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David J. Dunn, PhD
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With an expertise in political theology and theology of economy, David J. Dunn writes on intersections of church and culture from an Orthodox theological perspective. He is the author of the forthcoming book Orthodoxy without Empire (under contract with Wipf and Stock). His articles appear in scholarly books and journals, and he writes extensively on his blog at www.davidjdunn.com.

David enjoys running, Doctor Who, the martial arts, reading books most people find boring, and marveling at his children.

You can follow him on Twitter at @DrDavidJDunn.

Entries by David J. Dunn, PhD

Jesus Christ, Refugee

(2) 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 www.davidjdunn.com 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 News.com, 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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My Year as a Pro-Gay 'Orthodox' Heretic

(14) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 2:22 PM

Originally posted to www.davidjdunn.com.

When people call you a blasphemer, Christ-denier, a defender of tyranny and an apologist for Babel, who cares more about impressing liberal academics than listening to the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church, the best response is almost always silence. My general practice is...

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Why Christian Activism Against Gay Marriage Is Not Very Christian

(114) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 4:14 PM

North Carolina's recent decision to ban gay marriage (a term I use in a particular sense) and civil unions represents a remarkable failure of Christian political imagination. It should go without saying that conservative Christians have been at the forefront of such movements. Some of my...

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Great Lent: What Fasting, South Park and Your Inner Toddler Have in Common

(18) Comments | Posted February 25, 2012 | 9:38 PM

Lent began on Ash Wednesday for Catholics and many Protestant Christians. They mark this season by having the sign of the cross smudged onto their foreheads with the ashes of burnt palm fronds from the last Palm Sunday. It is a beautiful reminder of the Christian's never-ending journey to the...

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Why I Never Fail My Students

(18) Comments | Posted January 17, 2012 | 10:20 AM

I got an e-mail from a student the other day, asking if he could make up an assignment he did not turn in ... last semester! He had failed my class, and since he didn't own a TARDIS, he was hoping I could go back in time and change history...

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