Inside an unprecedented gamble with power in the pews that is disrupting decades of activism

Of all the developments that have come along with Donald Trump’s capture of the Republican Party, few have been as unexpected as his robust support among conservative white evangelicals. What caused these socially conservative voters to embrace a candidate who built his brand on values so strikingly dissimilar from theirs? Why have many evangelicals gone so far as to uphold Trump’s values as a virtue in our current political moment?

I come to the question both as an actual scientist and as a friendly observer of, and by some definitions, a participant in, the world of conservative white evangelicalism. As…


Pete Buttigieg, Gay and Christian, Challenges the Religious Right on Their Own Turf

(Photo: Robert Franklin, AP; Edit: Andre Bass)

What makes Pete Buttigieg an intriguing figure isn’t his political experience; or his political philosophy. It’s that Buttigieg speaks with ease about his Christian faith in a party that is becoming more and more secular and religiously unaffiliated, and he does so in a manner that stands in marked contrast with the evangelical leaders who support Donald Trump.

As a religious gay man who believes his party has ceded discussion of religion and spirituality to Republicans, Pete Buttigieg is talking about God and sexuality in an unconventional way: He is using the language of faith to confront the Christian right…


Evangelicals are facing the limits of their base after getting a pushback from Democrats.

After Democrats delivered a resounding counterpunch to President Trump at the polls, one of his most reliable voting blocks — evangelicals — now have to decide how successful the narrative they had constructed that led all the way up to Election Day was.

The narrative that hung over election night before polls had even closed on the West Coast was that if Democrats fail to realize their dream of a blue wave in midterm elections, the biggest factor will have been the organizing power of the Christian nationalist movement. …


Evangelicals have thrown out the fundamental and just principle of judicial objectivity for Kavanaugh.

(NRO Illustration: Elijah Smith; Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Donald Trump introduced Brett Kavanaugh to the American public on July 9 at the White House. The same day, 40 evangelical leaders issued a statement praising Trump’s nominee for lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. The signatories were led by the Southern Baptist policy head and frequent Trump critic Russel Moore and included the denomination’s new president, pastors and the heads of various educational institutions and high-profile nonprofits. Kavanaugh “merits appointment as the next associate justice on the United States Supreme Court,” the statement read. “We support President Trump’s nominee and will pray and work for a quick confirmation process.”


It’s time to rethink the long-standing assumptions made about the women in the Bible

“The Rape of Dinah,” a painting left unfinished by Fra Bartolomeo and completed by Giuliano Bugiardini in 1531.Credit Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

On a recent morning, I happened across a scene of biblical violence. Flipping through Genesis, my eye caught on a chapter heading, “The Rape of Dinah.” I paused and turned the phrase in my mind. I took a breath, sat back in my chair, and read the story of Dinah.

The Bible tells us that Dinah was the daughter of Leah, and devotes a single sentence to her rape: A prince of the region “saw her, seized her, and lay with her by force.”

The rest of the chapter is devoted to the revenge carried out by Dinah’s brothers, who…


Millennials flee the Church because of lies and sexual discrimination.

Eleni Kalorkoti

The standard narrative of American religious decline goes something like this: A few hundred years ago, European and American intellectuals began doubting the validity of God as an explanatory mechanism for natural life. As science became a more widely accepted method for investigating and understanding the physical world, religion became a less viable way of thinking — not just about medicine and mechanics, but also culture and politics and economics and every other sphere of public life. As the United States became more secular, people slowly began drifting away from faith.

Of course, this tale is not just reductive —…


How the White House is tearing down the wall between Church and State.

Many Americans were shocked when Attorney General Jeff Sessions turned to the Bible — specifically, Paul’s letter to the Romans — to justify President Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents. This scriptural justification for a political decision should not have surprised anyone, because Trump’s administration has consistently treated the separation of chuch and state as a form of hersey rather than a cherised American value.

Attacks on the wall of separation established by the founders — which the religious right likes to call a “lie of the left” or say that “it is not in the Constitution”…


We many not see another pro-LGBT legal victory in SCOTUS for decades to come.

Eric Thayer/Getty Images

On the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy was a champion for LGBT rights across the US. He was by no means perfect — but as the legal recognition of my marriage can attest to, he was a key figure. And his announcement on Wednesday, June 27 that he’s retiring could move a court that has been closely divided but largely favorable to LGBT rights to one that is outright hostile to equality once President Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Senate vote on Kennedy’s replacement. That could, in effect, start to undermine much of Kennedy’s LGBT legacy.

For much of his tenure…


A look at Jeff Sessions use of Romans 13 to separate children from undocumented parents.

Hayne Palmour IV/AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday claimed the Bible justifies the Trump administration’s much-malinged policy seperate children from their undocumented parents at the southern border.

“Illegal entry into the United States is a crime,” Sessions said at a event in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise commands in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” Sessions maintained that “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Sessions’ speech came as the Trump…


On cakes, the law and religious liberty.

When the Supreme Court opened its October term last year, Masterpeice Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — the “gay wedding cake” case — loomed, a major step towards resolving conflicts between religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people in general and same-sex married couples in particular.

On Monday, the Supreme Court produced the result. By a contentious majority of 7–2, the Court held for the religious baker, Jack Phillips, who had refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, for a celebration of their out-of-state wedding. The Court decided the case on…

Andre Bass

I spend my days in code and design, and sometimes I write about it. I also write about science and religion.

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