Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #EmptyThePews

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So. I was born in 1976. I started school in August 1980, just before I turned 5, at home - my older brother had attended an ACE kindergarten, and it was deemed too liberal by my parents (his teacher wore PANTS when she wasn't teaching!) #thread CW: Abuse
I was literally part of the first wave of Christian Right-wing Homeschoolers; my parents had planned to homeschool us illegally, and it became legal that month in Louisiana because a legislator's relative wanted to homeschool.
I learned to read when I was 4. I also was acutely observant and aware - because by that time I'd already survived broken bones in my arm and neck, at least one rape, and an STD. This made me hypervigilant, and also primed me to be skeptical of everything around me.
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1. Evangelicals should consider “second coming of God” a gaffe. That’s not how anybody phrases it—you say “Jesus” or “Christ,” not “God,” who, in the form of the Father, transcends and yet fills the earth and never left.

But worse, only Jesus is Jesus, that is, the Messiah.
2. Contrary to what a lot of people are tweeting about evangelicals seeing Trump as their savior, that’s a role they believe only Jesus can fill. Trump can be chosen by God to fulfill a specific calling, like King David or Cyrus the Great. But he can’t be Jesus.
3. So you can be sure that this hinting in that direction will be making a lot of Trump-supporting white evangelicals uncomfortable. It’s similar to when Trump said he never asked God for forgiveness. But like then, they’ll give him a pass now.

#DisloyalToTrump #EmptyThePews
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I'm in a bit of an ornery mood, so I'm gonna comment on this Federalist article in favor of Christian nationalism (h/t @J_MarieWheaton) with all the seriousness it deserves.

Obvs anyone posing for a "professional" picture with hair like the author's is a super serious person. 😏
@J_MarieWheaton And clearly there's no danger of a Lutheran dudebro who literally named his blog "The 96th Thesis" taking himself too seriously amirite.

Clearly we're dealing with someone who is thoroughly grounded in reality and has reached the very pinnacle of human reasonableness. 🙃
@J_MarieWheaton Our super reasonable hero Matthew begins his screed--sorry, I meant to say his impeccably argued commentary--by clutching pearls over "a gaggle" of Christians signing the Christians against Christian Nationalism statement (on which, read…). Sounds objective
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1. What are the ways that #EvangelicalismKills?

Conservatives love to say that ideas have consequences, but somehow they never want to examine the consequences of right-wing ideologies.

So let’s do that with this new hashtag coined by @Ashadahya.

#MondayMorning #EmptyThePews
2. Asha started the hashtag in connection with Renee Bach, an evangelical missionary in Uganda who, acting on a “calling”—rather than training and preparation—performed medical procedures only doctors are qualified to perform. And children predictably died.

2-a. If you haven’t read this on Bach’s story, do:…

#MondayMorning #EvangelicalismKills #EmptyThePews
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Missed me live on @FFRF's Ask an Atheist program with Elizabeth Cavell and @AndrewLSeidel this morning? Not to worry--the episode is already up on @YouTube!

I give shout-outs to @brchastain and @laureneoneal on the show.

#WednesdayWisdom #EmptyThePews
@FFRF @AndrewLSeidel @YouTube @brchastain @laureneoneal We discuss my background, #exvangelical community building, and the reasons it's important to push back against the Christianization of our public sphere, as laid out in my recent @Playboy article "The Gospel According to Mike Pence":…

@FFRF @AndrewLSeidel @YouTube @brchastain @laureneoneal @Playboy We also talk about the anthology @laureneoneal and I co-edited that's coming out December 1, Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church, and the value a project like this has in our current moment. You can pre-order the book here:…

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“While they would contend that to give up their views would lead to a destructive nihilism, it’s their inability to trust their own moral compass that leads them into a violent and ultimately nihilistic politics.”

My latest for @RDispatches
“While more and more abuse scandals break within evangelical spaces, conservative evangelicals consistently refuse to look inward for solutions to their problems, instead looking to “the culture” for factors to blame that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs.”
“These beliefs—that difference is a thing to be afraid of; that refusal to believe in the right-wing Christian version of God will result in severe punishment; that allowing frequent violence is preferable to a government solution—are expressions of an authoritarian ethos.”
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Catch me on @FFRF’s Ask an Atheist program, live on their FB page at 10 a.m. Pacific!

We’ll be discussing my latest @Playboy article on why calling Trump Christians #FakeChristians is not just wrongheaded, but even bad for democracy.

The article is here:…

And don’t worry if you can’t tune in live—the program, featuring me and @AndrewLSeidel, will be available on YouTube later!

#WednesdayMotivation #EmptyThePews
Here’s the YouTube video for those who missed the live broadcast this morning:

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More classic, and pernicious, #ChristianAltFacts. This is what a right-wing jeremiad looks like. The rhetoric of this genre serves to uphold white supremacist patriarchy.

#EmptyThePews #WhiteChurchQuiet #TuesdayThoughts
And take note of this:

“He specifically called out Beto O'Rourke for calling the president racist, questioning how ‘someone who has repeatedly denied being racist can be an 'open, avowed racist.'"

Because to a white evangelical, the only way to be racist is to say “I’m racist.”
And yet Huckabee’s still has the gall to blithely assert that skin color doesn’t matter practically in the same breath.

While coming with all the attendant problems of a “color blind” approach to racism, this is beyond disingenuous. Talk about having your cake and eating it too
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“Liberal believers might need to argue over which party a ‘true’ Christian would support, but politicians do not need to make these arguments.”

I’d say they should not. It concedes what should be the secular public square.…

#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews
This is also an excellent point in @AndrewLSeidel’s great new article:

“Secular activism often drags religion into progressive causes.”

My friend @cindy_w_brandt argues a parallel point: evangelicalism changes to the minimal extent it does only thanks to external pressure.
“As evangelicals contend with fast changing demographics, those of us who are born of evangelicalism, but no longer of it, find ourselves in a unique position to impact evangelicalism not by building bridges within it, but building coalitions that shape progress from outside.”
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NEW (or is it “NEW”?) on Not Your Mission Field - #EpicChristianFails: “CHRIST” on a Pickup Truck! And Other Quotation Quandaries.…

H/t @beth_any_two for finding this month’s “winner.”

#WednesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews
When you spot accidental Christian “masterpieces” such as these in the wild, don’t forget to share them using the hashtag #EpicChriatianFails! You may just end up being mentioned in a future blog post.
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So we should go to churches like yours, where with a very misguided appral to “unity” you tweet about welcoming both the undocumented and ICE agents? Where you try to hide that you aren’t LGBTQ-affirming?

#EmptyThePews #JumpTheArk #TuesdayMotivation…
Sure, if people want to move on in truly progressive, inclusive religion, great. That’s a matter of conscience; I begrudge no one their choice of either no religion or religion that does not harm others. Your religion isn’t there yet, Brian.…

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It is telling how the crowd that is so pearl-clutchingly concerned about a supposed lack of free speech on U.S. college campuses ignores the one area where there really is a censorship crisis—evangelical colleges.

#MondayMotivation #ChristianPrivilege #ExposeChristianSchools
Let me point to a few more pieces on the issue I’ve published for those interested in learning more. Start here, with an exposé I did before @RDispatches became part of @Rewire_News:…
Then check out this piece I wrote for @Playboy, which examines evangelical colleges as microcosms of the authoritarianism white evangelicals seek to impose on the entire country:…

#ExposeChristianSchools #ChristianPrivilege #EmptyThePews
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Just read Josh Harris’s latest Instagram comment on this. I’m surprised and impressed. His initial steps reconsidering his earlier work were fumbling; he centered himself and he hadn’t given up the purity culture theology, but it seems he was really moving that way after all.
I’m not going to apologize for having the feelings I did after the initial announcement. We do need to make it abundantly clear to the public that purity culture is harmful. There are reasons conservative Christian marriages have major problems and often end in divorce.
Josh Harris does not deserve more empathy than all of the people severely harmed by his book. As someone who had extreme #ChristianPrivilege in evangelicalism, I’d say he deserves less. And it is not my place to forgive him on anyone else’s behalf.
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1. “In God We Trust” should never have been our national motto and was only able to become so because of an early Cold War consensus around promoting religion in the public square in order to combat “godless Communism.”…

#FridayMotivation #EmptyThePews
2. While many promoters of this idea of a religious America meant for it to be to some degree inclusive--see popular Cold War notions like "Tri-Faith America" (Protestants, Catholics, Jews) and "Judeo-Christian"--it was always exclusive of unbelievers and many others.
3. In addition, the early Cold War moment, partly thanks to the uptick in apocalyptic thinking due to the advent of nuclear weapons, allowed radical right-wing Christians to come back into the mainstream of American life as scholars like Angela Lahr and Jonathan Herzog have shown
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“This assumption that Christians must be basically good has allowed abusers to go unchecked in both Catholic and Protestant contexts.”

So stop with the “#FakeChristian” nonsense that perpetuates this notion.

My latest for @Playboy.

And here’s my earlier @Playboy piece making the case that we are living in Billy Graham’s America, which is not a good thing. The outpouring of uncritical praise that accompanied his death was... unfortunate.

#ThursdayMotivation #EmptyThePews…
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Oppose reprehensible behavior in a way that doesn’t presume Christian moral superiority.

Also, it’s not my position that anyone saying they’re a Christian is one. Communally mediated interpretation and praxis help define religion. White evangelicals have those.

I grew up in a white evangelical enclave community with the type of Christians who adore Mike Pence abs became Trump’s base. You’d better believe we read our Bibles and regularly had “devotions” or “quiet time.”

#exvangelical #EmptyThePews…
Sit in on an evangelical church service sometime and look around. Note how many people—women in particular—assiduously take notes on the sermon outline the ushers provide.

And remember: regular church attendance is an indicator of *higher* Trump support among white evangelicals.
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Why Are Republicans Promoting Violent Ultra-Right Extremism?…

Republican Extremism and the Myth of “Both Sides” in American Politics…

The Republican platform is extremist – and so is anyone who supports it…

Read 105 tweets
One more time: I refuse to call Trump Christians "fake Christians" NOT to legitimate them. The crucial point is that religion is FAR FROM ALWAYS BENIGN.

We need to stop giving people undue trust and deference on the basis of their Christian affiliation.

#Pluralism #EmptyThePews
"Real" Christianity can be good. And "real" Christianity can be terrible. Both types are communally mediated expressions of a cultural system that exhibit a praxis and a relationship to the Bible.…

#EmptyThePews #SaturdayThoughts
I will add that Jesus didn't have a notion of what constitutes "real" Christianity; Jesus wasn't a Christian. Because even if someone like the Jesus of the gospels is a real historical figure, Christianity started decades after his crucifixion. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
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So the point of this loud proclamation of "CHRIST," in quotation marks, is that the truck driver is taking the Lord's name in vain, right? 😏

This picture by @beth_any_two is a fantastic contribution to this month's #EpicChristianFails files.

#ThursdayMotivation #EmptyThePews
@beth_any_two If you encounter accidental brilliance like this, please tweet it with the hashtag #EpicChristianFails, or, if you prefer to have it posted anonymously, reach out via DM or my contact form:

I may feature your contribution my blog:…
@beth_any_two *on my blog
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Are we ever going to talk about the 🐘 in the room?

The reason so many white Americans “haven’t learned from history” is that they were NEVER TAUGHT HISTORY.

They were taught biblical pabulum and false tales in so-called “schools” that are actually anti-American madrassas.
Every child in a so-called “religious” school is a policy failure. #EmptyThePews
Practice your fascist religion freely, but send your kids to schools that teach history, not indoctrination labs for fascism.
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Thank you all for helping with this fundraising drive as I start a new chapter!

If we hit 325 patrons by midnight Saturday, the 325th and one randomly selected new patron will receive an #EmptyThePews magnet. At 350, I’ll give away three canvas tote bags.

I have temporarily set the number of patrons I have to private on my Patreon profile so that people making new pledges won’t know if they’re about to be number 325 or 350. I’ll let you all know how things end up on Sunday!

This is the magnet that patron number 325 and one randomly selected new patron from this week will receive if we hit 325 patrons by midnight Saturday but do not hit 350:…
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And she a preacher said: “And when you lied to the asylum officers or failed to disclose your sexual abuse, what do you think Jesus thought about that?” The judge followed that up with a lengthy diatribe, chastising S. for not revealing the abuse earlier.…
"Judge Reese has presided over more than 200 asylum hearings during the past five years... Unique among her peers, during the past five years, Reese has rejected every single case."
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable" -Brennan Manning
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1. So, everybody’s been reading @Peter_Wehner’s article “The Deepening Crisis in Christianity” in @TheAtlantic, and quite a few people have asked for my take. Taking it easy in Spokane the last couple of days I’ve been able to give it some thought.

#SundayThoughts #EmptyThePews
2. The article itself is eloquent and worth reading, though I share neither Wehner’s remaining deference to evangelicals (he finds their persecution complex to some degree justified) nor his concern for “the Church.” Also I pretty much hate St. Augustine.…
3. But it’s interesting to me that, in what is essentially yet another critique of conservative/white evangelical hypocrisy, Wehner emphasizes the damage to “the Church” and to evangelicalism itself in terms of people leaving Christianity, which he apparently finds a BAD THING.
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“I grew up in an abusive relationship with the god of conservative Christianity, and we are now all in an abusive relationship with the Christofascist Trump regime.”

My #IndependenceDay thoughts from last year, still sadly relevant.

#EmptyThePews #Resist…
Shout-out to @ThatMandyNicole who is quoted in this piece. Like her, “I grew up with white Christian nationalism too. With ritual recitations of the pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible...”

Like her, this made it difficult for me to express patriotism.
“At least so long as we remain unable to achieve a consensus about how to face up to the crimes of our government and society, past and present, and to find a way to pursue restorative justice through our governing institutions, American pieties will ring hollow.”
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