Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Looking Back at 2019 | Righting America

by William Trollinger

2019 was another very good year for the rightingamerica blog, both in the number of visitors/viewers, and the variety of authors’ voices and topics featured. This past year has made clear that we are a community of engaged scholars who seek to understand evangelicalism, young Earth creationism, and Christian Right politics. We hope for even more authors and even a wider range of topics in 2020. We invite you to write a post or posts for the site – if you are interested, please be in touch.

Below are the year’s ten most popular posts – enjoy reading or rereading! 

10. Dear Evangelicals: How Much Leviticus Do You Really Want?, by Rodney Kennedy (November 01, 2019)

“I must ask if anti-gay Christians are going to accept Leviticus 25, which says that every 50 years is a Jubilee to the Lord . . . [in which] all debts are forgiven . . . Are evangelicals – many of whom are raising hell about food stamps and welfare – willing to take Leviticus 25 as seriously as they take Leviticus 18:22?”

9. Mr. Rogers Wasn’t Pro-Family (and That’s a Good Thing), by Margaret Bendroth (December 10, 2019)

“Mr. Rogers . . . was not ‘pro-family’ in the narrow evangelical culture-wars sense of the word, where the family is a stand-in for American moral decline. He loved and respected children, and modeled an ethic of care that extended beyond their immediate families to the world they would one day inherit.”

8. Funding Ark Encounter: The Rest of the Story, by William Trollinger (January 31, 2019)

“Even while he blasts journalists for their secular bias and their unwillingness to tell the truth about Christian ministries, Ken Ham refuses to tell the whole story about how . . . Ark Encounter is being subsidized in a major way by the town of Williamstown . . . Will Ken Ham ever come clean?”

7. Science and Religion: The Casualties of an Unnecessary War, by Frederick Schmidt (June 11, 2019)

For atheists, the religion-science “warfare image serves as leverage, discrediting the church in particular and religion in general . . . . [for fundamentalists,]  the assumption that scientists are ‘out to get’ the church strengthens the hand of [folks] like Ken Ham, galvanizing audiences and advancing their financial goals.”

6. A Black Evangelical Has Schooled Ken Ham on Race and Racism . . . and Ken is Not Pleased, by William Trollinger (October 22, 2019)

“As [Larry] Smith pointed out, while at the conference ‘Ham was generally dispassionate regarding racism . . . he ‘came alive’ when railing against the social issues that bedevil white evangelicals (e.g., abortion, homosexuality, and gender identity).’ This is precisely how it plays out on Ham’s blog.”

5. Ken Ham Misleads Again, by William Trollinger (July 31, 2019)

“Now – with the deal done, with the Ark built, with millions of dollars of property taxes lost to the town for decades into the future – Ham is telling Williamstown that the town itself is to blame for its economic misery, as it is too far from the interstate to get Ark visitors.”

4. Ken Ham’s Christmas Letter, by William Trollinger (December 24, 2019)

“Given the occasional tensions between the folks at the Ark and local government officials, this holiday is the perfect opportunity for Ark Encounter CEO Ken Ham to send . . . a Christmas letter . . . I drafted a letter that I think could work quite nicely. Ken, you are free to cut and paste as you see fit.”

3. White Jesus at Westmont College: The Controversy, by William Trollinger (March 30, 2019)

“Evangelical colleges are forever trying to thread the needle, moving to become more progressive (or, better put, more Gospel-oriented) while at the same time not alienating their fundamentalist constituency. Will there be an evangelical college that simply decides to quit ‘looking over the right shoulder?’”

2. Every Child is a Gift . . . Except When They Aren’t, by Emily McGowin (July 09, 2019)

“When children do not seem to be like ‘us,’ when children are causing ‘us’ discomfort . . . when children are challenging our ideologies — most evangelicals have had enough. The children of ‘others’ – political, religious, or ethnic – are not worthy of sacrifice and activism.”

1.Wayne Grudem on Divorce: The Right Conclusion for the Wrong Reason, by Emily McGowin (December 03, 2019)

“The fact that he couldn’t see the problem with his position before now testifies to serious weaknesses in his theological method: a lack of attention to the social and cultural context of biblical teaching . . . a lack of attention to the detrimental effects of his teaching, and a lack of interaction with women’s experience.”