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Family Planning


I’ve got you now, Bunny…..

I’ve been too distraught to contribute much lately, what with the fascist takeover and all. Nobody wants to hear anything legitimate sociologists say, anyway, they’re too worked up about cheap sex and shit. Which brings me to the issue of the contraceptive mandate and “President” Trump’s and KKK Sessions’ new edict saying religious motherfuckers can shitcan people’s health coverage because of their supposedly deeply held religious commitments. It should be beyond discussion that  people who want to take away contraception benefits are loathsome pieces of shit, who want to force their religion on other Americans. It should also be beyond tolerance that insurance companies—who benefit immensely from not having to cover unwanted pregnancies—are painfully silent.

But, what sociology should be talking about, as should any movement seeking to reframe this issue, is the fact that a very large plurality of women who get coverage under insurance plans for their birth control are MARRIED. Religious fuckwits can pull their hair out about single women having sex all they want (because they are assholes?), but the fact is that 40% of women at risk for pregnancy are married. 90% of them use contraception.

This is a FAMILY issue not a women’s issue. Sure, women bear the brunt, but it is really about the costs of maintaining families. Though especially single parent families. Contraceptive costs impact families. It’s $50 a month that these assholes are taking from the mouths of children. Fucking pro-life, eh.



Happy Christian Terrorist Day!!!


As we continue our descent into fascism, it’s good to remember what the Trump crowd really wants. White Christian America, by any means necessary….

Iranianredneck's Weblog

Yes, there we were. Alfred Darnell and I had agreed to meet at the Boundry, one of our favorite watering holes in Nashville. I was there a little early and pulled up a seat at the bar. They had a full bank of televisions, all of them turned on to the same thing.  Alfred walked up just a minute later and I think all he said was “oh, shit.”  I was in the Murrah building when I was at the University of Oklahoma and had to get a duplicate of my Social Security Card.  I raced a criterium around the Memorial Park several years after the bombing. It’s an important reminder of what Christian America wants. They want us non-Christians to be killed, tortured, kicked out of the country, or at best disenfranchised. We are illegitimate rulers, political actors, educators, parents, community members, and whatever. If you’re not a white…

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Toward Solving the Problem of Academic Publishing

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Hanging with JC in Greenville, Pic from Patty Lou McCall, Can you believe I’ve had that YSL Jacket since I was 18?

Once again, the Southern Sociological Society meetings were a fun and refreshing event. Great to see Dave Gay, John Lynxwiler, Amy Donley, Patty McCall, Jeff Will, Brigitte Neary, and all of the rest. Especially great to see Ida Harper Simpson, 30 years after her presidency, and to get to introduce her to a new wave of students.  It was wonderful to be there for Chris Ellison’s presidency, and to introduce him for his truly path breaking address. I’ll say more about that later, as Chris threw down the gauntlet for Christianist apologists like Gorski and Smith, and rightly so.

My main task at the meetings was interesting, chairing and participating in a session organized around Pam Oliver’s wonderfully cogent critique of publishing. Pam’s rants from Scatterplot were revised and published in the American Sociologist, and her opinions are well worth everyone’s read. I don’t agree with everything Pam says in the article, nor does she, but it is an excellent starting point for fixing some problems that need to be fixed, and preventing negative practices from infecting the publishing process. We had a great session organized by Chris Ellison and George Wilson. Pam was on fire, as always. And Jessica Collette provided an informative critique and extension of Pam’s comments. Frankly, it was one of the best panels I’ve been on in my 30 years in sociology.

Here, I want to elaborate some things I said, and make some very specific policy statements for scholars who control the means of coercion in our fields. Our situation is not age old, and it has only been in the last two decades that monopolistic firms have gobbled up ownership of journals, bundled them, and gouged our libraries for horrific fees.

This situation did not exist 20 years ago. 20 years ago, the primary cost of scholarly associations—national, region, subregional, speciality, and international—was printing and mailing the journal. Meetings generally broke even if you found a good place. Anyone who actually did the work back in the day knows this to be true. When Ellison and I edited Review of Religious Research for the RRA, we were almost the only “cost” for the association. Members’ dues and an offset of very small dime library subscribers paid the rest. And, usually, we made money—not a shit-ton, but we more than broke even most years.

But, everyone sold out to the slimebags at Sage, Wiley, Pearson, Elsevier, Taylor….The associations are now being paid money for the journals, rather than having to pay for the journal and mailing and hoping to break even. Please notice that none of the associations reduced or eliminated their membership fees, and there is no open bar buffet at the ASA meeting. I pay over $300 to be a member of the ASA, and they make money on both the journals and the meetings. Administrative bloat in our organizations is creating a climate conducive to rapacious publishers taking over our content. Our work. Our scholarship. Let’s face it, as Pam notes, we write the papers, review the papers, edit the journals, and the universities who pay our salaries then have to pay for our work. But, the ASA has a fleet of offices in DC and hordes of well-compensated staffers….

There is a solution. Abandon all contracts with for profit publishers (indeed, all publishers) and move to a pure online format for all scholarly journals (ASA, SSS, MSS, ESS, PSA, SSSP, whatever).  We have no costs. There is no reason to print. So long as scholarly standards remain in the review process, ASR is still ASR, Soc. Forum is still Soc. Forum. With cooperation among scholarly associations within and across disciplines, it could be possible to work out agreements for some compensation—and remember we still pay dues. This is not hard. There will no longer be shit-tons of money available for administrators at some of our organizations (principally ASA, most of the rest I’m in are bare bones), but we’ll still be better off than in the day when our largest budget item (by a factor of 12) was printing and mailing the journal.

Organizational leaders in our associations need to make this a priority. People running for office need to amplify this as a target goal. As a candidate for SSS President, I will move in this direction if elected.

Americans continue to abandon religious identification


Even more good news from the 2016 GSS, Americans continue to reject identification with religious groups. Soon, I will show that these “nones” are also very irreligious. They don’t believe in gods, think the bible is a load of horse hockey, and they don’t waste their time participating in religious collective actions. Nones increased to 21.7% of the GSS respondents. This is not a blip.

Support for Same Sex Marriage Increases, Opposition Decreases


One of the most striking shifts in public opinion has been on same sex marriage, and in a very short time we’ve gone from having a majority of Americans opposed and strongly opposed the having the majority supportive of granting marriage rights to same sex couples. The trend continues. Nearly 60% of Americans in the 2016 GSS support marriage rights, while only 29% are dreadful haters.

Way more Americans support legal weed than support Trump


woo hoo, the 2016 GSS is here! And, as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions our KKK Turney Jenrel begins to unravel Obama’s deescalation of the war on drugs, it is instructive to look at what real Americans (based on a random sample of the adult population with a very high response rate and rigorous sampling) think. in the 2016 GSS 61.1% of Americans think that weed should be legal. It keeps going up, and one of the key drivers of this is African Americans. Black people smoke at lower rates than white people, and since the 1980s they have been more opposed to legalization. They’ve analyzed the data since then. 65.5% of African American GSS respondents want to legalize weed. Even higher than whites.

I Dream of Gini….


Image resultI’ve been teaching intro the last few semesters to try to get back in my teaching game in terms of the only thing that matters, teaching credit hours. But, I love teaching intro, it gets me back into the rest of the discipline. I’ve always been fascinated by inequality and have been following the surge since Ronnie Raygun put us on the road to serfdom. I always do a class where I pull up some graphs from Bill Domhoff and Lisa Keister and Emmanuel Saez to examine just how unequal the US (and the world) has become.

But, what really interested me is that given the extreme concentrations of wealth and income, how might one have an impact on Gini and how large would that be. If we confiscated all of the assets of the top 400 and redistributed them, what would our Gini be? We could even leave each of the worthless rich with a paltry $4 million to take care of their worthless asses until they die. What if we did this for all of the .1 percent? What would the gini be? Again, give them all a parachute most would call golden, let them keep a mansion, if they want….We don’t have to kill them, which  is what they want to do to thousands of people who are going to lose insurance (or never got it….).  The number of superwealthy people (say, over 700 million in assets) is so small that it is likely smaller than the number of people who will die within 6 months of Obamacare repeal.

I don’t know how they keep that Gini in a bottle…..Oh, wait, yes, I do….Jesus.

White Christian Fascism has come to America: Whoopie, we’re all gonna die


Despite all of the pearl clutching by Christianist apologists the straight up fact is that white Sectarian Christians (those who think that my kids will burn in hell) and a sub-gaggle of conservative white Catholics elected a fascist regime. Donald Trump is the product of White Conservative Christianity. They want an authoritarian white guy. They don’t care if he’s really very “moral” or anything. Just as long as he is white and will give them license to fuck everyone else in the country on laws about equality, health, science, and shit like that. Thank you Jesus. Thank You LORD. Thank you for delivering us into the hands of Satan.

We now have a genuine fascist as the most important figure in the White House. It is because of White conservative Christians. Steve Bannon being the most important person in the Executive Branch should scare people, but instead we’ve normalized it. We now have federal employees disobeying judicial mandates. That is because of Conservative Christianity and its embrace of Trumpian Fascism.

And, to make sure we keep having alternative facts, Dictator Trump can certainly count on the many private foundations like Templeton, Pew, Lilly, and etc. to provide him with alternative facts, while shutting down the collection of real facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dept of Justice, Census Bureau, CDC, ETC…….

Our only hope is that this fucker is impeached, quickly.

Spoiled Identities and Enduring Identifications: Why “Evangelical” will go the way of “Fundamentalist”

This is REAL evangelical

This is REAL evangelical

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States has caused considerable turmoil among politicized religious groups fighting for space under their evangelical umbrella. The recent spat between Jonathan Merritt and Daniel Schultz is an understandable outcome.
Much of the furor over the ownership of “evangelical” identity can be explained by the sociological processes involved in creating, contesting, and rejecting identities. And, I want to point out how identifications with more permanent structural entities—organized religious denominations—allow us to understand continuity in the connections between religion, politics, and other social institutions.
For sociologists “evangelical” is an adjective describing movements that proselytize. Evangelical groups seek to grow through grabbing members from other groups or from among the ranks of the unaffiliated, and evangelical individuals consider “witnessing” a part of their personal identities. “Evangelical” was also appropriated by several movements to indicate a willingness to cooperate or merge across ethnic denominations. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is not “evangelical” in the sociological sense, but it brought together Lutherans of varied nationalities. A similar connection happened in Calvinist movements, but neither Lutherans nor Calvinists are interested in recruiting. Notably, using the sociological definition, liberal universalistic religious groups can be evangelical, and many conservative exclusivist religious sects are not evangelical.
In the early 1980s, Christian conservative political activists sought an identity that would hold together the tremendous diversity of organized Protestantism. “Fundamentalist” was an identity tainted by the evolution controversies in the early 20th century. “Born Again” didn’t quite fit the bill, largely because it was based on a specific theological belief that was alien to many conservative Protestants. And, the televangelism scandals of the 1980s and Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan spoiled the “born again” moniker. Spoiled identities result in personal and collective conflicts over who you are, what you believe, and who is one of you. We see this for racial and ethnic identities and sexual identities as well. “Negro” and “colored” become tainted, and a struggle ensues to identify as “Afro-American”, “black”, or currently “African American.” Homosexual is replaced by “gay” then “gay and lesbian” then perhaps “queer” or “LGBT.”
Evangelical became the collective identity for many conservative Protestants starting in the early 1980s. This brought together people from a diverse set of Protestant denominations, ranging from Pentecostals to Southern Baptists to Reformed Calvinists. Notably, most members of each of these three groups embracing the “evangelical” identity think that members of the other groups are going to hell (or at least will not see heaven). Glossolalia is essential for salvation for Pentecostals, while Baptists and Calvinists would consider it an indicator of demon possession. While Baptists opine that Calvinists must repent and be born again, Calvinists believe they were born into the covenant—and Baptists were not. The diverse array of exclusivist Protestants in the United States makes holding them together a difficult task.
Yet, Evangelical as an identification became all the rage. Faced with rapid social change on issues like gender roles and sexuality, and a growing secular rejection of religiosity in general, many moderate and even liberal Protestants came to identify as “evangelical.” By the end of the first decade of the 21st century we have stories about “evangelicals” advocating gay rights, “evangelicals” supporting environmental justice, and “evangelicals” protecting undocumented immigrants. This transmogrification of “evangelical” into a catch-all term for “Christian” was bound to result in conflict. The evangelical umbrella simply wasn’t big enough to cover the hordes crowding under it and now some must be pushed out or some must leave—and find a new umbrella.
For constructed collective and personal identities like “evangelical” exit is easy enough, though it may be painful initially, as Russell Moore and Jonathan Merritt may attest There are no membership dues, no paperwork, you don’t have to quit your job, move, or even change which church you go to. Simply stop identifying as an evangelical. There are many identities we shed throughout our lives. People who play sports may consider it a vital part of their identity and the key community to which they belong—but an injury may mean that you are no longer a runner, a cyclist, or an ultimate Frisbee player. Since “evangelical” as an identity is unencumbered by any real attachments, it could be shed relatively easily. You and your people will still be Pentecostals, Southern Baptists, or Calvinists, but “your people” will no longer include those other people.
Because broad collective identities are contested and fluid, they are not well-suited for studying long-term connections between religion and other social institutions like politics. In ten years, few will likely claim “evangelical” as their personal or collective identity. But, people generally do maintain identifications with concrete social movement organizations like political parties and religious denominations. As I have shown in Changing Faith, while some people do switch religious denominations over the life course, most remain attached to their denomination of origin. And, these denominations tend to remain fairly fixed in their theological orientations and how they see that connected to other institutions like family, science, education, and politics. Merritt is correct that Jimmy Carter hasn’t completely untangled himself from the Southern Baptist Convention (his church still lists an affiliation—though they may not being giving the SBC any money). However, the Baptist congregational polity allows them to affiliate with other organizations, and Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains is a member of the more liberal, developing denomination of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Politics, gender, and family issues are splitting the SBC. And, if Carter is still to be identified as an “evangelical” it is in the sociological sense of the term, not as a politicized identity dominated by right-wing politics.
The broad evangelical coalition, which at one time even sought to encompass African American Protestants, is dead. The evangelical umbrella has collapsed and now only covers white, exclusivist Protestants who adhere to white nationalist political values and connections. After Trump, “evangelical” as an identity embraced by individuals and groups may go the way of “fundamentalist.” But, enduring ties to conservative Protestant religious denominations will see them come together again under a different banner—or maybe they’ll keep evangelical and simply purge the liberals and moderates.

Watermelon in Easter Hay, Zappadan Always Ends this way