David Gushee

Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. One of the leading moral voices in American Christianity, he is the author or editor of 21 books, including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics (with a new 2nd edition coming out in June 2016), The Sacredness of Human Life, Changing Our Mind, and Evangelical Ethics. His next book, aiming to help Christians think about American public life, is called Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends. It will be out in Fall 2016. Dr. Gushee is the recently elected Vice-President of the American Academy of Religion and President-Elect of the Society of Christian Ethics. He blogs twice weekly at Religion News Service, and serves on the boards of Sojourners and the Center for Victims of Torture. He has lectured on six continents. Professor Gushee, a husband, dad, and grandfather, lives in Atlanta with his family. 

Posts By This Author

Why Routine Divorce is Now Inevitable, Even Among Christians

by David Gushee 08-19-2015

Image via graham tomlin/Shutterstock

A LifeWay Research survey released last week on the morality of divorce found that for most Americans, the reason an individual initiates divorce doesn’t matter in terms of how they morally evaluate the rightness or wrongness of that divorce. Pastors, though, still tend to draw moral distinctions between reasons for divorce.

Based on years of research on Christian tradition as it pertains to marriage and divorce, I can tell you what this finding means. The answer is not especially pretty: Routine divorce is now inevitable in American culture, including among religious people — with one possible exception.

Let’s take this problem apart.

Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood for Our Abortion Culture

by David Gushee 07-22-2015
Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

Photo via Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com

I won’t pile on Dr. Nucatola. The video seems pretty disastrous for her and for Planned Parenthood.

I will pile on us. Us? Yes, we the people of the United States of America.

We are the ones who have created a society in which we have become utterly dependent on abortion.

We are the ones who choose every year to turn to abortion clinics and drugs to end one out of five healthy pregnancies.

We are the ones who keep having sex outside of committed and marital relationships — and thus risking an unwelcome pregnancy.

We are the ones who keep having sex without using contraceptives, even when they are readily available.

We are the ones who fight over the politics of abortion without doing much to reduce demand for abortion.

Why Civil Disobedience Is Irrelevant to Gay Marriage

by David Gushee 07-09-2015
sergign / Shutterstock

Photo via sergign / Shutterstock.com

Despite threats from some conservative Christian dissenters, civil disobedience may turn out to be an irrelevant response to gay marriage.

To understand why, we have to think seriously about what civil disobedience really is.

Here’s a good definition: If a government mandates what religious people believe God forbids, or forbids what religious people believe God mandates, civil disobedience may be required.

In the first case civil disobedience involves the refusal to do what government commands, and in the second case it involves the continued practice of an act that government has banned.

Could this apply to the new legalization of gay marriage nationwide?

Do We Need Unholy Guns in Holy Places?

by David Gushee 06-24-2015
REUTERS  /Carlo Allegri / RNS

A mother and son stand outside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 22, 2015, at a makeshift memorial for victims of last week’s mass shooting. Photo courtesy of REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / RNS

I keep thinking about one stubborn fact of my own (limited) experience: I have never attended a Christian church that employed armed security, and I have never visited a Jewish synagogue that was not guarded by armed security. I first noticed it at a prosperous synagogue many years ago in northern Virginia, but since then have seen it elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. I will never forget when my wife and I visited the historic Great Synagogue in Rome — where a 2-year-old boy had been murdered , and 34 children injured, in a horrific 1982 attack on a Shabbat service. A machine-gun-toting Italian police officer guarded that synagogue the day we were there. Armed security was certainly present in Jerusalem when I visited a synagogue in that city.

People regularly victimized by violence, including in their holy places, will seek to protect themselves. I cannot fault them for it. I fault those whose crimes have evoked this response.

Franklin Graham’s Boycott Points Us Toward an Enclave Society

by David Gushee 06-15-2015
Photo via REUTERS / Jim Young / RNS

A Wells Fargo branch is seen in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, 2015. Photo via REUTERS / Jim Young / RNS

Boycotts are most likely to work when the boycott is very carefully planned; when the boycotters clearly have the moral high ground; when they can convince the broader public that the boycott is a last resort; when they can build a critical mass of public support; and when there is some chance that a boycott can make a meaningful difference.

Graham’s effort to boycott Wells Fargo failed on all five counts. 

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