Tuesday, February 27, 2018

It Is Time For New Thinking About Poverty


in·san·i·ty  \ in-ˈsa-nə-tē \

- Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

That is not the actual definition of insanity but it is a time tested understanding in our culture. If you hit you head on a brick wall and it hurts and you do it ten more times to see if it keeps hurting, that might be a sign of insanity.

I was reminded of this today by an item in Facebook's trending stories that linked to this article: Report: Inequality remains 50 years after Kerner Report. The Kerner Report was the result of the Kerner Commission which originally carried the unwieldy name The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders and was organized in response to race riots. The article being passed around contains a lot of unsurprising statements:
Barriers to equality are posing threats to democracy in the U.S. as the country remains segregated along racial lines and child poverty worsens, says a study examining the nation 50 years after the release of the landmark 1968 Kerner Report.
The new report released Tuesday blames U.S. policymakers and elected officials, saying they're not doing enough to heed the warning on deepening poverty and inequality as highlighted by the Kerner Commission a half-century ago, and it lists a number of areas where the country has seen "a lack of or reversal of progress."
"Racial and ethnic inequality is growing worse. We're resegregating our housing and schools again," former U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, a co-editor of the new report and last surviving member of the original Kerner Commission created by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. "There are far more people who are poor now than was true 50 years ago. Inequality of income is worse."
And so on. The report is long on bemoaning things like schools re-segregating, black homeownership getting worse, income inequality, etc. The "solutions" demanded by the report are about what anyone paying attention would expect:
The new report calls on the federal government and states to push for more spending on early childhood education and a $15 minimum wage by 2024. It also demands more regulatory oversight over mortgage leaders to prevent predatory lending, community policing that works with nonprofits in minority neighborhoods and more job training programs in an era of automation and emerging technologies.
More spending, more regulations, more sweetheart deals to "nonprofits" to keep "community organizers" employed and of course the ubiquitous $15 minimum wage, a favorite of people with no clue how economics and businesses work. I posted a slightly different take on Facebook:
So maybe the lesson here after half a century is that the solutions that we have tried: income redistribution, forced desegregation, affirmative action, etc. have not worked so instead of doubling down on policies that failed and in many ways made things worse, we should look for different solutions?
We have tried spending trillions in alleged anti-poverty measures and income redistribution and mostly succeeded in cementing generational poverty. We tried forced desegregation and people just keep fleeing urban areas entirely, meaning that blacks and whites just don't seem to attend the same schools. We are drowning in diversity officers and multicultural centers and anti-racism programs and the only people who seem to benefit are those that have learned to game the system for their own advancement. We give people funds that they can use as conveniently as possible to buy food and 20% of their purchases go to pop and salty snacks with soft drinks the largest single category of spending for food stamps, at the same time that obesity and obesity related diseases like diabetes are epidemic among the poor.

It is pretty clear that half a century of fighting poverty and racism, real and imagined, in the way "progressives" have demanded has not only wasted a lot of money and not worked, it has actually made things worse. Maybe we can try something different?

  • With almost 3/4 of black births to unwed mothers, maybe we should stop subsidizing behaviors that lead to unwed motherhood and stop providing incentives to poor decision-making?
  • Instead of pouring money into four year degrees that don't provide any job skills and saddle students with tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt while enriching universities, we instead focus on vocational schools? Learning a trade will move people out of poverty, sinking them in debt to get a degree in Intersectional Queer Theory won't and just makes them dumber.
  • Maybe structure food and other aid programs to reward people for transitioning from dependency to work instead of punishing them for trying to better themselves and giving them incentives for destructive behavior?
You get the idea. I don't pretend to have all of the solutions but I do know what has not worked and it is the exact sort of stuff we keep being harangued about: arbitrarily raising the minimum wage, more bureaucratic oversight over every aspect of our lives, spending even more money on an education system that already consumes an enormous amount of money and is giving us a worse result from year to year. The very people who clamor the loudest about these issues are also the ones who are the most dug in when it comes to opposing new ideas. Just look at the response to President Trump suggesting replacing a part of the EBT/food stamps benefit with prepackaged nutritional foods. You would have thought he was suggesting we force feed poor kids drain cleaner.

After half a century of trying it the "progressive" way, it is time to admit that it didn't work and give some actual new ideas a chance. Doing the same thing we have been doing is guaranteed to do one thing, give us more of the same and this country can't afford that any longer.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Dissolving The Union: The Central States Of America

My series on how the U.S. could dissolve the union and form several independent nation-states now moves to a more difficult and near-and-dear region for me: the Midwest. The states that make up this new region, given the horribly unimaginative name "The Central States of America" (CSA herafter, which I know also used to mean the Confederate States  )  includes the states where I have lived most of my life: Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. We also lived for several years in Kentucky and a short stint in Wisconsin so this is my homeland.

The CSA would stretch from the eastern borders of Cowlandia to the western borders of the Yankee States of America and to the northern borders of the as yet to be named new Southern nation.

It would include by far the most politically diverse mix yet thanks to the vast swaths of deep red rural and suburban areas surrounding the deep blue cities like Chicago and Detroit.

The CSA includes the industrial heartland of the U.S., the so-called "Rust Belt" that runs along the top of Indiana into Ohio and Michigan. The amount of manufacturing in places stretching from Gary, Indiana to Toledo, Ohio is incredible as anyone who has lived in this area knows.

It also includes a lot of the most productive agricultural ground in America. While Cowlandia has a lot of wheat, the CSA is home to the corn/soybean states of the U.S. plus some of the biggest dairy states around in Wisconsin and Michigan. While Cowlandia has the lion's share of cattle feeding production, the CSA is king of hog production with six of the top eight states for hog raising including the granddaddy of pork Iowa which has triple the production of the next closest state.

Add in the coal grounds of West Virginia, Kentucky and SE Ohio and you have a very economically vibrant and independent area. The big issue I have tried to avoid is a very 19th century preoccupation with having access to the sea, which the landlocked nation I propose would at first blush not seem to have but that doesn't take into account the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes have a ton of ports and thanks to the Saint Lawrence Seaway you can get from the ports of Chicago, Detroit and Toledo to the Atlantic Ocean.

I originally carved off the northeast corner of Ohio, including the city of Cleveland, and put that in the Yankee States of America. I am not sure that makes sense now as culturally Cleveland is very Midwestern.

Chicago is by far the largest city in the CSA, has a huge airport and rail system and is centrally located so it would make sense to be the capitol.

The CSA would have around 65 million people if you leave Cleveland out of the mix. That is 20% of the population of the U.S. so one in five current citizens would find themselves in this new land which is about right. It is rich with large cities: Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Kansas City,  St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati,  Louisville. From high tech to farming to manufacturing, there is a lot of economic activity. Infrastructure is powerful with criss-crossing interstate highways, major airports, seaports and railways. Perhaps most importantly of all, the CSA sits on the greatest treasure in America, the vast fresh water reserves of the Great Lakes. When you include the plentiful cultural and educational resources, including the research schools of the original Big Ten, I think the CSA could very easily thrive as a nation.

Sounds great, right! Not so fast. Look at an electoral map by county from 2016 focused in on the CSA:

While you see a lot of red, as is true in most of the US, there are a lot of pockets of blue and even deep blue. Those happen to include a lot of the most populous areas like Detroit and Chicago. Trump carried the entire CSA except Minnesota and Illinois but that can be a little deceptive. Trump won Michigan by around 10,000 votes and Wisconsin by 22,000 votes. On the other hand Hillary won Illinois by almost a million votes. While you can drive around where I live for an hour and not run across a Hillary voter (Trump won my county 71%-23%), in terms of total population the people of the CSA are very divided. Just four years earlier Obama won half of the ten states that make up the CSA.

There is more to life than politics. The people of the CSA, for the most part, are joined together by a lot of threads from our sports rivalries to our common Midwestern culture. Having lived in the Northeast and the Mountain West in addition to the Midwest I can tell you that the culture of rural northern Michigan is a lot more similar to Midwestern large cities (except maybe Chicago) than those cities are to the big urban enclaves back East. We tend to be more down to earth, more religious, we call it pop instead of soda. We like fishing and mowing big yards.

We also have our issues here in the Midwest. Many factories are idled. The CSA is ground zero for the opiod epidemic. There are a lot of dying small towns as farms keep getting bigger and the jobs move overseas. Racial animosity is still very strong in many parts of this region. Some states, especially Illinois, are a fiscal trainwreck. So this is not all just taking our Big Ten schools and quietly leaving the Union.

As I said initially, I started with the two easier new nations, the Yankee States of America and Cowlandia, because they were the neatest two regions in an inevitably messy process. Creating a new nation out of the Midwest would be challenging but I also believe that thanks to our willingness to work together and our shared values that transcend politics, we would survive and thrive on our own. That leaves me with the Pacific West and the Southeast and those have some issues of their own.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

In Case You Needed A Reminder, Globalist Corporations Are Not Our Allies

That pretty much captures it. Companies like Metlife, Hertz and Enterprise are severing their relationship with the National Rifle Association and essentially daring the membership of the NRA to do anything about it. Since conservatives are terrible at this I am guessing not much will happen. It is like corporations pandering to homosexuals, the risk of offending normal people who don't do business ideologically is pretty slim so we get to see dudes pawing each other in commercials to appeal to the tiny fraction of people that are homosexual in this country. The same is true here. There are over 5 million active NRA members and millions of other Americans that are not dues paying but might as well be. I recently renewed my membership which had been lapsed for years but I pretty much voted 100% in line with the NRA and followed their news posts even when I wasn't paying dues. Regardless the profit calculation says risking offending millions of consumers is less dangerous than some bad P.R.. They are probably right.

This is how the "alliance" between the big globalist corporate world and middle American religious conservatives go. We show up in droves to the polls to elect Republicans on the promise of getting things that are important to us like restrictions on abortion, conservative judges and immigration enforcement. When the Republicans get power, we don't get much or any of that (sometimes the judges because they also rule in favor of corporations). What we mostly get is a condescending pat on the head and excuses.

Of course we get super important tax cuts for the corporations and lots of deregulation, all of which is good and I support wholeheartedly but it isn't exactly like the rank and file are getting equal value for showing up by the millions and we often get lied to and betrayed as part of the bargain.


Corporate America is not our ally. They will and regularly do sell us down the river at the first whiff of controversy, because taking risks and bad publicity of any sort is bad for profits. That is fine, I understand that. I just don't want to pretend that we are after the same thing. I would gladly support trade barriers in return for eliminating abortion and I won't abandon 2nd Amendment rights no matter how much it might make the 401(k)s in this country grow. Ultimately globalist corporations are not cowardly but they are at best amoral. They don't care who buys their goods and services. A credit card swiped by a homosexual couple is just as good as one from a normal married couple. An illegal alien buying a phone is no different to Apple than someone with a family that goes back to the Pilgrims. As long as they are hitting their quarterly targets nothing else matters. For people like me? I am concerned about the future of this country that I leave for my children and future generations. I care about the survival of Western civilization that in spite of many flaws is still the greatest force for good in world history. That means that next quarter's profits are not as important as long term trends that are transforming our nation. A 10% annual return in my IRA portfolio is meaningless compared to the lives of the unborn. My right to keep and bear arms is not for sale.

I have been on this trajectory for a while. The Republican Party has wasted my vote for too many election cycles. There needs to be a serious alternative to the mainstream conservatism that is owned by the corporations and the warmongering neo-cons. Maybe that is the Constitution Party. Maybe something that doesn't exist yet. I think the latter is more likely and I will be writing more about that soon. All I know is that the GOP cares more about what is good for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce than it is in what I and tens of millions of actual conservatives care about and I am pretty much done with it. Conservatives are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome with the Republican party. We are convinced that in spite of our captivity and the abuse we suffer that the GOP really does love us deep down. In many ways we are the mirror image of blacks and the Democrats. Dems haven't given a fig about blacks for a long time and they don't really pretend to other than giving them the same empty promises and pats on the head that conservatives get from the GOP. Starting a new movement takes an enormous amount of energy but I think there is a ton of energy out there untapped, weary after decades of being lied to and having lame empty suits or outright sociopaths like Mitt Romney and John McCain foisted on us, but ready to get fired up for the right movement. Trump tapped into that and he won even though we have been told for decades that the GOP has to embrace unlimited immigration to survive.

It is time to wake up people. It is time to name names and find out who is really on our side and who just gives us pats on the head.

Making a quarrel of every dispute

I have a strong belief that there is a danger of the public opinion of this country … believing that it is our duty to take everything we can, to fight everybody, and to make a quarrel of every dispute. That seems to me a very dangerous doctrine, not merely because it might incite other nations against us … but there is a more serious danger, that is lest we overtax our strength. However strong you may be, whether you are a man or a nation, there is a point beyond which your strength will not go. It is madness; it ends in ruin if you allow yourself to pass beyond it.
The Queen’s Speech
Buchanan, Patrick J. (2008-05-26T23:58:59). Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World (Kindle Locations 59-66). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition. 

These words from the era just before World War I from an empire that  would soon diminish significantly should be a warning to those of us in the new empire that seem to think we can go looking for a fight all around the globe and never suffer for it. The United States does not have limitless strength and resources and I fear we are at the breaking point, or perhaps beyond it without even realizing it.

Book Review: Adios, America

While at times hard to read, Ann Coulter's 2015 bestseller Adios, America! is a powerful and thoroughly researched look at the immigration issue in America from a hardline position. Ann is in many ways the embodiment of Campaign Trump, not to be confused with President Trump. She daily posts a mocking tweet on the lack of progress on the border wall:

No one is going to be confused as to where she stands on the question of immigration but even if you don't agree with her, her research ought to give you pause.

Ann Coulter does her level best to make herself someone you dislike and someone you dislike is someone that is easy to ignore. She is sarcastic almost to a fault, said as someone who is pretty sarcastic, and sometimes says things that are so acerbic as to make even a hardened reader cringe. It is her schitick and I get it but it also means that it can be easy to not take her seriously. This book, even with the over-the-top title and subtitle ("The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole") absolutely demands to be taken seriously because the topic it covers is so very important.

The number one problem with this book is that it came out in June of 2015. It came out before Trump announced and therefore it looked for all the world like the Republican nominee was going to be just another empty suit, pro-amnesty at the bidding of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce GOP-bot. Things have changed in this country since 2016 but there is still a lot of concern that mirrors what Ann is writing about.

For Coulter in this book, immigration is everything and she rightly recognizes an inconvenient truth: Democrats only care about immigration for one reason....
The reason Democrats support immigration is because of how they vote.
Coulter, Ann. Adios, America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole (Kindle Locations 174-175). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Democrats only care about the children of lawbreakers when it will get them 30 million new voters. Convicted felons are next.
Coulter, Ann. Adios, America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole (Kindle Locations 187-188). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition.
That is the core of the immigration debate from legal immigrants to illegal aliens to amnesty for "Dreamers". It is all about electoral math. Democrats have abandoned the White vote and are relying mostly on minorities and immigrants to propel them to victory in the future. The GOP doesn't seem to get this but for Coulter every single other issue is secondary to immigration because once there are sufficient "new Americans" to reliably vote Democrat, states like Texas and Florida will become like California and never vote Republican again. That means no tax reform, no protection of 2nd Amendment rights, no conservative justices, no restrictions on abortion or the demands of the militant homosexual movement, no restraint on spending or the welfare state or job killing bureaucratic regulations. Lose on the immigration issue and you lose everything....
What happens with immigration will determine whether America continues to exist or becomes a Third World republic that will never elect another Republican—in other words, “California.” It’s more important than gun rights, right to life, taxes, or Iran’s nuclear program—or whatever other issue you care to cite, because immigration will decide all issues, once and for all, in favor of the Democrats.
Coulter, Ann. Adios, America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole (Kindle Locations 4711-4715). Regnery Publishing. Kindle Edition. 
It does seem a little callous to reduce people to electoral math but that is the reality of the immigration debate.

From liberal activists seeking new voters to rich Republicans that want cheap lawn care and nannies, there is a powerful cabal of people that want virtually limitless immigration. The Left needs new voters and the wealthy aren't impacted by mass immigration so we see what should be a weird alliance between Republican elites and far left loons. Left out of the equation are regular working Americans, especially minorities and low income workers that are displaced by an endless flow of workers that will do the same job for less and that turn around and send their wages out of the country, a massive outflow of at least $20 billion a year that in turn enriches the wealthiest in Mexico, like Carlos Slim, who in turn are incredibly influential over U.S. media sources like the New York Times. It seems odd but the only people that seem to care about the displaced workers in America are people like Ann Coulter. While "conservatives" like Bill Kristol casually advocate for the wholesale replacement of the current American workforce, people like Ann are not willing to go down without a fight. Perhaps it will be in vain, it probably will be, but at least some of us are trying and Ann, for all of her sometimes unpleasant rhetoric, is one of them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In Praise Of Imperfect Theology: Remembering Billy Graham

The big news of the day across even most of the secular press is the death of evangelist Billy Graham. Almost immediately the praise started flowing in, some over the top, but most celebrating the life of this most well known of evangelicals and rejoicing in his joining with Christ in glory. When a famous person dies they are often immediately trumpeted into the Kingdom even when every bit of evidence would show them to be an unbeliever. It is nice today to have someone pass on that I am as sure as I can be about any famous person is now in a "better place".

On the other hand some people took the occasion of his death as an opportunity to criticize Billy Graham.

As I consider myself to be an armchair theologian, it seems appropriate to point out that with the passing of Billy Graham I had some criticisms of him when he was alive as well. If I had ever had the opportunity to sit down over coffee with Billy and talk theology, I bet we would have had some pretty heated arguments.

I criticized Graham for meeting with Mitt Romney and the removal of mormonism from the list of cults at his ministry webpage. I criticized Billy Graham for saying that any criticism of your pastor is a sin. I think he was a little too chummy with politicians. I strongly disliked the way his name was used as a marketing tool or as a way to add false credibility for men like Tullian and Boz Tchividjian.

I was critical of his Arminianism as I was for many other famous preachers who preach to large crowds with altar calls and sometimes overly emotional appeals. I find revivalism to be a bit too close to manipulation for my taste and I am certain that a significant, perhaps overwhelming, percentage of those who "made decisions" at his crusades over the years were in fact not regenerate and likely walked away from the faith they never had once the emotional high wore off.

On the other hand...

There are no theologians alive or dead with perfect theology. Some great ones have had some pretty deeply flawed theology ( looking at you Martin Luther). The only person is agree with 100% of the time is the bearded guy in the mirror and sometimes I am not so sure about him.

Billy Graham may have had some problems with his theology but my criticisms of him were as a brother speaking to a brother. As I was looking back over my search for his name on my blog I ran across a post from 2010 where I quoted Frank Turk, who made a great statement about Billy Graham that I recalled today:
With Augustine, I’d object strongly to his view of his the eucharist; with Aquinas, I’d object to his Platonism aristotelianism (thx, Bobby) and his extra-biblical musings; Calvin wants to baptize babies, and ultimately advocates for Presbyterian ecclesiology; Jerome was, well, Jerome – a monastic with a high view of Mary and a low view of marriage; Wesley – Arminianism; Billy Sunday & Billy Graham & Chuck Colson – the manner and mode of Ecumenism, up to and including a tacit disregard for the still-evident distinctions between Protestants and Catholics.
But here’s the thing: I think we are compelled to call all of these men Christians -- and I’m not speaking in some broad sociological sense, either. Some of them may be bad Christians – doctrinally bumfuzzled or worse: doctrinally indifferent. Some of them may be misguided – as I think Aquinas was – for intellectual or sociological reasons. But they are Christians.
Amen to that. I love John Calvin but if I were to have taught in Geneva some of the things I believe the Bible teaches about baptism and the church when he was there, I might have shared the fate of Servetus. I love John MacArthur but I think he is way off on dispensationalism. I wish John Piper would steer clear of some of the racial virtue signaling. R.C. Sproul was flat out wrong about "infant baptism". Mark Dever has a number of serious flaws in his ecclesiology which are part of the 9 Marks ministry teaching on the church. My brothers in the Church of Christ are likewise deeply wrong on baptism but I still consider them brothers even when some of them would say I am not their brother because I disagree with their understand and application of baptism. Most Christians I have known personally throughout the year were caught up in Arminianism, were theologically disinterested and clung to the institutional mode of the church that kept them spiritual infants.

Billy Graham could be accused on being willing to go too far to make a disciple to the point of making false disciples, although I am sure not intentionally. He also did more in a year of his life to reach the lost and make much of Jesus Christ than most pastors, theologians and social media geniuses do in their lifetime. He probably did more to reach the lost with the name of Jesus on a decent afternoon than I ever have. I am certain that many, many people were reached for Jesus and came to saving faith through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit under the preaching of the Word by Billy Graham because I believe God sovereignly uses flawed theologians and pastors and evangelists. Good thing he does because being flawed is one thing everyone from Paul and Peter to Calvin and Luther to Piper and Mohler to Billy Graham and me have in common. 

So today is a day to remember a man who committed his life to the Gospel in his own weak and inadequate way. Some day soon he will hear these words all believers long to hear: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’. Well done brother. I look forward to seeing you again in glory.

Monday, February 12, 2018

How Many Churches Will Egalitarianism Claim?

Albert Mohler penned an essay today looking at the new "Illumination Project" report out of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the splinter group formed in response to the Southern Baptist "Conservative Resurgence". His essay, All Other Ground is Sinking Sand: A Portrait of Theological Disaster, is a good history lesson, although one must keep in mind that there is a partisanship about it given that Dr. Mohler was one of the pivotal figures in the Conservative Resurgence and remains one of the steadfast proponents of biblical authority in the SBC.

Mohler's essay reminds us yet again of a simple truth: there is a fork in the theological road that all denominations and local churches must eventually choose, whether to call women as elders (or ordain  them as pastors to use the institutional language). When one chooses to ignore the teaching of Scripture and call women into positions of authoritative leadership in the church there is a nigh inevitable downgrade that follows. As Mohler wrote:
This is also the logical consequence of adopting a hermeneutic that allows for the service of women as pastors — for many CBF congregations, the key issue of outrage at the SBC. The same negotiation and “reinterpretation” of the biblical text that allows for the service of women pastors will logically lead to the acceptance of the LGBT revolution. How can it not? Individuals and congregations may refuse to take this next step, but they have surrendered the only binding argument that would offer an objective truth claim. Eventually, the revolutionaries will win, and they know it. Clearly, some appear unwilling to wait.
I am not aware of an example where a denomination chose to call women as elders while remaining faithful to Scripture in other places over the long term. There is no path where women elders and orthodoxy walk hand in hand. This is the inevitable result of practical egalitarianism...

Two "married" lesbian "Senior Ministers and Co-Pastors", the "reverend" Maria Swearingen and the "reverend" Sally Sarratt who head up Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., an "ecumenical, multi-racial, multi-ethnic Christian body". The "co-pastors" wrote a screed in response to the "Illumination Project" report, where they express anger and not without reason for the CBF's schizophrenic treatment of homosexual sin, allowing open homosexuals to be hired for some positions but not for others. Their open letter includes the obligatory MLK quote, langauge about "colonialism", "violence" (Scriptural faithfulness is now violence apparently), "imperialism" and the "exportation of violent theology all over the world in service to Empire". Mixed in with a grab-bag of "progressive" nonsense is am ominous statement from these "co-pastors" (emphasis in original).
First, while all people may be equal, all opinions are not equal, nor should they be given an equal place at the table. This is a morally debilitating myth we keep telling each other to pacify conflicts and coddle our fears over disagreement and loss. Jesus did not think all opinions were equal. Jesus’ witness and example demonstrates that the opinions, better yet the lives, of the dispossessed were worthy of more time and attention than calculating mathematically equal air-time for everyone. The fact that we think decision-making in light of the gospel of liberation should look like “equally valid opinions getting equal time” is not only absurd, it is a striking example of the “banality of evil,” as Hannah Arendt describes it.
Read that again. Behind the "progressive" language of tolerance and the nice smiles of the two lesbian "pastors" there is a far more insidious message here, one I have run into personally on social media. All people may be equal (and then again they may not) but not all of their opinions are equal. To paraphrase the warning words of George Orwell, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. In other words, these women have decreed that some opinions are just not worthy of being held and are not worth being considered. Someone with a firmly held belief, as the church has held for 2000 years, that homosexual behavior is incompatible with full inclusion in the Christian community, much less leadership, is not only mistaken but they are not even worthy of being heard. This is a sinister belief. I have been told online that because of who I am, my opinions are automatically invalid and unworthy of being heard, regardless of the merit of what I am saying. Here we sit in 2018 and a couple of women who fancy themselves married and elders have declared that the essentially unanimous position of the greatest pastors and theologians of the church for 2000 years, from Paul and Christ Himself to present day, are null and void and are not even deserving of being given "equal time". It is pretty easy to win an argument when you don't allow your opponent to speak at all.

This is the state of the "progressive" church.
It is anti-Scriptural, anti-intellectual, illiberal and authoritarian in the extreme. Ultimately it is anti-gospel and in the spirit of anti-Christ.
Is it "progress" that debates over the application of Scripture are closed down without even so much as consideration? I am glad to discuss any topic with any person with an open Bible because I am confident in my positions and hopefully humble enough to be corrected by Scripture where I am wrong. The oxymoronic phrase "progressive Christianity" is just code for a religious veneer of respectability slapped over old fashioned authoritarian thought policing. Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt are representative of the totalitarian progressive impulse to push an agenda by shutting down conversation and attempting to control speech and thought itself.

Like the mass media shedding the last vestige of impartiality and journalistic integrity in the Trump era, the "progressive" religious authoritarians have given up even pretending to engage in Scripture, however clumsily, and have openly resorted to demanding that certain opinions, no matter how Scripturally supported and historically grounded they may be, be considered Thoughtcrime. It is high time we stop pretending these are wayward members of the church and start to call them what they are: heretics and false prophets, wolves among the sheep. What Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt and Rachel Held Evans and the majority of the mainline denominations and even apparently in a clumsy sense the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are championing is not a variation of Christianity, a mistaken but sincere expression of the faith, but another "gospel" entirely where sin is celebrated and faithfulness is silenced.