EVANGELICALS, MORMONS, & POLITICS: Why Obama Wins. “So many evangelicals grew up being told that the pope is the anti-Christ and that the LDS Church is satanic, that it is deeply ingrained in them. I’m not saying that they’ll campaign against Romney or Santorum, just that their antipathy to their religions will leave evangelical voters totally unmotivated.” See also Romney’s Evangelical Problem Starts with Theology. “The good news for Mitt Romney: he won the Iowa caucuses. The bad news for Romney: evangelicals remain reluctant to support him.” And finally, Romney’s religion still a sticking point. But if you read all the way to the end of the article, you read that Phil and Karen Poe (who attend an Assemblies of God church in Des Moines) got over their suspicions of Romney pretty quickly. “Beating Obama is my bottom line,” Karen said. My guess is that that’s the bottom line for many evangelical voters, not the candidate’s theology. See also Evangelicals and Santorum, where R. R. Reno shares the same intuition as I do.
MICHELLE BACHMANN: A Divine Call Won’t Get You Votes.
RON PAUL: Theonomists, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists. Oh My! “So I think we should applaud Goldberg for taking into consideration the religious viewpoints and influences of candidates like Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Michelle Bachmann, but we should also take her to task for not being a bit more sensitive to the complicated theological landscape. Christian Reconstructionists are a vocal minority, a “fringe” as Goldberg calls them, among politically conservative Christians, but their specific views about biblical laws and punishments are simply not attributable to every evangelical candidate.”
THE HIGH PRIEST OF OUR CIVIL RELIGION: Commander and Chaplain: The Faith of Presidents. “In the absence of a national chaplain, the President sometimes has functioned in that role, partly because of the expectations of the American people. When we have a crisis, whether it is a war or a tragedy—like the shootings in Tucson or a space disaster—we expect the President to function almost as our civic priest. We want him to give us assurance that God is still in control and that the people who have died have died for a good cause and that they’re going to be eternally blessed.”
MARRIAGE MATTERS: Why Fight Same-Sex Marriage? “There is, then, a further vital reason why same-sex marriage must be vigorously contested, namely, that no peace is to be had by capitulation. Like it or not, the great struggle is under way. Marriage, if you please, is the Sudetenland, and its concession is the precursor to a cultural Blitzkrieg.” I largely agree with this article, but why must the author use a Nazi analogy? By doing so, doesn’t he risk violating Godwin’s law? Regardless, if you think this author is just wildly speculating, read this.
MEAN ATHEISTS: Ill will toward men. “Seen on Answerblog.com: ‘How do atheists express their love for the rest of humanity?’ Answer: ‘You don’t need religion to express love, you complete idiot. Why are all your questions so ignorant?’ Genuinely warmhearted atheists exist, but warmheartedness is not the first descriptive quality that comes to mind. The more vocal ones betray themselves sooner or later: To reject God is almost always to despise people.” This makes logical sense. After all, atheists teach that God is a mere projection of humanity. If God is a delusion (Dawkins), then his human creators are ignorant and deluded. If religion poisons everything (Hitchens), then humans are the poisoners. Calling the vast swath of humanity stupid and wicked is the essence of misanthropy.
LEGO ATHEIST: The Brick Bible’s Case against Faith. “In all, the book—with its skewed perspective on matters of faith and its wry commentary on Old Testament stories—makes a pretty good case against faith. Since that’s not the objective of most parents, I’d suggest looking elsewhere for a good Bible storybook for your children.”
AGES OF ROCKS & THE ROCK OF AGES: Why Geology Matters. “But more specifically, it is clear that all Christian high school and Christian college students ought to gain substantial knowledge about the structure, composition, behavior, and history of their God-given home, planet Earth. The current situation, in which the geosciences are ignored totally, woefully underemphasized, or grossly distorted in Christian high schools and Christian liberal arts colleges, is inexcusable and must be radically changed. MacDougall’s book amounts to a wake-up call for a much larger place for geoscience education. Why Geology Matters should be mandatory reading for all scientists, school board members, and academic deans and presidents, but especially pastors, theologians, Christian school board members, and Christian college leaders.”
TOO MUCH POLITICAL SPEECH? Iowa: The Gray Lady Freaks Out. “So let’s sum up: The Times is concerned that 1) there is more political speech than there would be if not for the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and the appeals-court decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC; 2) groups of citizens are running their own ads, rather than relying solely on the candidates to run ads; 3) the ads are saying awful things, accusing candidates of “being too liberal on immigration,” or having “ethics baggage,” something the Times would never discuss, except in its news stories on Newt Gingrich’s “ethics” “baggage” on November 28, December 8, December 9, December 14, and December 31; 4) stories about a candidate’s ethics or positions on immigration should be off limits in an “accountable” campaign; and 5) all this citizen speech informing voters about various candidates’ positions, ethics, and endorsements, coming not only from the candidates but from other sources, can be blamed on Citizens United and SpeechNow.org.”
NO: Does Islam Forbid Even Studying Evolution? “Muslims everywhere must open their minds to all new ideas. They must be confident that their faith and worldview are robust enough to deal with modernity in its various facets; indeed, new viewpoints can help fine-tune beliefs and worldviews. Islam not only does not forbid studying evolution or any other theory; it welcomes new knowledge and deals with it objectively. Muslims are called upon to engage with science, philosophy, and art with confidence and open minds.”
CHURCH LAW & TAX: The Top 10 Church Law Articles from 2011.
BUILDING CHURCH LEADERS: Our Top 10 Resources in 2011.