Role call for the Seven Deadlies

The Washington Post has a fairly long feature story focused on a Southern Baptist Church in Alabama.

Because it’s a major paper, and the major papers almost invariably think that “religion don’t even real,” the focus is “what think ye of Donald Trump?” (Politics, you see, do real.)

From the introduction:

[M]any have acknowledged the awkwardness of being both self-proclaimed followers of Jesus and the No. 1 champions of a president whose character has been defined not just by alleged infidelity but accusations of sexual harassment, advancing conspiracy theories popular with white supremacists, using language that swaths of Americans find racist, routinely spreading falsehoods and an array of casual cruelties and immoderate behaviors that amount to a roll call of the seven deadly sins.

(Emphasis added.) It has been 21 years since I’ve been Evangelicalish (Christian Reformed) and 40+ since I’ve been unabashedly Evangelical. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

That opinion is:

  1. The quoted introduction rings false in at least this Minor sense: Trump’s Baptist and other Evangelical supporters could not do a call roll for the seven deadly sins because there’s no single Bible pericope that lists them.
  2. Otherwise the story rings true, for both better and worse. It rings true when people say things like “I hate it … My wife and I talk about it all the time. We rationalize the immoral things away. We don’t like it, but we look at the alternative, and think it could be worse than this.” It rings true when these folk opine things about Hillary Clinton such as “She hates me … She has contempt for people like me … and people who love God and believe in the Second Amendment. I think if she had her way it would be a dangerous country for the likes of me.” And it rings true when someone says “Obama was acting at the behest of the Islamic nation … He carried a Koran and it was not for literary purposes ….”

These are not bien pensants, but they’re not idiots, either. They’re trying to make sense of things, tempted by tribal orthodoxies (as I’m tempted by “Never Trump” orthodoxies). I think it is worth reading if you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare.

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Learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.

(David Foster Wallace via Jason Segedy, Why I’m Leaving Twitter Behind.)

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