Paying Attention to America: A Second Response to John Wilson

John Wilson of Books & Culture has written a third column touching on the issue of the “partisan captivity of the gospel” in response to the book by Charles Marsh. (I would, of course, like to hear him respond to my previous comments, but I’m not holding my breath.) In this latest column, Wilson quotes 2 Tim. 2:14 and challenges his interlocutors to “avoid stupid arguments.” In other words, one should make a solid case and present valid evidence, rather than simply repeat catchy axioms or speak from personal experience. What’s interesting about Wilson’s statement is that this is precisely the criticism I put forward against him in response to his first column about Marsh’s book. Certainly, if he thinks I am putting forward “stupid arguments,” I would like to know so that I can respond intelligently. Unless he makes his criticism clear to me, I will assume he refers to people other than myself.

Wilson then writes:
What are we in fact talking about? From my point of view—open to correction—that seems to have become rather blurred as the conversation has proceeded. Charles Marsh contends that the "partisan captivity of the gospel in the United States is the gravest theological crisis of the Christian faith in our time." That's a sweeping judgment, accompanied by similarly sweeping pronouncements in the course of Marsh's book. Is this central contention true? How should such a claim be assessed? What sort of evidence counts? (For instance, would it be relevant to look back at the cover stories from the last 12 issues of Christianity Today magazine? Would that be one small chunk of useful evidence?)
A charitable reading of this statement would be that Wilson wants to keep our conversation grounded in Marsh’s particular claims about the “captivity of the gospel.” (Of course, the conversation was never about Marsh’s own arguments; it was about Wilson’s rejection of Marsh’s arguments.) An uncharitable reading would be that Wilson is avoiding all the counter-arguments with which he disagrees by either calling them “stupid” or asserting that they are “blurring” the conversation (i.e., they are irrelevant). While it seems probable that the uncharitable reading is more accurate, I will give Wilson the benefit of the doubt and assume the charitable interpretation.

We are thus back at square one. After three columns, I had expected to get further along than this. Unfortunately, I am stuck answering the same questions raised the first time: Is there really a “partisan captivity of the gospel” in America? Is the problem as wide-spread as Marsh suggests? The only advance that I can see is that Wilson is no longer using his own personal experience as the trump card. He at least recognizes that the different sides in the debate need to put forward evidence and sound arguments. As Wilson notes, the obvious question arises: What counts as a solid argument or convincing evidence? Wilson suggests looking at the covers of Christianity Today. That’s certainly an interesting suggestion. But why not look at the covers of World or Focus on the Family. Somehow I get the feeling these might offer a more accurate (or at least complete) picture of contemporary evangelical politics.

My own evidence is quite simple: the widespread support for war (and the Iraq war in particular) and the death penalty among pro-life evangelicals. Why are so many evangelicals pro-life on some issues but not pro-life on others? What could possibly explain this obvious hypocrisy? I suggest that Marsh offers the correct diagnosis: there is a partisan captivity of the gospel among American evangelicals. In my recent critique of nationalism in American evangelicalism, I said that the problem with evangelicalism today is not a disregard for politics but rather a political engagement strictly along party lines. Evangelicals rightly think that the Christian faith has important ethical implications and thus calls people to social and political action. But many evangelicals have blindly superimposed the American two-party system onto Scripture, or, conversely, tried to squeeze the gospel into a Republican mold. Either way, far too many evangelicals arbitrarily abide by certain passages from Scripture while rejecting others—once again, along party lines.

To be clear, I think evangelicals who side with the Democratic party as the best articulation of the gospel are also in the wrong. The gospel does not conform to any political party—much less an American political party. I am thus skeptical of Jim Wallis and Randall Balmer, just as I am skeptical of any Christian who calls a particular party “my party.” I realize some will say that picking a party is like going to war: it is a necessary evil in our present situation. But I reject this line of argumentation (about both picking parties and going to war). The Christian life is a life of discipleship, in which we are called to bear our cross, to lay down our lives for our neighbors, and to love our enemies. We are not called to devise political schemes for the success of a particular ideology. The fight against abortion, for example, is not so important that we must be willing to wed the gospel with a particular party. In other words, to put it in starker terms, the fight against abortion is not so important that we must be willing to commit idolatry. If discipleship means anything, it means standing up for what is right (contra war, environmental destruction, economic and educational inequity, etc.), even if it means giving up political influence and the attention of a powerful president.

I generally side with people like Tony Campolo who advocate for a “seamless garment” pro-life position. American evangelicals, for the most part, advocate for life on only a few select issues—issues that are determined along party lines. As a result, the evangelical pro-life movement is all too often arbitrary and hypocritical, despite the recent commendable support of environmentalism as a pro-life issue. Do evangelicals go off to war on the basis of their Christian faith—a faith rooted in Scripture and a theologically robust understanding of the gospel? Or do they go off to war on the basis of a loyalty to their country? Are evangelicals Americans or Christians first? And does this change depending on whether they are in church on Sunday morning or at work or in school or celebrating the Fourth of July or listening to the president speak or at a Marine recruitment office or in Iraq? Is our identity shaped by Jesus Christ, our Lord and King (or President, to use modern lingo) or by the American president? Is our political perspective shaped by the gospel or by the two-party system?

As long as evangelicals continue to be selectively and arbitrarily pro-life, Marsh is quite correct to say that there is a “partisan captivity of the gospel.” Of course, Wilson is also quite correct to point that (as he did in a personal email) that the world of American evangelicalism is much more complex than one might conclude from reading Marsh’s book. But this is an empty argument, because it can be used against anyone. Are not all books oversimplifications of reality? Is there any book that actually captures the full complexity of human existence, much less American evangelical existence? I tend to think the argument used by Wilson has a dark side to it. Often people who denounce a book for oversimplifying matters are simply upset that the author has created a picture which one does not like or with which one does not agree. Would Wilson feel the same about a book which targeted the “liberal captivity of the gospel” in America? Don’t Hannity and Limbaugh and O’Reilly—not to mention Dobson, Robertson, and the late Falwell—oversimplify matters just as much if not much more so than Balmer and Marsh? The “oversimplification” argument is often useful, but it can also be quite sinister. It can disguise one’s own ideology while exposing another’s. And as I said in my previous post on this topic, I am firmly convinced that evangelical partisanship is the symptom and not the actual disease. I would very much like to hear Wilson’s response to that point.

At the end of his last column, Wilson asks: “To answer the questions raised by Marsh's book, we have to pay attention to the America we actually inhabit.” I wholeheartedly agree. And I think this is precisely what I have been doing. I am open to hearing how I can better pay attention to America. Even though I have been critical of Wilson in this post, I remain dedicated to carrying on the conversation. In his second column, Wilson asked: “Can we talk?” I believe that we can. But I have to hear any constructive feedback from those who take Wilson’s side. Perhaps the partisanship is not as pervasive as some might suggest. But surely that is no argument against the existence—even wide-spread existence—of such evangelical partisanship, or of its underlying causes. In the end, I agree with Wilson: no more stupid arguments.

Comments

Lee said…
As a non-evangelical I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I do note that it's often asserted (rather than argued) that to be pro-life on abortion but not to categorically oppose war or the death penalty is some kind of obvious contradiction. And yet it's far from clear to me that this is the case. I mean, might there not be good reasons for thinking that abortion is always (or nearly always) wrong but that capital punishment or war might sometimes be justified? In fact, isn't this the view of the mainstream of the Christian theological tradition?

I personally lean toward the "consistent life" view, but I think it's unfair to say that those who don't embrace it are simply guilty of "obvious hypocrisy" when the explanation might be that they are simply in line with Christian tradition.
D.W. Congdon said…
You're right that it has been the mainstream tradition, but that doesn't mean the mainstream tradition is not itself hypocritical. It's also traditional for the state and the church to share political power (at least since Constantine). But I don't see anyone defending this view just because it's been around longer than a separation between church and state.

Perhaps I shouldn't say it is "obviously" hypocritical, but it's obvious to enough people that I don't really have a problem saying that. But I might have been a bit unfair.

Unlike many Catholics and Orthodox theologians I have met, I don't hold tradition in any kind of privileged position. That may make me non-traditional, but if it's more biblically and theologically sound, I am happy to break with the past. I guess that makes me a Protestant. :)
Stooge said…
I think the core issue is that the Evangelical community (radio shows, etc.) conflate policy issues with theological ones. I believe theology can inform our public policy decisions, but there is an intervening step between the theological conclusion and the public policy conclusion. That intervening step is the weighing of various policy options.

Let me take a less emotional issue as an example: prayer in public school. Theological conclusion is that prayer is good. Policy conclusion is therefore that prayer in public schools is good. This skips entirely the public policy debate, and the result is that we have Evangelicals supporting prayer in school even though there are some (like me) who think that prayer in school is bad policy because it waters down the meaning of faith (e.g., let's get God to help us win this football game). The same is, I believe, true in the Teri Schiavo fiasco, the faith-based initiatives fiasco, the 10 Commandments in the courthouse repeated fiascos, the various creche in city hall fiascos, and on and on. In each case, the Rep v. Dem position is turned into a God v. atheist/liberal/humanist/secularist position.

Wilson does not see the "problem" because he's a Republican and cannot comprehend that "real Christians" who are Evangelicals can be Democrats and disagree with him on virtually every public policy issue (including abortion).
R James said…
Responses to 1)John Wilson on gospel in political captivity/Charles Marsh and to Andrew Ferguson's Land of Lincoln...2) Thomas Dilorenzo, Econ prof at Loyola Md and author of a best-selling Conservative Book Club book very critical of
Lincoln
From: rjames
Date: 2007/07/20
To: John Wilson booksandculture@christianitytoday
Subject: Response to Gospel in Political Captivity ...

I find the issue of abortion to be more complicated that the issues
of war and peace, economic justice and solidarity,....

Read, for example, a June 1, 2004 Salt Lake Tribune article
'Mom: Dont make us carry doomed babies' about mothers who wanted
their child but find late in the pregnancy that there is something
very wrong, such as the brain outside the head, and that the baby even if born alive, will not survive long. The law does not treat these mothers humanely. Neither do the pro-lifers.
Congressman Henry Hyde referred to such a mother as an 'exterminator'--even thought he nor any other pro-life persons
have stepped forward and offered to adopt at birth any of these
doomed babies.


CHRISTIAN EVANGELICAL SUPPORT OF WHATEVER WAR THE COUNTRY IS IN, DESPITE CHRISTIAN PACIFICISM -~30 AD TO 303 AD - AND THE JUST WAR CRITERIA THAT FOLLOWED AND EVENTUALLY BECAME INTERNATIONAL LAW
ON WAR
[Doctors and Jihad
In the wake of the foiled British terror plots, EPPC Senior Fellow Stanley Kurtz explores the question, "How could doctors, pledged to heal, conspire to murder and maim?" In a two-part essay, he finds that the solution to the terror-doctor puzzle takes us deep into the mystery of Islamism.
http://www.eppc.org/publications/pubID.3031/pub_detail.asp
ALSO THE MYSTERY OF CHRISTIANS LINING UP WITH MURDEROUS IDEOLOGIES:
"There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be
able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want any
greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and
falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.
You retorted: "Well, you don't love your country."...
No, I don't love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in
what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love
should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to
not loving....I have never believed in the power of truth itself.
But it is at least worth knowing that when expressed forcefully,
truth wins out over falsehood....if at times we seemed to prefer
justice to our country, this is because we simply wanted to love our
country in justice, as we wanted to love her in truth and in hope.
This is what separated us from you; we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation and we dreamed of giving ours her truth...." ALBERT CAMUS CRITICAL OF CHRISTIAN
CLERGY THAT LINED UP WITH THE NAZIS AND WERE EVEN PRESENT AT THE EXECUTION OF MEMBERS OF THE RESISTANCE-in Letters to A German Friend

Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Fercenz, who prosecuted 22 Nazis when he was 27, has said that the U.S. is guilty of aggressive war in Iraq, the main charge against the Nazis, and that all other war crimes follow from aggressive war.

Sectarian violence has increased in Iraq over the last four years,
as the U.S. has 'sown the wind' and the Iraqis have 'reaped the whirlwind.'

Does the U.S., which is continuing a war that has been called 'aggressive' by international law experts like Fercenz,
have legitimate 'strategic objectives in Iraq'? Or is the fruit
of a poisoned tree also poisoned?

Wouldn't the United Nations, without undue influence from U.S. and UK, have more legitimacy to deal with the increasing problems in Iraq?

Karen Armstrong, an expert on world religions and the Middle East,
has said that the U.S. and the West have used this area and the people of this area as so many gas stations, to be discarded when no longer useful. Over 50 years ago now, the U.S. overthrew the democratic Mossadegh because he wanted the Iranian oil to be controlled by the Iranian people. The privatization of Iraqi oil and the huge U.S. bases in Iraq indicate that this kind of manipulation is ongoing.

In the June 4 New Republic, John Judis writes about Vietnam veteran and Senator Chuck Hagel [R,Neb], who supported Vietnam war until a few years ago when Hagel began reading Bernard Fall, Sheehan, Halberstam, FitzGerald,...and Taylor (Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor's Nuremberg and Vietnam: An American Tragedy, who makes a case for war crimes charges against the US as Fercenz is now doing re Iraq). Now, Hagel is also opposed to this imperial war of Empire in Iraq.

When I was in the military in the late 60s, I was unimpressed with
the propaganda fed us by the military and Commander And Chief President Johnson, so I read everything I could get my hands on re
Vietnam, especially Street Without Joy and The Two Vietnams by
Bernard Fall, who was killed covering combat in Vietnam forty years ago.

Christian Right rhetoric is as useful to Islamic fundamentalism
as American bombing that has killed 1000s of children--
every death leading to many more terrorists.
Some Christian Evangelicals actually think the war in Iraq
is an attack
on Islamic fundamentalism rather than a recruiting tool
for Islamic fundamentalism. Saddam was a psychopath,
but he was a secular psychopath who stabilized Iraq enough
so that women and religious groups in Iraq under Saddam had
relative freedom as long as they werent 'political.'

[The Iraq war has started to resemble a postapocalyptic
science fiction film like "Blade Runner." Tim Egan 6/30 NYT]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MR. WILSON'S BOOKSHELF
Be Silent and Read My Book
A jeremiad against the "political captivity of the gospel" among American evangelicals...Charles Marsh...
by John Wilson | posted 07/02/07




From: rjames Date: 2007/07/25 Wed PM 12:43:24 CDT
To: Thomas Dilorenzo [Econ prof at Loyola Md and author of a best selling Conservative Book Club book on what a fraud Lincoln was/is
and Dilorenzo is prominent in Andrew Ferguson's Land of Lincoln, which has been praised by John Wilson]
Cc: John Wilson, Andrew Ferguson, Charles Marsh
Subject: Re: A Ferguson-Land of Lincoln/
Political captivity US Christianity-C Marsh/BooksandCulture

Thomas Dilorenzo wrote: 'Makes sense that a communist like yourself would be a Lincoln idolater. Karl Marx himself was also a big fan of Abe's.'

Your response indicates you dont have the temperment to be
an academic.
Ive been involved in business for most of my life.
Just because I believe that k-12 education, police,
fire, the voting system basic health care, electricity,
the global atmospheric commons... are public goods and
should be public or regulated does not mean that I am
a communist. I attended a private college. I partly
grew up on a small western ND ranch, close to where TR
ranched in the 1880s.
My father had homesteaded there in 1905 under the
Morril Act, passed in 1862 while Lincoln was
president.
I dont idolize Lincoln, but i do consider the Gettysburg
Address and Second Inaugural to be extraordinary.
At the Richmond conference at which you were the main
speaker, on the other hand, Nathan Bedford Forest was
spoken of very highly by the attendees.
Yes, the guy who started the Klu Klux Klan and
served as its head from 1867-1869. Forrest has more
monuments and historical markers than any other USAmerican.

From: Thomas Dilorenzo
Date: 2007/07/24 Tue PM 07:30:21 CDT
To: rjames
Subject: Re: A Ferguson/ Land of Lincoln/Political captivity

Makes sense that a communist like yourself would be a Lincoln idolater. Karl Marx himself was also a big fan of Abe's.

-----Original Message-----
From: rjames
Date: 2007/07/24 Tue PM 06:48:02 CDT
To: John Wilson
Cc: Thomas Dilorenzo
Subject: A Ferguson/ Land of Lincoln/Political captivity

Mr. Wilson, I have just finished Ferguson's Land of Lincoln.
I agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, the people at
the Richmond conference featuring Loyola Md prof and free market absolutist Thomas DeLorenzo dont have the humor and wry sense
of most of the other people in the book: Andrew
Cuomo as present day personification of evil, as Lincoln was
in his time. No understanding of Lincoln as Frederick Douglass
understood him.

DeLorenzo is also an advocate of the 'one market under God'
theology.
Free market theology--why US lost its Internet lead
[and its health care, energy, and global warming leads]
Paul Krugman NYT July 07
'...As recently as 2001, the percentage of population
with high-speed internet access in Japan and Germany
was only half that in US. In France it was less than
a quarter. By the end of 2006, however, all three
countries had more broadband subscribers per 100 people
that we did. ...[and] painfully slow by other countries
standards. What happened...? Bad policy.
Specifically, the US made the same mistake in Internet
policy that California made in energy policy: It forgot--
or was persuaded by special interests to ignore--
the reality that sometimes you cant have effective
market competition without effective regulation.
[The same applies in basic health care and the
global atmospheric commons/global warming.]...
...It is too early to say how much harm the
broadband lag will do to the US economy as a whole.
But it is interesting to learn that health care
[and global warming]isn't the only area in which
the French, who can take a pragmatic approach
because they aren't prisoners of
free-market ideology, simply do things better.'

In a country founded on the principles of equal rights and
equal opportunity, Robert E. Lee stood for the aristocratic idea
that it was ok to have inequality based on the ownership
of land. Land was the chief source of wealth and influence
in the South, and Lee embodied this tradition. Through Lee,
a noble if historically mistaken and tragic person,
the landed gentry of the South justified themselves.
Even the South's ordinary people, who
owned no slaves and little land, somehow thought Lee a symbol
of the South for which many of them were willing to fight and
die.

Even the often-called best Civil War novel, Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier, has no mention of Lincoln and slavery,
but quite a few mostly reverential references to Lee and
the other southern generals by the southern main characters
of the novel, who owned no slaves and were conventionally Christian (Christian churches in the South supported slavery and the Confederate cause.) Otherwise, Cold Mountain is strangely non-political, except for the Home Guard, the bullies not in the Confederate army, who were willing to kill their suspect neighbors long after the southern cause was lost. But Lee must have known
the cause was lost after Gettysburg, too. What kind of person
goes on leading and killing in pursuit of a lost cause?

We can ask that question today, too.
We also have the moral equivalent of the southern Home Guard
in the Christian Right, the members of right wing talk radio,
Fox News, and other media in this country.

CHRISTIAN EVANGELICAL SUPPORT OF 'ONE MARKET UNDER GOD'
FREE MARKET ABSOLUTISM

Despite the assertion
that 'Free markets work--they not only boost our wealth, they increase our freedom.' (Book Review of Freedomnomics by John
R. Lott, Jr p7 of June Sierra Sage), this is not always true.
The countries in this hemishpere most tied to US free market capitalism and invaded by the US are the poorest countries in the hemishpere--Nicaragua, Haiti, and Mexico (Mexican-American war was war of aggression by US, according to Lincoln, Thoreau, Twain...) shares the only remaining 1st world/3rd world border in the world with US. See Milton Friedman, overthrow of Allende,and Chile below.
Adam Smith free trade means the free movement of capital, goods,
AND LABOR. Of course, this is hard to do without some equality in wealth and income levels. In 1960, Mexico and Spain both had $500/person/year economies. Now, after help from northern Europe
and following the European egalitarian, democratic model of capitalism, Spain has a per capita income almost 4X that of Mexico.

Adam Smith didn't share his admirers' lack of concern about inequality. In Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith addresses the corrupting influence that overvaluation of the rich and disdain for the poor can have on our moral sentiments.
Smith emphasizes that the sign of an advancing and prosperous economy is high wages and low profits.
This is an uncomfortable truth for the class of people 'who live
by profit,' and who prefer the high profits, low taxes, and low wages of a backwards economy to the general wealth of a prosperous economy (Smith's model-Holland).
Today, Norway has been voted the best country to live in for 6 straight years, and it has egalitarian general wealth in a prosperous economy.
Norway and other countries of northern Europe have helped southern Europe and Ireland become more prosperous over the last 50 years, so there is not the huge pressure of immigration from those countries north. However, there is now the reality to have true Adam Smith free trade in Europe-with the free movement of capital, goods, and labor.
Maybe US and Canada should try such an approach with Mexico and Central America

Milton Friedman's "Chilean Miracle"
Friedman was a self-styled champion of individual liberty with
a weak spot for an oppressive and bloody dictatorship
ALEJANDRO REUSS/This article is from the January/February 2007 issue of Dollars & Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2007/0107reuss.html

Subject: June 07 Sierra Sage ('leading conservative magazine') Carson City Nv

1. When France can run its country on nuclear power and
we cant, something is very wrong....Len Semas p10
FRANCE HAS A SOCIALIZED AND NATIONALIZED UTILITY SYSTEM
WITH STANDARDIZED NUCLEAR PLANT DESIGN...

2. Free markets work... p7
or the Hillary Clinton quote, p30
FEDERAL SPENDING UNDER BILL CLINTON WAS BROUGHT BACK
DOWN TO 20% OF ECONOMY AFTER 22-25% UNDER REAGAN
AND BUSH I; FEDERAL DEBT WAS REDUCED FROM 100% OF
ECONOMY TO ~65% OF ECONOMY.
JOE STIGLITZ, NOBEL ECONOMICS LAUREATE, SAYS THAT
MARKETS HAVE LIMITS, ESPECIALLY IN PUBLIC GOODS-
K-12 EDUCATION (i dont consider university education
to be a public good and attended a private college)
BASIC HEALTH CARE, ELECTRICITY,
WATER, THE GLOBAL ATMOSPHERIC COMMONS....

US HAS THE MOST MARKET IN ITS HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OF
INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACIES AND SPENDS AT LEAST 50% MORE
AS PERCENTAGE OF ECONOMY WITH WORSE RESULTS RE LIFE
EXPECTANCY, ETC AND WITH PEOPLE BEING DENIED LIFE-
SAVING CARE BECAUSE THEY LACK INSURANCE OR THEIR
INSURANCE WONT PAY UP....

GRID ELECTRICITY IS ALSO A PUBLIC GOOD:
GRID ELECTRICITY MUST BE CONSUMED INSTANTEOUSLY AS
PRODUCED-24/7/365, CANT BE STORED, BAD THINGS
HAPPEN IF INTERRUPTED EVEN FOR FRACTION OF SECOND,
NO REAL ALTERNATIVE (1000s OF FOOD ALTERNATIVES)
IN MODERN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY-
THE 'OXYGEN' OF MODERN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY, HUGELY
CAPITAL INTENSIVE (CAN DROP SEEDS IN GROUND FOR FOOD)
HUGE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS, THE MOST COMPLEX
ENGINEERING SYSTEM REQUIRING PLANNING AND COORDINATION
WHICH ARE CONSIDERED ILLEGAL AND COLLUSIVE UNDER
FREE MARKET COMPETITIVE SYSTEM.
CA LEARNED HOW TO BE FREE MARKETED AND ENRONED.
SEE LETTER BELOW RE ILLINOIS EXPERIENCE

From: EnergyBiz Insider 2007/06/21
http://www.energycentral.com/site/newsletters/ebi.cfm?id=342
Electricity Deregulation
The fruit of deregulation in the State of Illinois has been: (1) price increase by 40-50% all at once; (2) 10 years of neglect of transmission line maintenance so that stockholders can receive more dividends; (3) lengthy electrical outages (4-6 weeks both in summer and winter) due to tree damage from trees that have overgrown the lines and fall into them during summer storms and winter freezing rains; (4) numerous human deaths due to homeowner attempts to rig heating systems to keep from freezing during lengthy winter outages; (5) the electric monopolies that sell power are not even interested in servicing homeowners as they prefer to market to higher profit large electrical consumers; (6) the salaries of the chief executives are increased into the millions of dollars; (7) the role models for the corporate leaders of utilities in Illinois are the criminals now serving jail time for their role in Enron (or even better the few who got away before the crash).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MR. WILSON'S BOOKSHELF
Land of Lincoln
And more on the gospel in political captivity: avoid stupid arguments....'Andrew Ferguson's delightful book Land of Lincoln'
by John Wilson | posted 07/23/07
...And this is where Andrew Ferguson's book comes in. To answer the questions raised by Marsh's book, we have to pay attention to the America we actually inhabit, as Ferguson magnificently does in Land of Lincoln.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Is contemporary USAmerican Christianity
show-biz, prosperity gospel, 'am I saved' egocentricism,...?
Anything but Bonhoeffer's cost of discipleship?