to consider the Libertarians. For their part, there is lots of energy in that camp.

In their party convention held in Reno, NV recently, party offices were swept by members of the Mises Caucus. This group is led by Libertarians influenced by Murray Rothbard, Tom Woods, and of course, Ludwig von Mises, and seems to incorporate a more socially conservative element. For instance, the pro-choice plank was removed from the Libertarian platform as was the following language opposing bigotry:

We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant.

It is hard to say if this will make any difference in 2022 voting behavior. It could hurt Republicans by giving socially conservative voters a place to go besides the delusional GOP. It might hurt Democrats by taking away a few socially liberal voters into a party historically known for personal freedom and self-ownership.

In any case, I may be giving this issue more than a passing glance. There are some links with past work I have done. The Mises Caucus considers Ron Paul an elder statesment, if not a living saint. Ron Paul had a run for president a decade ago. At that time, he had some problematic endorsements of the theocratic variety. I noted the endorsement of Philip Kayser, who thought death a good end for gays, divorcees, etc., which didn’t help matters for Dr. Paul.

Will Paul rise again? Will there be a Libertarian strain of Christian Nationalism which will again rise up and influence the Christian right? The strange bedfellows may rise to sleep again.

Articles on the Mises Caucus

The Nation

Salon

Mises Caucus

Here is a great video summary of recent events.

Bill Hwang, Major Supporter of Ravi Zacharias, Indicted for Racketeering, Market Manipulation and Fraud

For many years, Bill Hwang was a high flying donor for Ravi Zacharias’ ministry. He also was someone who Zacharias put in front of his audiences even though Zacharias knew Hwang had a checkered past. Now some more of those chickens may be coming home to roost. Watch:

As I pointed out in 2017, Hwang’s first SEC rodeo cost him 44-million and the loss of his ability to trade securities for five years. Apparently, he found a way to do it and do it massively.

Nuttiest Twitter Thread of 2022

Sometimes a Twitter thread comes along that possesses a level of nuttiness that requires it be preserved. In addition, these threads capture the spirit of the times in such a way that few other expressions do. Here is such a thread.

The author is Josh Daws, host of the Great Awokening Podcast.

The entire thread can be read below by clicking the tweet. I will pull out a few of the 23 tweets for illustration. In short, Daws says teachers are using Critical Race Theory to make white kids feel guilty, then using Queer Theory to make them want to identify as gay or trans. Thus, teachers are really out to create revolutionaries and take kids away from parents; not to abuse them, but to make them into liberals, or something.

Step one:

And it goes on from there. Read the rest if you want to know what the Frightened Right is sharing with each other these days. It really is sad. I can’t imagine being that distrustful and scared of my fellow citizens who are trying to follow their calling as teachers.

Well, actually, I can imagine it. I never had the vivid imagination of Mr. Daws, but once upon a time in my 20s and 30s, I believed the public school was a temple to secular humanism. However, through a variety of circumstances, I faced facts. In our case, anyway, the public school was the moral and quality alternative to the local Christian school. I found teachers who were incredibly dedicated to helping my children achieve their potential.

Of course, there are a few bad actors. However, the current reformers who are scaring Christians into a frenzy want us to believe there is a conspiracy among public educators to steal our children and grandchildren. This is insanity.

For the most part, teachers are our family, neighbors and friends. They need the support of citizens in a good faith partnership for the good of children.

Arrested for Holding Up a Blank Sign

Christians often say they are persecuted for their beliefs in modern America.  I say, no, for the most part, I don’t believe that’s true. Christianity is privileged in many ways in the U.S. However, listing those ways isn’t the main point of this brief post.

I mainly want to point out actual persecution and hold up the bravery of a Russian citizen who simply held up a blank sign.

This woman was taken away simply for holding up a sign with nothing on it. I suppose it was understood that she was protesting the war in Ukraine. However, in a country where the dictator has a history of killing dissidents, this was an act of bravery.

James Lindsay and the Dangers of Anti-Wokeness

I am here to sound a warning about James Lindsay and anti-wokeness.

Dr. Lindsay is a mathematician and atheist who has been platformed by numerous evangelical leaders, including Al Mohler, leaders of the Founders Ministry, and Michael O’Fallon because Lindsay shares their opposition to awareness of minority oppression (wokeness). Even though Lindsay has been promoted by these evangelical leaders, his views are antithetical to theism and have the potential to lead many evangelicals astray.

Below, I will share some representative citations from Lindsay’s 2015 book, Everybody Is Wrong About God and then speak plainly to fellow believers.

Lindsay’s goal for society is to become “post-God and post-faith.”

Lindsay declares theism to be “intellectually bankrupt.”Lindsay considers theism to be absurd. All of those Christians platforming Lindsay should know that he publicly believes your views are fallacious and absurd.

Believers platforming Lindsay may think he has respect for your views because he supports anti-wokeness. Believers might want to consider that Lindsay’s rejection of wokeness might stem from his atheism. Anti-wokeness teaches that white people are not sinners and that they have nothing from which to repent. This low view of sin is very consistent with an atheist’s view of human nature.

One formerly evangelical theologian who has been drawn away by this teaching is Owen Strachan. Recently, Strachan told Religion News Network that the gospel is warped by teaching that majority whites are “in the wrong.”

When you embrace a system like critical race theory or intersectionality that teaches you that people who are in the majority basically are in the wrong — so, for example, that white people by virtue of being part of the white power bloc have privilege, have responsibility, honestly, when we’re not speaking politely, have complicity in oppression — that warps the gospel,”

Gospel teaching is that all have sinned — including the majority — and come short of God’s glory.  Strachan goes so far as to recommend that those who are aware of racial oppression be excommunicated as heretics, thus adding something to the gospel. Of course, the simple gospel is belief in the substitution of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and includes nothing more.

Who has bewitched people like Strachan? Could it be someone like James Lindsay who considers theism and especially evangelicalism to be absurd and a myth? Strachan makes use of Lindsay’s work in his book on wokeness. Remember, Lindsay’s goal is for society to become post-God and post-faith.

Believers who platform people like Lindsay may soon find they are preaching another gospel.

(If you have gotten this far with me, you might recognize that this post is intended as satire, particularly of this post by Neil Shenvi. Hopefully, this will provoke thinking about how a focus on issues peripheral to the gospel may lead, not only to perversions of the gospel, but other consequences. Rejection of awareness of the true situation of minorities in the U.S. has caused a significant division between white Christianity and just about everybody else in the church, on average. If you don’t believe me, watch the following presentation by Michael Emerson.)

Why Churches Should Not Drop Their Online Services

So Liturgy of the Ordinary author and Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren wrote a column for the NY Times titled, “Why Churches Should Drop Their Online Services.” I know I am biased, but I think it is safe to say that it hasn’t been her most popular op-ed. In it, she makes a case that she is very over online services and that everybody else should be too.

Now I think it’s time to drop the virtual option. And I think this for the same reason I believed churches should go online back in March 2020: This is the way to love God and our neighbors.

Ms. Warren believes the pandemic is waning and the risks of Omicron are about like the flu.

We are not in 2020 anymore. Even for vulnerable groups such as those over age 65, Covid has a roughly similar risk of death as the flu for those who are fully vaccinated, and the Omicron variant seems to pose even less risk than the flu.

I don’t know where she is reading, but today’s 7-day moving average of COVID deaths is just over 2500 souls per day. There were 27 deaths from the flu last week.

While she is correct that vaccination provides protection from serious illness and death, vaccination rates among white evangelical Christians remain low. Any objective look at differences between the vaccinated and unvaccinated finds that unvaccinated people are at greater risk for severe outcomes if they get COVID.

Why not have both in-person and online? Apparently, Warren doesn’t trust her people to come to church.

One might ask, why not have both? Why not meet in person (with Covid precautions in place) but also continue to offer the option of a live-streamed service? Because offering church online implicitly makes embodiment elective. It presents in-person gatherings as something we can opt in or out of with little consequence. It assumes that embodiment is more of a consumer preference, like whether or not you buy hardwood floors, than a necessity, like whether or not you have shelter.

In fact, people do have a choice. People can go to her church or another one. If I am disabled or in quarantine and my church rejected an easy tech solution for me to join the group, I might have to find another group.

The attitude toward people who can’t make in-person church is probably what has triggered the most pain among disability advocates on social media. Warren writes:

[N]o longer offering a streaming option will unfortunately mean that those who are homebound or sick will not be able to participate in a service. This, however, is not a new problem for the church. For centuries, churches have handled this inevitability by visiting these people at home in person. A small team of “lay eucharistic ministers” at our former church volunteered to go to the home of anyone who could not make it to church and wanted a visit.

For centuries, churches haven’t had an easy technical solution to bring church services into our homes. We have been able to get video recordings of big name preachers for a long time. However, the pandemic brought this tech to almost every local church. Now, people can look in on their church and hear their singers and preacher. Even if the sound is sketchy and the preaching isn’t polished, it is local and familiar. This has meant a lot to people. I am very surprised that Warren shrugs that off.

Furthermore, there are numerous reasons why people might need to have access to services via broadcast. Churches looking for ways to multiply their reach have had this dropped in their laps. I can’t see anything positive that will come from just giving it up. I hope Warren will rethink her stance and use her platform to modify her position.

Twitter reaction has been intense.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022 – When Dr. King Spoke to the APA

To remember Dr. King, I want to focus on his visit to the annual convention of the American Psychological Association in 1967. He was invited to speak to a division of APA – Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues – by Kenneth Clark, the first Black president of the APA.

According to Thomas Pettigrew, president of SPSSI at the time, the majority of the APA board did not want King to speak, saying his invitation was “too political” and warning that psychologists would not be interested in what he had to say. However, over 5,000 people showed up forcing the organizers to secure the largest meeting room in the venue.

The title of his speech was, “The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement.” Below are some excerpts:

For social scientists, the opportunity to serve in a life‐giving purpose is a humanist challenge of rare distinction. Negroes too are eager for a rendezvous with truth and discovery. We are aware that social scientists, unlike some of their colleagues in the physical sciences, have been spared the grim feelings of guilt that attended the invention of nuclear weapons of destruction. Social scientists, in the main, are fortunate to be able to extirpate evil, not to invent it.

If the Negro needs social science for direction and for self‐understanding, the White society is in even more urgent need. White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism and the understanding needs to be carefully documented and consequently more difficult to reject. The present crisis arises because, although it is historically imperative that our society take the next step to equality, we find ourselves psychologically and socially imprisoned. All too many White Americans are horrified not with conditions of Negro life but with the product of these conditions—the Negro himself.

White America is seeking to keep the walls of segregation substantially intact while the evolution of society and the Negro’s desperation is causing them to crumble. The White majority, unprepared and unwilling to accept radical structural change, is resisting and producing chaos while complaining that if there were no chaos orderly change would come.

Negroes want the social scientist to address the White community and “tell it like it is.” White America has an appalling lack of knowledge concerning the reality of Negro life. One reason some advances were made in the South during the past decade was the discovery by northern Whites of the brutal facts of southern segregated life. It was the Negro who educated the nation by dramatizing the evils through nonviolent protest. The social scientist played little or no role in disclosing truth. The Negro action movement with raw courage did it virtually alone. When the majority of the country could not live with the extremes of brutality they witnessed, political remedies were enacted and customs were altered.

In 2018, the Journal of Social Issues revisited the speech with a special issue titled, “Tell It Like It Is”: Commemorating the 5oth Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Call to Behavioral Scientists.” Former  SPSSI president, Thomas Pettigrew contributed a piece summarizing his assessment of how social psychologists have answered Dr. King’s call to “tell it like it is.” He wrote, “Summing up all the papers, we can only give a mixed answer to the key question as to whether we have answered Dr. King’s 1967 call. ”

Pettigrew continued:

In general, SPSSI and social psychology have done reasonably well in researching much of what Dr. King called for a half century ago. But the hard truth is that we have failed to communicate our findings sufficiently to the public; thus, the full meaning of this large body of work has been effectively resisted by many white Americans…

National surveys provide a glimpse of the extent of our failure to communicate our findings to the American public. Recent Pew Research Center surveys show only 36% of White Americans think racial discrimination is involved in Blacks having “…a harder time getting ahead than Whites,” only 22% believe that Blacks “are treated less fairly in the workplace,” while 38% believe that the United States “…has made the changes needed to give [B]lacks equal rights with [W]hites.”

Generally, the development of critical race theory is dated after the assassination of King. However, one can see in his 1967 remarks the seeds of some of CRT’s points. King very specifically referred to “radical structural change” (systemic change) that was needed for Black Americans to achieve equity. King said white Americans were “poisoned” by racism and called on social scientists to document this. Now, social scientists are condemned by critics of CRT when they document and call out the poison and say exactly what King said in 1967. The bitter and discouraging irony is that many of these critics invoke decontextualized King quotes they like in order to criticize CRT and tell us King would also reject CRT. The APA address calls that project into question.

 

Sutton Turner Releases Notes from the 2014 Mark Driscoll Elder Investigation

Sutton Turner today placed on his blog about 30 pages of material from the 2014 investigation into the formal charges against Mark Driscoll. Here is how he introduces the post:

On October 14, 2015 Mark Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill while under investigation from elders of Mars Hill Church based on formal charges and the governance by-laws that Driscoll helped to create.  The resignation was a surprise (as you will see below) to the leadership of Mars Hill.  Secretly, Mark Driscoll had coordinated with Mark Demoss and Religious New Service (Driscoll’s statement) to drive the narrative that would put Driscoll in a positive light so he could plant a church in Phoenix and sell books in the future.  The night before Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill he discussed his decision and received advice from both Robert Morris and Larry Osbourne. 

At the time Driscoll resigned from Mars Hill in 2014, he threatened legal action towards anyone that shared details of the investigation including me and many of the elders who had investigated the formal charges against him.  To this day, many of us are still fearful of Driscoll. Even so, it is time to share these details.

Indeed there are many details. I cannot do justice to them today. At this point, I simply encourage you to pour yourself a beverage, maybe get a snack and find comfortable reading position.

Investigating the Formal Charges: Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill Church

I hope to have observations and comments in a future post but for now, those who have followed the saga can click through and take it in as you have time.