Why are Evangelicals Misunderstood?

A friend of mine who blogs under the pen name Angle KKG, posted a link on facebook to the following article: Why the Christian Right Becomes More Extreme as America Grows More Tolerant wanting to know what my take on it was.  What was ironic was that independently of her, I had just been reading an article on a similar topic titled: In Evangelical World, a Liberal View Steps Up.  Though it is a bit dated, going back to 05' and the Bush Presidency, I thought it served as a good response.  I then wrote the following on her facebook link, before realizing that it was entirely too long for facebook.

Angle KKG,

As to the latter half of your comment. I would agree that the article you posted is overly generalized.

The media should treat people of different faiths similarly.  I think it often tries to, but not always.

For instance, I have seen more than one National Geographic Article, or PBS series that gives a foreign tribe's spirituality the benefit of the doubt. The reporter might be doing a story on climbing Mt. Everest for example, but there is also a small segment about the spirituality of the people who are native to that part of the world. They believe in a spiritual dimension that effects their climb, and there is no judgement passed on he legitimacy of that belief by the Western reporter.


When it comes to Jesus, we are all unbelievers

Why I love Jesus but Hate Religion, is the title of a short spoken word video that has recently gone viral.  Let me just say at the top, I like the sentiment in it, but what I find interesting is the variety of perspectives on it.  We have both the non-religious giving it a shout-out, and the Evangelical crowd trying to draw a distinction between "religion" and the one true way.  Others are accurately pointing out how "religious" Jesus was, pointing to chapter and verse where he regularly went to the synagogue.

As is often the case, we commonly see what we want to see, myself included.  What Evangelicals see in this film is a line of reasoning that says, "I'm not merely religious, I take this stuff seriously.  A relationship with Jesus is so much more than mere religion."  While in contrast, the non-church attender sees in this video a version of Jesus they like, one which allows them to understandably reject what they see as the inconsistencies of religion.

But are Jesus and religion actually odds?  The answer is a mixed bag.


The Usual Suspects and The Ordinary Religion of Law School

The following is a reflection piece I wrote for my Foundations of Justice class, the kind of class most law schools do not offer, one of the reasons i really appreciate St. Thomas.

“How negligent was the rape victim?” was the question in Wassell v. Addams, a case in our Torts class meant to illustrate the consequences of various comparative fault systems. Should a victim that is also negligent be allowed to recover from another negligent party? What if they are more than 50% at fault? And if the court of appeals disagrees with the jury’s decision, can they over rule it? These were the issues that the text sought to elucidate.

In Ms. Wassell’s case, after opening the door to her motel room at 2am, she found a nicely dressed, but “confused” man at her door asking for a glass of water, she returned with the drink to find him sitting at the small table in the room. Shortly afterward he raped her.* A young and naive women from a small town, she sued the motel owner for not warning her of the dangers of the neighborhood. But a “hardened jury” in her lawyer’s words, found her to be 97% negligent. In an interesting twist, the motel’s 3% of negligence covered her medical and counseling bills to the dollar.

What stood out to me at the time was not so much the case, problematic as it was, but the dynamics of the class discussion. The usual suspects made the usual arguments, reflecting if not the ordinary religion of law school, then at least the ordinary religion of their upbringing. Crampton’s comment that, “law students… aptitude for verbal articulation increases, but they rarely stop to listen to others” was apt.