Holy Post Episode 471: Oreos, Ethics, & Afghanistan with Matthew Soerens

Holy Post Episode 471: Oreos, Ethics, & Afghanistan with Matthew Soerens

you’re listening to episode 471 of the holy post on today’s show we look at an article in salon that argues conservative christians are less moral and empathetic than atheists and secularists it largely comes down to the way different groups have responded to the pandemic and climate change but is the real problem that evangelicals are less moral or are they simply more likely to be deceived and distrusting of science then we talk about the tragedy unfolding in afghanistan christian shares a touching story about her son’s deployment to the country and i talk with matthew sorens from world relief about the unfolding refugee crisis what obligation do we have to the thousands of afghans who helped the u.s military over the last 20 years and with us evangelicals among those least likely to welcome refugees into the country will they make an exception to those refugees from afghanistan that helped our military all of that plus a strike at nabisco is threatening the country’s oreo supply which launches phil into a rant about different cookie varieties and what this all means about late stage capitalism before we get into the episode i have some good news for our patreon supporters earlier this week i did a one hour bonus interview with david french from the dispatch about afghanistan david french is an attorney a writer and an iraq war veteran so he has unique insights into what’s happening right now in afghanistan he and i spend the hour unpacking how the u.s got into this mess what mistakes were made as we sought to exit that country and what our moral obligations are to the afghans we’ve left behind but david and i go even deeper we don’t just look at missteps and errors that may have been made by president obama or trump or biden we look at what this whole episode reveals about the nature of american society and culture do we still have a sense of moral obligation to the world and can we sustain sacrifice over time this is a really interesting conversation and i’m so glad we can share it with our patreon supporters if you’re not a patreon supporter this is a great week to sign up and get access to this kind of bonus material so go to holypost.com and click the support us button at the top and you can learn more about the different tiers of support and the access you get for joining part of the holy post team thanks to everyone who’s already become a holy post supporter and makes this show possible and i hope you enjoy the conversation with david french this week for everyone else here’s episode 471 hey there welcome back to the holy post podcast this is phil fisher i am here with christian taylor hi chris hello welcome back good to have you on show today nice to be here and uh skyjatani hi skye hello is that a miami of ohio hat that you’re wearing yes it is because you had to take your daughter back to school yes i did is that why and all you got out of it was a big bill and a hat yeah actually that’s pretty much exactly what i got out of it yeah i got a lot of tears oh did you take because he took his daughter to school you no i got a lot of tears because i took my very last child oh you did to college yesterday oh and that was not easy particularly when he was sobbing when he left and we did not expect our 20 year old son and you guys he said mom and dad you gave me a really great childhood oh and i was like oh my goodness that’s gonna bust you up that was a very different departure than i had with zoe because as amanda and i were leaving she said hey do you mind dropping me at this frat house we’re like oh sure because you know you said yes i do you’re gonna walk there anyway and i’m not going to her close girlfriend was meeting her at this frat house so i’m like okay this is great and jason rugg how’s it going jason hey there pretty good did anyone drop you off at college yesterday uh no no i’m still here okay okay uh and here’s the theme song what’s the news that you like the most who’s your favorite podcast host if it’s breakfast get your toasted sky and fill and the holy post sky and phil and the holy post and sometimes christian okay there’s a lot of bad things happening in the world that could be the headline for everything in the past six years past six years there are a lot of bad things happening in the world and here is yet another one nabisco bakers across the us are on strike potentially disrupting oreo supply mechanized there’s actual bakers involved oh yes they’re elves they’re little little tiny elves in a tree and they make oreos i thought elves is like a euphemism for a microchip hundreds of what you think a microchip can make a cookie yeah is that what you think skye yeah you think a microchip can make are you are you eating digital food right now no but like all the machines that run in these factories that produce these mass quantities of stuff it’s got to be computerized right no people are required you just think no people you think people are superfluous to the manufacturing process is that what you think in some cases hundreds of workers at nabisco bakeries across the country are on strike over a proposal to change their work shifts and healthcare benefits and but enough about that it could disrupt the oreo supply so okay here’s here’s the thing that i want to bring up about this because i do you remember when you were kids uh jason you’re still a kid so you won’t it won’t be very hard but and you would go to the cookie aisle or you would go to the candy aisle and there was like you know in the cookie aisle there’s one oreo thing there’s one the next kind of cookie and one of the next kind of cookie in the candy aisle there’s there’s a you know box of snicker bars a box of milky way a box of kitkats and now you go to the cookie aisle and there’s like 12 there’s like three feet of oreo varieties yep you go to the candy aisle and there’s two feet of m m varieties then two feet of snickers varieties and then there were like eight flavors of kitkats the last time i counted so it’s you know it’s the same thing that you see in like the toothpaste aisle where it used to be do you want crest or colgate and now which one of these 30 different crests do you want or these 25 different colgates do you want in different packaging with different colors and flavors so the the um kind of morphing of the loss of the little guys all being sucked up by the big guys and that we’re more comfortable buying brand extensions of a brand we trust than trying something new like i don’t get you know i don’t get lemon cookies i actually get lemon oreos this is this is the natural progression of late stage capitalism oh yes this is what happens guys should know this because he wrote a book called divine commodity and if you guys who are listening haven’t heard about this book it was one of his very first ones taco taco i’m getting it i already mentioned i mentioned like 10 brands already and you didn’t ding a single one of them you’re right taco man if i were taco i would go on strike against you pal i was okay ah there we go i didn’t i mentioned 10 brands i need 10 dings oh wow all right here you need help carrying that to your car sir okay um here’s here’s my point i my theory is that because of this dynamic okay that brands like oreo are now too big to fail because if oreo went down like a third of the cookie aisle would be empty but you you’re talking about nabisco though yeah nabisco is too big to fail yeah which and now nabisco is a part of an even bigger company it’s owned by mandalas a european conglomerate so now the workers are not protesting because there’s too many varieties of oreos and it’s okay so they’re protesting over like pay and benefits yeah something about health care i don’t know what you’re not concerned about the human workers involved here you’re concerned about am i going to have the same variety of cookies in my cookie aisle i am concerned that rampant capitalism has left us in a state where we already know this that certain banks are too big to fail you know certain insurance companies are too big to fail that the government literally has to step in suspend the free market to keep these behemoth bank brands from going under and i’m just wondering if the same thing is happening in the snack food aisle you know my kitkat is too big to fail and we gotta prop up kit kat if it it fits in danger you need to be careful mr fisher because i saw on twitter there are people that are calling you a leftist and a progressive and this conversation is not helping your cause no but i think it actually is i’m being yeah i’m being free i’m i’m concerned about the free market eating itself and we have to save the free market from itself but that that it does kind of mean you know how do you keep more mom and pops in business so that you don’t end up with just one cookie company and one candy bar company that have to be propped up by taxpayer dollars if they ever get in trouble because we’ll lose a whole aisle out of the grocery store well you know i just learned about a whole um it’s a non-profit that is dedicated and i’m sure there’s more than one i’m sure there are many out there that are dedicated to the small town shopping local phenomena and all the little stores sort of pushing back against the amazons of the world or the uh you know the biscos or mandalas of the world i have a question are those workers protesting in the united states or in europe because in my experience in europe they protest the weather yeah no they’re they build fires and they strike and in fact there is a uh there is a nabisco bakery in chicago that is on strike but i this i didn’t know i don’t know if you knew this jason because it’s very close to you there’s a nabisco bakery in naperville yeah i knew that it’s right on ogden avenue oh that’s so that’s the one yeah they make wheat thin no they make a triscuits they make triscuits that’s where triscuits come from so which ones and they are not on strike so the triscuit supply is okay because you know napervillians are so secure upper middle class it’s like oh no we don’t even need to get paid we’re fine you’re saying that oreo is now too big to fail but the irony is that oreos made americans too big to walk like half of us are in mobility devices now oh wow you hit that one on the nose wow okay okay i gotta move on to other bad things i’m a little concerned about the oreo supply and just what it says you know for the state of everything because now i use i’m a big kit kat fan i like kit kats but now it’s like okay which you know which variety it’s like it’s like wendy’s with the george frosty and they say do you want a vanilla frosty or a chocolate frosty and i say a vanilla frosty is not a frosty it’s an abomination a frosty is chocolate you’re upset that they offered two varieties that’s too much for you it’s like what yeah cause what’s next what’s next what butterscotch frosties oh you strawberry frostings [Laughter] frosty i also like frosting the snowman and i’d like him to beat up all the other christmas specials so yeah maybe there’s a theme there um it’s like something you always say skye that i was about to say but i completely forgot what it was oh no when that that research about where some decisions that were in the background now become in the foreground and i have to go into the you know i’m looking for oreos and i have to go in and say oh wait a minute which oreos is which ones do i like are these the right ones do i like double stuffs do i like oreos fins do i like golden oreos do i like lemon oreos do you know what my brother did my brother is our our uh cruise director for our family reunions in michigan because he’s just i don’t know why so we we played a game this year where he bought every variety of oreo he could find which was like we had like uh 12 varieties of oreos and he laid them all out in the dining room there’s 22 of us there and then we all went around and tasted each variety and then voted to find you know what which included i don’t know if you know this exists but lady gaga oreos no seriously is it raw meat that’s what i said does it taste like a meat dress i know my first comment was it tastes like uh mascara and ambition but but it doesn’t it’s just kind of sweet so so there’s 22 of us going around the table tasting you know 15 different oreo flavors and voting on them and lady gaga oreos did not do well the ones with chocolate in the flavor like there’s a s’mores oreo they were way up there on the top and a peanut butter chocolate oreo and they were way up on there on the top birthday cake oreos not so good carrot cake oreos no that’s a real thing yes my comment was these taste too much like carrot cake and i like carrot cake but i don’t like it in the shape of an oreo that’s not a good that’s not the point of that exercise have you had the pop rocks ones pop rocks they’re not they’re not pop rocks brands so they can’t call them pop rocks so we didn’t know to expect it and suddenly like is your oreo exploding in your mouth or am i just having an allergic reaction i love pop rocks now i’m gonna go get me some of those i don’t really even like oreos but maybe if i like pop rocks i’ll like the oreos the other thing that we do now every year the new tradition that my brother is also in charge of is we do the same thing with cereals we look for promotional cereals limited edition cereals or seasonal cereals that you’ve never had before we buy as many of them as we can and then we play a game that that my brother call named spoons up and for to play spoons up you he he selects uh a cereal that none of us have ever had before he he wraps it in a blanket so we can’t see what it is then he gets out 20 bowls and puts a little of the cereal in each of the 20 bowls pours a little milk it takes some prep it takes some prep time so a little milk a little cereal in 20 bowls 20 spoons everyone gets their bowl their spoon their little bit of a brand new cereal and and everyone then discusses it what does it look like what do you think it should taste like from the look what does it smell like and then he says spoons up and everyone takes a bite and then we discuss and we do like two different cereal flavors a night and at the end of the week we have to go back and say what was your favorite and that’s fun too like minion cereal what does minions cereal taste like it looks vaguely minion despicable yeah that’s a but i have one thing one question for you phil what i wonder is is all of that change that’s bothering you really about change like is it that you like things the way they are in the olden days are you becoming this crotchety old man where you know back in my day we only had one oreo and you know we were happy with it is that it is that you don’t like change yeah and my grandpa his oreos were just two pieces of bread with pig fat in the middle i didn’t have oreos yet i hadn’t learned how to turn those basic ingredients into a delicious cookie yet so we had them in their raw form you know it’s a little bit what’s happening in america overall i don’t know if you saw the census data that’s been coming out but like oh yeah it’s been interesting i think the largest growing group of americans are people who don’t fit in any single category people like me the largest the largest growing group of americans or oreo flavors well that’s my point though is it used to be you could easily categorize people as white black hispanic whatever now it’s getting super messy and complicated because of all the you know mixed marriages and yeah some people just can’t handle it i don’t know uh carrot cake uh lady gaga i don’t know do you think one day there will be a section on that you know ethnicity forum we all have to fill out when every time we sign up something that will be just mixed mixed ethnicity unknown or do not don’t want to answer is that’s i faced that dilemma when i was applying to college actually miami my alma mater had that question on the entrance form and but they only let you select this is back in 1993. they only let you select one item and i didn’t select any because i didn’t fit just in one category and i wrote my whole essay about how their application process is flawed because it assumes people like me are an aberration and not legit so obviously that’s changed in in the years since but um yeah at some point these census forms and other documents that ask for your racial identity are gonna it gets so ridiculously long because so many people are so many different things right so between saying what’s your ethnicity and then what’s your gender it’s going to be like a 10-page form okay can i go on to the terrible things that are happening yeah goodness that was so fun we we turned something terrible into something fun do you think we don’t keep doing that but christian not all of life is fun don’t tell me that filter i don’t know if i don’t know if you’re aware of that it’s not always it’s not always i like making the lemonade out of the lemons yeah i know i know my dog died last week so that’s not that’s not fun we talked about it before the show we did and i said i would have stuffed him with fluff and kept him around as a fluffy like happy buddy because he’s so cuddly and fluffy and then creepy he would have made you happy cause you could have oh why not just stuff him with oreos and make him a pinata where you can just crack them open every once in a while and see what flavors come out i’m just gonna keep going we could do we could have him uh someone could sculpt him in like ceramic like a big cookie jar you know then he wouldn’t be the cuddly buddy no anyway buddy went to wherever dogs go in the new kingdom of dogs can we get into the theology of dogs what happens yes all dolls go to heaven haven’t you seen that movie and cats don’t dance that other movie okay all right what’s the bad news phil okay well i mean i don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but um afghanistan i don’t even know haiti earthquake um wildfires all over the place like half of oregon is burning california’s burning all over the place there’s a wildfire in siberia that’s bigger than all the other wildfires on earth combined right now floods turkey flooded middle tennessee just flooded over the weekend uh heat waves july was the hottest month in human history since we’ve been able to record temperatures canada a few months ago set their all-time high recorded record a couple weeks ago death valley california recorded a temperature that tied the highest recorded temperature on earth in history ever uh there’s no water we’re running out of water the the hoover dam is like the third empty and they the other big one up in oregon they had to stop generating hydroelectric power because the water level fell too low and they got to cut water for arizona sorry arizona no more water for you next year sorry it’s kind of crazy you forgot that there’s a tropical storm that hit uh rhode island was it oh yeah tropical storm well there was also one in florida it was henry or something i mean yeah i don’t remember the name of it i really don’t know what to think so some people said oh i can’t wait to hear you talk about afghanistan so we said well let’s let’s try to get somebody in who knows what they’re doing so can i say something about afghanistan yes you can say something since i’m the only one on this podcast that has a tiny little bit of experience here in afghanistan well i have a son that fought in afghanistan oh i forgot he was there and i had a son that was extremely scarred by being in afghanistan because he was nearly killed that’s where he got his medal of valor and he um lost a very good friend there and several but there was one of them that was a very good friend of his he also led a bible study there where he had some afghan people in the bible study and he had a little boy that he was friends with who would ride by his guard post every day on a little red bike and wave to him and he developed this relationship of them just waving to each other every day and one day this little boy on the bike was riding by and these bad guys came to grab him and over there when bad guys come to grab little boys it is not a good thing and hunter knew that and he requested permission to take out those bad guys and was denied and he had to make a choice in that moment do i protect this little kid and risk you know being court-martialed or do i obey my leadership and it was this terrible horrible place where he was and he ended up you know listening to his leadership and he never saw the kid again and that was incredibly traumatic for him and so he was over there for you know over nine months and he saw all of this and so he has been in serious crisis since this happened because you know it feels like to him and many veterans that everything that they did over there was for nothing right and it was for naught and i understand the outrage you know on the part of veterans and and the hurt you know and the abandonment that they’re feeling and i know there’s probably veterans that are listening and there may even be those that fought in afghanistan that are listening so i just want to take a moment and say that what you did over there was not wasted and god uses everything you know we don’t know what you know we don’t know what the end of the story is but we know that our god is good and we know that he cares about people all over the world and ultimately we have to trust our god with these big events these bad things you know bad things happen in this world they happen to people and they happen to our planet and they have for a millennia but ultimately god is in control of those things and we have to trust him and so for those of you that are out there hurting i would say please contact your leadership if you had some leaders that you listen to please do that and talk to them about the pain that you’re in and don’t lose hope because god is our hope and he will be there for us so that’s my word on afghanistan wow thanks christian i appreciate uncle i’m sorry for taking time though no that’s okay i forgot about that that story from hunter yeah it was pretty rough and it’s out there on the internet he wrote it on reddit it’s called the boy and the red bike so if you want to look that up you can and i would just say keep hunter and all of those other people in your prayers they’re in a crisis right now i mean they were talking about doing a gofundme and getting all of the veterans together with the gofundme and going over there and standing up for all of the americans that are being left behind i mean it’s they’re in serious crisis right now the the story you just shared about the boy on the red bike um as touching and traumatic as that is on a very small scale for hunter it’s it’s a fitting analogy for the entire country right where the whole country is being taken over by the taliban again many americans and american allies are at risk and the us is basically doing virtually nothing right they’re not allowed to because the the policy is to for i had a long discussion with david french about this and uh we’re also gonna have an interview in this episode with matthew sorens from world relief about how people can actually help and why the situation of trying to rescue people out of afghanistan both american citizens and american allies is so important so i hope people stick around and listen to that because there are tangible things we can do to help right now even if we aren’t going to go back in militarily and really try to repair what was broken in that country in the first place right can i say i do i do not understand the taliban i just i don’t understand why i i mean who is excited about yay the taliban is back in no one is ex no one is excited i think but how can there be that many of them if no one wants them i don’t under like if you when you see a picture of the of taliban leaders they never look happy they look grumpy they’re grumpy guys in in beards and they say you know they like no music no fun no parties no singing no dancing they’re like they’re like a cartoon version of the villain from you know that children’s film that you hated when you were a kid like this yeah yeah like everything that’s fun we’re going to make it illegal yeah so how do they take over a country because they’re all male it’s a male-dominated society how far is this i mean the majority of them they’re they want control but at the end of the day phil we can’t understand crazy people but they can’t be that they’re there that can’t be that many crazy people to take over a country i don’t think they’re crazy i don’t think they’re crazy logic i just don’t understand the logic of you know we just i work there way too many people enjoying themselves we got to do something about this this this is this is religious fundamentalism kind of 101. these are people who believe that they are constructing a society the way god intends it to be and if you are serious about your religion and you’re serious about trying to honor god and you are enculturated into the taliban’s way of thinking then this is a great victory this is returning the country to the way it’s supposed to be and get these crazy western capitalist infidels that are giving women rights and bringing in 40 different varieties of oreos out of our country that’s the point and so i think there are a lot of that big they have that big of a following yeah that you can take over a country in 10 days well they didn’t in 10 days they did they’ve done it over months this is this is what the media is not really reporting is when the trump administration struck their deal with the taliban and promised that the us would be gone by may 1st and then biden switched it to august 31st right after that deal was signed the taliban started moving into different provinces around the country and taking over it wasn’t until the very end where they decided we’re going to now move on the capital and it started hitting all the television screens and everybody started seeing what was happening but they’ve actually been executing people killing allies of the us and taking over different parts of the country ever since that deal was signed in 2020. yeah and even back further than that if you think about the obama administration i mean they’ve been drawing down over a course of a long time and as they would draw down our forces would draw down they would take a little bit more ground and so what would happen with each administration they would say okay we’re gonna withdraw our troops and they would begin with drawing things and you know they were things would spark up and the presidents would realize even obama and trump would realize that okay it’s more complicated than we thought and we can’t really pull everybody out and i think the outrage that people are thinking about is they did not expect you know biden to actually go through with pulling everybody out and you know thinking through all that so you know and i would say too what i’m you know from my own personal perspective with how american forces in normandy really impacted the you know the lives of those french people i would say that you know our presence there really did change the lives of individual afghans on on a you know small level all the way to a broad level and i think those people that were over there the military people that were fighting for them and helping them saw that and i think that’s why they’re so angry that we would just abandon them particularly the afghans that helped us right right a couple just before we move on phil i again encourage everyone to stick around listen to the interview but also we’ll release that david french interview somewhere along the lines here first probably to our patreon subscribers in the last seven years do you know how many american troops have been killed in afghanistan not many in the last seven years it’s been 66 people yeah 16. you’re averaging less than 10 a year and not to minimize those sacrifices in any way but what it wasn’t like there was some horrible american loss of life that necessitated getting out of this country as early as we did right and the the cost and david french brings this up the cost to future u.s military engagement because now we have a proven track record of abandoning our allies in iraq the kurds now afghanistan the likelihood of american troops going into another country in the future and making significant partnerships and get allies is minimized because people know we will abandon them and that means in the future this is ultimately going to cost more u.s lives and more u.s troops not fewer so i think i mean i’m no expert on exactly this but in my research of this i think all three administrations obama trump and biden own responsibility for this ever since bin laden was killed there has been an effort to try to get out of afghanistan and trump finalized that deal biden executed it very poorly and it was i would argue because the american people have given up any moral obligation or sense of moral obligation to that country and we just abandoned it so i don’t blame the administrations as much as i just blame the american people for giving up on this and it’s it is a betrayal of them it’s a betrayal of our own military because they’re going to be the ones who pay the price for this in the future well that’s not encouraging no and i would say too that you know by doing that by being this isolationist going back into this isolationist stance of us first and protecting our own we’re seeding the ground that we’ve had the leadership role that we’ve had you know in the world and that’s truly tragic because as we know you know we have a lot to offer the world and you know when we just pull into ourselves and we take care of our own i think it’s being irresponsible with the gifts we’ve been giving right that’s my two cents yeah yeah i saw what one headline that just said this is this is officially the end of pax americana you know that we are no longer bringing attempting to bring an american peace to the earth and one one commentator said and it’s about time you know others said and this is a huge problem for the world so obviously people have very different perspectives on you know isolationism versus interventionism and is it our job to make the whole world better or you know should we be putting america and there is a bound i would say as in every other argument somewhere in the middle is you know would be the balance right all right um shifting to the other parts of that the uh climate stuff the wildfires we got a really bad report from the u.n a couple weeks ago about climate change and that it’s going faster than we thought and it’s getting worse than we thought and it’s going to impact more people than we thought it seems like very few people today are denying that things are changing because it’s hard to do that when you got water up to your knees or you know you can’t grow almonds anymore because you there’s no water to water the trees so um and then we’ve got the the pandemic you know and the responses to the pandemic are are also interesting so someone wrote a piece phil zuckerman wrote a piece in a salon not a christian publication not a christian journalist says staunch atheists show higher morals than the proudly pious from the pandemic to climate change when it comes to the most pressing moral issues of the day hardcore secularists exhibit much more empathy he talks about the global pandemic and the rapidly warming uh rapid warming of our planet these dire phenomena are above all deeply moral matters in that they both entail care for the well-being of others and a desire to alleviate misery and suffering in our nation today it’s actually the most secular among us who are exhibiting a greater moral orientation in the face of deadly threats than the most devout among us who are exhibiting the least and then he clarifies how he defines the most you know devout and the least devout the most secular he says i mean atheists agnostics people who never attend religious services don’t think the bible is the word of god and don’t pray by most devout i mean religious fundamentalists who believe in god without any doubts who attend church frequently who consider the bible the infallible word of god who pray a lot and who insist that jesus is the only way the only truth and the only life when it comes to the battle against coven 19 it is the most secular of americans who are doing what they can to wipe it out while it is the most faithful among us especially nationalistic white evangelicals who are keeping covet 19 alive and well for example a recent pew study found that while only 10 percent of atheists said they would definitely or probably not get vaccinated 45 percent of white evangelicals said the same and then on climate change it is the most staunchly secular among us who understand the science behind climate change and want to do what needs to be done in order to prevent it while it’s the most pious among us who dismiss the science and don’t want to address the dire threat for example a recent prri study found that over 80 percent of secular americans accept the evidence that human activity is causing climate change and they place addressing climate change at the top of the list of their political priorities while only 33 percent of white evangelicals accept such evidence so 80 for secularists 33 for white evangelicals and thus place it towards the bottom of their political priorities okay can i reframe the argument he’s trying to make here yes because the way it’s framed in the article it sounds like religious people are immoral and non-religious people are moral and i don’t think that’s what the data is actually saying i think what the data is really saying is that non-religious people tend to believe scientists and highly religious people tend to distrust scientists so the real issue is who sees science as authoritative and who’s skeptical and then based on where they put their authority they act in what they believe to be a moral manner so i wouldn’t argue that one group’s more moral than the other the difference is where they root their authority structure in right good point okay but then he extends it to who is more pro-gun in today’s america not the hardest of atheists rather it’s the most fervent of christians while 77 of atheists are in favor of banning assault rifles only 45 of white evangelicals are so that’s not a science issues guy it is kind of a science issue no it’s not a science issue no i think that what is in the sciences because i mean this is i’ve had these arguments on social media before and they’re very taxing but when you look at the data on gun deaths in this country i think and compare it to what happens when guns aren’t accessible both not just violent deaths in the form of criminal activity but suicides by firearm the overwhelming evidence says that removing these from circulation lowers the number of people who die and the argument that the other side wants to make is ignore the science in fact there’s been bills passed in congress they won’t even let the government study the issue of gun deaths and violence in the country and they just want to stick to their right so once again it’s a suspicion of evidence and expert opinion but they don’t start out suspicious of the evidence they ignore the evidence because it conflicts with their ideology they start out with ideology right right here’s the difference if if people can agree on what a moral response would be and then one group consistently rejects doing it yeah that would be immoral but what’s happening is these highly religious fundamentalists don’t agree on what the moral response is because they believe the proliferation of guns in this country is moral they don’t see it as immoral they believe that wearing them not wearing a mask is moral and denying a vaccine is moral they’re not doing it because it’s immoral they’re doing it because they think it is moral so the issue is not morality versus immorality it’s where do you place trust and authority and that’s where the breakdown is okay so how did we get here how did we get here and he goes through a whole other list you know in terms of who supports helping refugees you know white evangelicals feel that america has the lowest obligation to help refugees affordable health care for everybody who supports that not white evangelicals um the death penalty hey we love that um we’re more likely to support the use of torture uh corporal punishment the most secular americans exhibit the most care for the suffering of others while the most religious exhibit the highest levels of indifference that’s his conclusory statement my i guess my pushback would be that if you if you go down to a more neighborly level white evangelicals are extremely likely to come to the aid of people they actually know you know if if the neighboring town is hit by a hurricane churches are all over it you know trying to put the town back together um and we seem to care about you know suffering among people either that we know personally or that we see in other parts of the world we tend to care a lot about suffering what we seem to mistrust is um broad systemic issues that are promoted by the political left but can i say something yes i have seen a turn and i think it does have to do with the media or what we see because back when back in my day we cared about the refugees i mean we’re living in wheaton where you know wheaton brings all of these refugees here resettles them we have mission organizations and when i was a tiny kid you know we were going overseas and bringing people back so we used to care about refugees and people that we do you want to know what do you want to know what happened there let me know because i do have a point of view on what happened there in the 1990s california became uh kind of awash in controversy over the browning of california that there were so many you know illegal immigrants coming from latin and south america that they were taking over taking over california and so there were whole propositions that were promoted and a huge political outcry that movement the anti-immigrant movement in southern california produced voices like stephen miller he came out of southern california in that area then he was promoted by guys like steve bannon to get into the trump administration and trump ended up adopting a very anti-immigrant anti-refugee policy which was guided by stephen miller who became his policy guy on that in the first year of the trump administration um evangelical support for resettling refugees dropped 10 points just in that one year which is astonishing to have a group of you know 10 20 25 million people have that big a swing in their view of immigrants so it’s actually it’s one of those weird things where we kind of have california to blame that’s very weird yeah well i mean the other thing that happened phil is that you know i do wonder and i’m going to ask you and sky this question there was always when i was growing up this idea of you know these natural disasters or god’s way of punishing people for their sins or sort of you know writing the universe you know i mean i can remember when there was a big tsunami somewhere you know i heard christian people saying well clearly you know this was a sinful community or country and they needed to be wiped out and you know then then there is this sort of darwin theory in the pandemic that i’ve actually heard people say which is you know god’s in control the virus those that are going to die are going to die if they’re the weaker ones and they need to die off then they need to die off we just have to you know live with it god is going you know his justice will reign and so we don’t need darwin it’s very not christian no but christians seem to be adopting it uh subconsciously survival fitness yeah they don’t claim it as such but it’s sort of this you know old testament justice view of god and sin and right am i off base or sky no i think that rhetoric is out there um but i mean totally unchristian it’s wholly unbiblical but people are going to employ it they always have so what do you do what do you do when someone makes the argument and you have to respond of i think we’d be way better off if there weren’t any christians in america because they seem to be on the you know they seem to be the least compassionate people we have well okay backing up for a second though and a number of those examples that you gave i think what it shows and i don’t want to say this too many times i don’t think this is an issue of christians are less compassionate as you pointed out when it’s their neighbor that needs help they’re often the ones that rush in and help disaster relief other things it i think what this is really uncovering and i don’t know how to say this without making it an overstatement i think what it shows when it comes to issues of evidence and science sadly are far more likely to be deceived and in the lies that they believe they end up acting in an uncompassionate way so for example when you believe the lie that immigrants and refugees are more likely to be violent and terrorists which is completely unfounded by the evidence if you believe that lie then it makes sense that i want to protect my neighbors and my country by banning immigrants and refugees that’s actually the compassionate response if you really believe they’re all murderers and rapists and you know the stuff that trump said if you believe that wearing a mask actually does more harm to a person’s health than wearing a mask then the compassionate response is not to wear a mask the issue is the deception and the lies are far more common among christians than non-christians when it comes to these issues of science and evidence and that’s the problem that needs to be tackled here it isn’t that christians aren’t compassionate or moral it’s that they’re frankly being lied to and easily deceived okay white evangelicals are the religious group most likely to support the use of torture science no that’s just immoral and ungodly yeah that that i think i think yeah i think that is is shows how much the conservative church was twisted by the cold war and then you know the embrace of american militarism um post cold war and through the vietnam war and then 911 you know and the fear of the other you know that combination of their coming to get us um so we re and we’re the good guys america’s the good guys so we can’t do bad so even if we have to be a little rough to get the information we need to save lives it’s the moral thing to do but that’s part of the lies and deception that frankly a lot of christian leaders are guilty of pushing on christian followers is there is there any correlation between that thinking and why evangelical christians are so in support of uh the death penalty uh uh yeah it makes us makes the world more right it’s i think it’s a form of legalism it’s pretty easy to support the death penalty if all you read is the old testament like oh yeah they were killing people left and right right god wants us to kill people and again i think people have been fed the inaccurate data that the death penalty serves as a deterrent to violent crime when the evidence is overwhelming it doesn’t but it makes sense that it would right it makes it surface level logic it would make sense that oh if someone risks execution they’re not going to behave badly but that’s not what the evidence is well you know this were discussion sky reminds me a lot of the series you’ve been doing on justice uh in the with god because in that with god series you’re exploring the idea of justice and what a healthy biblical idea of justice is as i’ve read it i mean correct me if i’m wrong and what i do think i hear in you know when i hear white evangelicals agreeing with torture or the death penalty i think gosh it sounds like there is a miscued idea or understanding of god’s justice i don’t know sky yeah i mean am i right yeah i think you are and i just again it it reveals how much of the american church has been shaped by cultural and political ideology not biblical theology i think you can make a biblical theological case for the death penalty i don’t think it’s a good case but you can make one you cannot make a biblical or theological argument for torture you just can’t and that’s the stuff that is kind of or like you could make a biblical theological case for securing the borders and immigration reform but you can’t make a biblical case for turning aside somebody who is a refugee looking for asylum from you know persecution in afghanistan for example you can’t right so that’s where i you know you can you can make these thin arguments based on christian faith but a lot of these views have no basis in christian faith at all and i think when you look at some of the research on belief and and you realize okay there’s a lot of space on some issues between the biblical position and the white evangelical position there is almost no space on any issue between the republican position and the white evangelical position so as a as a group we seem to be conforming our beliefs more to what is you know a political party than the bible and that’s that’s sensitive to pocat with people but we kind of cause you can look at you know here’s what the bible says about this issue here’s what the bible says about this issue now your your belief actually is really tight not to the biblical position but to the conservative political position you know does that is that a red flag well and here’s here’s the other red flag or the left position you know if you’re if you’re really tight with the the positions of you know the democratic party more so than positions of the bible the other red flag is as the church we are supposed to be people who are claiming to represent the truth of god and that truth being the person of jesus christ but if in almost every other area of social engagement it’s you can prove that christians are buying into flat out lies and untruths right why would anyone believe us when we say we we have the truth about god so truth matters and it matters not just in spiritual religious issues it matters on all issues so when the people most susceptible to deception and lies stand up and say hey but you should believe us because we have the truth about god why would anyone listen credibility is shot the governor of tennessee just had to issue a statement that no in fact uh people aren’t injecting cows with the vaccine so that you would be vaccinated by eating their beef oh my goodness the governor had to say that like no that’s not happening and that wouldn’t even work if it did happen so oh my goodness yeah we’re getting a little loopy okay so can i just ask you phil yes this that article is very disheartening and discouraging almost more than all the other things you rattled off honestly so what was the conclusion of that what are we supposed to take away from me or from the guy from the guy what did he say oh the guy says we need to make sure that that our citizenry is more secular and less religious oh no yeah that’s what he’s that’s what he’s arguing for is we need to be a more atheistic society to be more moral that just breaks my heart we need to be a society that cares more about the truth and roots out deception and lies and fake news yeah because he’s he’s very much uh slanting his argument towards the data that supports his premise which we all do i mean it’s very easy to just start with your conclusion and if you if you believe you know religion is a curse on the world you’re going to interpret the data to support your conclusion and if you believe that vaccines are evil you’re going to interpret the data to support your conclusion we all do it we just need to like just take a second take a breath back up read more broadly that’s one of the things that really concerns me is you know when i’m interacting with with my own tribe white evangelicals uh and i i realize how narrowly they’re reading you know it’s like well of course you don’t know about this because they’re never going to tell you about this you never you need to re like i i stopped watching all cable news because you have to pick one to watch right it’s very hard to watch three or four cable news channels enough time to get a balance of views i can scan headlines from 30 different publications very very quickly and easily and see how the same story is being slanted by different publications and then decide you know who seems to be kind of in the middle and i’ll read that one i can’t do that with cable news so i’ve just stopped watching all together and if just little steps like that i think would be really really helpful scan headlines across you know everywhere from uh mother earth mother jones whatever that is magazine on the far left you know to fox news on the right you get all their headlines and just read them all and you get like okay all right there’s a story in here somewhere i’m not sure exactly where it is um so that’s helped me a lot and we need to help people do that better and can i say one thing that i’ve learned and hopefully this will help people have a little bit of compassion being with my dad and down in mississippi for a month i learned a lot of things from the inside you know i’ve grown up down there and so i do have some inside information of the way things have been over my lifetime but being in there for that month um i learned things that i did not understand before particularly with my dad i now understand why so many older people are so connected to fox news and it’s because you know way back in the day when fox news first started yeah it had the slant of the right there but it was not the fox news that we know today but during that time you know people began to watch that and it began to be their channel their trusted news or whatever so over the course of all of those years that they’ve been watching it it’s just part of their daily life i mean in some way and this is terrible to say but it in my father’s situation it almost acted like a pacifier when he was agitated or needed to calm down the thing that he turned to was fox news and just having it on and listening to it uh was comforting to him what he doesn’t know that i do is that it seeps into who you are especially for older americans when they’re not able i mean i just came back because my you know father was completely scammed by publishers clearinghouse and a number of all these other organizations asking for money and things like that he couldn’t determine what was true and what was false so when you are in that older sector you are susceptible to that kind of brain formation without knowing it and so i really have a lot more compassion now for that and i just think us allies you know if we want to try to understand why this older white group of people can’t process accept or think about um any other news that’s out there i think that’s part of the equation that we need to consider and need to have a little compassion about that yeah absolutely i discovered when i was interacting with people who were you know saying how could you not support donald trump you know first of all they say how could you support the democratic candidate and i said i didn’t say i did support the democratic candidate i just said i wasn’t supporting donald trump they said how could you not support donald trump his policies are all biblical and then i would bring up the refugee policy and it was very clear they’d never heard of it right you know oh well we shouldn’t have illegal aliens here no i’m talking about legal refugee resettlement well what’s that why have you never heard of that because the news outlets that you look to don’t cover that you know it’s not on it’s like it’s not on the playlist of your radio station if you only listen to one radio station and they only play 40 songs then i can’t really be mad at you because you’ve never heard this song but i can encourage you to change the dial every now and then judgment judgment shouldn’t be put upon the people who are deceived it should be put upon the deceivers safe for sure i decided my next documentary is going to be on elder abuse and basically how everybody is trying to get money and stuff from these older people that can’t discern the truth it’s horrible what what came to my father’s house is horrible so and all right made me mad at the deceiver so you’re right skye let’s get mad at them gur gur all right we and we have uh we have matt sorens right yeah sorens talk about immigration again specifically afghanistan and what we can do specifically stuff is happening and we need to know how we can help so okay thanks guys thanks for your support on patreon and elsewhere really appreciate it and uh we’ll see you again next week bye everybody my conversation today is with matthew sorens he is no stranger to the holy post we’ve had him on numerous times in the past to talk about issues of immigration and he’s back today to talk about the crisis in afghanistan and what we can do to help the refugees who need to escape that country matthew sorens points out that most white evangelicals in america today are actually against resettling of refugees but he says that won’t deter him or others from working with the sections of the church that still care about welcoming our neighbors who need help matthew sorens is the us director of church mobilization for world relief and the national coordinator for the evangelical immigration table he’s also the co-author of a book called welcoming the stranger beyond our discussion about afghanistan he also updates us on what’s happening with the dreamers those who came to this country as children but are still undocumented two things before we jump into the interview first matthew sorens highlights some practical ways that we can help afghan refugees you can find links to those resources in the show notes and secondly if you want to go even deeper into what’s going on in afghanistan you don’t want to miss my bonus interview with david french from the dispatch if you’re a patreon supporter you’ll automatically get access to that interview and if you’re not yet a holy post supporter go to holypost.com and click support us and you’ll get access not only to the david french interview but also to our monthly live streams as well as merchandise and other bonus materials okay here’s my conversation with matthew sorens matt sorens welcome back to the holy post yeah glad to be back with this guy uh you’ve been one of our more frequent guests and part of the reason is this issue of immigration and resettlement and refugees and the border just is a perennial problem i guess no matter the administration or the season of the year and the latest crisis uh the immediate presenting issue is afghanistan so we reached out i’m really grateful that you were able to make some time to talk to us about what’s going on um there’s some stats that have come out and you’ve seen these over the years that evangelicals are largely white evangelicals at least are largely not happy about resettling refugees in the united states and yet this afghanistan issue has brought the crisis to the forefront again how are you talking to church leaders and evangelicals in general about what’s happening and and why we should care yeah i mean unfortunately you’re right i mean there’s polls that suggest that you know at best maybe 45 of white evangelicals would like to continue to welcome refugees but just you know for world relief we’ve been doing this since the 70s like it was really shocking for us to see public opinion among white evangelicals in particular sort of turn on this issue because that’s always been our our you know our core base of support in terms of churches that are welcoming refugees that said there’s plenty of evangelical christians in that 45 and we’re working with lots of them and we have great church partners all around the country but we would love for this to be a 100 issue and so i think as we think about afghans in particular i mean it’s all the same biblical foundations of why we would care for any immigrant in terms of god’s love for the the vulnerable foreigner that we see all throughout the old testament and just the theme of hospitality which is a command of the new testament to requirement for leadership in the church and for timothy and titus and literally that means to be a lover of strangers it’s not just having your friends over for lunch um but i do think there’s some unique dynamics with the afghan situation just on a national level in that i mean the most vulnerable people right now and the ones we’ve i mean we’re concerned about a lot of people in afghanistan but the ones who i think have the most obvious case for why the us has a moral obligation to evacuate people is those who are threatened by the taliban because they were translators or in some other way serving the us government the us military or usaid or some other part of the federal u.s federal government and we’re hearing i mean literally in the last several days just constant emails and phone calls and text messages and whatsapp messages pleading with us you know can you get us out and that’s not something that is world relief we can directly do that’s a you know that’s the government it’s not even fully clear if that’s the state department or the department of defense it’s a pretty confused situation right now but the situation is really stark i mean there’s roughly 18 000 individuals not including many more of their family members who have pending applications for special immigrant visas which are a visa that our congress has created specifically for afghans as well as iraqis who are in the circumstance of having served the us mission in those particular countries and we’re not saying skip over the vetting process which we know takes some time but if people are done with the process they’ve been approved get them out and get them to the united states and if not we’ve been saying they need to get to a third country get them elsewhere where they’ll be safe while you can finish processing or to guam what’s been done in the past um let’s let’s back up for just a second here because i want to make sure people understand the the implications of what’s happening and for argument’s sake let’s just lay aside the christian values and the biblical ideas of hospitality and welcoming the sojourn and all that let’s talk purely pragmatically and politically the united states 20 years ago went into afghanistan in response to 911 to to get rid of the taliban and bring some stability to that country and hopefully prevent future terrorist attacks largely successful at least on the future terrorist attack side of things many afghans supported the us in that endeavor worked with us translators and other various help and when the u.s decided to withdraw from afghanistan last year it was pretty obvious that these folks who had helped our country were going to be at risk and this is not the only place this has happened as you mentioned it happened in iraq it’s happened in other countries south vietnam for example the problem is politically speaking if the u.s does not step in and help these folks and figure out some way to make them safe whether it’s taking them to another country or bringing them directly to the us aren’t we risking future u.s military engagement in other countries if we have a track record of abandoning our friends and allies yeah this way i mean what happens the next time and i’m springing this up because there are a lot of white evangelicals who are very very pro-military and believe the military to be one of the most important and um integral institutions left in the united states but this policy at least what i see unfolding right now directly undermines the safety and future of american troops right so even if you don’t care directly about the afghans and their horrible situation that we should care about as christians i’m thinking just politically here um this is incredibly troubling for the future of u.s foreign policy it is i mean we have made a commitment as a nation to these individuals that if you stand with us we will stand with you frankly these people have served the united states cause more than most of us have i’ve never served in the military but they have put their lives at risk i mean i was talking to a colleague yesterday north carolina who spent a lot of time in afghanistan his life was saved by his translator more than once and he’s desperately trying to get him out but it i mean not only on that human level but as you said on a foreign policy level if we break this promise to these um you know more than 15 000 people who and their families probably another 50 000 people that we have committed to we will protect you we’re never gonna i mean it will be generations that people will remember that broken promises and frankly our adversaries will remind people of those broken promises when there’s a need for military intervention at some point in the future and again i mean you brought up vietnam there’s a lot of parallels to what’s happening right now in kabul and what happened in saigon in 1975. one big difference is that president ford evacuated 130 000 south vietnamese u.s allies to guam and eventually they came to the united states and frankly that’s the origins of the us refugee resettlement program i mean that’s where world relief got our start um that’s uh in terms of refugee resettlement was it was vietnamese arriving and calling around to every church who might possibly meet someone at the airport and help them get on their feet and we’re still doing that 40 plus years later the situation is actually very similar in terms of the threat that these individuals would face but if we turn our backs on them you know there’s a national security dynamic and that’s why you’ve seen a lot of national security experts i mean they’re they’re debating whether or not the u.s should leave afghanistan militarily and you know i’m not an expert to know the answer to that question what almost everyone seems to agree upon is if you’re going to leave you’ve got to take care of the people who stood with you right so that brings up the question of how did we get to this situation because most people are aware that the agreement to completely leave afghanistan was struck by the trump administration before he left office and he he celebrated that arrangement and was a big advocate for it he’s done a 180 now because he realizes it’s it’s politically bad for the biden administration but the buying administration um inherited this policy they didn’t challenge it they didn’t turn around they could have they could have renegotiated it or come up so they own it not trying to put it on trump but once they decided that yeah we’re going to continue with the troop withdrawal there were warnings that similar to what happened in iraq it’s very likely that our enemies are going to overrun the country and we need to have a plan in place if we’re not going to stay there we need to have a plan in place to get these folks out what fell what fell apart here why wasn’t there a plan to get our immediate allies out of afghanistan in a safe and orderly way why is it broken down in such chaos do you think it’s a great question it’s hard to tell how much of this is incompetence and how much of it is indifference um and to be fair there are there have been afghans arriving in the last several weeks it’s not zero we’ve been in fact our world relief offices in sacramento and modesto california which is two of the communities where we’ve received the most afghans because there’s just large afghan communities there they’ve been busy for weeks and they’re you know if you’re listening there and you want to go volunteer we really need volunteers hopefully we’ll need them all over the country at some point but already it’s you know it’s very busy in california and seattle as well but it’s not the vast majority it’s been my understanding about 2000 in the yeah of those who have pending cases have so is it a case of the collapse just happened a lot quicker than the government expected and so there wasn’t time to ramp up the evacuations that seems to be the case but also i mean we were telling the body administration and not just world relief but other faith groups other refugee or settlement groups national security advisors veterans groups months ago i mean when the biden administration said we’re pulling out by you know by september or whatever their kind of arbitrary date was we said okay well then we need to immediately have a plan for how you’re going to evacuate people um and we got basically told well stay tuned we’ll let you know we you know we’ve been pushing on that for months and there’s been no real plan in place and now maybe the presumption was the us would hold kabul for a lot longer than they did which was i mean literally it fell over over a weekend um even then though we were raising concerns but what about the people who are not in kabul and who are in parts of the country that can’t get to kabul without passing a checkpoint for the for the taliban uh what’s the plan there and that’s not even to mention i mean obviously there’s a partic
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Holy Post Episode 471: Oreos, Ethics, & Afghanistan with Matthew Soerens

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