Invoking and Distancing from Sacred Authority: Church Leaders’ Responses to a Report on the Rev. Jonathan Fletcher

This post forms part of a catalogue I am building on the subtle language of abuse. In this installment, I consider a common discursive strategy within texts that carry religious meaning: the invocation of sacred legitimating authority and, conversely, distancing from an illegitimate (often formerly sacred) authority. This strategy often works within an overall us vs. them narrative. To illustrate this, I use a set of prominent church leaders' responses to the recent thirtyone:eight report on Rev. Jonathan Fletcher's abuse while he was vicar at Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

The Subtle Language of Abuse: A Catalogue

Before using this catalogue, please refer to the introductory post explaining the catalogue. Some of that post has been reproduced below. This is a catalogue of some of the categories of meaning that subtler abusive language accomplishes and some of the forms that this language can take, depending on the context in which they are … Continue reading The Subtle Language of Abuse: A Catalogue

Us vs. Them: Complementarianism and Culture Wars in UK Churches

Women’s Ministry leader in the FIEC, Sarah Allen, has recently published an article reporting research on the state of complementarianism in UK churches. The experiences her respondents report are concerning and worthy of careful attention, considering the scarcity of research in this area. However, Allen positions her research within an overall United States vs. United … Continue reading Us vs. Them: Complementarianism and Culture Wars in UK Churches

“Covidism:” How calling something a religion can act as a smokescreen

This morning I came across a Twitter hashtag I hadn't seen before, #CoronaReligion. One of the threads participating in this Discourse especially caught my attention, as a group of Tweeters last month proclaimed that "The fastest growing religion in the world is COVIDISM." Hashtag CovidCult. Hashtag CovidReligion. Full Thread Hmmm. Is covid a religion? Are … Continue reading “Covidism:” How calling something a religion can act as a smokescreen

Is Critical Race Theory a Religion? Responding to Carl Trueman

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash Carl Trueman's article on Critical Race Theory for the February issue of First Things caught my eye last night because of this provocative claim about religious language: All-embracing and transformative views often have a religious quality. Critical race theory is no exception. It has a creedal language and liturgy, with orthodox words (“white privilege,” … Continue reading Is Critical Race Theory a Religion? Responding to Carl Trueman

QAnon, Christian apocalypticism and the threat to US Democracy

Dr. Helen Paynter and I have written a post on Christian white supremacy, for the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence. Here is a short excerpt. Visit CSBV for our full analysis and discussion. ... in this post we’ll discuss some of the ways members of a movement like white supremacist nationalism can co-opt religious … Continue reading QAnon, Christian apocalypticism and the threat to US Democracy