Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
The Best of RightingAmerica, 2016-2021 | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Picture of the sidewalk in front of the Ark Encounter.
Exterior of Ark Encounter. Photo credit: Susan L. Trollinger, 2018

The rightingamerica website first appeared in April of 2016. In the 5 ¾ years since then, we have published 465 blog posts (many or most are more accurately described as short essays). Our brilliant website guru, Patrick Thomas, reports that the following ten articles – listed below in reverse order – have been the most popular pieces we have published. As you can see, the scandal that is Cedarville University has been a favorite topic. Also popular are pieces on the moral and intellectual failings of evangelical leaders, which includes, to quote one contributor, the “half-baked” ideas promoted by the folks at Answers in Genesis (AiG). And coming in at #1 is everyone’s favorite, divine genocide!

Happy reading (or, re-reading!)

10. The Christian Right and the Decline of White Evangelicalism, by William Trollinger (July 23, 2021)

“So here’s the conundrum: evangelical political success, on the one hand, and the decline of white evangelicalism, on the other. But . . . it turns out that these two phenomena are related. That is to say, the success of the Christian Right in conflating evangelicalism/Christianity with conservative culture-war politics is a primary factor in the shrinking of white evangelicalism, in particular, and religious disaffiliation in the United States, in general.”

9. A Pastor’s Resignation and a Former Student’s Story: More on the Wreckage Wrought by the Fundamentalist Takeover of Cedarville, by William Trollinger (June 16, 2020)

As a former student observed, “’The same school that had once welcomed diverse viewpoints now wears conservative blinders. The same school that once celebrated nuance treats ambiguity like treason. The same school that once confronted narrow mindedness now nurtures it. Mission accomplished.’”

8. No Safeguard, No Whole: Why I Left Cedarville University, by Julie Moore (May 12, 2020)

“I had to leave the culture engineered on fear, an environment so in love with its own homogenous ideology that anyone who appears even slightly different is likewise assumed to be out of line, liberal (gasp!), and worst of all, unChristian. Indeed, the climate was and is poisonous. Even a CU alumna like me – Christian to my core! – no longer felt welcome there.”

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

“I am glad [Grudem] is no longer teaching that women (or men) in abusive marriages must remain married to their abusers. But 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 on divorce, a lack of engagement with canonical interpretation on the subject, a lack of attention to the detrimental effects of his teaching, and a lack of interaction with women’s experience.”

6. The Scandal Deepens at Cedarville University, by William Trollinger (May 05, 2020)

“The Cedarville Board places Thomas White on administrative leave while the school investigates the hiring of Anthony Moore. In White’s place the Board inserts White’s special advisor Loren Reno . . . into the role of acting president. And given how closely Reno worked with both White and Moore, it is inconceivable that Acting President Reno did not know the full story of Moore’s sexual predation, and was not fully complicit in Moore’s hiring. In this climate, the investigation looks much more like a cover-up.”

5. “Let’s Take the Hill!”: Moving Past Confession and Repentance, The Main Dudes at Willow Creek Rehabilitate Bill Hybels, by Susan Trollinger (June 08, 2021)

“Years of coverup. Years of attacking victims who were telling the truth. Years of enabling Hybel’s abuse. And then a little window in which a new elder board said, yes, it’s true. And we’re sorry. But enough of that! The new leaders have a vision! Enough of shame and lament and pain and confession and repentance. It’s time to get the Willow brand on the move again! All that confession and repentance is not uplifting. It does not fill the seats or the coffers. Instead: it’s time to ‘take the hill!’ Lord have mercy.”

4. Another Ken Ham Attack Goes Awry, or, The Evangelical Con Job that is Creationism, by Rodney Kennedy (December 27, 2021)

“There were no eyewitnesses to creation other than the Holy Trinity, so Mr. Ham is speculating and his speculations are ‘just a theory – a theory with ‘no there there.’ In my view, Ham & company might as well be peddling honey-baked hams for Christmas, because young Earth creationism is a half-baked loaf of bread that refuses to rise to the level of epistemic confidence and truthfulness.”

3. Anti-Vaxxers and Answers in Genesis, by William Trollinger (with Susan Trollinger) (September 15, 2020)

“AiG’s token female, Georgia Purdom . . . attacks BioLogos for engaging in a stealth campaign [to encourage evangelicals to be vaccinated], using the pandemic to get their evolutionary ideas into Christian churches and Christian schools and Christian homeschooling organizations. They ‘are very, very sly,’ they ‘are sheep in wolves’ clothing.’ More than this, the folks at BioLogos are hypocrites: ‘they are concerned about a virus that doesn’t kill very many people at all,’ but they say nothing about abortion.”

2. The Cedarville Interpreter, or, Thomas White Can’t Silence (all) the Students, by William Trollinger (March 22, 2021)

“The Cedarville University administration has done everything in its power to eliminate discussion of any ideas mildly at variance with the patriarchal Christian Right ideology propagated by the administration as the Truth. Indoctrination, not education, is Cedarville’s goal. Dissent of any sort is simply not permitted. And yet, it turns out that – even at Cedarville – there are students who are not willing to turn over their brains to the fundamentalist thought police. And this has to be driving President Thomas White crazy.”

1. Noah’s Flood: The Drowning of Billions, by William Trollinger (June 30, 2016)

“For AiG the future Judgment is as important as the past Judgment . . . According to AiG, if the end of history came this year at least 4.8 billion individuals would be cast into a hell where they would consciously endure eternal torment. Here, then, is the message of Ark Encounter. The righteous drowning of millions/billions of human beings prefigures the righteous burning of billions of human beings. Quite the tourist site.”