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THIS IS AMERICA

What happens when believing in the unbelievable goes haywire

About a year before we moved to the island where we currently reside, we lived in Fuquay-Varina, a small town outside Raleigh, North Carolina. I’d recently started writing for a capital markets research firm, and my wife had a “real job” managing a Williams Sonoma in Raleigh.

We got lucky…

Everyone agrees something is fundamentally wrong with the church, and 1 in 3 have recently left. What’s the solution?

“Virtually everyone agrees that something is radically wrong with the church. Inside, there is more polarization and conflict than ever, with all factions agreeing (for different reasons) that the church is in deep trouble. Outside the church, journalists, sociologists, and all other observers either bemoan or celebrate the church’s decline…

First Baptist-Dallas shot off fireworks and once again, linked Christian faith and American patriotism

First Baptist-Dallas is an influential megachurch that last year featured a mid-pandemic, July 4th, “Celebrate Freedom” sermon by Mike Pence and a maskless choir. Again this year, pastor Robert Jeffress dubbed the Sunday leading into July 4th “Freedom Sunday.” …

An explanation for people’s attraction to QAnon, the Plandemic hoax, and more

From the conviction that there is a secret cabal of nefarious liberals puppeteering our lives to the belief that the moon landing was a hoax, conspiracy theories are a constant subject of perverse fascination in American culture. To believers, these theories explain the inexplicable; to outsiders they’re utter poppycock. And…

Illustration: Paul Spella

The Conversation

Anthea Butler explains how racism has been essential to growing the power of white evangelical Christians

Evangelicalism is having a moment of reckoning. What once seemed like a conservative, Christian way of life became so baldly entangled with President Donald Trump, and so obviously detached from its espoused morality, that many followers are now leaving their churches. Those still on the inside are trying to see…

Pastors tend to the spiritual needs of their congregations. Conspiracy theories have made their jobs a lot harder.

Vicar Derek Kubilus, a United Methodist pastor, has one of those voices — knowing but full of levity. When we attended church camp together as teenagers, I often wondered if he was telling a joke I didn’t quite understand. Today, I hear a matured version of this voice on his…

On YouTube, charismatic prophets are hurrying to reframe their failure for disillusioned followers

After a year mangled by shattering uncertainty, political upheaval, and plague, it sure would be nice to have a safe bet, a window into the future, an omniscient someone pointing the way through.

Over the past year, psychics and tarot card readers saw a boom in business— so did a…

In the end, Utah Sen. Mike Lee rejected the voter fraud conspiracy. It’s time for repentance.

After the Capitol was cleared of rioters on January 6, lawmakers returned to the Hill to finish counting the nation’s electoral votes. Sen. Josh Hawley continued to support the voter fraud conspiracy theory by challenging Pennsylvania’s election results, but the Senate rejected his challenge by a vote of 92 to…

Pastors who preached Christian nationalism and Trump’s promise from God are complicit in this violence

It’s not by chance that banners with Jesus’ name flew above this week’s insurrection on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, armed domestic terrorists scaled the United States Capitol building against the backdrop of a makeshift scaffold with a dangling noose. Rioters clambered up walls, broke windows, pawed at congressional offices, killed…

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