Overheard (December 2020)

To suggest that somehow this federal government is hostile to faith and we must vote for Donald Trump to protect Christendom is one of the stupidest arguments I have ever heard in my life. . . . Look what the Supreme Court has done on religious liberty, specifically protecting religious liberty of conservative Christians! . . . I’ve got a lot of the same beliefs that you have. But those similarities stop when I think that the protection of my faith, of my evangelical faith, should only be applied to me and not applied to Catholics, not applied to Jews, not applied to Muslims, not applied to the others.

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host of “Morning Joe.”

Mediaite.com, 11-5-20


The issue with the Nones isn’t that religion is bad; it’s that it needs to be kept out of secular government policymaking. And science needs to be in.

Danny Westneat, in his column, “Power of the ‘Nones’ in a growing religious gap, or why sex ed passed so easily.” In Washington, a referendum on whether to mandate sex education in the schools passed with 60 percent of the vote.

Seattle Times, 11-6-20


I understand that one can be shocked by cartoons, but I will never accept that one can justify violence. Our freedoms, our rights, I consider it our vocation to protect them.

French President Emmanuel Macron, defending cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad following the beheading of a teacher, who showed his class caricatures of Muhammad as part of a lesson on free speech.

Washington Post, 10-31-20


I think what happened was, over time, white evangelical orthodoxy on politics sort of just melded into Republican orthodoxy, and there’s no difference anymore. We used to always believe that religion was the first cause and then politics was downstream of religion,” but newer studies suggest that “those two lenses have switched places now and that partisanship is the first cause and now religion is downstream of partisanship.

Ryan Burge, a professor at Eastern Illinois University, quoted in a column by Elizabeth Breunig, “Why evangelicals aren’t what they used to be.”

Washington Post, 11-6-20


[America’s massive failure of character] is the culmination of Trump’s influence among Republicans, and among white evangelical Christians in particular. Their main justification for supporting Trump — that the president’s character should be ignored in favor of his policies — has become a serious danger to the republic. . . . Under the president’s influence, white evangelicals went from the group most likely to believe personal morality matters in a politician to the group that is least likely.

Michael Gerson, in his column “This is a massive failure of character among Republicans — with evangelicals out in front.”

Washington Post, 11-12-20


[White evangelicals] are, as a group, dying out (median age in the late 50s), and their views are hardly recognizable to many other Americans. . . .White evangelicals have become, in essence, an offshore island, one whose inhabitants are slowly but steadily distancing themselves from the American mainland. The fading Island of White Evangelica will, eventually, lose its influence over America.

Dana Milbank, in his column, “Trump’s racist appeals powered a white evangelical tsunami.”

Washington Post, 11-13-20