The final, and in my opinion the best, part of The Other Journal’s interview with Gene McCarraher is live now. Definitely check it out. The stuff on Herbert McCabe is really worth your time. Especially if you have committed the grave sin of not reading Herbert McCabe.
This section of the interview also includes Gene’s evisceration of the Manhattan Declaration. Here’s just one quote from him on the folks behind this rather lazy and windbaggy document:
If they want to be the intellectual shock troops of a counterrevolution, they’re going to have to amass a better arsenal than what’s on display in the Manhattan Declaration. David Fitzpatrick’s hagiography in the New York Times Magazine made it appear that Robert George is a real intellectual juggernaut, but this document is really lame. (Having met George once, I can attest that he is indeed a learned and gracious man.) The preamble, for instance, is a farrago of half-truth, untruth, and middlebrow history. We’re told in the very first sentence that Christianity has a two-millennium “tradition” of “resisting tyranny” and “reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed, and suffering.” Not a mention of the two-millennium tradition of sanctifying tyranny—imperial conquest from the Romans to the Americans, monarchical rule from the Dark Ages to the twentieth century, dictatorships from Francisco Franco to Ríos Montt. Not a mention of the many blessings showered on feudal and industrial squalor, the oppression of slaves with the authority of the Bible, the infliction of suffering on Indians and other non-Christians. Later, we’re regaled that Christians “challenged the divine claims of kings,” but nothing about how Christians also, and more forcefully, sustained those claims. We’re reminded that Christians liberated “child laborers chained to machines,” but we’re left unenlightened about Rev. Thomas Malthus, Rev. Thomas Chalmers, and later evangelical apologists for laissez-faire and wage labor, often the very same evangelicals who fought for the abolition of slavery. And that’s not to mention the impact evangelical thinking had on exacerbating the Great Famine in Ireland. (Those interested in early 19th-century evangelical social thought must read Boyd Hilton’s The Age of Atonement.) We’re informed that Christian women “marched in the vanguard of the suffrage movement,” but not that Christians of both sexes also barred the door to the franchise for women, bolstered, I might add, by centuries of tradition. The authors think they’ve covered their backsides by writing that they “fully acknowledge the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages,” but the survey they offer betrays no sign of humility or contrition.
Yeah. Humility and contrition never seem to go with conservative Christian sloganeering, does it?