Preferential option for the powerful?

  1. Preferential Option for Powerful Patriarchs?
  2. Biblical “modesty”
  3. Think tank morphs to muscle-man


Katelyn Beaty, editor at large for Christianity Today, has an odd and tone-deaf op-ed, The Mistake Christians Made in Defending Bill O’Reilly, in the New York Times.

She gives multiple examples of Evangelicals defending powerful male sexual predators like Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump. She contrasts those examples with a certain lack of comparable charity toward people like Hillary Clinton. So far, so good — except for

 But then:

Within the ranks of conservative church leadership, this default empathy for powerful men is coupled with tone deafness for victims.

Really? I don’t think I need that hypothesis.

Evangelicals were not conspicuously empathetic toward powerful men Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner. It seems to me that her examples are not of an Evangelical preferential option for male predators, but of a double standard that excuses political friends with pious platitudes while turning harsh light on political enemies who commit similar acts — the kind of stuff that has caused the broader culture to identify white Evangelicals as the Republican party at prayer.

And, by the way, Evangelicals aren’t unique in this. Some ardent feminist abortion-lovers opined that progressive women should be thanking Bill Clinton, pointedly, on their knees.

Pro Tip to Ms. Beaty: Rachel Held Evans and Jen Hatmaker have probably cornered the market for liberal-friendly dissident Evangelicalism. Give it up.


Speaking of Denny Burk, I think he seized an opportunity to get on a soapbox just as Katelyn Beaty did.

“Modesty” is a biblical virtue, not an evidence of some sort of toxic “purity culture.” As the apostle Paul writes, “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Tim. 2:9). I wonder if Beaty would view the apostle Paul’s words as problematic?

The trouble is, I don’t think the apostle Paul was talking about revealing clothing.  Here’s what 1 Tim. 2:9 says:

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments

(Emphasis added) Indeed, I suspect it’s anachronistic to impute a tendency toward revealing clothes to Christian women of the 1st century, although some were prone to puttin’ on the dog.

None of that is to suggest that it’s okay for people to come to Church dressed revealingly. In fact, I rather liked the Piper article Ms. Beaty misrepresented, which avoided taking New Testament “modesty” out of context.


If you don’t want a think tank to become too political, it’s probably not a good idea to hire a politician to lead it.

Mr. DeMint immediately began to focus on applying political pressure on Republicans as he did when he had run the Senate Conservatives Fund. He conspired with Senator Ted Cruz to shut down the government in 2013 unless ObamaCare was repealed—a kamikaze mission that accomplished nothing. As Mr. DeMint’s political direction became clear, many of Heritage’s best scholars chose to leave.

But Heritage’s political turn began even before Mr. DeMint took over from co-founder and longtime president Ed Feulner. In 2010 Mr. Feulner, already contemplating his retirement, created an active political arm and 501(c)(4) called Heritage Action. We ran an op-ed by Mr. Feulner at the time that announced Heritage Action as a way to promote conservative principles.

It hasn’t turned out that way, as Heritage Action has mugged the think tank. Led by political operative Michael Needham, Heritage Action has become a Beltway enforcer of whatever political strategy Mr. Needham and his band of internet allies think Republicans should pursue. Longtime Heritage principles like free trade were thrown over for political expediency. The think tank’s morning newsletter, The Daily Signal, has become a vehicle to promote the Freedom Caucus rather than conservative reform.

(Wall Street Journal Review & Outlook on what went wrong at the Heritage Foundation)

Dear reader:

Reporters at the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Wall Street Journal are attacking The Daily Signal for our press access at the White House.

They are afraid The Daily Signal is providing an alternative to the usual left-wing or establishment media spin. Now, they are using their “mainstream” media megaphones to diminish The Daily Signal.

The Daily Signal exists as an alternative to the mainstream media. We are a dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts funded solely by the financial support of the general public.

We need your help! Not only are these media outlets going after our reputation, but the White House Correspondents’ Association is facing pressure to exclude us.

Your financial support will help us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

No amount of bullying is going to stop us from covering the White House.

(Daily Signal, inserted into the middle of a news story)

* * * * *

Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.