Thursday Edition


1. The Misguided Hysteria Over Christian Nationalism

“Christian nationalism” is the media’s favorite scary new buzzword, but there are major misunderstandings of the GOP’s relationship with Christianity.

Some recent headlines:

According to a 2023 survey from PRRI and the left-leaning Brookings Institution, more than half of Republicans endorse Christian nationalism, the idea that Christian beliefs should take priority in shaping politics and law. Critics fear Republicans are intent on turning the U.S. into a fundamentalist Christian dystopia, where abortions are outlawed and women’s rights are an afterthought.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has proudly declared herself a Christian nationalist, and many popular conservative influencers, like former Daily Wire pundit Candace Owens, have used the phrase “Christ Is King” as a political rallying cry/bludgeon against their opponents.

But it’s a mistake to view Greene and Owens’ statements as a sign of Christianity’s strength within the GOP.

Church attendance and membership has been dropping for decades, especially among Christians. Since 2000, attendance has fallen 4% for Protestants and 12% for Catholics. It’s increased 4% for Muslims.

There’s no issue that better defines political Christianity than abortion. Right now, led by Donald Trump, Republicans are doing everything they can to assure voters they’re moderates on abortion.

Trump reacting yesterday to the Arizona state Supreme Court upholding an 1864 law that made abortion a felony: “Yeah, they did [go too far]. And that will be straightened out. And as you know, it’s all about states’ rights. That will be straightened out. And I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason, and that will be taken care of, I think, very quickly.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Christianity has never been weaker and with less influence in society. This isn’t Christianity taking over the GOP –– this is the opposite.

2. The Modern Newsroom

A new profile reveals how NPR shifted in recent years from open-minded liberalism to catering solely to progressive elites. (The Free Press)

Ubi Berliner, former senior business editor at NPR: Race and identity became paramount in nearly every aspect of the workplace. Journalists were required to ask everyone we interviewed their race, gender, and ethnicity (among other questions), and had to enter it in a centralized tracking system. We were given unconscious bias training sessions. A growing DEI staff offered regular meetings imploring us to ‘start talking about race.’ Monthly dialogues were offered for ‘women of color’ and ‘men of color.’ Nonbinary people of color were included, too.”

Berliner found that despite the organization’s alleged commitment to differing perspectives, at NPR’s D.C. headquarters there were 87 Democrats in editorial roles and not a single Republican. The slant was reflected in NPR’s coverage (or lack of coverage) of the Trump administration, the Hunter Biden laptop story, and COVID-19's origin, according to Berliner.

NPR's focus on racial diversity hasn’t done much to change readership demographics.

  • Research from 2023 showed only 6% of NPR news readers were black and 7% were Hispanic (Latinos and blacks make up 19% and 14% of the country, respectively).

  • As Berliner noted, NPR’s audience is “overwhelmingly white and progressive, and clustered around coastal cities and college towns.”

Instead, NPR's audience has become less ideologically diverse: 

  • In 2011, it was 26% conservative, 23% middle of the road, and 37% liberal.

  • By 2023, it became 11% conservative, 21% middle of the road, and 67% liberal.

Bubba’s Two Cents: NPR's situation reflects a wider trend in newsrooms nationwide. It's not just about differences in ideology —after all, NPR has leaned liberal for some time. It's about the shift in the type of people who become journalists these days: wealthy, well-educated, progressive, but often out-of-touch with many Americans.

3. Putting Emissions Into Perspective

The average person’s individual behavior probably doesn’t make a lick of difference when it comes to global CO2 emissions. (Reuters)

A new report from InfluenceMap, a non-profit think tank: From 2016 to 2022, just 57 entities were responsible for 80% of the world’s CO2 emissions. They are all major state-owned and investor-owned producers of fossil fuels and cement.

The 3 largest CO2 emitters: Saudi Arabia's Aramco at 4.8%, Russia's Gazprom at 3.3%, and Coal India at 3.0%.

From eating less meat, to owning fewer pets, to changing the types of cars we drive, climate change activists have often tried to get individuals to alter their behavior for the good of the environment.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Environmentalists are gaining a rep for lacking a sense of scale. Harping on someone for having a dog or eating a burger, as if that'll make a big impact while huge companies emit literal tons of pollution, just makes you seem unreasonable. It's important to pick your battles.

4. Checking In on D.C. Crime

In the midst of a violent crime spike, Washington D.C. police started arresting more people and, lo and behold, crime went down. (DC Crime Facts)

How Black Lives Matter DC reacted to the news:This continues to send a dangerous message to children and young people that already feel they have next to nothing to live for, they now have nothing to lose. Its going to be a long, hot, summer.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Cracking down on crime by enforcing laws seems like a no-brainer, but it's become a hot topic. Why the controversy? Well, for some activist groups, admitting that making arrests can reduce crime isn’t very politically or financially convenient.

5. Shocker: Kari Lake Isn’t Very Consistent

Senate candidate Kari Lake joined Donald Trump in opposing an Arizona abortion ban she once fully supported. (The Guardian)

Lake reacting to a state Supreme Court decision upholding an 1864 ban on abortion: “I agree with President Trump — this is a very personal issue that should be determined by each individual state and her people. I oppose today’s ruling …”

What Lake said about the law in 2022: “I’m incredibly thrilled that we are going to have a great law that’s already on the books. … So it will prohibit abortion in Arizona.”

While she’s walked many of these comments back, Lake once said she believes abortion is “the ultimate sin” and called for a ban on abortion pills.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Lake and Trump’s positions are incoherent. They say abortion is a state’s rights issue, then criticize a state Supreme Court ruling on it. Lake’s take is even more cynical considering her history as a fervent anti-abortion advocate. But it all speaks to how vulnerable Republicans feel on the topic.

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