Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #EmptyThePews

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Great work as always by @sarahposner, but the @nytimes' framing is misleading.

The heart of Sarah's story is why QAnon is taking off in evie circles, not that the occasional "respectable evangelical" is trying to stop it.

The bigger story? They have no chance of stopping it. Image
It's rich for "respectable" evangelicals to be talking big about "truth" when they have no ability to rein in conspiracy theories, because, as anyone who went to Christian school can tell you, they stand for numerous #ChristianAltFacts:…

I also wish @sarahposner had probed what "truth" means to Brown, instead of giving him the last word.

To evangelicals, "truth" is what the group needs to believe.

Some "respectable" evies want to draw the lines differently from the rank-and-file, but it's the same epistemology
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Yep, another big issue. Our major media outlets and too many liberals insist on representing Trump as "manipulating" evangelicals when in fact they're using him more than he's using them.………

But this is just one prong of the broad trope the major media outlets and commentators are pushing, that Trump is our entire problem rather than a symptom of a much bigger problem.

It's wildly irresponsible to represent Trump as *the* problem. It's also still the mainstream take
And here's another article of mine on the subject that I'm just going to append to this little thread:…
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TBQH this is not super interesting, but I'll give Rev. Empsall this--he knows white evangelicals aren't worth trying to reach

Maybe his group will be able to move a few white mainline Protestants and Catholics to vote for Biden.…

#TuesdayThoughts Image
That could be one prong of a Democratic faith outreach strategy that makes sense. If the party gives up on trying to convert white evangelicals, it could divert more resources to reaching into Black Protestant and non-Christian communities, including the secular community.
Democrats are finally beginning to recognize the contributions of atheists, agnostics, humanists, and assorted nones to American society and to the party. When we vote, we vote overwhelmingly Dem…

CC: @AmericanAtheist @seculardotorg

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1. As yet more Jerry Falwell Jr. scandals come to light, I've decided to do a thread of everything I've ever written about him and Liberty University in the context of exposing evangelical authoritarianism. But let's start with the latest and a summary for those late to the party
The latest is this. "Pool boy" Giancarlo Granda has now accused Falwell of sharing a picture with him of a Liberty University student exposing herself on the Falwells' farm.

Now to where we've been over the last few days…

#WednesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews
3. So, in an attempt to get ahead of the damning revelations about to drop re: Jerry Falwell watching while Granda cuckolded him, Falwell tried to blame the whole thing on his wife. Called it an affair "in which I was not involved."

Becki F. is now pushing the same apparent lie
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Don't discount manipulation, abuse just because someone is technically an adult or a male. #MenToo

Vulnerability, immaturity and powerful religious figures with friends in the highest office make saying no a privilege.…

End #ReligiousAbuse #EmptyThePews
"Granda showed Reuters emails, text messages and other evidence that he says demonstrate the sexual nature of his relationship with the couple... “multiple times per year” – and said the encounters took place at hotels in Miami and New York, and at the Falwells’ home in Virginia"
Interesting both the Falwell's relationship with Granda and their relationship with Michael Cohen are said to have started in 2012 before Falwell became the first Evangelical to endorse the current president (before candidacy was announced).
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Do Giancarlo Granda's revelations that Jerry Falwell, Jr. (says Granda) enjoys watching his wife have sex with another man change Falwell's prospects for redemption in the evangelical world?

I'm very curious to hear what people think.

#MondayThoughts #EmptyThePews
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"The Trump era has revealed the complete fusion of evangelical Christianity and conservative politics."

This piece is not without romanticization, but I'm pleasantly surprised to see such a frank, honest assessment of evangelicalism from @elizabethjdias…
Of course, the framing here is not great: "They stood by him when he shut out Muslim refugees. "

They didn't just stand by Trump wrt the Muslim ban. They loved and wanted the Muslim ban. See my work for @ForeignPolicy……
This part is hilarious--heckuva job, @VP!

"'Mike Pence is a wonderful gentleman,' she said. 'This is probably a very bad analogy, but I’d say he is like the very supportive, submissive wife to Trump. He does the hard work, and the husband gets the glory.'”

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Saw a closeted Christian rockstar friend of mine while I was in Nashville last week, and my heart is just broken for them. I love them so much. And I’m also pissed off. There is a dark cloud over the Christian music industry, and several things anger me about all of this...
1. People who work with him and don’t have a relationship with me anymore know he is gay or convince themselves that he struggles with “same sex attraction”, but as long as he don’t say those words and they all pretend he’s not, they work together and they can love him.
2. The Christian music industry thrives in hiding things that are supposedly wrong and make it all taboo. If this person would come out it could change countless lives & possibly force the Christian music industry to change or crumble. Either one would be a positive step forward.
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“I am grateful to leaders like Mohler who were part of a movement to prevent a liberal theological shift that would have turned Southern Baptists into just another mainline denomination”

A movement whose leaders, we now know, committed and covered up sexual abuse.

That they did so is no coincidence, but is a direct result of the authoritarian patriarchal theology to which men like Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler, and even Russell Moore and JD Grear, are so deeply committed.

On which see @kkdumez, Jesus and John Wayne, esp chapter 16
Here’s my review of her book:…
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The thing is, they need no convincing of that.

All along, America’s right-wing, mostly white evangelicals, have been using Trump more than he’s using them.

He pursues their agenda more vigorously and comprehensively than any president. Therefore he’s “doing God’s will.”
And Michael Gerson? Well, he’s one to talk 😏…

#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews
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“To those attuned to evangelical doublespeak, Jeffress’s invocation of lawlessness alongside racism calls to mind the slaveholding Christian’s favorite Bible passage, Romans 13.”

My latest for ⁦@RDispatches

#WhiteChurchQuiet #EmptyThePews…
The only difference between Robert Jeffress and Ed Stetzer here is that Jeffress praised Trump’s Bible stunt, and Stetzer criticized it. But both have the exact same stance on the demonstrations against anti-Black police violence, namely: obey the authorities 🤔
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“Trump pursues evangelicals’ agenda, which is why it feels as though the entire country is turning into a Christian school. In democracies, pluralism is simply a fact; but to authoritarian evangelicals, it is a threat.”

#TuesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews…
“Evangelicals have never had a Christian intellectual tradition comparable to that of the Jesuits, but they do often pretend to intellectual seriousness. Liberty’s decision to drop the pretense is perfectly in keeping with the Trump era, when all sorts of masks are coming off.”
“The fear that Christian alternatives might not withstand scrutiny lurks just below the surface. Christian educational institutions are so hostile to academic and personal freedom that they require faculty, staff, and students to sign very conservative statements of faith.”
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And speaking of hate mail, would you all mind helping me out by reporting the latest Amazon "review" of Empty the Pews for abuse?

The "reviewer" (and I use the term loosely) obviously didn't read the book. He just wanted to use the review platform to preach a hate-filled sermon
It's honestly funny to me; there's like one parenthetical mention of being transgender in my entire essay, which is about how short-term mission trips to Russia contributing to my loss of faith, because missionaries are ridiculous.

Here's the Amazon link…
Also, if you have read the book and could leave your own honest review, that would be great! Thanks!

#WednesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews
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*Heavy Sigh* This chucklehead, Couy Griffin is from the town I was born in and grew up in. I know folks in his family. This is my roots. This is the kind of nonsense I left. 1/
While this may seem on the surface as "small town politics" this has wider reaching implications. Couy Griffin is more than just a County Commissioner. He's one of many Evangelical threats to the United States. @C_Stroop might be interested in this. 2/
Before becoming a County Commissioner, Couy Griffin was a pastor at New Heart Cowboy Church in Alamogordo. Cowboy churches is a melding of the Evangelical church and Cowboy Culture. Its' like "Gospel Bill" for grown ups. 3/
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Incredible reporting.

The tale of Hobby Lobby and the Museum of the Bible just gets more and more sordid, and the sheer scale of the corruption, and the couple of decades it’s taken to unravel, are astounding.

Don’t trust any evangelical institution as far as you can throw it
Evangelicals are seriously the tackiest people ever. And Scott Carroll is the Gilderoy Lockhart or evangelicals.

“His cellphone’s ringtone was the theme from Indiana Jones” smh 😂🤦‍♀️

#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews
This is exactly how abuse flourishes in evangelical churches. Unfortunately, there are parallels in academia—and in this case overlap. Dirk Obbink sounds like an absolute sociopath if you ask me
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@shanacarp @espiers It is a huge problem, one I've been working on for a long time, trying to shift the conversation by helping ex-evangelicals achieve collective visibility (via hashtags, etc.), and by relentlessly arguing agains the "fake Christians" dismissal of Christian atrocities.
@shanacarp @espiers It has made some impact, but the 4chan to FOX pipeline and the right-wing outrage machine managed to seriously dull the impact of the #ExposeChristianSchools hashtag campaign:…
@shanacarp @espiers Meanwhile, @laureneoneal's and my #EmptyThePews anthology has experienced a slump in sales, probably in part due to the pandemic and the cancellation of in-person events:…

But it did at least get a favorable review in WaPo.
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It’s an example of conservative jeremiad, an always politically pernicious genre with roots in modern European Christianity going at least as far back as Romanticism.

It’s amusing that the exponents of this variety of kookery always seem to think they’re being highly original
And in case you haven’t read it, this is the piece I’m talking about:…

The most surprising thing about it is that it wasn’t written by Ross Douthat
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Okay, so the first Atheists at the Movies Twitter event, organized by @AndrewLSeidel, begins in 9 minutes.

I'll be threading my thoughts on tonight's travesty of a selection -God's Not Dead (2014) - here, and you can follow and/or join in the discussion using the hashtag #AATM.
My first two thoughts are:

"I only have two beers"


"Why did I agree to do this again?"

This movie is straight up fake news evangelical propaganda from start to finish. I'll try to make it fun by mocking it.

#AATM #EmptyThePews
By the way, Dean Cain is in this movie. I hope that doesn't ruin Lois and Clark for you.

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Personally, @PrudenceDeare, if I'm feeling snarky in those moments, I reach for absurdism, something along the lines of, "And may all your afternoons have purple spots."

Of course, if you want to be more aggressively anti-religious, there's always, "Hail Satan."

If, however, you want to be nice, and this is a person that you want to retain a relationship with, you can find a way to bring up for discussion how that rhetoric makes you personally uncomfortable, and ask them to please not use it with you. A boundaries thing.
To be honest, most of the time I just let it slide off my back, and there are some people in particular that I will just receive their religious language and goodwill because they have a special place in my heart, and I choose not to make it an issue with them.
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This just in - "Retired Hedge Fund Manager Takes Right-Wing Christians' Assertion of their Motives at Face Value And Who Are We to Question Naive Hedge Fund Mangers"

Thanks, @RNS, for another "hard-hitting" take 🙃…

#WednesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews
If you want a realistic take on the motives behind Samaritan's Purse's "humanitarian" efforts in New York, read this instead:…

And please support independent and critical commentary and journalism on the Christian Right!
Seriously though, only an idiot would take this sentence at face value
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PS. It's not a stereotype when it's a majority of American homeschooling and the only highly influential national homeschooling lobby is an integral part of the extremist Christian Right………

And of course. Parents like this are a huge part of the problem
I’d bet real money she’s a member of HSLDA
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Jerry Falwell Jr., who should be arrested for violating Virgina's stay-in-place order, is trying to have legitimate journalists arrested for "trespassing" because they dared to cover his decision to keep Liberty University open…

#EmptyThePews #COVID19
This is entirely in keeping with Falwell's disgusting egocentrism and authoritarianism. He runs Liberty like a dictatorship, threatens to arrest outsiders, and heavily censors the student newspaper, on which see:……

Falwell of "pool boy" infamy has been one of Donald Trump's most vocal supporters since he first endorsed Trump during the 2016 election cycle. He makes a perfect exhibit A, really, for my contention that evangelicalism is incompatible with democracy:…
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As someone who came from people like this--and who very much respects Jeff and his important work--I do not agree that the rank-and-file churchgoers at these toxic churches are off the hook and not a big part of the problem. You can bet some of them have master's degrees too fwiw
On which see:…

Some middle to upper-class evangelical communities are in fact formally well educated. The cognitive dissonance is maddening, but we need to be aware of this.

#SundayThoughts #EmptyThePews
That being said, don't respond with "Darwin lol derp." That's beyond unhelpful, and I'm muting people now when I see it. I'm just so sick of that.

There is space between "it's not their fault" and "Darwin lol derp."

Occupy that middle space

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Get your copy and help get the voices of former conservative Christians a hearing in the public sphere! We have a lot to say about Trumpist America.

Order anywhere you buy books, but here's the Amazon link for convenience:…

#FridayThoughts #EmptyThePews
And, of course, #FF @Frank_Schaeffer, who kindly contributed the foreword to #EmptyThePews
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