Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #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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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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Let me extend a friendly welcome to all you new followers who found me via my latest article, "Authoritarian Christians are Deliberately Undermining the Public Health Response to Coronavirus"…

Here's a thread about what I do with some recent highlights
In December of last year, my and @laureneoneal's Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church, an anthology of personal essays by former evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons, was published. This is my first published book project:…
One hope I have for the book is that it will help to secure a place in the elite public sphere for leavers from high-demand religions. Our "pundit class" and government have been coddling even authoritarian Christians for far too long. Former fundamentalists have key insights.
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We're a society that treats children as afterthoughts and raises girls as products.
Our schools are cesspools; training centers designed to churn out worker bees and corporate drones who serve at the altar of the inane between bouts for survival of the best regurgitators of answers to questions that are obsolete before they're asked,
while our inquisitive imaginations wither and die in a mad race for mediocrity in the guise of good grades.
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In doing investigative reporting on Christian colleges cracking down on social conservative orthodoxy, I learned that the colleges often force purged employees to sign NDAs in order to get severance.…

#FridayMotivation #EmptyThePews
The power of stories is also the theme of my latest contribution to @crystalcheatham’s @OurBibleApp, in which I reflect on insights from the #EmptyThePews anthology:

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Yes, Twitter polls are unscientific, but I'm curious about how much confusion remains over (white) evangelical Trump support.

How confident are you that you understand what led evangelicals to become Trump's most immovable base?

Please discuss in the replies

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In November I wrote this for @Convo_ist, urging us to face the threat to human rights that fundamentalist Christianity—including conservative, mostly white evangelicalism—represents.

We must smash the taboo on criticizing Christians:…

Yesterday I published this on the theory and practice of pluralism, reminding the atheist community that there is such a thing as healthy religion and urging progressive, inclusive believers and non-believers to work together for the common good:…
I suggest treating these as companion pieces and reading them together, because they’re essentially focused on two sides of the same coin.

Fundamentalism of any kind is an anti-democratic force. But if we want people to take us seriously when we sound the alarm, we need nuance
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And also Mel Wells, who said far as I know is not on Twitter. Anyway, support women writers!

You can get the #EmptyThePews anthology via Amazon or wherever you buy books:…

Happy Galentine’s Day, #writerscommunity!
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@Artists_Ali @profagagne @BradleyOnishi @StraightWhiteJC @levi_bullen Did I miss any? I'm going to have to be off Twitter on a deadline for a while here, but please reply with your favorite ex-fundamentalist media projects--YouTube, podcasts, blogs, etc. Thanks!

#WednesdayThoughts #EmptyThePews
@Artists_Ali @profagagne @BradleyOnishi @StraightWhiteJC @levi_bullen Oh how I could I forget to list @SecularSex in my first tweet above? Shame on me:…
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On that note, of doctors do put their Christianity ahead of their patients, which is why I make sure to stick with university med school hospital and clinic systems.

I am privileged to be able to, and it’s outrageous that we have to worry about this.

PS. This is truly essential to my wellbeing as a trans person and could ultimately be life or death. Cis women and anyone who can get pregnant are also seriously at risk in Christian hospitals and clinics.
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“Hookers for Jesus operates a safe house for female adult trafficking victims that, in 2010 and in 2018, maintained a policy of requiring guests to participate in religious activities.”

Your tax dollars at work supporting born again coercion

#EvangelicalsForTrump #EmptyThePews
“The manuals included a ban on reading ‘secular magazines that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips.’ Other rules limited everything from who victims could call to banning them from bringing their purses with them on weekly shopping trips.”
“Rule-breakers could be penalized by being assigned chores such as washing windows.”

If that’s what’s publicly known you’d better bet the reality is worse. This ministry the hallmarks of being abusive. Anywhere you have authoritarian Christians with total control over people...
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To determine who has the power with respect to a social phenomenon, ask who gets to talk about it, and who gets talked about.

When it comes to people leaving the church, Christian leaders get to talk about it.

Leavers get talked about.

That needs to change.

If you want to change the power dynamics here, what can you do?

Elevate the voices of leavers yourself, and demand that leavers be represented in journalism and commentary.

Here's a piece that helps make the case:…

#SundayMotivation #EmptyThePews
I've said nothing scares right-wing Christians more than declining church attendance and loss of the youth, but that's not quite right.

Nothing scares them more than us defectors getting a hearing for our own stories:

#SundayMotivation #EmptyThePews
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I will never grasp, on a visceral level, why any queer people stick with Christianity.

I get the mixed emotions, but why submit to being a theological problem to be solved?

Even progressive Christianity has to “justify” queerness.

I don’t need that baggage thankyouverymuch
An ethic of non-harm and reciprocity derived from experience, empirical knowledge, and common humanity instantly validates my existence as a queer person. No mental gymnastics; no hoop jumping.

Theology creates problems that just don’t need to exist without it

I guess I just can’t imagine what Christianity could mean to me that would be worth the effort of constantly having to justify my existence in theological terms while knowing that most other Christians would reject my theology anyway. YMMV obviously
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