NYTimes on ISIS / Confederate and Rainbow flags

1. This is some good reporting from the NY Times, on the atrocities of ISIS.
"It has been nearly impossible for two U.S. presidents — Bush, a conservative evangelical; and Obama, a progressive liberal — to address the plight of Christians explicitly for fear of appearing to play into the crusader and ‘‘clash of civilizations’’ narratives the West is accused of embracing."

2. If you're not sick of the "Confederate flag - racism" topic yet, this is good reading to make all my different kinds of friends mad.  It'll make you think and cuts against the grain of assumptions of both north and south, conservative and liberal.  A few excerpts:
"a main reason for Christians to be critical of the flag is that the Confederate States of America was founded on a societal ideal that increasingly rejected Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy in favor of a culturally driven ideals, ideals that appealed to Christian aesthetics, in order to curry favor with the dispositions of the contemporary cultural elite." 
"Contrary to both the narratives of the paleo-conservatives and the social justice warriors, today’s progressives actually stand in continuity with the motivations of the Confederacy. And so perhaps they ought not be pulling down the Battle Flag after all. It pairs nicely with the rainbow."
"while the flag that flew in South Carolina was the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, to assign it the values Fitzhugh articulated is not a historical overstatement. The battle was itself caused by the secession, and Southern states seceded to defend slavery. The Army of Northern Virginia fought to preserve a republic devoted to maintaining slavery. (An excellent work for any Christian who sees slavery as anything but a primary cause for secession is Charles Dew’s Apostles of Disunion.)"

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