What’s Good for the Immanentizer is Good for the Post-Millennialist

Alan Jacobs pushes back against Andrew Sullivan’s recent denunciation of Christianism. According to Sullivan:

Christians will look back on this period, I believe, with horror. The desire to control others’ lives and souls through politics is so anathema to the Gospels it will one day have to be exposed and ended. Until then, we just have to keep our spirits up and attend to our own failures as Christians, which, of course, are many.

Jacobs thinks he has the perfect antidote to Sullivan, and his name is Martin Luther King, Jr. Jacobs seems to think that King was doing what today’s Christians are doing, namely, arguing for conformity between the law of God and the laws of the United States:

[King] could have stayed in his prayer closet instead of politicking; he could have attended to his own failures as a Christian, which of course were many; he could have forgiven white Southerners instead of judging them. But no. He became an “outside agitator,” marching into ordinary American communities and telling them that their local laws, and indeed in some cases federal laws, were not to be obeyed — and why? Because they conflicted with the law of God! Notice the arrogance with which he associates his cause with God Himself. He even asserts that “human progress” only happens when “men [are] willing to be co-workers with God.” His whole vision for America is Christian and Biblical through and through: in his most famous speech he simply identifies the American situation with that of the Biblical Israel: “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'” Talk about “the desire to control other people’s lives and souls”!

Well, I’ll take the bait. King’s immanentized political theology and identification of the United States with Israel was as bad as Jerry Falwell’s or now Rick Perry’s. That doesn’t stop Jacobs who explains, “After all, Dr. King’s faith commitments were at least as encompassing in their scope, as universal in their claims, as publicly political as Rick Perry’s . . .” Thinking of the United States as the New Israel is wrong no matter who is doing it and no matter what the cause.

But Jacob’s comparison is far fetched for at least three reasons. First, the Christian or Religious Right has not faced the same sorts of obstacles that African Americans did and IN some cases still do. Trying to glom evangelical politics on to the Civil Rights movement is just plain bad form (and this is from someone who doesn’t care for the increased power of the federal government that came with Civil Rights legislation). Second, King was not running for president. sponsoring a prayer rally around the same time that you are contemplating entering the Republican bid for the presidential nomination is almost as tacky praying before a NASCAR race and thanking the Lord for a “smoking hot” wife. Third, King’s appeal was much more common at a time when mainline Protestants dominated public life and appealed to Christian theology for social reform. For some reason, evangelicals don’t seem to understand that the United States has changed a lot since 1963, along with the etiquette governing public speech about the United States as a Christian nation. If not everyone, including the media elites, believes the United States to be a biblical polity, then maybe you don’t bring up the Bible if you want to persuade the media elites. Maybe also you don’t pray in public with a humongous U.S. flag at your back.

One last point: when Christians enter the public square and start using theology for political purposes, Christian doctrine always, always, always suffers. It happened with the Social Gospel. It happened with Martin Luther King, Jr. It happened with Reinhold Niebuhr. And it’s happening with Rick Perry. Consider the following from a report about the recent prayer rally:

The lineup of speakers at The Response reflect the impact of new charismatic and Pentecostal movements, especially those emphasizing spiritual warfare and round-the-clock prayer and worship, and which have produced another sort of army. That one is not particularly intrigued by the horse race of politics, but rather focused more exclusively on the supremacy of Jesus and preparing for his return.

That caused some controversy for the organizers of Perry’s event, which included speakers and endorsers who follow the New Apostolic Reformation. The NAR’s strident language of spiritual warfare and emphasis on prophecy, signs, and wonders, has drawn scrutiny. But it has the same dominionist aims of the old religious right, even while employing some new rhetoric.

The NAR has also drawn criticism from conservative evangelical “discernment” ministries that consider it heretical—a criticism that Response organizers dismissed. A week before The Response, Marsha West, a conservative writer and editor of the website Email Brigade, wrote a scathing blog post; which she published on the website of Response host the American Family Association, and which was subsequently taken down. West complained that the NAR, which she considers unbiblical, was involved in The Response.

West told me in an email that she was “thoroughly disgusted with Christian Right leaders who have joined forces with a group that is, by definition, a Christian cult. Because of CR leader’s lack of discernment, the NAR is now becoming mainstream.” (According to her website, West also considers Mormonism, the emergent church, new age spirituality, word of faith, homosexuality, and more to be unbiblical.) In the NAR, she particularly identified Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, who played a big role in The Response. “[T]hese people are what the Bible calls ‘false prophets’… not true Christians,” West wrote. When I asked Garlow [Jim Garlow heads Newt Gingrich’s nonprofit, Renewing American Leadership]about West’s complaint, he shrugged it off, saying that he was not familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation, even though he knew its founder, Peter Wagner. “I have a lot of confidence in him spiritually,” Garlow said of Wagner.

“There are a lot of theological differences here, but we’re focusing on one issue: Jesus,” Garlow added. “It’s not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.”

Does Jacobs actually believe Garlow? Can he not see that Sullivan is just a little bit justified in being skeptical about today’s “Christian” politics?

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44 Comments

  1. Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Hopefully the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) will not join forces or be given a hearing by the Modern Reformation folks. The new Apostles and Prophets of the charismatics and pentecostals are much more aggressive than the aggressive new atheists. They are pure will and effort and will disregard any attempts at an intellectual polemic against them.

  2. Posted August 10, 2011 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Where exactly has Rick Perry said America is the New Israel? I’d like to read more about that.

  3. Posted August 10, 2011 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Sarah Posner reported this about the New Apostolic Reformers: “At the Texas Observer, Forrest Wilder has a story about the larger story of two Texas pastors who in 2009 went to Rick Perry to tell him, as Wilder puts it, that “a chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was ‘The Prophet State,’ anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.”

    Perry, Wilder argues, is venturing into new territory for an aspiring presidential candidate by courting pastors who are followers of the New Apostolic Reformation. The NAR apostles, he writes, have “bizarre” beliefs, including “some” who “consider Freemasonry a ‘demonic stronghold’ tantamount to witchcraft” and one who thinks the Democratic Party “is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons.” These unusual beliefs, says Wilder, wouldn’t be so remarkable except for the NAR’s “growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government.” NAR adherents want to “not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they’re intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they’re leading an ‘army of God’ to commandeer civilian government.”

    This is better than watching Big Love on HBO or reading Darryl’s book Seeking a Better Country about how revivalists sabatoged and infiltrated the Presbyterian denomination in early American history.

    Posner seems to have been following this issue quite closely:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/4874/rick_perry_and_the_new_apostolic_reformation/

  4. Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I recently read Thomas Kidd’s, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution. Religious language was frequently hijacked by unbelieving politicians to win popular support for the revolution. I was disgusted by this, and dismayed by how readily this rhetoric was swallowed. “Same as it ever was”.

  5. Posted August 10, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    By the way, what you call a “report” is one of many, many “gotcha” type hit pieces from Sarah Posner whose apparent mission in life is to mock, discredit and malign conservative Christians. Using her writings as a source on this matter is like citing Keith Olberman on the virtues of the Bush administration.

  6. Posted August 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Jeff W., what exactly is wrong with what Posner says about the presence of the New Apostolic Reformation in the Perry prayer extravaganza? Is Martha West also a crack pot? But it’s okay to question the points made my Reformed Protestants? Hey, what gives?

  7. David Sanger
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Just wondering when the real Christians will be sickened, en masse, by the charade of politicians cozening up to them at the beginning of every election cycle? Never mind, it was just a wishful thought.

  8. Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Hart – Maybe I’m a bit dense, but I have no idea what this post has to do with postmillenialism or why you even mention postmillenialism in the title. Unless you believe that all postmillenialists are in favor of an immanentized political theology (which is simply not true) or that they ignore Israel’s theocratic uniqueness, thus equating Israel and the United States (which is also untrue, even in the case of theonomic postmils). Of course, there are theonomic and reconstructionist varieties of postmillenialism which advocate a cultural and political transformationism which you (and I) would have differences with, but there are other versions of the postmil position which are more spiritual and churchly in their eschatological expectations (for example, I believe this is the case with old Princeton postmil theologians such as Charles and A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield; see also John Jefferson Davis’ book “The Victory of Chist’s Kingdom: An Introduction to Postmillenialism”). So please don’t poison the well of eschatological debate by lumping all of us postmils together as favoring an immanentized political theology or theonomic reconstructionism or other forms of cultural transformationism.

  9. Alberto
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    King seems like an awful example of a “Christian”. He knowingly rejected fundamental doctrines like the deity of Christ and the substitutionary atonement. He even called the God of Calvin a “monster”.

    King sounds like the kind of liberal Machen opposed.

  10. Posted August 12, 2011 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    GW, I feel your pain. But postmillennialism in my experience so often goes off the rails that I am less hopeful about it than you.

  11. Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Darryl G. Hart wrote:

    “GW, I feel your pain. But postmillennialism in my experience so often goes off the rails that I am less hopeful about it than you.”

    I’m not in pain, brother. Just befuddled as to why you (a responsible, learned scholar) would equate the postmil position with a politicized theology, as you seem to imply in the title to this article. I understand that as an a-mil you are less hopeful about the postmil view than I am, but the issue here is not who is more hopeful. Rather, it is accurately representing a view (in this case, an eschatological one) with which you disagree. (I’m not accusing you of intentional misrepresentation; just trying to encourage you to be more careful in the future.) Sorry if this sounds like nitpicking.

  12. Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    In his book “Postmillenialism: An Eschatology of Hope” (P & R Publishing, 1999) Keith A. Mathison defines postmillenialism as follows:

    “Like amillenialism, postmillenialism teaches that the “thousand years” of Revelation 20 occurs prior to the Second Coming. Some postmillenialsts teach that the millenial age is the entire period of time between Christ’s first and second advents, while others teach that it is the last one thousand years of the present age. According to postmillenialism, in the present age the Holy Spirit will draw unprecedented multitudes to Christ through the faithful preaching of the gospel. Among the multitudes who will be converted are the ethnic Israelites who have thus far rejected the Messiah. At the end of the present age, Christ will return, there will be a general resurrection of the just and the unjust, and the final judgment will take place.” (p. 10)

    Whatever the reader may think of Mr. Mathison’s definition of postmillenialism, it shows that things such as cultural transformationism, immanentized political theology, Christianized nationalism, etc., are not inextricably tied to the postmillenial position any more than they are tied to a premil or amil position. To imply that they are is inaccurate, and may have the effect of unfairly misrepresenting the views of postmillenial brethren.

  13. Posted August 12, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    GW, have you read Mathison’s review of VanDrunen? One of his major objections to 2k is that 2k affirms discontinuity between this world and the new creation. So for Mathison and his definition, there seems to be an idea that this world is going to improve to become the next world. That certainly wasn’t Israel’s experience with the arrival of Christ and the church.

  14. Posted August 13, 2011 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Darryl G. Hart wrote:

    “GW, have you read Mathison’s review of VanDrunen? One of his major objections to 2k is that 2k affirms discontinuity between this world and the new creation. So for Mathison and his definition, there seems to be an idea that this world is going to improve to become the next world. That certainly wasn’t Israel’s experience with the arrival of Christ and the church.”

    No, I can’t say I have read Mathison’s review of VanDrunen. (Is there a link to it you could provide me with?) Yes, “some” postmils (apparently Mathison too) seem to hold a view that there will be a continuity between this present age and the age to come in that they believe the cultural products of believers in this present age will somehow carry over into the age to come. But, again, this just shows that there is a diversity of opinion over details among postmils (just as there is similar diversity over details among amils and among adherents of other eschatological schools of thought). There is nothing inherent in the defintion of postmillenialism that would require one to hold Mathison’s position on this particular question in order to be a “true postmillenialist.” And as for Mathison’s definition of the postmil position (which, from my reading of postmil literature at least, is an accurate representation of this school of thought in its historic form), there is nothing about being a “cultural warrior,” cultural transformationism, working for a “Christian civilization,” etc. The emphasis is on the preaching of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing unprecedented numbers to faith in Christ (i.e., the ordinary Word and sacrament ministry of the church as powerfully blessed by the Holy Spirit). Any positive cultural byproducts that may result from the church’s fulfillment of the great commission are just that — indirect and incidental byproducts that may (in God’s good providence) ennoble life in this present age, but which are not our ultimate “blessed hope.”

  15. David R.
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    From Mathison’s definition: “Among the multitudes who will be converted are the ethnic Israelites who have thus far rejected the Messiah.”

    I’ve never understood the rationale for this position, even though I realize many amil guys hold it too. Romans 11:25-26 doesn’t require it, and it just seems to me to be inconsistent with our covenant theology. (And I’m speaking as an “ethnic Israelite.”) Guess I’m pessimistic.

  16. Todd
    Posted August 13, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    David,

    This is very helpful on the Rom 11 question

    http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/ref-rev/06-2/6-2_irons.pdf

  17. Randy L
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I think you missed Jacob’s overall point. While I’m not aware of how he would respond to 2K specifically, I imagine he is closer to the 2K view, at least in the political realm, than you may think. While you may not agree with the MLK analogy, don’t miss the forest for the proverbial trees.

  18. Posted August 15, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Randy L, how do you account for the appeal to MLK if Jacobs is 2k? I mean, Falwell didn’t like King’s Christianization of American politics but then went out and Christianized the GOP. Most Americans are 2k when it comes to the other party baptizing their platform. Rare is the American who says a pox on both parties. Three cheers for Stuart Robinson.

  19. "Michael Mann"
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    In that case, “a pox on both parties.” Politicians are creepy. I hate to be near them.

  20. Randy L
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t say he was 2K, I said he is closer than you might think. Have you read his response to Sullivan’s response to him? If not here it is: http://bit.ly/nkXd6W
    And Jacobs would agree with a “pox on both parties” btw. It might be somewhat helpful to note that Jacobs is a southerner who hates the racism that sullied the culture, which may form his view of MLK, but I could be wrong.

  21. Zrim
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    But, Randy, he concludes: “So I think it’s clear even from Andrew’s response that he was wrong to say that what we need is ‘a more private, less political Christianity'; what we need, rather, is a Christianity that’s political in a humble and non-coercive way, and that separates itself quite clearly from nationalism.”

    It seems to me that there is a certain naiveté at work when MLK is positively invoked. It’s almost as if the non-violence thing is confused for being non-coercive. But to be political, as MLK was, is to be coercive by definition. Or does anyone really imagine that MLK didn’t want cultural transformation to come by the coercion of politics and legislation? And since 2k is about de-politicizing faith, questing for a Christianity that is either peacefully or violently political really isn’t very close to 2k.

    So once again, here’s to you, Mr. Robinson, heaven holds a place for those who pray (as opposed to protest).

  22. Randy L
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Excellent point. I agree with your conclusion completely, but having had Jacobs as a professor I am inclined to read him differently, but I agree with you that to invoke MLK positively is naive. And let me add my own cheers to Mr. Robinson. I’m naively dreaming of an election season sans politicized faith. In fact, I think that if 2k were more widely held within the church, we would have more open doors for gospel proclamation.

  23. RL
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Zrim you’re right on point here: It seems to me that there is a certain naiveté at work when MLK is positively invoked. It’s almost as if the non-violence thing is confused for being non-coercive. But to be political, as MLK was, is to be coercive by definition.

    It’s like we’ve all forgotten that it required the services of the 101st Airborne Division (and the federalization of the entire Arkansas National Guard) to integrate Little Rock Central High School.

  24. Posted August 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Randy, I understand your point about a personal connection. But the rest of us who don’t have that luxury can only go by what has been written, and what has been written just doesn’t sound as close to 2k as you’ve been suggesting. But bingo on how 2k opens the doors for the gospel. Critics are prone to suggest how 2k hides the gospel under a bushel, when in point of fact to align the gospel to whatever degree with any political interest whatsoever is to diminish its light by obscuring it from those who have a different read on political matters.

  25. David R.
    Posted August 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Todd,
    Thanks. Yes, I appreciate Iron’s (and Kline’s) take on Romans 11 and think it makes the most sense of the passage. I don’t believe the Scriptures hold out hope for a last days mass-conversion of the Jews, as some (otherwise consistent) amil guys want to argue. It seems to me that this claim compromises the NT insistence that Jews and Gentiles are no longer being dealt with separately.

  26. DJ
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    IF any of this is true, and IF any of this can be confirmed, what will all my friends enamored with Perry’s hardcore “Christianity” think then? sheesh. Bring on the 2k theology!

  27. DJ
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  28. Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    DJ, looks like the Bachmann express is picking up steam and Perry may be underneath the bus.

  29. DJ
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ll still be throwing all my support behind the *other* Texican who has clearly stated that he prefers to keep his religion out of the public spotlight… as a matter of fact, he seems like a very 2k kind of guy ;-)

  30. DJ
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    BTW, speaking of the Bachmann express, I saw some clips from Meet the Press last week and she was squirming trying to answer some comments she made about homosexuality. She was basically “preaching” about them and their sin in the snippet played. Hearing her trying to wiggle through the minefield was tortuous. It was an excellent opportunity to go over 2k and politics with my wife!

  31. "Michael Mann"
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Darryl and DJ:

    I get a pretty close view of the early Republican developments from central Iowa, the home of the first caucus. Bachmann’s campaign has been shaped by her strategy to win the favor of Iowa evangelicals, who are pretty much the political descendants of Jerry Falwell. They have found a spokesperson in Steve Deace, a radio personality who did very well during afternoon drive time on Des Moines’ blowtorch WHO. He has since put up a blog with daily articles and a forum (http://stevedeace.com/ ) and is trying to establish a national presence in syndication.

    Bachmann’s recent straw poll victory is a direct result of her winning the hearts of Iowa evangelicals, who, BTW, were powerful enough to oust two members of Iowa’s Supreme Court in the past year. She has done speeches in churches, including giving her testimony on a Sunday in a large Assembly of God church. Even a few weeks is a long time in politics, but, still, she will likely get a first or second place finish in the caucus. Romney has mostly ignored Iowa – even skipping the straw poll – waiting for New Hampshire. Unless New Hampshire has changed a whole lot, Bachmann will finish somewhere back in the pack in that primary.

    Winning the Iowa straw poll is not strongly correlated to future performance. It is really a unique event attended by a relatively small number of highly motivated voters. Ron Paul finished a very close second, but that may be his moment of glory in this election cycle.

    The so-called “little birdies” say Perry has rented space in Des Moines. If he hits Iowa hard, I think there is still time for him to make an impact in the caucus, although the slightest hint of not following the evangelical blueprint will cost him – it’s a pretty absolute bunch.

    So, that’s the view from here.

  32. DJ
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. Thanks Michael!

  33. Posted August 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Michael M., please continue to do for Iowa what the Viking is doing for us on SGM.

  34. "Michael Mann"
    Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I can’t possibly match what Viking is doing but, sure, I can share a few observations from time to time.

  35. "Michael Mann"
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    This Saturday there will be a Tea Party rally in central Iowa. Sarah Palin is the headliner, fueling speculation that she will announce her candidacy. Christine O’Donnell will also be speaking. Does it occur to anyone else that Christine O’Donnell is Sarah Palin Lite, i.e., everything Palin is, only less so? Like, if you gave O’Donnell a gun, she would be the media’s caricature of Palin?

    This will be my second time attending a Tea Party rally. The first rally was led by no-name non-politicians, which was symbolic of the grass roots nature of the Tea Party. It was an interesting concept, but of course no-names aren’t too skilled in whooping up the crowd and you never know what you’re going to hear from some pro-God, anti-gay, impeach-the-justices, home-school-only guy who grabs the microphone.

    Though it would no doubt enhance my 2k cred by dissing Sarah, I’ve liked her ever since her breakout speech at the Republican convention. Maybe I like it that she’s an apolitical politician. Maybe I like it that she’s from Alaska and knows what to to when she drops a caribou. Maybe she’s just cuter than Ron Paul.

    I’ll give you an update on Saturday or shortly thereafter.

  36. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Tea Party Rally
    Indianola, Iowa

    Sarah’s a rock star. Sure, Palin polling may be mixed, but, as she says, “polls are for strippers and skiers.”

    I drove up a muddy gravel road as ushers – I mean parking volunteers – waved me toward my spot in the field to the right. There were fans, a stage, rain & muddy fields, but I don’t think a Woodstock reference would have resonated with this Tea Party crowd. There was no cussing, no risqué clothing, no trash on the ground, and just a handful of smokers who politely puffed beyond the edge of the crowd.

    Clearly these were, for the most part, church folk. They warmly applauded a “youtube sensation,” the wife of a pastor who sings Tea Party songs as her “ministry.” She was a nice lady, I’m sure, but her singing could only be appreciated by an audience used to mediocre special music.

    There was a speech by Iowa’s Joe the Plumber, a guy who won his fifteen minutes of fame by barking at Obama about Joe Biden’s description of The Tea Party. An Iowa evangelical activist has compared that confrontation to David fighting Goliath. No, really, she did – even put it in writing.

    “Which of these ones is not like the others?” How about Jew from Los Angeles? Eric Golub was able to synthesize a Tea Party message and laugh-out-loud jokes for this Midwestern audience. I would have written down a joke or two, but steady rain made me leave my notebook in the car and my iPhone in my pocket. He was my pre-Palin highlight.

    Clearly this event was all about Sarah. Her audience loves her, and they energize one another. The audience began to buzz as soon as she stepped out of her bus. The audience strained to watch her watch the previous speaker. The sun never fully came out, but it came pretty close when she took the stage. She set forth an agenda for ending crony capitalism, empowering individuals, repealing Obamacare, cutting the deficit, reforming entitlement programs, producing domestic energy and ending taxes on corporations. She detailed our debt to past military sacrifices that have secured our liberty. She spoke of God’s providential hand and our exceptionalism. We are at the tipping point, she said, so we need to act now. She never played her hit phrase “drill, baby drill” she we did hear her riff about that “hopey changey stuff.”

    Despite signs, pins, and chants about Sarah the President, she didn’t announce her candidacy. But she does change the conversation, and maybe that’s better.

    (If you happened to watch this event and caught a glimpse of a guy playing Frisbee with his son, that was me.)

  37. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    The version of political evangelicalism (perhaps a redundancy there) that I see is held together by three positions: anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, and anti-Muslim. Slight digression: Iowa evangelicals are criticizing Perry for his deficient anti-Muslim cred. Back to the point: to be an evangelical today is to be pro-anti-; refuse to be anti- and you just don’t fit it. But evangelicalism started out as the happy face alternative to the “anti-” fundamentalists. If they are now all about the “anti-” are we hearing the death rattle of evangelicalism? The name will continue, but what happened to the happy face?

  38. Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    MM, nah. History seems to show that, all things being equal, political evangelicalism will endure. It may morph and vascillate but I wouldn’t start writing any obits.

    P.S. still sticking with the crush on Palin? But I still say Tina Fey, where you get smart and funny on top of cute. Fey for President.

  39. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Zrim, the name endures but one prime rasion d’etre of evangelicalism was to shed the “anti-” reputation of the fundamentalists. The e’s were supposed to be more broad-minded, more culturally tolerant, etc. Now they are back to being the religious “anti-” group. They may have to re-invent themselves once again when they realize they have alienated so many people.

    As for Palin, you are just tempting me to engage in morbid intropection and an Ewardsean scrutiny for proper motives. Just let my have my Sarah, who, by the way, is now receiving accolades from an odd source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/10/us/10iht-currents10.html?_r=4&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1315569719-RpR5AuX40tZqZl8xOiUg7g .

  40. Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    MM, how can you stand SP’s voice. It borders on the church lady. So while she’s easy on the eyes, she grates the ears.

  41. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Hey, man, you don’t talk about Sarah. You listen to her. The woman’s enlarged my mind. She’s a poet warrior in the classic sense. [name that movie]

    DGH, could you run the Storm Lake, Iowa half-marathon in 1:46? I don’t think so!
    http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/09/04/sarah-palin-runs-in-iowa-half-marathon/

  42. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Too hard or too easy? It’s the Dennis Hopper character in Apocalypse Now which, btw, was better before the redux version. Here’s more of the quote, including a subquote from TS Eliot:

    “Hey, man, you don’t talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he’ll, uh, well, you’ll say “Hello” to him, right? And he’ll just walk right by you, and he won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll grab you, and he’ll throw you in a corner, and he’ll say “Do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life? ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you’…” – I mean, I’m no, I can’t – I’m a little man, I’m a little man, he’s, he’s a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas…”

  43. Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    MM: there’s nothing Edwardsian about it: the light of nature plainly reveals that Fey beats Palin–to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear anyway.

    P.S. the “poet-warrior” bit did throw me in the direction of “Braveheart,” which the light of nature also plainly reveals beats AN (with apologies to Joseph Conrad).

  44. "Michael Mann"
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    This week I’ve been puzzling over why evangelical support is so strong for Rick Perry. Is it a worldview thing? Nah. Does he have the best “testimony?” Maybe, but that’s not quite it. Here’s what attracts them: he, more than any other candidate, looks like a pastor of a large evangelical church. They are, in a sense, voting for their pastors to be President.

    Another possibility I entertained but ultimately rejected: Perry looks the most like Chuck Woolery.

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