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What does this community think of David French's recent NY Times column on abuse in the SBC? (When the Right Ignores Its Sex Scandals https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/28/opinion/pressler-sex-scandal-sbc.html?smid=nytcore-android-share) If internal mechanisms are failing, does one go outside? I'm an interesting case in testing this as I'm only just now paying attention to all this -- for example by following the Roy's Report and reading Tim Alberta's book -- and I have no view on whether the SBC is doing enough. But, If I were to only read French's column, I'd be convinced the SBC is failing morally.

Regarding his broader point, namely that we don't police our own and as a result we fail to set a strong moral example, it's clearly true for left and right though I think it's particularly damaging to the church. It leaves people like me, who are earnest in converting, needing to overcome not only theological doubt but institutional ones, too. And they bleed into one another as my conversion seeks examples of forbearance and humility and values that step beyond worldly self-preservation.

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Mr. Renn makes some great points here about the medium in which a Christian chooses to publish a criticism of other Christians. A criticism is more likely to be taken to heart if it doesn't appear that the critic is seeking acclamation from secular critics of Christianity or attempting to expose in-house flaws for the world to see.

That said, French, Moore, Douthat, and others are disliked by some politically conservative Christians regardless of where they publish. French was disliked when he worked at The Dispatch, and disliked before that when he worked for National Review. His family was threatened back in 2016 when he dared to criticize Donald Trump and Sohrab Ahmari singled him out in 2019 as emblematic of people on the right who didn't get it. Same with Moore. He was disliked even when he was still working at the Baptist's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and criticized Trump in 2016. French's and Moore's critics just don't like the fact that they are not 100% on board with Donald Trump and publicly criticized Christians who were. Venue did not and would not have mattered.

So while I agree that all Christians with a public profile should be wary about which criticisms they make and from where (I'm going to assume, without watching it, that it is a mistake for French or Moore to lend credence to Reiner's film), we should not pretend the hate directed their way has much to do with venue.

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Is it too uncharitable to consider David French and Russell Moore to, in fact, not be criticizing their in-group when they take dumps on (politically conservative) evangelicals? However, the NYT crowd probably doesn't consider French or Moore part of their in-group either.

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As French perhaps sinks to a new low with his support for Reiner's film, I just want to call out the contrast between him and fellow NYT columnist Douthat. Douthat seems to me a pretty good model for how conservative Christians can maintain a presence in a hostile space without losing themselves.

Douthat to my best recollection is always circumspect about criticizing fellow conservative Catholics in the pages of the NYT. Honestly, he's circumspect even about criticizing evangelicals. He has positioned himself as anti-Trump, and presumably to the left of some portion of traditional Catholicism and integralism, but I can never recall him just unreservedly bashing them and giving the NYT audience the red meat it's really looking for. His overall style is dispassionate, which I find refreshing.

French, meanwhile, describes "fundamentalists" with the same naked vitriol and disparagement that Plantinga identified in his definition of the word. He IS giving the NYT audience red meat and is clearly emotionally tied up in the whole affair in a similar manner to how they are. His latest piece is describing to the NYT audience everything psychologically wrong with the "fundamentalists", while assuring them that the movement is ultimately doomed. Not even the slightest apologia for anything Christian is offered.

I'm inclined to think that if you're writing about fellow Christians in the pages of a hostile publication, you always ought to leave that audience a little bit annoyed at you for going too easy on those Christians. When I've searched out critical comments of French coming from the left, they're always along the lines of "Why can't French see that the problem is with Christianity itself?" I can't find anyone criticizing him for going too easy on what's purportedly his own side. Comments about Douthat are much more critical. Some leftist NYT readers people really do hate him.

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The annoying fact being that much Christian nationalism IS in fact contrary to the teachings and spirit of Jesus, for whom the objectives of the gospel must take precedence over any political agenda. But of course Reiner will do a hit job and twist the entire picture, whereas a a thoughtful member of the faith (Aaron or one of many others) would give it the nuanced treatment it deserves. But liberal folk will be happy to watch the movie that celebrates their latest bogeyman.

Actually I'd have some interest in seeing the picture just to be attentive to what errors are being preached by some Christians.

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I was thinking about this issue when listening to Bari Weiss' recent podcast on single motherhood and the advantages of two parent households. Consider: what is the impact of a policy elite pointing out to, say, a black community the epidemic of single motherhood versus that same dialogue happening within that community? One may provoke resentment and counter-argument while the other provokes action. In short, I think the same general carefulness in speech applies broadly for effective cultural engagement, especially after identity politics has poisoned the possibilities of discourse. The position of the speaker is so important.

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I agree.

It sounds like that marriage advice of never critizing your spouse to anyone on the outside of your marriage.

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