Those radical, anti-gun, know-nothing students

Well, it turns out those crazy students who aren’t old enough to know any better have a series of eminently reasonable proposals for gun control that 1) might actually make a modest difference, and 2) are clearly on the correct side of current Supreme Court interpretations of the 2nd Amendment.  Drum:

The folks at March For Our Lives have released their five-point list of fanatical, half-baked, 2nd-Amendment-busting demands:

  1. Fund more gun violence research. We actually made a step in this direction when President Trump signed the 2018 budget, which clarifies that the 1996 Dickey Amendment doesn’t prohibit the CDC from conducting gun research.
  2. Unleash the ATF. Let them store their background-check records on a computer, for example.
  3. Universal background checks. In theory, everyone is in favor of this. In theory.
  4. High-capacity magazine ban. This has long been my favorite. MFOL is calling for a 10-round limit. I’d make it six, myself.
  5. Assault weapons ban. The gun folks are right when they say it’s tricky to define “assault weapon,” but it’s not actually impossible.

This stuff is just plum crazy, isn’t it? Those kids have gone off their—

Wait. That’s it? That’s really…very reasonable, isn’t it? It’s also politically plausible. And legal too, since the Supreme Court has already ruled on all these things. They’ve really done their homework, haven’t they? Maybe we should listen to them.

Might not be a perfect wish-list, but it’s a pretty damn good one.  I especially like the idea of letting law enforcement have more power to actually keep track of guns.  Rather than the first step to gun confiscation as all the gun nuts believe, it’s an important step towards solving more crimes and cutting down on gun trafficking.

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The Evangelical rot

Michael Gerson’s Atlantic cover story on the disgusting moral decay and corruption of modern-day Evangelicals is so, so good.  Read it!  So many parts worth quoting.  Here’s a couple of my favorites– first the anti-science bent:

Moreover, in making their case on cultural decay and decline, evangelicals have, in some highly visible cases, chosen the wrong nightmares. Most notable, they made a crucial error in picking evolution as a main point of contention with modernity. [emphases mine] “The contest between evolution and Christianity is a duel to the death,” William Jennings Bryan argued. “If evolution wins … Christianity goesnot suddenly, of course, but gradually, for the two cannot stand together.” Many people of his background believed this. But their resistance was futile, for one incontrovertible reason: Evolution is a fact. It is objectively true based on overwhelming evidence. By denying this, evangelicals made their entire view of reality suspect. They were insisting, in effect, that the Christian faith requires a flight from reason.

This was foolish and unnecessary. There is no meaningful theological difference between creation by divine intervention and creation by natural selection; both are consistent with belief in a purposeful universe, and with serious interpretation of biblical texts. Evangelicals have placed an entirely superfluous stumbling block before their neighbors and children, encouraging every young person who loves science to reject Christianity.

And a great section on the moral compromises– especially on race– of wholeheartedly endorsing Trump:

It is remarkable to hear religious leaders defend profanity, ridicule, and cruelty as hallmarks of authenticity and dismiss decency as a dead language. Whatever Trump’s policy legacy ends up being, his presidency has been a disaster in the realm of norms. It has coarsened our culture, given permission for bullying, complicated the moral formation of children, undermined standards of public integrity, and encouraged cynicism about the political enterprise. Falwell, Graham, and others are providing religious cover for moral squalor—winking at trashy behavior and encouraging the unraveling of social restraints. Instead of defending their convictions, they are providing preemptive absolution for their political favorites. And this, even by purely political standards, undermines the causes they embrace. Turning a blind eye to the exploitation of women certainly doesn’t help in making pro-life arguments. It materially undermines the movement, which must ultimately change not only the composition of the courts but the views of the public. Having given politics pride of place, these evangelical leaders have ceased to be moral leaders in any meaningful sense.

But setting matters of decency aside, evangelicals are risking their faith’s reputation on matters of race. Trump has, after all, attributed Kenyan citizenship to Obama, stereotyped Mexican migrants as murderers and rapists, claimed unfair treatment in federal court based on a judge’s Mexican heritage, attempted an unconstitutional Muslim ban, equivocated on the Charlottesville protests, claimed (according to The New York Times) that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” after seeing America, and dismissed Haitian and African immigrants as undesirable compared with Norwegians.

For some of Trump’s political allies, racist language and arguments are part of his appeal. For evangelical leaders, they should be sources of anguish. Given America’s history of slavery and segregation, racial prejudice is a special category of moral wrong. Fighting racism galvanized the religious conscience of 19th-century evangelicals and 20th-century African American civil-rights activists. Perpetuating racism indicted many white Christians in the South and elsewhere as hypocrites. Americans who are wrong on this issue do not understand the nature of their country. Christians who are wrong on this issue do not understand the most-basic requirements of their faith.

Here is the uncomfortable reality: I do not believe that most evangelicals are racist. But every strong Trump supporter has decided that racism is not a moral disqualification in the president of the United States. And that is something more than a political compromise. It is a revelation of moral priorities.

Lots more great stuff in the article.  Well worth your time.

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