Let Me Sum Up
Why I don't celebrate First Baptist, Robert Jeffress or the temple of intolerance. Plus: FGCU!
It’s time for the Friday 5, that day of the week where I fear there won’t be enough knee-jerk opinions to make a 500-word column, until I read the paper and remember, “You can make up a take on just about anything!”
1. First Baptist Dallas is set to open its $130 million, 500,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art ode to intolerance.
This is not your father’s temple of smug superiority. No, sir. This one probably has, like, iPod jacks. We know it still has pastor Robert Jeffress, that well-known man of good, strong, white, heterosexual Christian God. Jeffress, you’ll recall, is famous for saying things like this:
He’s also, in case you have a life and don’t pay attention to his self-promotional blathering, called Roman Catholicism “satanic,” called Islam “an evil, evil religion,” and said that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a “cult.”
Not nearly as hateful but almost as astonishing, Jeffress told the Dallas Business Journal that, “We basically started over and re-created a spiritual oasis in the city to welcome worshipers. It has a more welcoming atmosphere."
Well, if you say so, Pastor Jeffress.
Look, I read Michael Mooney’s story on Jeffress. It was very well-written and argued. I know that now I’m supposed to see the nuanced, committed man of the cloth before me, the person who is so concerned that I will burn in hellfire that he is unafraid to speak Truth to me, no matter how much it offends my liberal sensibilities.
I don’t buy it.
I think Jeffress is very smart, very calculated. He amends each outrageous proclamation by saying something like, “That doesn’t mean you don’t love these poor, misguided people and treat them as the Lord would want you to.”
That does nothing. By saying yours is the only path to righteousness, and by suggesting others are led by inherently evil thoughts and practices and religions, you give tacit approval for the violence that befalls the innocent people you’re castigating.
That said, I’m glad you have such a nice church.
2. J. McDonald Williams is a badass.
You wanna see someone doing the Lord’s work? Look at the former head of Trammel Crow Co, who told wealthy developers that they need to do more to help poor people in their city.
3. Dallas ISD gets criticism for doing what everyone says they should be doing.
Everyone wants principals and teachers fired until its their teacher or principal. I’m not defending these principal evaluations — I don’t know anything about them — but I’m just saying that meaningful change will be painful, and people wail when they’re in pain.
4. This firing of the voice of Big Tex is going smoothly, isn’t it?
One very specific question to the folks who fired this man: What do you think “protecting your brand” means? Because I don’t think it means what you think it means.
5. We are all FGCU.
Don’t feel bad that you didn’t start watching college basketball until a week ago, and the only thing you care about is rooting for Florida Gulf Coast University. We’re right there with you.
Ha ha, funny pun. But, seriously, stop it.
I said stop it!