Christianity, Islam, and the American Aversion to Nuance

President Barack Obama does prayer stuff at the National Prayer Breakfast, an event that shouldn't even exist.

President Barack Obama does prayer stuff at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Americans don’t do nuance. The basic dictionary definition of nuance is “a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound,” and boy does this ever go against the American predilection for dualistic thinking in absolutely everything. From the highest level political “masterminds,” to the status-anxiety wracked petite bourgeoisie, to the common blue-collar Bubba, Americans prefer simplistic approaches to a very complicated world. They therefore derive thought-free comfort in the notions that black and white long ago teamed up to gag the numerous shades of grey with a balled-up American flag; that there is only good (America) and evil (everything that isn’t America), and that might ALWAYS equals right — at lease when America uses might.

And no U.S. subculture better exemplifies this inoculation-proof allergy to nuance better than the conservative hive-mind. Yes, if Americans in general prefer simple answers to complex problems, the Right Wing goes a step further: they deny that complex problems even exist. Thus, we have the dunder-headed conservative reaction to President Barack Obama’s invocation at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast. In this speech, the President had the (no-doubt Bolshevik-inspired) gall to be both historically accurate and intellectually nuanced. He condemned Islamic terrorism as the product of barbarians who betray their own faith, and singled out the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) as “a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism” while “claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.” So far, so good. But the POTUS wasn’t done yet.

Indeed, his “offending” remarks constituted the intellectually benign observation that America mustn’t claim to be at war with the religion of Islam, but rather its radical Jihadist factions (after all, how exactly do you go about waging war against 1.6 billion people?). The President then summoned his inner Pontius Pilate in order to remind Americans that no religion, including Christianity, is immune from being employed for nefarious purposes. “Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place,” he observed while rigging up a fresh crucifixion cross and dropping a bag of silver into Judas’ lap, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” As expected, the Right Wing exploded, variously accusing the President of being a Muslim apologist, a fake Christian, anti-American, and other dumb stuff.

Now, if Barack Obama stated that the ocean was wet, conservative media would pounce, claiming that the ocean is, in fact, dry. This “fact” would then filter through the right-wing cultural bowel-system and eventually excrete itself in the form of Daily Caller and Drudge Report headlines and Facebook memes shared relentlessly by your paranoid conservative relatives. In one respect, then, the right-wing reaction to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast speech was entirely expected because it fits the standard conservative operating procedure. Repeating an obvious falsehood long enough for it to become accepted “truth” is how the right-wing Borg media complex controls its millions of Republican-voting drones by sparing them the stress involved in having to think for themselves.

But there’s also another issue at work here: the American inability to simultaneously appreciate the many virtuous aspects of American culture while also recognizing how often America has failed to live up to those virtues via its history of religiously motivated violence. Violence is inherent to the human condition, and throughout history, every system of human creation, including religion, has been used to justify brutality. President Obama understands this fact, and he recognizes that an essential aspect of the three Abrahamic faith traditions is humility: having the courage and humbleness to recognize and repent for the times humans have fallen woefully short of their faiths’ most noble callings. Obama chose to invoke the Crusades as a concrete historical example of a period when faith divided people into good and evil factions, and why such a period must not be repeated.

The United States can't afford to let ISIS be the face of Islam. After all, these nut-jobs have murdered thousands of their fellow Muslims.

The United States can’t afford to let ISIS be the face of Islam. After all, these nut-jobs have murdered thousands of their fellow Muslims.

This is a nuanced approach to history and religion, one that understands that the sins of the past can only be overcome through outward examination and inward reflection. It matters little which faith was “right” or “wrong” in these instances; rather, what matters it that we, as a single human society, recognize the times when our faiths have stoked violence, bigotry, prejudice, and suffering — and that we are humbled to be better than we have been in the past.

Those who criticize Islam’s wars of conquest would do well to remember that another great crusade, spanning the Age of Colonialism from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, conquered the Americas in the name of various Christian faith traditions and resulted in the mass slaughter, relocation, and subjugation of millions of allegedly “heathen” native peoples. Americans played a major role in this process, especially during the nineteenth century, when they conquered their own continent and violently subjugated non-Christians (and some Christians) who stood in their way.

No less a hallowed figure than President Andrew Jackson, the patron-saint of American expansionism, invoked the “civilizing” influence of Christianity to justify the near-genocidal removal of Native tribes from the American southeast — what lives on in memory as the Trail of Tears. In his 1830 speech to Congress, Jackson laid bare the religious underpinning for Indian Removal: “It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites…and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community,” Old Hickory stated. He then asked rhetorically, “is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian?” But the supposed blessing of Christian civilization were likely lost on the Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw tribes who endured freezing, starvation, alcoholism, depression, and suicide on the 500 mile journey west across the Mississippi. An estimated 4,000 people died thanks to the “good counsels” of American Christian civilization.

But the Trail of Tears was just one event in a centuries-long process, during which white Christian Americans committed truly savage acts against native peoples. Among the most notorious events in this clash of civilizations occurred in Colorado on the barren, agriculturally sterile piece of land known as the Sand Creek Reservation, the home of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians forced from their ancestral lands by white settlement.

At dawn on November 29, 1864, a 700 man force of U.S. militia acting under the direct order of Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans, and commanded by militia leader Colonel John Chivington attacked the sleeping Sand Creek Camp, supposedly in response to Indian raids against white settlers. The camp was filled with mostly women, children, and the elderly. After launching volleys of cannon and rifle fire, the militia ran off the camp’s horses to prevent escape, then they overran the camp. The brutality of the attack was staggering. The Militia castrated Indian men with swords and sliced open pregnant women’s abdomens, leaving their unborn infants to die. To save money on bullets, soldiers bayoneted children and caved infants’ heads in with their boot heals. They also sliced off body parts for trophies. When the dust settled, roughly 163 Indians lay dead.

The Sand Creek Massacre sparked national outrage, and eventually resulted in a Congressional investigation that chastised militia leader Chivington, but didn’t charge him with a crime. Among the more sobering facts about the Sand Creek Massacre is that the two men who authorized it, Territorial Governor John Evans and Col. John Chivington, were both Methodists. Chivington himself was an ordained Methodist minister (and a committed abolitionist to boot). In 2014, representatives of the United Methodist Church undertook an investigation of the role Methodism played in the Sand Creek Massacre as a way of confronting past sins committed in the name of their faith. Heck, there’s a fairly obvious reason why Colorado Methodist institutions now sit on former Indian land. George Tinker, a professor at the Denver-based Iliff School of Theology, explains the need to understand the past connection between Christianity and violence. “Methodists, like all other white folks in North America, have a lot to atone for,” he noted, “How (Christians) are going to do that, I don’t know, but they have to begin where the Methodists are beginning, by paying attention to their history of violence.” Amen to that.

The site of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, now a preserved historical landmark.

The site of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, now a preserved historical landmark.

Of course, the Trails of Tears and the Sand Creek Massacre don’t stand as evidence that Christians are inherently violent, just as Jihadist terrorist acts don’t stand as evidence that Muslims are inherently violent. Nonetheless, both examples do demonstrate how Christianity, just like Islam, can be used to justify the most abhorrent acts of brutality.

And lest American conservatives feel the need to trumpet the alleged moral superiority of their particular interpretation of Christianity, they should recognize that the secular values of the Enlightenment, not mere religion, are what has tempered the more extreme, religiously motivated violent tendencies of the Christian West. As Anne-Marie Slaughter writes in her book The Idea That is America: Keeping Faith with our Values in a Dangerous World, “the faith that is part of the idea that is America is more than religious faith. It is faith not only in God, but also in man — in humanity itself.”* Slaughter reminds us that for religion, “the unknown is divine,” but in the humanism of the Enlightenment, the unknown is “the human capacity to overcome the vicissitudes of nature, accident, and the darker side of our nature.”* In the American national consciousness, these two faiths — religion and Enlightenment humanism — are “leavened by humility,” and American faith works best when it “fuses our religious traditions with our secular principles.”* If anything, theocratic Muslim nations could use a good dose of Enlightenment humanism, not Christian proselytizing.

But we’ll never gain a better understanding of the role of faith in the American tradition if we refuse to approach the intersection of history, religion, and violence from a nuanced perspective. The search for clear-cut, black-and-white, good-and-evil explanations for the more sordid events in American (and world) history only perpetuates a Crusade-style mentality, in which those who don’t hold the “true faith” must be subjugated and ultimately exterminated. The latter is precisely the fundamentalist ideology that Muslim Jihadists espouse, and they don’t make for good intellectual company. America can do better. A little nuance will go a long way towards understanding why faith makes people do the things they do. This includes all people, even Americans.

* See Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Idea That is America: Keeping Faith with our Values in a Dangerous World (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 201-203.

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57 Comments

  1. Jarret, Thanks for a well-written piece. I think what motivates these right-wing old white guys is that they hate a black man telling them what they should already know. In fact, they hate it all the more because he also happens to be their president.

  2. “But the Trail of Tears was just one event in a centuries-long process, during which white Christian Americans committed truly savage acts against native peoples. ”

    How dare you say “white”. That’s racist!

    That’s how it works, right? 😉

      • Nah! You racially and culturally attacked White people. That’s never racist or bad…at least not to America’s domestic enemies.

      • Dare all you want. Americans – those would be Whites and those few non-Whites who don’t maintain a hate-based exilic and deliberately separate and antithetical culture – don’t really care about your sort’s opinions.

        That being said, my comment was sarcasm. Liberals long ago decided that Whites can’t claim any sort of racism against them…because they’re normal, e.i., the successful, dominate culture and the one who built America.

  3. My conservative students are shocked when I assign them primary source studies for America’s Founding Documents. Yes, the Bible is there – but so is Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and John Locke and David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. Truth be told, America’s “Founding Fathers” were probably Christian in the loosest sense of the word; it’s ironic when staunch conservatives defend agnostics/atheists/deists like Franklin and Jefferson as if they were Fundamentalist Christians.

    • Totally. And the thing is, fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity of the like practiced by modern religious conservatives originated in the nineteenth century, so the idea that the Founders resembled modern day Southern Baptists is, well, not true in the literal sense. Plus, John Adams was a Unitarian! Because denying the trinity is a very religiously conservative thing, apparently.

  4. What’s especially amusing about this essay, is the obvious fact that it is utterly and completely bereft of nuance. Indeed, the essay is filled with bromidic rhetoric, predictable assumptions, meaningless generalizations, sweeping accusations, predictable analogies, crude metaphysics, and insufferably incessant whining. But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be quite so harsh; after all, limousine-liberals don’t do nuance.

      • I was going to make the same observation about the author’s hard-core dualistic approach to nuance. I have studied the Sand Creek Massacre or Battle for years. Your cherry-picked conclusions of that event represent the very thing you seem to protest. And, for heaven’s sake, when someone catches you being a hypocrite, acknowledge your errors like a grown-up.

        • “Cherry picked.” Uh huh. I’ve been you’ve done some REAL research, and uncovered the REAL history, Dude.

  5. It goes with the territory.

    PS- You should have just written “conservatives bad, liberals good”. It would have been just as nuanced, and far more economical.

  6. One problem, aside from your apparent hatred of both America and Christianity – Obama can’t be stupid enough or, at least, his handlers and overseers can’t be stupid enough not to know that all speech by politicians is political speech and will be judged based upon the current situation and in the light of what it says about their platform of action – loyalties, if you will – for dealing with that situation.

    • Sure, I suppose that President Obama can’t control what stupid people think about his intelligent comments, but I’d prefer to not have stupid people steering important national conversations. By the way, thank you for absolutely epitomizing the point I was making in this post.

      • It’s not a matter of “stupidity.” It’s that all speech is contextual and there’s a time and place for nuance and a time and place for honest, straight talking that can actually move people to action. All political speech is in the latter context.

        So…Obama’s words must be viewed as a call for action against America and Christianity because it essentially was a call for those same people to not take action to defend themselves because, in Obama’s mind, they have no authority to do so.

        Since you side with Obama against America, you side with the enemy.

      • No, any other conclusion within a political context would be stupid. True, in academia the statement would even justify a conclusion at all, but politics isn’t academia and the two world function out of necessity quite differently.

        • Well, again, the idea that the President’s comments were even considered controversial at all says a lot about where we are as a society, and it’s just not a good place to be.

      • Maybe. Then, the power of the Presidency is the power of the Bully Pulpit and that’s action-based, not theory-based. If and when academics and policy advisors are this simplistic, then I’ll call it a bad place.

        Then again, to throw Obama a bone as it were, statements such as this can be used a weathervane by politicians to get the reaction of the people in order to gauge the political fallout from more nuanced and less simplistic policy advice. E.g., Obama just submitted a draft proposal for full-scale military action against ISIS in the wake of his statement.

  7. The Fox News crowd has a bad habit of cherry-picking a phrase out of the President’s speeches and quoting it out of context to promote a false narrative. I read his entire speech and he was correct that ISIS is another instance of evil men using religion as an excuse to committ atrocities. He mentioned the crusades, slavery, and Jim Crow since they are examples that would be familiar to most people. A better example would be the Thirty Years War. It was a long, costly and vicious conflict between warring Christian sects. To say that it decimated Europe would be an understatement, because many areas had their population decreased by half. Currently, ISIS is attacking Muslim countries and Muslim populations and is killing moslty Muslims.
    This President can’t seem to say anything without it being twisted to mean something else. He should have said; “I hope you all know that the Ku Klux Klan is a faith-based organization”. That would be a completely true statement since the KKK’s zenith was during the 1920s when they recruited most of their membership of 4 million (plus) from Protestant churches.

  8. “America can do better.” Dr. Ruminski, I wish that were true, and so do you. But it is not. Conscientious individuals and small groups thereof, perhaps, but not nation-states. Read Reinhold Niebuhr and the British political scientist/philosopher John Gray for the most incisive critiques of self-righteousness and evil. They are far sounder than any of the “liberal” defenses of Enlightenment values out there. While Christianity and the Enlightenment have coincided at times to provide social peace and order in the West, by your reasoning that many of our contemporaries prefer one to the exclusion of the other, without any “gray” shading between them, pretty much invalidates any appeal to “reason” or “moderation.” For every serious thinker like you or me, there are at least 100 trollers out there shouting us down. Give it up, sir. American is incapacitated from peace, and always has been. Morris Berman’s “Why America Failed” is another work to consult on this subject.

    • Mike, believe me, more often than not I share your pessimism about the limits of the Enlightenment in terms of changing human behavior. But I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet. For every revolution that expands human rights and human flourishing, there is always a more fierce counter-revolution that tries to reign those rights back in. I don’t care what kind of extremists they are: Islamic, Christian, totalitarian, whatever, I’m gonna work to be a thorn in their sides. Thanks for reading!

  9. Jarrett, I would comment on the ignorant comments by the cowards who can’t use their real names, but I am not going to waste my time on people who obviously do not know history.

    The reaction of the rightwing in America to anything Obama does is legendary. I feel sorry for them because when historians 30 years write about this period of time they will not have a good impression of the conservatives. Obama did not say anything that Pope Francis has said when the president gave that speech.

    I really wish Obama would say he was for breathing air so I could watch the conservatives pass out repeatedly. I think this speech is going to be used quite extensively in the future to show how ignorant people rejected the facts solely because a president they disliked stated them.

    • And really, the astonishing thing about all of this is just how non-controversial the President’s speech was, and how bizarrely committed the Right Wing is to denying all objective reality. If the United States is still around in forty years, historians will look back at the Obama era and wonder who in the hell finally let the Birchers take control of the societal steering wheel despite the fact that they crashed at every turn.

  10. Well, I would comment on the big, fat, brain-dead, left-wing blowhards, but they are utterly ignorant of history. That aside, the reaction of the mindless left-wing Obama toadies is both amusing and pathetic all at once. Most importantly, of course, is that the collective reaction is always utterly bereft of nuance.

    Historians will undoubtedly write in very unflattering terms regarding these shameless, moronic, unthinking left-wing cheerleaders. Pitiful, really. And again, no nuance whatsoever.

  11. Well done, as usual, Jarret. I have just one criticism.

    You use the Sand Creek Massacre as evidence of Americans justifying acts of barbarity with Christianity. But I don’t think that’s so much the case at Sand Creek. Elliot West argues pretty convincingly in his brilliant Contested Plains that the attack at Sand Creek was racially, not religiously, motivated. It wasn’t so much that there were Indians there; that was a given. It was that there were halfbreeds there–white Indians and their wives and children. Among these were the sons of the Bent brothers (the sons of either William or Charles, or one of each, I forget). Both had Cheyenne and Arapaho wives respectively, and children from those wives. The period of the mid-1860s was a time of increasing Victorian-era racism, and mixed-race marriages, which were once seen as quite advantageous in the West, were looked on with new loathing. In the eyes of Coloradan boosters, the Sand Creek encampment was, as West puts it, “ethnically sloppy,” and so was a natural target.

    Other than that, nice job. And it’s good to see the wing-nuts who comment here demonstrate your point exactly. That must be validating.

    • Thanks for the compliments, Chris. I actually totally agree with you, and though it’s been a few years since I read West, he’s right too. I wasn’t saying that the massacre was religiously motivated, per say. The point was that it was legitimized and perpetrated by men who were devout Christians. Thus, the idea that the “right” religion, in and of itself, is a full-proof defense against barbarism simply isn’t true.

      So if someone wants to claim that only Muslims commit violent atrocities, historical examples like Sand Creek demonstrate just how wrong they are. And re: your point about Victorian racism: I would note that quite often, the Christianity of that time period enabled and often fueled such vile categorizations of human beings into “us” and “them” groups, to the point where in many instances, racism and religion were closely related bedfellows. Jackson’s address to Congress elucidates that point quite well by linking Christianity to “civilized” and non-Christian Indians to “savage.”

      The Sand Creek Massacre was indirectly a religious atrocity, which is why modern Methodists are trying to atone for it. They (unlike like some of the commenters here) understand that, in some cases, the supposedly “best” religion doesn’t prevent brutality.

    • Also, I should note that John Chivington reportedly uttered this line: “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! . . . . I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians.” James Wilson, in his book “The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America,” even calls Chivington a “rabid Indian hater,” a charge that Chivington himself copped to. So Chivington (and Governor Evans, for that matter) certainly harbored religiously motivated animosity towards The Cheyenne and other tribes. Now, I don’t think that was the prime motivation for Sand Creek, but it probably didn’t help.

  12. “…to set the ni**ers and white people marrying together…”
    -Abraham Lincoln, 1858

    Happy Lincoln’s Birthday!

  13. No, no, no, it simply won’t do. That type of insult is far too pedestrian and, needless to say, not sufficiently nuanced. But then again, perhaps you are in good company. Now then, in honor on Lincoln’s birthday, I give you the following:

    “…we profess to have no taste for running and catching ni**ers…”

    And with that crude, dehumanizing, and vulgar language, Lincoln was describing, of course, the fugitive slave law. So whatever else we may disagree upon, surely we both agree that ‘Ol Abe was not, in any way, nuanced.

    Happy Lincoln’s Birthday!

      • Well, to be fair, you’re not so good with context either since you expect the standards of academia’s thought experiments and theorizing – publish or perish – to be applied to political speech.

        Also, the ad hominem attacks you’ve launched, mostly at Kendall, are rather pedestrian and lacking in both nuance and creativity. 😉

        Of course, this is the internet – another context in which nuance has little or no place so that’s OK, perfectly normative even. Lengthy, more reasoned and discriminating debate is more suited for other venues.

        • “Kendall” is a common troll who comments on this and other blogs under a variety of different handles, all coming from the same IP address. He/she/it has never said anything that has made sense in any context and isn’t worth taking seriously. Moreover, the idea that I’m being lectured in nuance and “creativity” by someone who makes weirdly simplistic, reductionist statements like “your apparent hatred of both America and Christianity” and “Since you side with Obama against America, you side with the enemy” is rather humorous.

        • jonolan, there’s no way for you to know this, but we have a long history with “Kendall”. He’s a ConRom who has been lurking on Civil War websites for years now. Alas, the South will not rise again.

  14. and still not a single conrexrualizedor nuanced
    and still not a single nuanced reply. tsktsk…no context either

  15. Unfortunately this particular neo-confederate troll is immune to learning. You end up having to ban it in order to allow intelligent people to participate in actual learning. It reminds you of the kid in school who refused to believe anything it’s mommy didn’t tell them.

    What I find amazing is how some people can just ignore facts. That requires a special set of skills bordering on imbecility. I’ve reached the point that I am no longer going to waste time with it and just give it the hand signal for dismissal.

    Have you seen John Fea’s article in the Washington Post on the Prayer Breakfast speech? John has a great blog and has paid more than his usual amount of attention on this speech. http://www.philipvickersfithian.com/

    • I actually hadn’t seen Fea’s article yet, thanks for the share. “Obama appeals to the mystery of God and, without specifically saying it, asks us to remove the speck from our own eye before we set out to remove the log from our neighbor’s eye.” You don’t have to be a believer to understand why that is a salient observation.

      • The President did a wonderful job of pushing people to look at themselves. I’m not surprised at the reaction from the rightwing. They’re desperate to align themselves with the core which is heavily religious conservatives. What I find really interesting is that the rightwing religious types refuse to look at their own hypocrisy. What matters to them is that Obama said something and they jumped on it which basically has proven Obama correct.

  16. Kendall, stand fast. The big fat ignorant thing in glasses and a gold tie (a gold tie with a brown shirt-like its mommy dressed it). It is basically a another community college retard troll who shrieks wildly when it is proven wrong, which is twice a day, every day. Then it hurls insults, never having learned that when you punched, you get punched in return. Same with the lead troll, the furry thing called Ruminski, and his boot-licker Shelley. What’s most precious about this group of misfits is their devotion to name-calling and “context”. But Kendall always remember, “context” is whatever they say it is, and it never, ever conflicts with their interpretation of historical events. Never. “Context” is their special friend.

    Oh, and I’ll help you with some more of Abe’s nuance.

    “… will shoulder their muskets, and, with a young ni**er stuck on every bayonet…

    -Abraham Lincoln, 1858

    Happy Birthday Abe!

  17. Kendall, perhaps I should be more specific on the whole “context” thing. To that end, please allow me to provide a concrete example. During the fourth of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates, and early in his opening remarks, Abraham Lincoln said this:

    “…I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race…”

    Now, if one were to simply read the plain language Lincoln used, it is abundantly obvious that Abraham Lincoln was a hatemongering white-supremacist. However, when the neo-Lincolnites put this mean-spirited and hateful remark in the proper “context”, it reads like this:

    “…I will say then that I am passionately committed to bringing about the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am equally committed to making voters and jurors of negroes, and of qualifying them to hold office, and to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is absolutely no physical difference between the white and black races and I believe that fact will forever facilitate the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they can so live and remain together, there must never be the position of superior and inferior, and I more than any man oppose the idea of assigning a superior position to the white race…”

    It might seem dishonest, confusing, and fraudulent at first, but you can get the hang of it. Would you like another example, or would you like to try one for yourself?

      • But they are funny. I have made my mind up about how I am going to handle the name issue when I start my blog. Real names only will be the policy. No posting will be allowed by cowards who cannot use their real names. I will however save the more humorous attempts for some comedy posts.
        Making fun of them is like shooting fish in a barrel. In fact, all I would have to do is just let them post. But then the silliness would be distracting from the other comments.

  18. OK Wilson, the buffoonery of Jimmy Dick aside (but lol, I think he’s gonna huff and puff and blow your house down-provided the gutless, bloated, fatso gasbag doesn’t pass out in the process), I think I get the whole context thingy. But just to be sure, can I ask you a question?

    When Lincoln wrote to Greeley in 1862 and openly, emphatically, and explicitly stated that the war was not being fought over slavery, that statement was not “in context”, correct? And after the neo-Lincolnites give it proper context, (as they and only they are permitted to do), the statement should then be understood to mean that Lincoln was waging war specificlly to free the slaves, right? That’s a nifty little racket they got going, huh?

    PS-A note about Dick and his antics. I once humiliated him when I directly quoted him from one of his papers. He had written, quite correctly, that the colonies had seceded fom the Crown. At the time he wrote this simple truth, however, Dick didn’t realize that this was not the preferred position of his foaming-at-the-mouth left-wing nutball idealogues. Moreover, on several blog sites he had been displaying pack behavior, and with his cronies, he was often angrily attacking anyone who took took the very position he had taken in his paper. When I confronted him with his own words, he had to pusillanimously retreat from the statement. The whole affair was riotously funny, but he has been permanently pissed ever since.

    PPS-Jarret, I actually never wrote that you “hate America and Christianity” etc. etc. No kidding, that wasn’t me.

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