The neo-medieval beliefs of Senator Josh Hawley

I really shouldn’t read this stuff so early in the morning. That NYT article is goign to give me heartburn all day long. FFS. Terrifying.


He is correct in thinking that there is a sizeable percentage of the population who are “authoritarian followers” - they want someone to tell them (a) that their lives are horrible (b) that it’s all the fault of ‘them’ (c ) that this is what they need to believe and often (d) I alone can save you (in the extreme fundamentalist evangelical tradition, the “I” here is supposed to be Jesus but alarmingly often it is usually actually the pastor.)

I really don’t think this is a particularly ideological or religious position, in that we know that authoritarianism is not really a left/right thing. There is always a space for this sort of demagogue; what we are learning (rapid) is that it’s this brief period of democracy that has fooled us into thinking that they are not really a threat.


Give him a transcript of a speech given by an Islamic fundamentalist with the sole changes being the substitution of the Christian equivalents for Islamic terms and an attribution to a prominent Christian or “Christian” speaker and see what he says.


I don’t need a PhD in theology to know that Hawley is a wanker


‘authoritarian followers’ = ‘suckers for a grifter with a charismatic cult’


I taught history in the US South, where the majority of my students came from conservative Christian churches. They have the kind of church education that leads them to believe that Jesus was a Baptist (Baptists were the original Christians dontchaknow–“John the Baptist,” right?) and that there are other, non-Christian religions like Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism (Jews are simply Christians who believe all the same things, but haven’t “accepted Jesus into their hearts.”).

So, imagine the section on the Reformation. I write on the chalkboard “Justification by Faith,” and “Justification by Works.” Then I ask the class: “Do you have to do good works to get into heaven?” and most of the class says “yes.” Then, “Well, isn’t faith alone enough to do it?” Again, the class says “yes.” So we discuss. They settle on “You have to go to church, and you have to contribute to charity, and you have to have a pastor who knows a lot about the Bible, and you have to follow all the rules of the Church.” But, then, they also say “Well, accepting Jesus is all you need.” So, I ask, “If you accept Jesus but then go out an murder people and fornicate and steal, is it all good?” “Yes, because Jesus will forgive you.”

And the conclusion I draw, from more than two decades of playing this game with hundreds of college students, is that Catholics are incredibly well-educated about Christianity in general, and their own faith in particular, and Southern Baptists have no idea what they believe but take comfort that simply saying they accept Jesus means that they get a ticket to the Good Place when they die, regardless of how they act.


Especially when their teachers are Jesuits. Those guys don’t mess around when it comes to casuistry, which means that they have to be very knowledable about all the fine details (I’m still kind of amazed the Vatican broke with tradition and made a member of the order Pope).


That’s what always made the Jesuits so dangerous.

I’m still kind of amazed the Vatican broke with tradition and made a member of the order Pope

Yeah . . . I was trying to explain to people why that was such an amazing thing . . . A Jesuit Pope. Clement XIV is rolling in his . . . well, wherever he is.


Thanks…I think you just helped me understand why 5 out of 9 SCOTUS justices are Catholic


He can’t imagine living in a country where he doesn’t have the right to decide which religious authorities he must obey.


It hardly matters if he does or not, if he’s actively working to bring that about in some way.

We really need to start taking these people seriously since they just tried to overthrow our government. That’s how we got to this point in the first place, not taking them seriously.


Anthony Burgess (author of A Clockwork Orange) wrote a fascinating book set in an undefined future called The Wanting Seed, which had as a central theme the struggle of the Augustinian viewpoint (that humans are fundamentally depraved) vs the Pelagian viewpoint (that humans are basically good), which basically corresponds to Faith vs Works and all that.

He even went so far as to posit history going endlessly back and forth between Pelagian and Augustinian phases, sometimes quite dramatically or even violently.

In light of current events, I’m going to give it a re-read.


Benedictine teachers are pretty good, too.


As well as Anglican and Quaker teachers.


Basically any order or sect that understands inherently that blind faith alone ain’t gonna get you where you need to go.


I think the best we can get are the Red Letter Christians, who have Bibles with everything that Jesus said in red. They claim to be apolitical, yet in practice they tend to be social liberals and socialists.


I do worry about his sort of thing. I think of the country of Iran, which had a degree of secularism going for it, but then overnight it became a theocracy.


“‘At the heart of liberty,’ Kennedy wrote, ‘is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.’ The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy…”

It’s hilarious that a politician that is riding the coattails of the biggest misinformation campaign in recent history, would be opposed to people defining their “own concept of existence” given that the Trump cult he’s lying prostrate in front of have been living in their “own concept of existence” for the last 4 fucking years.


They were secular, but it was also a harsh dictatorship, which is why the uprising that was eventually coopted by the hard Religious right was initially broadbased and very popular. The Shah was probably far worse than the current Theocratic government, actually.


If I remember correctly Thomas was the only one who insisted on two-factor authentication.