On Monday, I will post a new conversation with former The King’s College president Greg Thornbury. He is currently Senior Vice President at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca NY, a school founded by Andy Warhol. You can watch the first interview here.
Metaxas emailed Glader with the information. Metaxas asked him not to disclose it but Glader treated the communication as on the record. Metaxas said he thought Harrington was menacing and the punch “just happened.” For his part, Harrington denies being threatening, pointing to the fact that Metaxas punched him from behind.
In the Glader article, I am identified as “left leaning” and on the other end of Rod Dreher. I am probably on the other end of Rod Dreher, but that just makes me right of center.
Weird Christian Twitter got a cameo in the piece with the Metaxas Backward Shuffle meme featured prominently. I feel sure #WCT will get a lot of mileage out of that.
Someone named Eric who dressed and looks like Eric Metaxas punched an anti-Trump bike rider last night after Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention and ran away from the guy he hit before police came.* You could say the speech inspired Metaxas to action. Watch:
I watched some of the protestor’s Instagram videos describing what happened after being detained. He said that the person who took the video of the assault came up to the Secret Service and told them he had video that showed what happened. The Secret Service watched it and on that basis, let the bike rider go. Apparently, they were satisfied that the man in the white pants did the hitting.
Twitter is all about it today. Seems like a good time to replay this assessment of Metaxas by Greg Thornbury.
Metaxas has been one of the biggest puzzles of the Trump era. A biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he has consistently defended Trump and even said Christians must vote for him. He wrote two children’s books which appear to denigrate immigrants and has called nationalist Katie Hopkins his “hero.”
*Although Metaxas hasn’t spoken about the incident yet (8/29), his friends are defending the actions as if he did it. In a “he had it coming” defense, Rod Dreher rationalizes the move by accepting the account of an anonymous “witness” who said the biker was threatening. We have the video and it just doesn’t look that way. His wife’s “Eric!?” doesn’t sound that way either.
Look I know we can’t get into someone’s head in a situation, but I would like to hear from Metaxas on this. Thus far, he is just blocking everybody on Twitter who is asking him about it. If he felt threatened, what was his plan after he suckerpunched the guy? Was he hoping his punch would knock him out? I hear what his friends are saying and I understand how sometimes people act out of character. However, I also see Metaxas’ defense and adulation of people who make their names on violent rhetoric (Trump, Milo, Katie Hopkins and Ann Coulter come to mind). I also see his cartoonish defense of Trump’s violent and odious policies at the border. His public persona is not inconsistent with what we saw on camera.
John has been an active public historian during his tenure at Messiah. He has confronted the historian misadventures of David Barton and Eric Metaxas. I became acquainted with John in 2011 when I first started to fact check David Barton’s historical claims. Not long after that, he endorsed Getting Jefferson Right, my book with Michael Coulter that addressed many claims in David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies. Along with my history professor colleagues at Grove City College, John is one of several historians who have helped me along the way.
I believe historians doing history properly can provide our nation an extraordinary service. We need to know our rights and the heritage of free speech and protest. What does the Consitution say and what took place when the framers debated that document? Without full context, people are vulnerable to ideologues who selectively use historical events and quotes to create what John calls a “usable past,” a past which supports their current political aims.
As an evangelical, John has special focus on evangelicals in public life. He coined the term “court evangelical” to refer to evangelical leaders who fawn over Donald Trump and never hold him accountable. John provides a valuable overview of this concept in the interview. I hope you benefit from it.
JohnFea is Distinguished Professor of American History at Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where he has taught since 2002.
John’s essays and reviews on the history of American culture have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Atlantic, Inside Higher Ed, The William and Mary Quarterly, The Journal of the Early Republic, Sojourners, Christianity Today, Christian Century,The Washington Post, USA Today, He blogs daily at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, a blog devoted to American history, religion, politics, and academic life.
John has lectured widely and speaks regularly to churches, school and teacher groups, civic groups, and historical societies. He appeared on NBC News, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and dozens of radio programs across the country.
To watch all interviews reflecting on 15 years of blogging, click here.
A feature of the evangelical world since Trump was nominated and elected has been the inability of many of Trump’s evangelical supporters to see Trump’s flaws. John Fea (who will be one of my guests in a future interview) coined the term “court evangelical” to describe these evangelical leaders. Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell are often named among these court evangelicals. Another evangelical figure which has puzzled many observers due to the strength of his dedication to Trump is Eric Metaxas.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.
Metaxas once attributed the quote to Dietrich Bonhoeffer but it doesn’t appear in any of his works or speeches. Instead of acknowledging this and making a public correction, Metaxas has just stopped attributing the quote to Bonhoeffer. Consequently, hundreds, if not thousands of people continue to cite Metaxas as the source of a bogus Bonhoeffer quote.
In our interview, Thornbury analyzes Metaxas, but that is not the most riveting part to me. When Greg describes his journey from evangelical college president to where he is now, I believe many evangelicals will relate. There has been pressure to adopt Trumpism as an evangelical and those who don’t go along lose social capital in that world. Students of American religious and political history will be interested in hearing about Greg’s experience. Greg was in the inner circle and describes what it was like to see conservative Christians first tolerate then venerate an unworthy President.
Trumpism is the newest theme in my 15 years of blogging but in a way it is an extension of many themes I am familiar with. The narcissism of celebrity pastors, the false history of Christian nationalism, the anti-science dogmatism of many evangelical leaders, and the single-mindedness and bias of culture warring all come together in Trumpism.
So as a new friend in this struggle, I thank Greg for his time and talents.
Gregory Alan Thornbury, Ph.D., has been a college philosophy and theology professor, dean, and president of The King’s College in New York City. In addition to several books on theology and culture, he is the author of Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock (Random House, 2018) – a critically acclaimed biography that has been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and was awarded as the most influential book in arts and culture by Christianity Today for 2019. A popular writer and speaker on philosophy, religion, and the arts, he currently serves as Senior Vice President at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca, founded by Andy Warhol. He is also a consultant for Good Country Pictures, who is currently working on film adaptations of the short stories and novels of Willa Cather, Walker Percy, and Flannery O’Connor for film and television.
Tomorrow, I will post an interview with former King’s College president Gregory Thornbury. Thornbury who is friends with Eric Metaxas offers a theory about why Metaxas has turned into a Trumpist. Watch:
Come back tomorrow to wthrockmorton.com for the rest of the interview with Greg. We take on Trumpism, Christian celebrity, and court evangelicals. It is a revealing and fascinating interview.
This tweet from Veggie Tale creator Phil Vischer is wise and powerful.
Eric, I love you, but your own book talks about Bonhoeffer's deep concern for the plight of blacks in America. I'm pretty sure if he showed up right now he'd be talking about more than just abortion and the "evil left." https://t.co/oBM7wDbOd8
Eric Metaxas is a shadow of his former self and his friends know it.
Metaxas answers with a simplication of history and current events and Vischer brings reality to the table.
So… Bonhoeffer would show up, notice that the average black family still has 1/10th the wealth of the ave white family, poor access to education and healthcare, and a black boy has a 1 in 4 chance of being incarcerated, and say, "Good – they solved the black problem."
Metaxas tries to lower the boom but Vischer again brings the facts.
"Both and," friend. Roe didn't make abortion legal, it made it illegal for states to make it illegal. It was legal in some states pre-Roe, and would continue being legal in some states post-Roe. We can continue reducing the abortion rate while also reducing inequity.
In the midst of the worst racial unrest in the United States since the late 1960s, Eric Metaxas today hosted white nationalist apologist Katie Hopkins. Her tweet today is representative of what Metaxas is promoting on his show.
The hashtag and the article she says she stands by are horrendous. And the timing of them is an absolute slap in the face of those seeking racial reconciliation. Metaxas has made a conscious choice to work against this movement in the church by giving Hopkins a platform. The last time she was on his show, he called her his “hero.”
“No, I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad.
I still don’t care.
Because in the next minute you’ll show me pictures of aggressive young men at Calais, spreading like norovirus on a cruise ship. Watching them try to clamber on to British lorries and steal their way into the UK, do I feel pity? Only for the British drivers, who get hit with a fine every time one of this plague of feral humans ends up in their truck.
Make no mistake, these migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit ‘Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984′, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb. They are survivors.
Once gunships have driven them back to their shores, boats need to be confiscated and burned on a huge bonfire. Drilling a few holes in the bottom of anything suspiciously resembling a boat would be a good idea, too, just for belt and braces.
The article was removed from publication and eventually Hopkins lost her column gig.
Maybe Metaxas will reveal this on his YouTube channel.
As American Christians are reflecting on the evils of racism and segregation in their churchs, Eric Metaxas today fawns over a woman who says “white Christians need to stand tall and proud” and “walk away” from calls to become allies of our minority brothers and sisters.
Eric Metaxas has been in the hot seat lately due to his race baiting tweet in response to Joe Biden (see this post for that story). However, there is something else that in times past would relegate Metaxas to the fringe.
On his radio show last week, he gave 36 minutes to Kent Heckenlively, the co-author with Judy Mikovits, of the conspiratorial book Plague of Corruption. Mikovits is the star of the documentary “Plandemic” that made the rounds in early May. Metaxas treated Heckenlively as a serious guest with truth to reveal. In the process, he gave the anti-vax movement a huge public relations win. Watch:
In this video, Heckenlively claims and Metaxas accepts that aborted fetal tissue is in vaccines, and harmful viruses are in vaccines. The fictitious vaccine-autism link is implied along with other wild ideas. Heckenlively is allowed to provide a full recitation of the anti-vax catalog. Metaxas is completely unprepared for these claims and can’t or doesn’t want to offer any skeptical response. For all practical purposes, Eric Metaxas produced a 36 minute commercial for the anti-vax movement.
Those folks want to keep America (and Britain in the case of Hopkins) white and European. I don’t know what’s in Metaxas’ heart, but I could never give those three a platform, let alone call them friends and heroes.
Metaxas is currently getting dragged on social media for this tweet, and rightly so. However, if tomorrow everything goes back to normal, what will it matter?
Ed Stetzer has weighed in:
Good opportunity here to delete this tweet and put up a short apology.
After being ratioed all night long, Metaxas doubled down:
So may we call Biden’s policies “racist”? And those that oppose them “anti-racist”? Or shall we focus on the shiny objects for another fifty years and ignore the crushing reality? https://t.co/ObXeQsGIpW
In the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, Joe Biden was favored by 81% of black voters over Donald Trump, who was favored by only 3%. Although it was a dumb and insensitive way of saying it, Biden was not untethered to the facts.
If anyone is failing to deal with reality, it is Metaxas and his supporters. They fail to deal with the fact that there are good reasons for the disparity in the black vote. Principally, what Republicans do is criticize black voters for being captivated by “shiny objects” as if black voters don’t have reasons to favor the Democratic party.
Conservatives will make the most of Biden’s gaffe but exploitation can’t cover the fact that members of GOP fight against expanding voting access. Members of which party support Confederate heroes and symbols and find “very good people” among those who want to see a statue of Robert E. Lee remain in a honored place? Not the Democratic party.
According to a recent poll, black Americans feel that racial division has grown and that Trump is responsible for that that. They strongly disapprove of his performance and hold him responsible for an increase in racism on his watch. There are reasons for these results which Republican leaders simply don’t want to confront.