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David J. Dunn, PhD
David is an independent scholar who works on political theology and theology of economics. He received is doctorate from Vanderbilt University in 2011. His dissertation explores ways the church can (and should) think about its role in secular culture, and is currently under contract with Wipf & Stock with the title Orthodoxy without Empire.

David's essays appear in The Ecumenical Edwards, Correlating Sobornost, and elsewhere.

David blogs at You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

David enjoys running, boring books, and watching his children grow up to surpass him in all things.

Entries by David J. Dunn, PhD

An Opportunity for Christian Witness in Indiana's Anti-Gay Law

(113) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 4:54 AM

The state of Indiana just signed into law a bill that permits business owners to refuse service to gay customers on religious grounds. This is a despicable law. But it is also an opportunity. Christians in the state of Indiana (at least some of them) have an opportunity...

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Torture and the Moral Bankruptcy of Barack Obama (And the Rest of Us)

(18) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 5:44 PM

President Obama deserves credit for his candor. He admits that we tortured people after 9/11, and that our actions violate our highest ideals as a nation. But apologies are hollow if they are not followed by attempts to make amends. "Sorry" is a lie if it is only a word. President Obama...

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The Madness of Rev. Kurt Dunkle and the Trustees of General Theological Seminary

(28) Comments | Posted September 30, 2014 | 10:41 AM

A few days ago, eight faculty members at the General Theological Seminary in New York went on strike until their one demand was met. What was that demand? A meeting.

As of this morning, they have all been fired.

Here's why you should care about this:

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Get Out! - The Only Sane Response to the Islamic State

(9) Comments | Posted September 14, 2014 | 9:23 PM

The Islamic State (ISIS) proves the law of unintended consequences. Congratulations America! We killed Christianity in the Middle East and unleashed a terror organization with far greater reach and power than Al Qaeda ever possessed. If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting...

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Jesus Christ, Refugee

(3) Comments | Posted July 18, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Back in 2003 I drove past an Assemblies of God church sign that read, "Let's roll! USA! USA!" It was the run-up to the Iraq War, and the people of God were calling for bloodshed. We are doing it again. Children spill across our borders, and we hurry to...

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Why Christians Should Worry About Hobby Lobby's 'Victory'

(19) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 2:27 PM

Hobby Lobby won its case in the Supreme Court. It may now opt out of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In particular, this family owned, for-profit corporation has the right to refuse insurance coverage of contraceptive methods to which it has "sincerely held" religious objections (see PDF...

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Love the Sinner? Love the Sin! Why Christians Should Make Cakes for Gay Weddings

(7) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 3:30 PM

Christians are in the news again. This is almost never good. I mean, I love my people. Really! I am one of my people! But we are idiots sometimes. Once again, we are taking a stand against "immorality" and "godlessness." We have refused to make a cake for a...

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Theology Is Not About God: An Open Letter to Jerry A. Coyne

(40) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 11:13 AM

Dear Dr. Coyne,

As a general rule, I avoid arguments with kitchen appliances, Christian fundamentalists, and atheists who think Dawkins makes sense. But I feel obliged to make an exception in this case. You pride yourself on being a reasonable person and on giving Christian theology a fair hearing, so...

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'Don't Say Gay': What American Christianity Can Learn From Vladimir Putin

(98) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 5:50 PM

A skinhead group in Russia has been posting personals to gay dating sites in order to lure young men to remote locations, torture, and humiliate them. Then they post the video online as a warning to others: It's not safe to be gay in Russia! (Read the

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The Triumph of Orthodoxy: Why We Kiss Pictures

(26) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 3:18 PM

When a visitor steps foot into an Orthodox Church, the first face she will probably see is Jesus. He will be placed on a small stand in the temple (i.e. the "sanctuary"), and as worshipers enter, they will cross themselves, kiss his hand and cross themselves again. I am talking...

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Gun Control: Should a Christian Carry?

(197) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 10:06 AM

Many of my fellow Christians are also vociferous defenders of so-called "gun rights." They believe that an armed society is a safe society, and that the founding fathers intended an armed populace to be the last line of defense against tyranny. But sometimes our public debates can keep us from...

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I am Not a Gun-Virgin (and Other Responses to My Critics)

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 12:00 PM

Originally posted to on January 30, 2013.

Like everyone, I sometimes get into tit-for-tats online, but on those rare occasions in which I am being the better version of myself, I keep in mind that online discussions tend to generate more heat than light. The nastier the critics, the...

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An Eastern Orthodox Case for Banning Assault Weapons

(55) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 8:28 PM

NRA president, Wayne LaPierre says that instead of banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, we need to do something about violent movies and video games. He is technically correct that the cause of gun violence is not the gun. It's the violence, but sometimes the root problem is...

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Human Nature, Jesus and the F-Word

(69) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 1:36 PM

Suzanne Venker recently wrote a blog post on Fox, which noted that women today are unhappier than ever, and argued that the feminist movement is to blame. Women have put their careers first. This has derailed their desire to live a "balanced life" (by which Venker seems...

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Occupy Your Living Room: An Eastern Orthodox Response to Black Friday

(2) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 11:55 AM

Many retail employees will have to miss Thanksgiving this year because some stores are now starting Black Friday on Thursday night. This is an inevitable development in our consumer-based economy. I doubt I am the only one who has noticed that Christmas decorations seem to apppear on store...

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Why I Voted for My Kids Instead of Mitt Romney

(31) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 11:54 AM

Last night I picked up Kyla and George from their after-school program. Kyla got into the car and announced that they were having a mock election at school tomorrow, and that she was going to vote for Mitt Romney, because Barack Obama would raise our taxes!

To which I responded,...

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The Economics of Scraps: Why I May Vote for Mitt Romney (No, Seriously!)

(177) Comments | Posted October 24, 2012 | 3:14 PM

"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day." Luke 16:19

According to Karl Marx, class conflict is the engine that drives history forward. That is why I am seriously considering casting my vote for Mitt Romney. We need more...

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The Myth of the 47%: Our Original Sin

(7) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 2:12 PM

When Mitt Romney infamously belittled 47 percent of Americans, he was not exactly being an elitist. A lot of people imagine broad swaths of the country occupied by lazy moochers and freeloaders. They could work if they wanted to, but they prefer to sit in poorly lit apartments,...

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'Get Them Out!' -- Why Did We See Racism at the RNC?

(95) Comments | Posted August 31, 2012 | 2:12 PM

This morning I came across a video of what appeared to be mob racism on the floor of the Republican convention. The delegate from Puerto Rico goes on stage and is met with shouts of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" mixed with "Get them out! Get them out!"

If I may be a generous critic, I think it is safe to assume that some of the people shouting "U-S-A!" were caught up in mob fervor. Like Reince Priebus, they probably did not have a clue what was going on until somebody whispered in their ears, "You know that clean-cut white boy is shouting 'Get them out!' -- right?"

I am not about to suggest that Republicans are more racist than Democrats. There are plenty of Democrats who say and do racist things. (Some of them go on to be vice president.) In some ways, Democratic racism is more problematic than what we saw in that video because it is harder to recognize. It often takes the form of patronizing congratulations. Democrats have a bad habit of making a special point to show how un-racist they are by showcasing the accomplishments of minorities, who somehow managed to make something of themselves despite their brownish "disabilities."

But what bothers me about the above video is that there are apparently some members of the GOP who think being racist is not just okay but consistent with the values of their party. They spewed open hate (on camera)! Patronizing racism is inexcusable. It is still racism. But it is arguably an over-correction. If a person highlights the accomplishments of minorities, she is often trying to convince herself she is not a racist. She may be deluding herself, but it may be that at some level she knows racism is wrong.

The clip of the GOP troubles me because I saw delegates being racist without shame. It took the party leadership a little time to figure out what was going on. They tried to shut down the hate-speech, but what does it say about the GOP that a group of white males would be so open about their racism in front of a Hispanic Republican and the rest of TV-watching America?

I do not know the answer, but it is a fair question. There is something about the GOP that makes open racists feel comfortable. Maybe it is because conservatism hearkens back to an allegedly "simpler time," when it just so happens that women did not vote and black folks "knew their place." Or maybe white delegates feel especially privileged because minorities are so underrepresented in the party leadership. Or maybe it is because not even most Republicans believe their party's interest in prevent voter fraud is about anything but suppressing the minority vote.

The Republican Party needs to face up to the fact that, no matter what its platform says, their culture, tactics, and values make open racists feel quite comfortable being openly racist. The GOP is the party for them!

Of course, it's not like the leadership of the party is oblivious to the fact that there is a racist bloc in their base. The GOP has tried to capitalize on Southern disaffection with the Democratic Party ever since Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as Andrew M. Manis has persuasively shown). I guess you could say that a silent appeal to racists has been a pillar of the Republican Party's political strategy for almost 50 years.

Republican leadership needs to be honest about the tacit acceptance of racism in its ranks. Otherwise, white delegates will continue to shout down brown people (or throw peanuts at them), and official shock and apologies will be increasingly seen as the hollow gestures they probably are.

Correction: I relied on early news reports for my information about the events at the RNC. Those reports have been retracted. Therefore, I can no longer say with confidence that delegates were shouting "Get them out." I believe that my critique of racism in the RNC remains valid, but in this case that critique rests upon faulty evidence. I apologize for any confusion my error might have...

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Voting My Religion: The Hypocrisy of the "Christian Right"

(205) Comments | Posted June 29, 2012 | 6:15 PM

The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, but the fight for healthcare is not over. The GOP now has a rallying cry to drive its base to the polls. Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics make up a large portion of the Republican base. As a Christian political theologian, I...

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