When college-educated, white evangelical men complain that they are marginalized among “elites,” what are they actually complaining about? ¹
Every modern U.S. President has claimed a commitment to some form of Christianity. ²

All but two have been Protestant.

Every U.S. President has been male, and all but one has been white.
Observe the composition of the U.S. Senate or the Supreme Court: majority white, majority male, majority Christian.
The same holds for elites in industry and finance: 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs are white men; and a 2010 ARDA survey found that roughly 3 in 4 CEOs in the U.S. identify as Christian.
The through line, from politics and law to industry and finance, is that white Christian men possess a preponderance of the wealth and power in our society.

They aren’t marginalized by elites, because they *are* the elites.
So what’s the source of all these worries over marginalization?

I think answer is located in traditional conservative evangelical anxieties about spheres of cultural production such as academia, journalism and art—hence the routine references to so-called “cultural elites.”
White men are, of course, overrepresented (by a wide margin) in positions of power within, e.g., academia—though many of the faculty at elite universities have for several decades now been actively interrogating white patriarchal hegemony.
For the men who regard patriarchy as an essential feature of Christianity—men who can’t distinguish Christianity from the white bourgeois fantasy engendered by government handouts in the middle of the 20th Century—this interrogation constitutes an attack on Christianity itself.
So the essence of white evangelical anxiety over marginalization amounts to frustration over the fact that academics (et al.) don't generally regard white evangelical defenses of patriarchy as intellectually serious.
Why white evangelical patriarchists believe that they’re entitled to the deference of academics and other “cultural elites” is mysterious to me.
Despite their expressed fondness for systems that allocate rewards on the basis of merit, white evangelicals who complain about marginalization in academia *don’t* want their ideas to be judged on the basis of merit:
They think that they’re entitled to be taken seriously, even though their ideas are unserious.
I have to wonder: what ideological commitments have bourgeois, white evangelical patriarchists added to the Gospel, by virtue of which they feel entitled to be taken seriously by intellectual and cultural elites?
If they wish to be taken seriously, they should offer serious ideas.
¹ I have two instinctive reactions to complaints of marginalization from white evangelical males.

First: “lol, wut.”
Second: “Supposing (for the sake of discussion) that you or your beliefs are in fact marginalized in elite spaces, why would you find this surprising? What Bible are you reading? What Jesus are you following?”
² You might object that “claiming a commitment to some form of Christianity” isn’t the same as “evangelical.” True, but why think that discrepancy matters? Perhaps the concern is that some politicians have feigned commitment to Christianity in order to court evangelical voters.
Since such politicians aren’t real Christians, let alone evangelical Christians, their status as political elites doesn’t assuage the worry that evangelicals are politically marginalized.

But that worry contradicts the claim it’s meant to support:
If the political climate is such that aspirants to public office feign commitment to Christianity in order to court evangelical voters, how politically marginalized could evangelicals possibly be?
Alternatively, you might think that the parameters for “some form of Christianity” are so capacious that the prevalence of Christianity among political elites doesn’t ensure sensitivity to evangelical preferences in particular.

But this concern has no basis in reality:
For over 40 years, e.g., with the exception of President Obama, U.S. Presidents identifying as mainline Protestant (40, 41, 43, 45) have shown far more deference to policy preferences of evangelicals than have Presidents identifying as evangelical (39, 42).

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More from @scott_m_coley

26 Aug
Appealing to the authority of Scripture to settle a debate about how to interpret Scripture is a form of propaganda—it invokes a virtuous ideal in service to a goal that actually does violence to that very ideal.
This tactic functions much like the rhetoric of States’ Rights, according to which federal enforcement of civil rights is a violation of freedom—namely, the freedom of some to violate the civil rights of others (via slavery, segregation, Jim Crow or what have you).
Notice that States’ Rights rhetoric appeals to a virtuous ideal: namely, liberty. But it does so in order to preserve, e.g., the institution of slavery, which violates liberty—in fact, that *just is* the primary argument against slavery: it deprives people of liberty.
Read 16 tweets
9 Aug
From what I’ve seen, much evangelical anti-CRT rhetoric suffers from three basic confusions.

Clarity on these points is prerequisite to fruitful dialogue.
The first confusion stems from different senses of the term ‘racism’—specifically, a conflation of ‘racism’ qua racist attitudes and ‘racism’ qua racist systems or institutions.
The objection goes like this: “What do you mean America is systemically racist? I’m an American and *I’m* not racist—I hardly even know anyone who’s racist! So that can’t be right.”
Read 14 tweets
1 Aug
Within the evangelical community, discussions of “social justice” often emphasize charity and devote little attention to the moral significance of institutions.
This paradigm allows evangelicals to advocate for political institutions that deprive the poor of their due, and then dispense charity as though it were a substitute for justice.
We need a new paradigm. Christ followers are required to advocate for public institutions that reflect the truth about what people deserve—
Read 39 tweets
31 Jul
It’s not wrong to consume alcohol.¹

It’s not wrong to drive a car.

It’s wrong to consume alcohol and drive a car because doing so poses an unjustifiable threat to innocent human life (among other things).²

It’s not wrong to refuse the vaccine.

It’s not wrong to go without a mask.

It’s wrong to refuse the vaccine and go without a mask because doing so poses an unjustifiable threat to innocent human life.

I welcome objections that don’t completely undermine the pro-life position.³

Read 5 tweets
30 Jul
The men who promote the evangelical masculinity cult won’t *actually* fight for anything.

If they have power over you, they silence you with threats.

If they don’t have power over you, they ignore you—or, if they can’t ignore you, they talk about you as if you’re not there.
But they never engage directly with any actual argument made by any actual person who disagrees with them. They avoid the direct exchange of ideas at any cost.
Their rhetoric bears this out: they paint emotional pictures of home-invasions wherein men protect women with violence force—never confronting the plain fact that women are far more likely to suffer violence at the hands of a man they know than a man they don’t.
Read 7 tweets
22 Jul
Here’s a question I get sometimes:

When people who disagree with you say that you’re deceived, and quote a Bible verse that seems to back up their position, how do you know that you’re right and they’re wrong?
Two-part answer.

First, I don’t need to know I’m right to know that they’re wrong.

There are very few things I’m certain about. I’m sure I’m wrong about a lot. It doesn’t follow that the proof-texters and fundamentalists are right (it’s possible, e.g., that we’re both wrong).
Second, one of the few things I’m certain of is that truth is coherent—it has integrity; it can’t contradict itself.

And I know that God created human beings with brains that he intends for us to use: the light of reason.
Read 7 tweets

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