Black Lives Matter and Evangelicals Together

H. L. Mencken explains the wonder-working power of morality:

Moralists, I respectfully submit, are not shrinking violets. They do not go “quietly about their business.” They are not avoiders of controversy. On the contrary, their eager seeking of controversy is one of their salient characters, and their gross abuse of opponents is another. The Lord’s Day Alliance and the Anti-Saloon League devote themselves almost exclusively to excoriation. Their one permanent theme is the villainy of their antagonists. And the vice crusade, for all its pious pretenses, puts nine-tenths of its faith in the policeman’s club. Its patron saints are Anthony Comstock and Tomas de Torquemada. Its central doctrine is that all men who question the efficacy of its moral bile means—for example, Brand Whitlock and Havelock Ellis–are heretics, atheists, voluptuaries and scoundrels.

10 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter and Evangelicals Together

  1. If only you would stop reading Mencken, you could go off your meds and be more pleasing to your wife and the rest of us.

    Mencken— “The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — “that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the sovereignty of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle an absolutely free people; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and vote of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that vote was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely any freedom at all. Am I the first American to note the fundamental nonsensicality of the Gettysburg address?”

    Leonard Cohen—We are moving into a period of bewilderment, a curious moment in which people will want to obey the voice of Authority, and many strange constructs of just what Authority is will arise in every mind. The public yearning for Order will invite many stubborn uncompromising persons to impose Order.

    the present’s not that pleasant
    i thought the past would last me
    but the darkness got that too


  2. One can always see faults in moralists. That is because moralists are often so busy pointing to the sins of others, that the become blind to their own sins. But do their faults mean that they have no legitimate role to play in society?

    The value of moralists in society depends on which morals they are calling attention to.


  3. Luke 6: 7 The scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely, to see if He would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a charge against Him. 8 But He knew their thoughts and told the man with the paralyzed hand, “Get up and stand here.”So he got up and stood there. 9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do what is good or to do what is evil, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 After looking around at them all, He told him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored.11 They, however, were filled with rage and started discussing with one another what they might do to Jesus.

    Rick Phillips warns us against a narrow gospel of forgiveness——“We often read today of a “gospel-centered” ministry. “gospel-centered” usually means that we must exclusively present God’s forgiveness for sinners through faith alone in the blood of his Son. We must not emphasize (or perhaps even mention) God’s standards of conduct, methods for becoming more holy, or the application of spiritual effort in Christian living.”
    Rick Phillips–“Working through the Gospel of Mark, how would we categorize Jesus’ ministry? Jesus’ primary emphasis was in 1. Declaring his deity as Messiah and teaching theology. Working through Mark, I made 30 tick marks under this category. The next emphasis was. Training and reproving his disciples. I noted this emphasis 22 times. Exposing false teaching and religious opposition, which occurred 16 times. The least frequent emphasis was . Preaching forgiveness.”

    William James —“The moralist must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes well–morality suffices. But the athletic attitude tends ever to break down”


  4. Mark, what does Rick’s take imply about The Gospel Coalition — on whose council he sits? They seem excessively gospelly at first, but they’re really quite scoldy and have a number of new “musts” for us. Such a jumble.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. D.G.,
    But isn’t a grammarist a kind of moralist?

    And why is it always better to avoid moralism? Why do you think moralism always involves an exceptionalist self-image?


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