Gopnik reviews biblical scholar Pagels' new book, “Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation,” which makes a strong case that the Book of Revelation was mostly political,
that Revelation is essentially an anti-Christian polemic. That is, it was written by an expatriate follower of Jesus who wanted the movement to remain within an entirely Jewish context, as opposed to the “Christianity” just then being invented by St. Paul, who welcomed uncircumcised and trayf-eating Gentiles into the sect. At a time when no one quite called himself “Christian,” in the modern sense, John is prophesying what would happen if people did. That’s the forward-looking worry in the book....
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No one, I think, would ever have denied that Maurice Bessinger was a man of faith.
And he wasn’t particularly a “still, small voice” man either; he wanted everybody in earshot to know that slavery had been God’s will, that desegregation was Satan’s work, and the federal government was the Antichrist. God wanted only whites to eat at Bessinger’s six Piggie Park barbecue joints; so His servant Maurice took that fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1968 decided that his religious freedom argument was “patently frivolous.”
As the nuclear talks with Iran enter the final stretch, and as the media coverage reaches the point of hysteria, it is useful to step back a bit and offer a few observations about how to approach the kinds of revelations and arguments that we might expect in the coming days or weeks.
After saying that he would sign Arkansas's Religious Freedom bill, Asa Hutchinson backed down and requested changes to the legislation. Like Mike Pence, Hutchinson lied and said that the bill was identical to a bill signed by Bill Clinton in 1993. The bill that Clinton signed prevented government discrimination. The Indiana and Arkansas bills promote private discrimination. Both Pence and Hutchinson faced pushback from the business community. The Governors are now trying to save face by falsely proclaiming that there was never any intent to discriminate.