35:27great you know there’s just tremendous35:29homogeneity now in in american culture35:32right35:32uh it’s the idea that these are the35:34types of people35:36who should be both in charge35:39of talking about liberal left35:42politics and who should really be in35:44charge of the country in general there35:45are people who right now have cultural35:46hegemony in this country35:48right um and it’s the idea that these35:51people35:52are sort of the these are the people who35:55embody35:56what should be american morality right35:58now right these are the people who36:00embody what that is and36:01should hold the cultural level levers of36:04power in the country and who36:05should have the power to be speaking on36:09uh the important topics of the day36:12so that’s sort of what i mean by that36:14what is joe what does joe rogan36:16lack on that list of36:20attributes that people think define36:22those who should be36:23exerting influence and power over our36:25discourse in politics36:27well i think what he lacks is i mean36:30the most important thing he lacks is36:33the um willingness to exclude everyone36:36else from the debate who isn’t a part of36:39that culture i mean i think that’s36:40probably the primary thing that enrages36:43them36:43is that he i mean one of the reasons why36:47his show is so popular is that it’s a36:49really powerful cross-pollination36:51of ideas of different fields of36:53different36:54industries people from all these36:56different walks of life36:58um it’s you know it’s it’s a great37:00reflection of internet culture you know37:01one of the reasons why the show is so37:03popular is that it kind of operates on37:04internet time37:06right as opposed to you know cable news37:08that37:09is kind of really slow to pick up on37:11things probably because of its older37:12demographic whereas37:14joe rogan is able to seize on something37:16that appeared on a message board37:17yesterday right and i mean even if you37:19watch his show37:20um they’re able to fact that fat check37:23themselves in real time right he’s got37:25his sidekick there jamie who37:27pulls something up to verify whether37:29what joe37:30what joe just said is totally full of37:32i mean that’s not something you’re37:33going to see chris hayes do37:35or sean hannity do right like that’s37:37just not the way it works37:38everyone’s online today i mean the37:41entire country is essentially getting37:4237:43and facebook and all that jazz like why37:45bother37:46doing it in this particular medium that37:49has an inherent time constraint37:51well you’re right i mean the internet37:53has revolutionized37:55politics and in many ways good ways we37:58use37:59our social media our email list which is38:01very large38:02we every day we’re sending out stuff and38:04other candidates are doing it the same38:05way38:05but television still has a very38:07important role to be playing um and so38:09probably it’s it’s partly that uh and38:12it’s38:12and it’s partly you know his his38:15willingness38:16to transgress on issues that are38:19considered38:20sacred right not necessarily obviously38:23the big one nowadays is the trans issue38:25the transgenderism issue38:26he’s willing to talk about that and he’s38:28willing to bring in38:30um perspectives on it that right now38:33liberals are just have38:34zero zero tolerance for um and so38:38so let me let me let’s stop there for a38:40second so38:42you know i’m i’m i’m i to kind of38:46present what i think would be the38:49best or strongest case that a liberal38:52would make for why joe rogan ought to be38:54regarded38:56certainly not as an ally and even as an38:58enemy38:59and one is the one that you just put39:01your finger on so this week there was a39:03report in vice39:05that employees of sportify which is the39:08platform that essentially just paid joe39:10rogan39:11in excess of 100 million dollars for his39:14show exclusively to appear there39:16are upset um and it came from39:20how they what they described themselves39:22as being lgbtq39:24a i plus employees39:28and allies so not just the lgbtqai plus39:33employees but also their allies are39:36upset because39:38in particular he has had on his show39:41number one an author who has argued39:45that there are times when young people39:49are influenced to believe39:53that they have gender dysphoria and to39:55even begin39:56irreversible transitions when in fact40:00they don’t have gender dysphoria because40:02of the culture that is encouraging them40:05to think that to what40:06in other words questioning whether young40:08people are being misdiagnosed40:10with gender dysphoria who don’t in fact40:12have it and there are definitely people40:14who40:14have said that they have been that40:16they’ve gone through that process only40:17to realize that40:19that wasn’t their issue so that was one40:22of the problems is just40:23airing an author who did research and40:26science40:27who said that to some extent people are40:30being misdiagnosed40:31and then i guess the other one was him40:33being an mma fan40:35a fighting fan as you alluded to earlier40:38questioning whether it’s fair40:40to allow uh trans women who40:44live their lives uh as biological men40:47who went through puberty as biological40:49men who developed muscle mass and40:50hormones and40:52um the entire physiology of a man to40:55then40:56transition and compete with cis women41:00something that people like martina41:01navratilova who’s been a long time41:04advocate for trans people have asked as41:06well and that41:07essentially this demonstrates his41:09willingness not just to air these41:11views but to even kind of wonder them41:13himself41:14suggests that he’s transphobic which is41:16a form of bigotry41:18and we ought not to have any kind of41:21alliance with41:22or support for people who are bigots41:25that’s one of the41:27cases that is made against joe oregon41:29why isn’t that valid41:30so i mean it goes to the point that i41:32that the question you just asked41:34me and the point that i made which is41:36that you know41:38what makes what makes it what makes joe41:41rogan41:41seen as not an ally and you know41:45what makes him come across as not an41:47ally is that he is not41:48actively engaged in the culture war41:50right i mean what’s so crucial to people41:53who are actually41:54actively engaged in liberal culture war41:56is that you have to be41:58actively seen as saying you know this is42:00our line and anyone who does not42:03um hew to this line is the enemy right42:06and if you’re not42:06a part if you’re not a part of the42:08solution you’re a part of the problem42:09essentially42:10and so when joe rogan someone like joe42:12rogan comes along and says hey there are42:14some interesting issues here hey42:16let’s talk about this hey there are some42:18certain scientific studies42:19that immediately raises all the alarms42:22in people’s heads42:24saying that uh oh this is not one of us42:26this is not one of the allies right like42:28this isn’t someone who is going42:30to be doing the work that we define42:32ourselves by42:33the work of advancing the culture war42:37right and if you’re not advancing the42:39culture war42:40then you’re as good as the enemy if not42:42the enemy is ironic right because like42:44george george bush’s42:45911 formulation that liberals42:48incessantly not just mock but we’re42:51very alarmed by was that you know42:54every country has a choice you’re with42:56us or you’re with the terrorists it’s42:58one or the other there’s no middle43:00ground if you’re not43:02actively supporting what we’re doing43:03we’re going to regard you as an43:05ally of the terrorists or even one of43:08the terrorists and that means that43:10for example in the culture war you43:13become the enemy not merely by43:16advocating against trans rights but43:20questioning the premises the science43:23behind the implications of these very43:25profound social changes43:27that a lot of people are advocating43:29right and and that’s what you saw from43:30this vice article right43:32um it was actually a perfect case study43:35i mean first of all the headline said43:37joe rogan’s transphobic episode or43:40something like that or43:41transphobic joe rogan you know it43:43clearly editorialized before you even43:45you didn’t i mean you didn’t even have43:47to read the article right like you you43:48just read the headline and you know43:50exactly what the article is saying43:52but beyond that it also completely43:55sidestepped the debate as we’re just43:56saying now right43:58this episode that they’re talking about43:59that that’s causing all the drama44:01internally and spotify if you watch it44:04there’s44:04two important things to know about it44:06first of all before44:08anything happened and again the reason44:10why this stuff works so well is because44:12no one actually listens to the episodes44:13who care involved in this44:15in this war right in these battles44:16because or they see44:18like one minute chosen snippets44:20deliberately selected to44:22cast it in the responsible light right44:26right exactly but so he starts off right44:28off the bat and he’s44:29and he says this episode is not about44:31adults right44:32this is not about trans adults we44:34completely believe in trans adult rights44:37we believe in their identities44:38we are completely supportive of them um44:41i joe rogan and completely a supporter44:45of trans adults right so that’s44:46important to set aside44:48um because right off the bat you know44:50that he’s not talking about44:52tran the idea of transgenderism in44:54general obviously right44:56you can’t i’ve heard him say before i’ve44:58heard him say before45:00not only do i fully support the complete45:04range and panoply of45:07robust equal legal rights for trans45:09people45:10and not only do i believe that they have45:12the absolute right to live their lives45:14with full and complete dignity and45:15liberty45:16which is consistent with his overall45:18philosophy i’ve heard him say45:20i have nothing but love in my heart for45:22trans people in fact45:23admiration for people who are willing to45:27defy societal convention to be45:29who they are so it’s almost like even on45:32the question of trans issues45:34from a liberal perspective he’s way45:38ahead of45:39the vast majority of where the45:40population is in terms of how he talks45:42about it45:43um so you’re right he he carves out this45:47kind of45:48you know um territory that he’s saying45:51i’m not45:52questioning the rights fully of trans45:55adults to live a complete and full45:57life filled with dignity and love um46:01so what is it that that became46:02problematic46:04so what became problematic is that you46:06know the rest of the show46:08is devoted to the issue of children46:11who you know children teenagers46:15people going through adolescence who46:18come across the idea of transgenderism46:21and think that maybe transgenderism has46:24some kind of answers46:26for what may be the natural kind of46:29patterns and challenges that children go46:32through in young age46:33um you know normally and also you know46:36in these days46:37we’re suffering through a mental health46:38crisis right one that probably46:40even preceded um coded but has just been46:44amped up46:44greatly during covid right but generally46:47the46:47the idea and the author of the book who46:49i will say you know the the author of46:51the book the title46:52was a little bit sensationalist and i46:54think that’s probably driving a46:56little bit you know it’s something like46:57they’re coming for our daughters or46:58something like that which you know47:00listen i if i was advising someone to47:02write a book that you want well received47:03broadly47:04you might do a better job with the title47:06but and that’s not and that’s not a book47:09written by joe it’s not a book written47:10by joe rogan it’s a book written47:14not always favorably right he47:16interrogated that person on47:17a lot of those premises exactly and he47:20did and he did do a good job of actually47:22kind of talking about the cover and47:23saying well why did you go with this47:24cover47:25and i mean it was he did this job on47:27that end actually right47:28um but more importantly this entire47:32episode was talking about47:33whether there’s an issue with kids47:37that you know kind of exploring47:39transgenderism and actually47:41moving forward with it when maybe it’s47:43not it maybe it’s47:44sort of a product of just a tumultuous47:47adolescence and maybe47:49allowing children to do this and engage47:51in this is maybe not the right move47:53essentially saying47:54maybe these children who think they’re47:55trans aren’t actually trans and maybe we47:58should be47:58engaging the science engaging um48:02engaging the experts on this issue to48:04kind of sort this out so that48:06you know we’re not we’re not kind of48:09sending people48:10on this path that will sort of you know48:12uproot their lives and48:14things that they’ll have to undo later48:16on and just causing more trauma into48:18adulthood right48:19it’s a way to argue against that which48:20is to say well no we’ve talked to the48:22experts and the experts say this isn’t a48:24widespread48:25issue or when we interrogate these48:27children who think they might be trans48:29there are real reasons why they think48:31they are or you know look into that48:33literature48:33bring it up bring the experts in and48:35actually engage this debate but of48:37course that’s not what they’re in for48:38right like this that’s not what this is48:40about48:40this is about immediately kind of48:43shutting down the debate48:44and saying okay you’re on the you’re not48:47you’re not advancing48:49the the cause the trans cause and the48:51broader culture cause so you’re clearly48:52part of the problem you’re not being an48:54ally right and that’s why48:56this word ally is has become so48:58important and this broader kind of49:00critical theory culture war49:02um dynamic is because this idea of ally49:07it’s not just it’s not a it’s not just49:09an affirmational49:11kind of identity of being an ally but49:12it’s a negational identity right what49:14it’s saying is that49:15if you’re an ally it means you’re49:17actually part of this49:19right you’re not you’re not someone who49:21is just letting it happen or working49:23against us if you’re not an ally49:25it’s not just that you’re being lazy49:26they’re not trying to you know when they49:28say you’re not an ally what they’re49:29saying is that you’re the enemy49:31right yeah you know there’s several49:32there’s there’s a couple things really49:34interesting to me about that which is49:36obviously part of my formative49:38experience in49:39being politically engaged was being part49:43of the gay rights movement49:44in the late 80s or even the mid 80s to49:48late 80s when i kind of came of age as49:51a gay teenager in the reagan years there49:53was obviously just like there is against49:56trans people now it sustained an49:57organized demonization campaign49:59right obviously the people who were just50:02you know50:03close-minded malicious bigots50:06were not people that you regarded as50:08allies those are people you were willing50:09to kind of demonize and scorn but the50:11reason why50:13that debate ended up being won by50:16advocates of50:17gay equality was because we were50:19constantly searching for ways to50:22engage people and to change their minds50:24and50:25encouraging those questions to be asked50:27based on the recognition50:29that if you want to usher in very50:31profound50:32changes to how society functions50:35and do so in a way that requires a50:38majority to support you50:40even though the majority is not um part50:43of the group who’s50:45on be on whose behalf you’re advocating50:48dialogue50:48and engagement is crucial and so people50:51who want to50:52engage and ask questions are are things50:54that you’re happy about not people that50:56you want to denounce50:57the other thing i find so um51:00kind of baffling and confounding about51:03this51:04taboo on asking in particular51:07whether or not children or teenagers are51:11being51:12uh misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria51:15for cultural reasons or social reasons51:17or because the51:18the understanding of it is so51:19preliminary um51:21aside from the fact that just in general51:23you want medicine and science and51:26mental health uh professionals always51:29asking51:30whether misdiagnoses are taking place51:32but51:33there’s this kind of morality now as i51:35know all too well and as people have51:37been seeing51:38you know it’s kind of made its51:40appearance in the alex morse51:41scandal where there’s this now51:44growing uh orthodoxy among51:49in left global politics that if you’re a51:51young adult51:5323 21 20 you lack the capacity to make51:58decisions for yourself that are truly52:00consensual about who you want to date52:02who you want to have sex with52:03frequently people cite neurological52:06research that says your brain isn’t52:07fully formed52:09and that therefore if someone is 28 or52:1130 like alex morse was52:13he shouldn’t be dating or having sex52:14with 21 or 22 year olds even if they say52:17they want to52:18because 21 and 22 year olds aren’t52:20capable of making52:21a much a pretty limited choice do i want52:23to have sex with this person on this52:25particular night or date them and yet52:27those same people who say that 21 year52:30olds or 20 year olds52:31aren’t capable of deciding for52:33themselves whether to date an older52:35person or whether to have sex with an52:36older person52:37want to put it off limits whether a 1452:41year old or a 15 year old52:43is sufficiently mature and has the52:46emotional sophistication52:48to make permanent life-altering52:50decisions about52:51what their gender is to the point of52:53having surgeries or52:55hormonal treatments that will alter52:57themselves52:59forever um and you know i think that53:03um one of the53:07kind of uh phenomenon that we’re seeing53:10in liberal53:10culture increasingly that’s reflected in53:13this treatment of joe robin53:15rogan as a homophobe not for saying53:17anything disparaging53:19about trans people or advocating against53:21equal rights quite the contrary53:23he he he doesn’t do that he advocates53:26for rights53:27is the idea that simply asking questions53:29even in response to things that probably53:31ought to be interrogated53:33is considered itself almost as bad as53:37malice and bigotry itself they’re kind53:40of equated53:41in a way that just will inherently repel53:44people from a political movement that53:46says53:47that if you have questions you have no53:49right to ask them and simply asking them53:51makes you a bad person53:53right and and the the i think the uh the53:56tying53:56kind of thread there is that this is53:59again it’s it’s about this delineation54:02that we have to make between liberal54:04politics and liberal culture54:05and the culture war um this is very much54:08about54:09a culture that has de-prioritized54:12political outcomes right54:14uh we see that with your example that54:16you just made54:17um with the gay rights movement we also54:19saw that with the alex morse campaign54:20right54:21we saw people who were much more focused54:24on maintaining54:25the integrity and the purity of the54:28battle they’re engaged in culturally54:30even at the expense of achieving real54:33political outcomes54:34right and as you just said you know54:36engaging debates is54:38is how you actually you know having that54:41cross-pollination of ideas54:42and and actually persuading people54:44actually engaging in persuasion54:47um rather than just kind of identifying54:49who’s on in my tribe who’s in your tribe54:51that’s how you achieve political54:53outcomes it was the same with the alex54:54morse right where it was54:56an allegation was made and we54:58immediately have to believe the54:59allegation55:00not investigate it because if you are a55:03you know if you’re a denier or if you55:05even hesitate to believe55:07what’s happening then you are not55:09promoting this broader idea55:12that there are victims in the world and55:14we’re not55:15kind of invested further investing in55:16the idea of victimization right55:19um victimization is this really core55:21concept to this culture where right like55:23we have to believe that there are55:24victims and we have to always support55:27the creation of new categories of55:28victimhood and if we don’t and if we’re55:31not engaged in that struggle55:33then we’re not pushing the culture war55:34and again it just shows55:36that maintaining the integrity of this55:38culture war is far55:39more important than even the political55:41outcomes and i think there may be some55:43very tangible reasons for that i think55:45a lot of the people that are engaged in55:46this stuff are people who do derive55:49power from cult power powerful cultural55:51centers right they work in academia55:54they work in the media and that’s how55:55they exert their power55:57over politics and over society because55:59again culture is how56:01we talk about ideas culture is how56:04we mold political ideas and say which56:07ideas can connect together which people56:09can connect together who can56:10hang out with who how cool you know56:13culture builds coalitions right56:16it builds political coalitions so um56:19i think there’s a very real reason why56:22people56:22are very concerned about maintaining the56:25integrity of this liberal culture56:28it’s because that’s where they derive56:30their power and in fact56:32you know they’re i mean it’s not a56:34surprise to see especially56:35now seeing cultural elites feel so56:38disempowered democratically right they56:40feel so politically disempowered56:43um that they would kind of throw56:45themselves completely into this culture56:47war because that’s the only place where56:48they can exert their power now right56:50and that’s why we see these insane sorts56:53of um56:55kind of concessions to even corporate56:57culture where they’re56:59so excited to allow corporations to57:01censor57:02free speech they’re so excited to allow57:04hr departments to and you know57:06indoctrinate people and run57:08programs on people and force people in57:09these programs where the people are57:11literally denouncing themselves because57:13of the way they’re born57:14it’s exerting power through culture57:16because you can’t do it politically57:18anymore politically it’s a lot harder57:20you have to get the people on your side57:21why would you want to get the people on57:23your side that’s a pain in the ass57:24so yeah exactly um so57:28and and i do think it’s interesting as57:30well that57:31that this whole concept of whether you57:33care about power or not because57:35you know i watched i mentioned martina57:37navratilova earlier who um57:40you know is obviously a person who i pay57:42attention to i’ve talked about before57:44and written about before how she was my57:45childhood hero57:46i was working on a film about her and it57:48was amazing to watch57:49that this person who is like one of the57:52main 20th century pioneers57:54of feminism she did as much to create57:58space for the ability of female athletes58:01to compete on equal terms with male58:03athletes in terms of money and58:04sponsorships and58:05corporations is probably anybody except58:08for billie jean king58:09she had a trans coach in 1883 and was58:11defending58:13not just lgbts and was one of the few58:14openly gay celebrities or athletes of58:17that era58:18you know all she kind of did was say hey58:21i’m kind of confused58:23is all you is the only thing you have to58:25do to enter58:26female professional sports and win all58:29the cash58:30awards and and prizes and trophies is58:34declare yourself a woman or are there58:35protocols58:36she was really asking earnestly and58:39in response she was just mauled um58:42with no generosity no kind of58:46you know uh consideration for her whole58:48history she was just instantly declared58:50a bigot the more she tried to defend58:52herself58:53the worse it got and then eventually58:55very soon thereafter she converted58:57into a real enemy she emerged two months58:59later and wrote this59:01article aggressively condemning the idea59:04that trans women should be able to59:06compete in female athletic and female59:10athletics because it the the the kind of59:13intolerance for her even asking59:17converted her it alienated her converted59:19her into an enemy and59:20it seems like people who don’t care59:22about outcomes are about winning59:24really don’t get bothered by that but59:27let me just ask you about one59:28the kind of the last um59:32kind of prong of the case of the liberal59:34case against joe rogan i find this one59:36really interesting59:37too which is you know people say59:41okay fine he he liked bernie like tulsi59:45um and yet i believe in 2016 if i’m not59:48mistaken59:50he said that he was voting for trump59:51over hillary59:53and i’m certain that after saying that59:56he59:56thought bernie was the best candidate59:58and really like tulsi59:59he’s now saying i can’t vote for biden i60:02probably would vote for trump over biden60:05which would is leading ripples to say to60:07people like you60:09why would we possibly why should we60:12possibly regard somebody60:14as an ally who is60:18saying twice now that they’re going to60:19vote for donald trump and i guess like60:21an60:21ancillary part of that question is you60:24know there is this phenomenon of people60:26who twice voted60:27for barack obama and then voted for60:29donald trump in 201660:31not a small number a large number and60:33here in brazil60:34same thing you know a lot of people who60:35voted for bolsonaro in 201860:38were people who voted for the workers60:40party four consecutive60:42elections so if you’re kind of a60:44political junkie who relies on the60:46polarization of choose between rachel60:48maddow and sean hanovey60:50it doesn’t make any sense that somebody60:52could do that to say i like bernie60:54but i’m gonna vote for trump because you60:56have to pick an ideological box60:58and joe rogan clearly is a person61:01who doesn’t think that way and i think61:03there’s like this liberal sense that61:05that makes him bizarre when in fact61:07i think it makes him pretty common it’s61:09one of the reasons why people like him61:11because he’s not in one of those boxes61:13but what do you say to liberals who61:15would make that argument that how can we61:17consider somebody supporting61:19this authoritarian racist for president61:22to be an ally61:25well i mean there are two things that61:26you you have to kind of61:29kind of set the record straight on first61:31is that i i’m pretty sure in 2016 he61:33voted for gary johnson so he voted for a61:35libertarian i don’t think he voted for61:37trump in 2016.61:39um and in 2020 again he first you know61:42supported tulsi61:43then he supported bernie um and then61:46most recently if you really61:48look at his comments it’s not that he’s61:49saying he’s endorsing trump but he’s61:51saying that61:52he would he would vote for trump um61:55as a result of the party choosing biden61:57because he just doesn’t think biden can61:59do the job62:00just from a kind of mental age62:04decline standpoint so it’s not like the62:06most heartfelt support of trump but yeah62:08i mean62:08let’s set that aside and just say okay62:10like he’s willing to vote for trump62:12right62:12um i mean the idea that you wouldn’t62:15want to engage62:16someone who is willing to go from the62:19most62:20liberal the most left candidate in the62:23democratic primary and willing to then62:26switch over to trump62:27i mean you know it’s the argument that62:29the left’s been making62:30for you know for years now right that62:33like62:33these this is the is the guy to be62:36studying right he’s the one that we can62:38kind of crack the code on62:40um as for you know why that’s the case62:43i think it’s real again it’s really62:45threatening i don’t think62:46you know i think the democratic62:48establishment what i tend to tell people62:49is that the democratic establishment62:52their main priority is not really to62:54actually even win elections62:56it’s to keep control of the democratic62:58party right like that’s where most of63:00their power comes from it’s certainly63:01where63:02their most reliable source of power63:04comes from it’s keeping control of the63:05party because as long as you can63:07keep control of the party and you keep63:08control of the cultural63:10um levers of power in the country63:13you’re always going to be able to63:15command 5063:16of the political system you’re always63:18going to be able to command63:20um you know the entire media apparatus63:23that’s devoted to politics right you’re63:25good63:25or at least half of it right you’re63:27going to in control the liberal half63:29and so i think it’s i i mean i it’s63:32i’m sorry to say but i think it’s a63:34really cynical calculation63:36that cultural elites and democratic63:39party elites are making when they make63:41these decisions because when when you63:43engage joe rogan63:45and you engage his viewers you’re being63:47bringing in63:48a ton of people who you can’t63:50necessarily rely on to keep these clean63:52lines of political and cultural63:54engagement you’re63:55you’re completely blowing up the63:57political system you’re you’re blowing63:59up the racket64:00right and why would you want to do that64:02because at the end of the day64:04hell trump could get reelected and64:05they’d still control the party they can64:07still control the other half they’d be64:10raising hundreds of millions of dollars64:12for their think tanks and therefore you64:14know the media institutions and so64:16it’s a great racket why would you risk64:18that just for64:19winning you know the presidency for64:21maybe four years eight years64:22don’t get me wrong obviously they’d like64:24to win that too64:26but i don’t think that’s the real game i64:27don’t think that’s ever been the real64:28game64:30we saw that in the uk right where the64:33centrists and playwrights and moderates64:36who controlled the labor party64:38levers of power forever whether they64:40were in power out of power64:42when they lost control of their own64:44party to jeremy corbyn64:46they it was very obvious if you’re just64:48paying minimal attention but we now know64:50from documents that have been leaked and64:51reports that have been issued64:53they were actively working against the64:56labor party they preferred64:58to destroy corbyn and retake control65:01of the party even if it meant empowering65:04the tories and making boris johnson65:06prime minister because as you say65:09their top priority is ensuring that they65:11maintain65:12control of their party and secondary65:15or even more distantly is actually65:18winning elections65:19um and you know i think that you know65:22it’s like when people ask me why i go on65:23tucker carlson i65:24can barely even understand the question65:26because it’s such an obvious answer65:28which is65:29because there are four million people65:30watching and whatever percentage it is65:33that i can reach in any way not65:34necessarily change their minds instantly65:37but just kind of make them a little more65:38open65:39to hearing from different people maybe65:41get them kind of unsettled about65:44who they should be paying attention to65:46or introducing some ideas that maybe65:48maybe it’s ten percent maybe it’s five65:50percent maybe it’s fifteen percent65:52why would i ignore that if i actually65:54care about outcomes65:55to watch you know i i it kind of shocked65:58me edward snowden65:59uh appeared on rogan’s show for the66:02second time this week and so i went back66:03to look at what the audience was the66:05first time he appeared which is66:06about 10 months ago and even though66:09edward snowden being edward snowden kind66:11of spoke in like a monologue form for66:13about66:14three hours you know and he was66:16obviously remote because he couldn’t66:18go to the studio since he’s trapped in66:19russia the audience for that66:22appearance from edward snowden just on66:25youtube never mind all the other66:26platforms66:27was 15 million people 15 million66:31um which is you know four or five times66:34the size66:35of a primetime cable host even on their66:37best night66:38and obviously by virtue the fact that66:40you watch it that people66:42listen to it and can hear him say i66:44support tulsi or i support66:46bernie obviously there’s huge numbers of66:48those66:49that audience that are very reachable66:51from a liberal perspective66:53anybody who says i don’t want to have66:56anything to do66:57with a show that reaches 15 million66:59people67:00is somebody to me who’s saying67:04i look at politics as about everything67:06other than67:07winning wielding power and changing the67:10world67:11right right and they shrouded in moral67:13language right they shrouded67:15in how could you associate with someone67:17like that how could you you’ll be67:18tainted by someone like that67:20um they shrouded in those things but at67:22the end of the day it’s a much more67:24cynical calculation it’s67:25it’s put forth as some kind of moral67:28decr67:29declaration but it’s really a cynical67:31calculation67:32calculation in terms of controlling the67:33party in terms of controlling cultural67:36power centers67:37why would we want to upset that this is67:40a great setup67:41um and yeah that’s why you see 1567:43million people tuning in to edward67:45snowden because it completely cult67:47cuts across all of these cultural lines67:50i mean there aren’t67:51you know being interested in edward67:53snowden just his story and what he did67:55and the cultural and political impact he67:57had67:58that’s not a liberal or conservative68:00idea that’s68:01that’s reaching millions of people um68:03but that’s just not interesting to68:05um what informs the you know the the68:08careers and the lifestyles of the people68:10that68:11sort of hold these both the political68:13and cultural68:14levers of power in the country yeah so68:16yeah so thanks very much for68:18for taking the time i i think is a68:20really important topic not just68:22because it’s important to understand the68:24phenomenon of joe rogan although that68:25is important there are very few people68:28having the kind of cultural68:30and political impact that he’s having68:34um in a reaching a group of people who68:38often tune out politics or who aren’t68:40engaged in the traditional ways which68:42makes him68:44even more important than just the68:45numbers alone but i do think too68:47the reaction to him tells us a lot about68:50how media figures view their position68:52how liberals view what their political68:54project uh is and so68:56um i i think your your analysis on69:00twitter and the discussion that we just69:02had69:02um has really clarified those issues in69:05in a really helpful way so thank you so69:07much for69:08taking the time to talk to me um and i69:10hope people will tune into your69:13back channel youtube program where69:14you’re doing a lot of these kind of69:15header docs69:17uh discussions with people across a wide69:20range of69:21ideological and cultural uh belief69:24systems so69:24thanks very much sean yeah thank you so69:27much i enjoyed it69:36you
Krystal Ball rips Tucker Carlson for his monologue on protesters from the ‘radical left’ and draws parallels of his fear mongering coverage of BLM protests to Russiagate.
Christian political engagement is about more than an issue checklist.
On April 15, the United States hit a horrifying milestone. It not only crossed 30,000 total COVID-19 deaths, but for the fourth consecutive day, the daily death toll was so high that COVID-19 was the single leading cause of death in the United States. This visualization of the rising death toll is simply horrifying:
At the same time, new reports have emerged demonstrating the president’s incredible reluctance to come to terms with the scale of a crisis that wasn’t just foreseeable, it was foreseen by members of his own administration. And while Trump deserves credit for limiting travel from China in late January, he not only squandered any advantage gained by that move, he actively spread misinformation about the virus throughout the month of February and into March.
Then, when he finally began to acknowledge the scale of the emergency, he went on national television and botched his own primetime address, misstating administration policies and triggering a panic from Americans in Europe who believed—based on the president’s own words—that they would be barred from coming home.
Since that time, his daily press conferences have featured a parade of presidential
- overstatements, misstatements, and outright falsehoods. He’s often fact-checked in real time by his own advisers. In the meantime, 22 million Americans have lost their jobs.
Something else happened on April 15—Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the presumptive next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a man I respect a great deal—spoke from the midst of a ruined economy, soaring death rates, and presidential blundering and said . . . four more years. He declared not only that he’d support Donald Trump in 2020, but that he’ll almost certainly support Republican presidential candidates the rest of his life. Mohler focused on the classic culture war issues—marriage, sexuality, constitutional interpretation, and abortion. He expressed the belief that the “partisan divide had become so great” and Democrats had “swerved so far to the left” on those key issues that he can’t imagine ever voting for a Democratic president. He also claimed that Trump has been “more consistent in pro-life decisions” and consistent in the quality of his judicial nominations than “any president of the United States of any party.”
As he made clear in the video, Mohler has not always supported Trump. In 2016, he was consistent with his denomination’s clear and unequivocal statement about the importance of moral character in public officials. He has now decisively changed course.
In 1998—during Bill Clinton’s second term—the Southern Baptist Convention declared that “tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment” and therefore urged “all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character.”
Mohler so clearly recognized the applicability of those words that he said, “If I were to support, much less endorse Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton.” I do wonder if Mohler will apologize. He absolutely should.
Look, I know that for now I’ve lost the character argument. It’s well-established that a great number of white Evangelicals didn’t truly believe the words they wrote, endorsed, and argued in 1998 and for 18 years until the 2016 election. Oh sure, they thought they believed those words. If someone challenged their convictions with a lie detector test, they would have passed with flying colors.
(By the way, I use the term “white Evangelicals” because that’s Trump’s core political constituency. That’s the base that gave him 81 percent support in 2016. The rest of the Evangelical community leans Democratic.)
When C.S. Lewis said “courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of very virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality,” he was speaking an important truth. We may think we possess an array of virtues and beliefs, but we don’t really know who we are or what we believe until those virtues and beliefs are put to the test. There is many a man who goes to war thinking himself brave, until the bullets fly. There is many a man who thinks himself faithful to his wife, until the flirtation starts.
There were many men who thought character counted, until a commitment to character contained a real political cost. But that’s the obvious point. I’ve made it countless times before today. White Evangelicals, however, have shrugged it off. “Binary choice,” they say. “Lesser of two evils,” they say—even though those concepts appeared nowhere in the grand moral announcements of the past.
Many millions of Trump-supporting white Evangelicals no longer care about character (though a surprising number are still remarkably unaware of his flaws). That much is clear. But the story now grows darker still. As they’ve abandoned political character tests, they’re also rejecting any meaningful concern for presidential competence.
Listen to Mohler’s announcement, and you’ll hear a narrow political philosophy—one that’s limited to evaluating a party platform on a few, discrete issues. It’s nothing more than a policy checklist. He speaks of religious freedom, LGBT issues, and abortion.
Yet as the pandemic vividly illustrates (and as 9/11 also highlighted in recent years past), the job of the president extends well beyond the culture war. Indeed, there are times when a president is so bad at other material aspects of his job that he becomes a malignant force in American life, regardless of his positions on white Evangelicals’ highest political priorities.
The role of the people of God in political life is so much more difficult and challenging than merely listing a discrete subset of issues (even when those issues are important!) and supporting anyone who agrees to your list. The prophet Jeremiah exhorted the people of Israel to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”
This is a difficult, complicated task. We can’t reduce it to a list. In fact, this complexity is one reason why two key communities of churchgoing Americans are dramatically split in their political preferences. Black Christians go to church every bit as much (if not more) than white Evangelicals, yet they reject Trump every bit as much as white Evangelicals embrace him.
Are they less Christian? Or is their experience of the welfare of the national community shaped by history and experience that’s quite different from that of their white Evangelical brothers and sisters? And while that history is complex, it does clearly teach the deadly consequences of hate and the dangers of white populism.
When a president declares that there were “very fine people” in a collection of tiki-torch-toting white supremacists, shouldn’t Christians of all colors be gravely concerned? Shouldn’t they be alarmed when the CEO of the president’s campaign and his chief strategist declared just before his ascension to the president’s team that he wanted his publication (Breitbart) to be the “platform” for the racist alt-right? And when a president issues a stream of misinformation about a mortal threat to public health (with one eye on the stock market), is there not cause for accountability?
I could go on and on, but there are Christians in this country – mostly from communities who’ve suffered in the recent past at the hands of malignant government power—who look at Trump and do not see a man who’s concerned for their welfare. What is the white Evangelical obligation to listen to them? To hear their concerns?
The response can’t be the checklist. And when vulnerable Americans suffer mightily from the health and economic consequences of a global pandemic the president minimized, the response can’t be the checklist. White Evangelical leaders owe us a serious argument as to why that checklist trumps character and competence in the leader of the free world.
No one should minimize the difficulty of the job of president of the United States. It’s a fact that a number of democracies have struggled even worse than America to respond to the coronavirus (some have done much better), and economic damage will be felt worldwide. China bears immense blame for our national plight.
But President Trump was warned and warned and warned. For day after crucial day he chose to mislead Americans about one of the most significant threats to their well-being—to their “welfare”— in the modern history of the United States. He faced a key test, and he did not rise to the moment. And when he failed, he did real damage that even later course corrections could not entirely fix.
And please Christians, do not run back to arguments about “binary choice.” When I walk into the voting booth (or mail in my ballot), I will see more than two names. I’ll also have a choice to write in a name. I will not have to compromise my convictions to cast a vote for president.
If you do, however, want to revert to the language of “binary choice,” we need to examine the larger context. In January the nation faced a different kind of binary choice. It was, quite simply, “Trump or Pence.” When the president was impeached after he clearly attempted to condition vital military aid to an ally on a demand for a politically motivated investigation of a political opponent and on a demand to investigate a bizarre conspiracy theory, white Evangelicals had a decision to make.
They chose Trump.
They chose Trump when they would have certainly sought to impeach and convict a Democrat under similar facts.
In fact, for four long years, when the choice has been between Trump and even the most momentary break with the president for a single news cycle, the overwhelming majority of white Evangelicals—and their political leaders—have spoken loudly and clearly.
It’s Trump. It’s always Trump.
In the fourth year of Donald Trump’s first term, the deal white Evangelicals have struck is now increasingly clear. Their leaders will get unprecedented Oval Office access. They’ll get a few good religious liberty regulations. They’ll get good judges. Those judges will almost certainly issue rulings that protect religious liberty. They might issue rulings that marginally protect life (though the pro-life battle is fought far more in the culture and in the states than in the courts). Those will be important and good things. They are not the only things.
White Evangelicals will have also squandered any argument that character matters in politicians. That means we’ll have more politicians of low character.
White Evangelicals are squandering any argument that they seek to love their enemies. That means we’ll see more hate from America’s bully pulpit.
White Evangelicals are not only squandering any argument that competence matters, they are working hard to try to force more incompetence on their American community. Trump’s impact on the welfare of the American city is increasingly clear. It’s more division. It’s more hate. It’s more incompetence. And now that terrible combination has yielded a series of dreadful errors in the face of a deadly pandemic.
White Evangelicals, one of the most politically powerful religious movements in the entire world, should not use their power to maintain and ultimately renew the authority of one of the most malignant and incompetent politicians ever to hold national office. They shouldn’t, but they will.
One last thing …
This has been a rather grim newsletter, but authentic religious discourse requires discussing and debating hard questions, and the answers are not always easy or uplifting. I want to end not with a hymn or worship song, but rather something closer to a lament. It’s from one of my favorite artists, Sara Groves, and it speaks to the uncertainty and difficulty of life in a time of vulnerability and loss.
Post-Jesus Christians are “Christians” who have decided to postpone following Jesus’s teaching until Jesus returns and ushers in 1000 years of peace.
Post-Jesus Christians hold that Jesus’s teachings do not need to be followed in our present era if they are a hindrance to obtaining the power they fear they need to help usher in the Kingdom of God.
Post-Jesus Christians (privately) hold that Jesus’s teachings are a nice thing to follow when dealing with the in-group of their fellow PJCs but may be disregarded when dealing with non-PJC neighbors.
Prophecy: What God Can Do For You
Post-Jesus Christians talk a lot about about prophecy, and unlike the Biblical Prophets, when they do, they punch down, rather than up:
You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence“, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”.
Later Craig Greenfield writes:
In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.
- Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
- Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.
An Inversion of Ben Franklin’s Morality
While many Post-Jesus Christians appeal to a historical “Christian Nation” , Post-Jesus Christians appear to be an inversion of founding father Ben Franklin, who in historian John Fea’s description, wanted to discard Jesus’s Divinity but retain and celebrate his ethical teachings.
So what does this look like in practice?
Below are public quotations from prominent Court Evangelicals. These quotations are less extreme that I would expect to hear in private. A friend of mine speaks to supporters in private. He reports that they would (privately) celebrate the stuffing of election ballots in favor of their preferred candidate as a righteous act.
1) Court Evangelical: Anti-Sermon on the Mount
John Fea wrote about a conversation he had with Rob Schenck for the “Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer” podcast @ 19:27. Here’s a quote from Schenck talking about a conversation he had with a prominent evangelical at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service:I must tell you something of a confession here. I was present at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral — not the smaller one held at Saint John’s Episcopal church across from the white house, but the one following the inauguration at the National Cathedral and I saw one of the notable Evangelicals that you’ve named in in our conversation. One of them, I won’t say which and we had it short exchange and I, I suggested to him that we needed to recalibrate our moral compass and that one way to do that might be to return to The Sermon on the Mount as a reference point. And he very quickly barked back at me. “We don’t have time for that. We have serious work to do.”
2) Jerry Falwell Jr: Anti-Turn the other cheek
We have blogged about Liberty University’s Falkirk Center before. The more I learn about this center the more I am convinced that it does not represent the teachings of Christianity. Recently someone on Twitter pointed out this paragraph in the Falkirk Center mission statement:
Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient. There is too much at stake in the battle for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic action and initiative is needed, which is why we just launched the Falkirk Center, a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.
John Fea’s Update:
Several smart people have suggested that I may have misread Liberty University’s statement. They have said that the Falkirk Center was not denying that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individuals. Instead, the Falkirk Center is saying that we should not “abdicate” (the key word here) our responsibilities to engage on the “culture battlefield.”
I think this is a fair criticism, and I indeed may have misread the statement. For that I am sorry. But I don’t think I want to back away too strongly from what I wrote above. While several have correctly pointed out that Liberty University is not saying Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individual Christians, the Falkirk Center does seem to be suggesting that it is “insufficient” for culture engagement.
07:31So there was certainly the policy.07:33And then on the other hand, you had the character issues.07:39That evangelicals would sort of sell their moral authority to speak truth to the world07:50for a handful of Supreme Court justices or this or that social or cultural issue; for07:57me, the fact that this man had a history of all kinds of . . . involved in the porn industry,08:05he was crude, he disrespected women.08:10The things he said about his opponents, we could go into specifics about that.08:18I’m a believer that there needs to be some kind of moral fabric to a republic in order08:25for the republic to work.08:27Now, where you find that morality, we could debate that question; I’ve written a little08:32about that elsewhere.08:33But a moral republic needs some kind of moral leader, some person of character, and he was08:40not it.08:41And I think you could make an argument against him, not even a Christian argument; he’s just08:45not good for America.08:47But yet evangelicals were so driven by their culture war.08:52Win the culture war, get the justices we need, elect the right guy; this kind of model, “playbook”08:59I call it in the book, this playbook for winning the culture that they were willing to overlook09:05all the character flaws and that was the second thing of course that bothered me.09:10I think it bothered a lot of other evangelicals.09:12I think that character issue bothered most evangelicals, whether they voted for Trump09:17or not, but ultimately the playbook: how to win the culture wars by electing the right09:24justices, the right congressmen, and the right president was so overwhelmingly strong and09:30had been so inculcated, so indoctrinated into the way evangelicals today think about politics,09:38that I should have seen it coming.09:42I should have seen this–if you look at the past 15 years, this was all building up to09:47this point.09:48Now, I think, I tend to think of this as kind of a last gasp of the old Christian Right;09:56I think that most of the people who voted for Trump came of age during the late ’70s10:03and ’80s when people like Jerry Falwell and the Christian Right were articulating this10:08playbook for how to win the culture for the first time.10:12I think the average Trump voter is 57 years old.10:16So I do have hope, especially as I look at young people in Christian colleges, like Messiah10:21College where I teach, who are much more interested in different kinds of questions related to10:27justice and social ills and those kinds of things in terms of how they exercise their faith.10:32But I think, I hope this is, I think I see this as a last gasp–I think in the book I10:39call it–I occasionally teach a course on the Civil War.10:44Some of your viewers might remember the last great engagement of the Battle of Gettysburg:10:53Picket’s Charge where the Confederate, Confederacy made one last charge before they were–and11:00almost were successful–before they were beat back once and for all.11:04Those who know their Civil War history know the war went downhill from that point.11:10I hope that’s what happened, that’s what’s gonna happen, that’s what we’re seeing here.11:16So, as I look back, I looked at the last 50 years, I saw all of these grievances that11:26evangelicals believed were happening, whether they be sexual politics: abortion; the ERA, the11:36Women’s Rights movement.11:38Evangelicalism has always been a patriarchal culture.11:45I think there’s a reaction to that.11:46I think there was a reaction to integration, racial integration, desegregation.11:54I think there were prayer in public schools, Bible taking out of the public schools, prayer11:59removed from public schools.12:00I think there’s this perfect storm that emerges in the ’60s and ’70s that prompts people likeJerry Falwell and others to establish again this kind of political playbook to win theculture back.12:14And Trump proved that, just how powerful that playbook really is and continue–was, and12:22continues to be, even to the point that someone like Donald Trump could win.12:28Again, I’m writing primarily to evangelicals in this book.12:33I think there will be a secondary audience of American religious historians, people who12:38are interested in American religion who want to take a peek into what evangelicals are12:43talking about.12:44I think there’s some good history in the book, though, too.12:46One of the things I try to unpack is show how there’s always been a dark side to American12:52evangelicalism.12:55We can talk about the way in which evangelicals have been on the front lines of anti-slavery,social justice movements, international poverty relief, all of these kinds of things.And we need to celebrate that I think; I’m not one of these people, who–I am an evangelical,so I rejoice that evangelicals are doing these things.But there’s also a dark side.Even as someone like Lyman Beecher, who I write about in the third chapter, even ashe is fighting slavery, he’s also one of the leading nativists.He doesn’t want catholics coming in and undermining his protestant nation.So this story goes back a long way and I think what Trump does, is he appeals to the worstside of evangelicalism in its 2, 300-year history.Every time evangelicals are not representing the true virtues of their faith, where they13:58fail, I think Trump seizes on that history.14:04This is a history that defended the institution of slavery.14:07This is a history that had such certainty about what is true in the fundamentalist movement.14:16This is a movement that prevented, didn’t want certain kinds of immigrants coming into14:20the country.14:21There’s a long history of this.14:23I’d like my fellow evangelicals to at least be exposed to that history.14:29I think when ordinary evangelicals, lay men and women, think about evangelical history14:35they celebrate this providential idea.14:38“God is with us!14:40God is doing great things through people.”14:42And I think that’s important.14:44I think God does obviously work in this world and uses people in this world.14:49But also the reality of human sin: evangelicals are not immune.14:55Obviously!14:56If anyone knows better, it’s an evangelical who believes in this conversion experience,15:03one’s saved from the consequences of sin, becoming born again or becoming–accepting15:08Jesus, or whatever that looks like.15:12So, I want them to see there is a darker side to the history that Trump is tapping into.15:21Am I going to convince the 81% that they made a wrong decision?15:28Most I probably will not, but I do believe there are some fence-sitters out there, people15:32who maybe held their nose and voted for Trump.15:39Maybe they need to think through exactly, they may be open to thinking through a little15:43bit more, in terms of what this man represents and what the policy decisions he is putting15:49forth represent.15:52And hopefully it will force evangelicals–maybe “force” is too strong a word, but it might15:55encourage evangelicals to think more deeply about political engagement.16:04And when a politician comes along and says, “Let’s make America great again,” he’s ultimately–or16:11she, in this case he–is ultimately making a historical statement.16:17So I think evangelicals have to be careful.16:19When was America great?16:22Let’s go back and think about that.16:24What does Trump mean when he says, “Make America great again?”16:28And before you start using these evangelical catch-phrases like “reclaim” and “restore”16:34and “let’s get back to” and “let’s bring back the way it used to be,” we need to think more16:44deeply about what, exactly what it was like back then, how it used to be.16:49So I think even if the book forces evangelicals to kind of rethink even their phraseology16:55and how they, what they say when they enter the public sphere, public square, I think17:00that will be a contribution in some ways.17:02I’ll be happy if that happens.17:06So I think race plays an important role in this book.17:11I think that’s a contribution here.17:13There’s a lot of reasons why evangelicals voted for Trump.17:17Sexual politics I think is a big one.17:19I think race is also an issue.17:22There is a certain degree of, still a certain degree of fear among white evangelicals that,17:30not only African Americans, but Hispanics; America’s becoming less white, there’s been17:36a lot of good sociology written about this lately about the “end of white America.”17:41So I think this is, the white evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump, the 81% of white17:48evangelicals, are responding to these changes with a sense of fear, with a sense of nostalgia17:56for a white world in which they held power.17:59So I think this is part of the story, part of the appeal of Donald Trump.18:06Let’s try to, when they say, “Let’s make America great again,” you talk to most African Americans,18:13the best time to live in America is today.18:16They don’t want to go back.18:18And I’ve had some great conversations over the years with African American evangelicals18:22and worked with them on things and I talk a little bit about that in one of the chapters18:26of the book about this idea that we are somehow a Christian nation that we have to get back to.18:35No African American wants to get back to when we were supposedly a “Christian nation.”18:40So I think this appeal–and again, you see it in the history.18:44Whenever there is some kind of significant cultural change, whether it be religion, race;18:51I mean, I’m half Italian.18:53When my Italian family came over, they were of a “different race.”18:58They were southern Europeans.19:00They weren’t WASPs.19:01So this same kind of racial rhetoric, as well as the anti-catholic rhetoric.19:07Whenever there’s a cultural demographic change in society, largely through immigration, or19:14some kind of slave rebellion where the slaves are threatening to overthrow the racial hierarchy19:19of the South, sadly, evangelicals are always at the front of that resistance.19:28Mostly white, middle class evangelicals.19:30I think that’s what you’re seeing again now.19:32Our culture is changing.19:34We’re becoming less white, we’re becoming more religiously diverse.19:38I think the 1965 Immigration Act which allowed non-Western men and women into this country.19:45They brought their religions with them, they brought their culture with them.19:50And I think Donald Trump stepped in and said, in a very conservative, populist way–which19:55we’ve seen throughout American history, maybe most recently Pat Buchanan, but there were19:59others in the 20th Century–and said, “We are going to make you happy again.20:07We’re gonna give you the kind of world that you once knew as a kid.20:11We’re gonna make America great again.”20:14And I think that is very much tied into these racial, cultural, ethnic changes.20:20For a long time, evangelicals have been, if not leading, very much at the forefront of20:28racism in America.20:31I would argue historically–really more as an evangelical, I would argue–it’s a failure20:40of their, it’s a failure of faith.20:44I think evangelicals have these resources, all Christians have these resources: the dignity20:49of all human beings.20:53I think it’s most important, but also evangelicalism specifically…21:00I remember hearing Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today, talking about all these21:06Christian scholars that appeal to the Imago Dei which is we’ve been created in the image21:11of God, and thus everybody has dignity, everybody has worth: racism is not an option as a result21:19of that, if everybody has dignity.21:21And there were people in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries who were making these arguments,21:27so it’s not as if I’m sort of taking my 21st Century view on this and superimposing it21:33on the past.21:34There are others who were more consistent on this.21:36But Galli said for evangelicals, it even goes deeper than just the Imago Dei, or it’s more21:42thorough than that, in the sense that, if we believe Jesus died on the cross for our21:49sins, redemption, all human beings are worthy of redemption in God’s eyes regardless of21:56gender, race, class, and so forth.21:59So it moves even beyond just the creation to the redemption.22:04So I think evangelicals have an amazing set of resources in their faith to be able to22:10overcome these racial problems and, for a variety of reasons, they’ve failed to do it22:18because I think they’re overcome by fear in many ways.22:23They’re overcome by–and this deeply rooted idea that somehow we are an exceptional nation,22:30God has blessed us above other nations, that we are a new Israel.22:35In some ways evangelicals still believe they’re in this kind of contractual relationship with22:41God–Americans are–Evangelicals believe if we don’t keep a pure Christian nation we’re22:50gonna lose God’s favor in some ways.22:56So I think all of those really bad historical assumptions and theological assumptions–fear,23:06I don’t think–I love the Marilyn Robinson quote: “fear is not a Christian habit of mind.”23:12So there’s these kinds of psychological, theological errors, historical errors that get in the23:22way of us living out our faith with a sense of hope, with a sense of equality, with a23:29sense of what Martin Luther King called the “beloved community.”23:34I think there’s gonna be a lot of people, and there have been a lot of people who after23:37the election of Donald Trump–you know, I was close to this as well; I would even argue23:41at one point that I was there maybe for a few days.23:44I tended to work out my, what’s the word, angst or whatever about this kind of publicly,23:51so, if you follow the paper trail: two days after the election I’m saying, “Here’s what I’m still23:59thankful for!”24:00So, I’m still–I just gave a talk last week to the board of trustees of a Christian college,24:07and they gave me the assignment.24:09The assignment was this: What positive role has evangelicalism played in American history?24:19You know, that’s a tough question for a historian.24:23Especially after the previous question I answered about the dark side of evangelicalism.24:29That’s a tough question because we don’t tend to speak in moral categories, “It’s good” or24:34“bad;” no, this is what happened, and you guys parse it out.24:38But, I respect the people who have decided to leave evangelicalism.24:43A lot of my friends have, and people who–or at least, rejected the label, let’s put it24:48that way–some of my unofficial mentors have said it’s not useful anymore; let’s use the24:57term “evangelical” or “evangelicalism” to describe a historical movement, phenomenon,25:04but it’s become so politicized.25:06So you also have the examples of Princeton’s Evangelical Fellowship, their student group;25:14they took “Evangelical” out of their name.25:17You see a lot of big megachurches–and I think this happened before Trump, but they’re removing25:22the term “evangelical” because it has such political connotations.25:27I respect that; for me . . . and it’s really through a lot of discussions with my editor David Bratt25:35on this; he convinced me that I’m actually in the process of defending the term in this25:42book.25:43I’m not willing to let it go to the politician, to the court evangelicals, or the 81%.25:54I think there’s something about “evangelical,” the word, the good news, the gospel, the authority26:01of the Scriptures, the cross, that’s worth defending, and worth saving from the way it’s26:11been so politicized.26:13So I think when you read this book, I think you’ll still see me kind of struggling with26:17this a little bit because I’ve always been a very uneasy evangelical since I converted,26:24I would say “got saved” at age 16.26:28I’ve always been uneasy because I was formed in another religious tradition that also had26:32a profound effect on my moral formation and upbringing.26:36But,26:39while I remain uneasy with evangelicalism, I’m not willing to go all the way and say26:48I’m not going to identify with that term.26:50I think, I often find myself, since the election–as much as I’m a critic of what the 81% did by27:00voting for Trump, I get, the hairs on my arm raise, too, when I hear secular liberals27:10trashing evangelicals.27:13I want to say, “No!”27:15I get angry, too, at the kind of assault on evangelicals.27:19A perfect example of this is after the death of Billy Graham.27:24My natural instinct was to say this man lived a–he had flaws, we all have flaws; he could27:31have maybe done more in certain areas, but this man lived an honorable, God-fearing life as27:37I understood it.27:38Again, he had his slip-ups.27:39I actually write about some of his slip-ups in the book.27:43But I just thought the sort of secular liberal–whatever you want to call it–the anti-evangelical27:50assault on Billy Graham in some popular pieces was just way over the top.27:56And they were making criticisms that no right-minded historian would make.28:02Talk about the right and wrong sides of history and Graham was on the wrong side, and these28:07were people, a lot of them actually were former evangelicals with axes to grind, I’ll say28:13that publicly I think, you know who you are!28:18But, what fascinates me is someone needs to do a study of how the election of Donald Trump28:30influenced obituaries and other popular op-eds and stuff of Billy Graham.28:38Because some people are just connecting Graham to the court evangelicals and there’s some28:41truth to that, but the venom in a lot of pieces on Graham really got under my skin and that’s28:52maybe saying more about me than them, I don’t know, but that’s an example of where I will. . .29:00people are going to think I’m enemy number one after, public enemy number one after they read this29:05book, but I just want to affirm that I remain an evangelical.29:10I still believe in those things that evangelicals believe in and I’m always going to be a critic, too.29:21Insider/outsider kind of thing.29:24For those who left evangelicalism, or at least don’t want to associate with the term, I respect29:28that; I’m not going to try to write another book to win you back, and I think that’s a29:35fair position to take.29:37I’m just not going to take, I’m not one to take that position.