The Revealer likes Mudcat’s sermon, because we’re as tired of selective readings of scripture by liberals as we are of same (to different ends) by conservatives. And we like Matt Labash’s profile of Mudcat for the conservative weekly because Labash, a religious man himself, writes with a total lack of piety. That makes this piece a good story.
What makes it good journalism is the fact that so little of it is dedicated to religion. Mudcat and Labash talk hunting and deficits and jobs and wars, and mostly leave God out of the equation. Can that formula work? Well, Mudcat helped engineer Democrat Mark Warner’s successful bid for Virginia’s governership by bringing rural voters into his column.
Labash thanks the “Color Gods of Feature Writing” for Mudcat’s mouth and let’s him run it, and the results are revealing of a story about red, blue, and Southern white men that hasn’t often been told.
“Charles Marsh would recall that the civil rights movement owes little but grief to conservative evangelicals and Niebuhrian realists. Indeed, as Marsh demonstrates in The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, From the Civil Rights Movement to Today, St. Reinhold himself, polestar of gravitas in the liberal firmament, urged a suffocating ‘patience’ on King and his movement, and was, thank God, rejected. Seldom has “realism” been so clearly exposed as the wisdom of the well-connected. Aiming squarely at the latest generation of pharisees, Marsh indicts their ministration to a twisted patriotism, ‘a cult of self-worship consecrated by court prophets robed in pinstriped suits.’” Eugene McCarraher gives high praise to Marsh (and damns with faint praise Jim Wallis, reviewed above) in Books & Culture. Marsh may sound like he’s talking about history, but the redefinition of MLK — and, for that matter, Reinhold Neibuhr — across the political spectrum is still news, and Marsh is a good man to bring it to us. More Marsh, on Killing the Buddha.