“American Culture,” Burqa Bans, and the Need to Embrace the Other

screenshot-2016-12-08-09-06-26What I should’ve been doing this morning was preparing for the meeting I have in an hour, or working on my paper that’s due tomorrow, or studying for the Hebrew exam I have tomorrow. I did none of these things. Instead I decided to read the paper, and, as has happened before, I came across something which pissed me off. Maybe my problem is just that I read the Letters to the Editor, or maybe the problem is on the editors’ end over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, because some of these letters are just real winners. This particular letter, which expressed support for burqa bans as a means of promoting American identity and freedom, really just pushed one too many buttons, and I know the author of the letter is not the only person harboring these views (in America or abroad), so I’d like to address the flawed thinking behind it.

Mr. Watkins writes responding to opposition expressed by Soumaya Khalifa of the Islamic Speakers Bureau over a bill proposed in the GA legislature which would have banned the wearing of any face covering. The bill has already been withdrawn, but Mr. Watkins seems to think that was a mistake. Whereas Khalifa argued that the bill was “un-American,” Mr. Watkins disagrees, claiming that Khalifa simply “misunderstands American culture.” The wearing of a veil covering the face is “of a completely different cultural tradition,” because “Americans do not cover their face in public.” Americans “do not subjugate women.” American is “an open society.” Covering your face amounts to rejecting American culture and expresses a “desire to remain unassimilated.”

Where to start…

Continue reading ““American Culture,” Burqa Bans, and the Need to Embrace the Other”

The Walking Dead/Night of the Living Evangelicals

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Evangelicals actually denounced the GOP candidate this cycle, and yet the evangelical voting bloc elected Donald Trump. Trump had more support from white evangelicals than John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012. Trump garnered five times as much support from evangelicals as Clinton, with 78% of the white evangelical vote.

This isn’t an evangelical voting bloc, this is a zombie evangelical voting bloc. The heart and soul of the evangelical bloc, the actual evangelicals, have left. What remains is a group of angry white people who couch their anger in religious language about fighting for their faith. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission took a stand and called out Trump as antithetical to Christian values. Trump still won evangelicals by a commanding margin.

Continue reading “The Walking Dead/Night of the Living Evangelicals”

My Response to Russell Moore

This week, in a Washington Post editorial, Russell Moore, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, explained why the current election cycle has led him to reject the label of “evangelical.” Given the way in which the term has been co-opted for political expediency, Moore has opted to distance himself from the term altogether, instead referring to himself as a “Gospel Christian.” While I appreciate what Moore is saying, and that is something I can rarely say, I also find myself somewhat frustrated. Continue reading “My Response to Russell Moore”

New Post at Baptist News Global: “The G.O.P. Created Donald Trump”

I had a new post up on BNG (who just completely overhauled their site, go check it out, it looks great) and wanted to pass it along. It’s particularly appropriate today as everyone heads to the polls for Super Tuesday. You can find the original here.

“The G.O.P. Created Donald Trump”

Thus read the headline in the New York Times opinion piece bemoaning the rise of the current Republican frontrunner for the presidency. The article was spot-on to an extent, with its discussion of Donald Trump’s success coming in part as a result of Nixon’s Southern Strategem.

The author is not alone in blaming the Republican establishment for Trump’s rise. However, I think it’s possible to be more specific in who helped foster our current state of Trumpism. The G.O.P. may have carved out the niche for Trump, but evangelicals provided the force to thrust him into his current position as a legitimate candidate. Continue reading “New Post at Baptist News Global: “The G.O.P. Created Donald Trump””