Putin and the Culture Wars: An Analysis

Putin and the Culture Wars: An Analysis

Okay, so right now as I write this Russia, and specifically its leader Putin, are still invading the Ukraine, who is fighting back. As historian Heather Cox Richardson (along with others) have been pointing out, most American politicians, even those in the GOP, have been rolling back their support for Putin over the course of his invasion of Ukraine, but there are still some key politicians who are supporting Putin. As others have pointed out over at MSN.com, even the…

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Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Editor’s Note: This guest blog piece by Matthijs Kronemeijer was written before the recent horrific anti-trans legislation was passed in Texas. This legislation accuses healthy loving parents and caregivers of trans children of child abuse for affirming trans children’s identities and trying to protect them from the disturbingly high suicide rates among trans folx. I hate the fact that I even have to write a note about how much it is NOT ABUSE to affirm children who don’t fit pre-existing…

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Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

So as I write this it’s Black History Month. Which has me thinking again about Christian White Person Nice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” about how “white moderates” are almost a bigger threat to equity and justice than the extremists are. (I previously talked about this here and here.) In this week’s blog post I’d like to parse some more of this out in terms of communication and conflict theory. So I’ll…

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Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Okay, so probably many, if not most, of the people reading this blog KNOW they get super frustrated when they hear the words “thoughts and prayers.” If you are in this group, you may have even developed an allergy to the phrase. You probably even know that it bothers you because of a combo platter of hypocrisy and a lack of action. But you may not understand why you have such a visceral reaction to it, or why and how…

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The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

Okay, so in the wake of the anniversary of 1/6, I find my mind increasingly drawn back to the disruption of the counting of electoral votes. Which makes me think about bullying regarding representation overall, including this conservative political rhetoric we’ve long had about STATES’ RIGHTS! As you’ll see, this often ties back to the Electoral College. In this blog piece I plan to unwrap this conservative rhetoric both from personal experience and my scholarly training to help us process…

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Assertiveness in an Age of Herod(s)

Assertiveness in an Age of Herod(s)

So as I write this, it’s Advent, a time when traditionally people have focused on the time of waiting in the midst of deep and dark tension for good things to arrive. But speaking of darkness, bits of the Christmas story itself are remarkably dark and horrific, as the story of when Joseph and Mary have to flee the country because Herod saw a potential baby born to be the Messiah as a huge threat to his power. This week’s…

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When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

This past week an intense Twitter war has been raging between conservative Christians (mostly white Evangelicals) and their critics over the nature and value of those who are “deconstructing.” In this blog piece, I plan to unwrap some of the messaging these white Evangelicals—mostly men—have been using to demonize those who claim the term deconstruction by those who have been leaving white Evangelicalism, especially since the 2016 election in the United States. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the rhetoric of…

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“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

“Don’t Tread on Me!”: A History of Unhealthy Rhetoric

So if you google the history of the “Don’t Tread on Me” symbol and flag (often called the Gadsden flag), as I did last week, you’ll find a wide range of storytelling styles about it—most of which are either right-wing or very right-leaning “moderate” in nature. Today I’m going to unwrap some of these narratives from a rhetorical perspective, take issue with some of these interpretations, and discuss why this flag has been a strongly questionable symbol of militant masculinity…

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Talking Healthy Disagreement with Jared Byas (on his podcast)

Talking Healthy Disagreement with Jared Byas (on his podcast)

Greetings, friends! Instead of one of my usual blog posts today, I’m excited to provide a link to a podcast conversation I had recently with Jared Byas on his new miniseries podcast, How to Disagree, where we talked about working toward creating healthy disagreement. I was deeply honored he invited me to talk about the stress, trauma, and conflict communication aspects of interpersonal situations involving deep disagreement. We got into the extra challenges that can come when some parties have…

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Taking Stock of Our Collective Stress and Moving Toward a Healthier World

Taking Stock of Our Collective Stress and Moving Toward a Healthier World

I was teaching some of my classes about stress and effects this week, as I do every semester in all my classes, and I got around to looking up the American Psychological Association’s latest numbers for stress in the American public. And whew, it really hit me how much our collective stress levels have gone up in the last 20 years since just before 9/11. In this article I plan to unwrap some of the identified reasons our stress has…

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When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

This week I saw an image from a dating profile whose owner identified as politically conservative as well as Christian. Here’s what it said: “…if you voted for Joe Biden do not hit me up..I don’t date liberals that feel they are entitled..I believe in hard work, self accountability, and God!!!!!” There’s a lot going on here, and there’s no way I will have time to unwrap all of it in this post, but I wanted to discuss how these…

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How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we got to where conservative Christians are literally demonizing empathy. And this week I had a breakthrough: I think the rhetorical move that most undergirded the acceptance of this came from when conservative and conservative-leaning Christian leaders started casting humanism as a devil term. In this week’s post I plan to unwrap how this worked in my moderate pastor’s kid past, how it’s connected to my previous analysis of pride as a…

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9/11, Conspiracy Rhetoric, WECs, and the “New World Order”: An Analysis

9/11, Conspiracy Rhetoric, WECs, and the “New World Order”: An Analysis

As I write this it’s the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a major trauma to the United States (my country). It’s also an event that’s caused a lot of negative events out of unhealthy trauma responses. As historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez points out in Jesus and John Wayne, this includes a turn in the white Evangelical religio-political community toward increasingly militant masculinity that became increasingly focused on fighting “culture wars” against other citizens of the United States. In today’s article,…

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When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

UPDATE 4/2/22: Hey, look! Schools are still a battleground–it’s just that masking is no longer what’s being fought over. All the history (including my now-embarrassing personal history as a one-time unintentional Christian nationalist) below is still relevant. (Sheesh it’s vulnerable to even admit that I organized a See You at the Pole rally at my Christian school. Soooo cringey now!) –DS Leiter As I’ve been thinking about it, it doesn’t surprise me that once again educational settings—and especially K-12 education…

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Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

Simone Biles: Speaking Truth to the GOP’s Unhealthy Positive Projections

NOTE: This piece was originally published during the Summer 2021 Olympics, when Simone Biles withdrew after getting the “twisties.” Its principles continue to apply, but it might be helpful to look back at her statements then here. At the time, she received all sorts of abuse from the GOP, which, as noted below, were just starting the January 6 hearings. This past week Simone Biles withdrew from competition for the all-around gymnastics finals after faltering in the preliminary rounds of…

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