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.
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.
I don’t think this was “whoa” as in “whoa, he is as much of a louse as Trump, maybe I should support him too.” I think this was “whoa” as in “whoa, that’s bad.” What do you think?
Metaxas and other Trump court evangelicals will be severely blasted if they try to play the morality card on Trump’s opponents during this election. They can’t really do it with a straight face. I suspect Metaxas only wrote a muted “whoa” because he knew he would be ridiculed unmercifully if he went for a stronger condemnation.
Recently CBN’s David Brody (a supporter of Trump) acknowledged that making an issue of Pete Buttigieg’s sexuality was not a winning play for Trump supporters since Trump has no moral high ground. Watch:
Brody just ruled out this out as a plausible strategy given Trump’s questionable behavior. I don’t think Bloomberg is going to prevail, but I can’t see how Republicans can make an issue of it if he does.
Although this is entirely predictable, I want to preserve the moment. Eric Metaxas believes he saved Bonhoeffer’s legacy from the cultural Marxist academics who study Bonhoeffer for a living.
The culturally marxist academics who hijacked Bonhoeffer’s legacy for fifty years — until the 2009 publication of my biography — and who unconscionably pushed a profound misreading of his thinking & theology, are at it again. Feel free to guffaw. https://t.co/N2tvhDk1NS
It is a fine statement of objections to Trump’s term in office and Wallis offers some sobering parallels to Christian sentiment about Hitler during the 1930s and 1940s. The cultish devotion to Trump does mimic some things said about Hitler. I can understand support for certain of Trump’s policy positions, but I cannot understand the slavish fealty to Trump as a man. This is idolatrous and dangerous. I urge you to read the IBS statement and support their work. They are fine and serious scholars.
Metaxas’ tweet exposes more about him than it does about the Bonhoeffer Society. It is one thing to believe you have a significant perspective to add to a field, it is quite another to believe you alone have the truth. Bonhoeffer scholars have documented significant omissions and problems in Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer. He scoffs at their work and fails to respond in a scholarly manner. Mostly, he told journalist Jon Ward, he ignored them:
The handful of early negative reviews of my book on Bonhoeffer have not struck me as substantive, or as anything more than ideological griping, so I have labored to ignore them.
This is the way of so many Christian celebrities. Metaxas, like David Barton and Dinesh D’Souza, portrays an arrogance about his work. They are above correction and error. Any criticism is ideological and therefore beneath them.
And so it goes. Metaxas continues his labor. It must be a hard labor because these days there is so much he has to ignore.