Quote of The Week: Guns & “Religious Fervor”


I did a great deal of reporting over the last year and a half on the turmoil in the white evangelical church in America. And . . . I can’t underscore this one enough, because I’ve spent a lot of time talking with leading religious figures, scholars, academics, people who know this world inside and out, and they have all agreed with me on this point.

I’ve been hoping that somebody would disagree with the point — that there was once a time in this country, not very long ago at all, where, yes, you had ideologically far-right-wing churches that would traffic in overt racism or, if not overt racism, then certainly some of the more veiled arguments around states’ rights or whatever it may be.

But there would not have been any sort of legitimizing or mainstream recognition of a church wherein hundreds of members on a weekly basis, while passing the offering plates, were carrying loaded weapons.

That was not a thing. It would have been like the fever dream of an indie documentary filmmaker.

And so what feels somewhat different about the moment to me is not just that there is this sort of religious fervor but that it is a violent religious fervor. And it certainly feels as though you have a moment in American life right now where you have more and more people than at any time in recent memory who are sort of addicted to both guns and to grievance.

And when you incorporate some of the religious fervor into that and, again, some of the doomsday prophesying about that imminent day when the government is coming for you and you had better be ready — all of it in combination is, to me, what feels uniquely dangerous about this moment.

Tim Alberta

Tim Alberta is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and staff writer for The Atlantic magazine. He formerly served as chief political correspondent for POLITICO. In 2019, he published the critically acclaimed book, “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump” and co-moderated the year’s final Democratic presidential debate aired by PBS Newshour.

Hailing from Brighton, Michigan, Tim attended Schoolcraft College and later Michigan State University, where his plans to become a baseball writer were changed by a stint covering the legislature in Lansing. He went on to spend more than a decade in Washington, reporting for publications including the Wall Street Journal, The Hotline, National Journaland National Review. . . .

In 2019, he moved home to Michigan. Rather than cover the 2020 campaign through the eyes of the candidates, Tim roved the country and reported from gun shows and farmers markets, black cookouts and white suburbs, crowded wholesale stores and shuttered small businesses.

He wrote a regular “Letter to Washington” that kept upstream from politics, focusing less on manifest partisan divisions and more on elusive root causes: the hollowing out of communities, the diminished faith in vital institutions, the self-perpetuating cycle of cultural antagonism, the diverging economic realities for wealthy and working-class citizens, the rapid demographic makeover of America—and the corollary spikes in racism and xenophobia.

Tim joined The Atlantic in March 2021 with a mandate to keep roaming and writing and telling stories that strike at the heart of America’s discontent. . . .




One thought on “Quote of The Week: Guns & “Religious Fervor””

  1. who are sort of addicted to both guns and to grievance.
    Addiction…. Never thought of this this way. Sounds there’s a good bumper sticker in there.

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