Expressions of Tribal Morality

  • NFL player Harrison Butker’s expression of tribal morality, and responses;
  • Mike Johnson wants to boycott Target because of his fear being caught there when the Rapture comes;
  • Moron Jesse Watters; a GOP Rep’s claim of proof, but lack of proof, about Biden at SOTU; No fact checks at the debates; Conservatives claim that every natural disaster supports their positions.

The news today that most relates to the themes of this blog is the commencement speech made by an NFL player named Harrison Butker. It was covered by the Today Show this morning!

CNN, 16 May 2024: Backlash over NFL player Harrison Butker’s commencement speech has reached a new level

His speech was an expression of pure retrograde tribal mentality — women’s ideal roles are house maker and mother; being gay is a “deadly sin”; and so on. His audience apparently cheered, except for a minority, precisely the minority Butker and his ilk would demonize.

Other coverage:

Joe.My.God, 16 May 2024: NFL Disavows Kicker’s Anti-LGBTQ, Sexist Speech

Joe writes:

Butker’s speech continues to go wildly viral on social media, particularly on TikTok, where thousands of women have posted outraged responses. The far-right, of course, is thrilled with his “based” rant.


Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, 16 May 2024: Harrison Butker’s commencement speech was a disgrace to Catholics everywhere, subtitled “Benedictine College chose a commencement speaker who insulted their own graduates”

Mehta goes through the speech in some detail. One example.

Butker also helped spread an insane conservative conspiracy theory:

Our Catholic faith has always been countercultural. Our Lord along with countless followers were all put to death for their adherence to her teachings. The world around us says that we should keep our beliefs to ourselves whenever they go against the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion. We fear speaking truth because now unfortunately truth is in the minority. Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the Biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail.

That’s… just not true. He made that up. Butker is a liar.

If you’re wondering where that came from, though, he’s referring to a Republican-led bill that would withhold federal funding from colleges that fail to restrict/punish antisemitic speech. Some right-wing zealots argued that the bill would effectively punish people who claim the Jews killed Jesus. (Even if it did, which it does not, the punishment is not jail time.) That claim was propagated by, among others, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has spread antisemitic lies about Jewish space lasers.

And this. What strikes me is the audacity and presumption of this person who (like other conservatives) presumes to tell other people how to live their lives. (Again, conservatives don’t trust other people to make their own decisions. They know better.)

For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross the stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you’re going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

… I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me. But it cannot be overstated, that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.


I think this certainty with which conservative Christians presume that their religious faith — which many of the rest of us see as tribal mythology at best, rank superstition at worst, just as the Christians would regard the principles of other religions, were they to acquaint themselves with them — should prevail over everyone is what rankles me the most. Sure, I understand that every tribe/community/subculture has its binding beliefs, the ties that bind, and the more ridiculous those beliefs, the more professing adherence to them binds you to the tribe, and shows that you’re trustworthy.

What to make of this?

LGBTQNation, Alex Bollinger, 16 May 2024: Mike Johnson raged at Target for selling “this LGBTQ+ Pride stuff” & supported a boycott, subtitled: “I do not think being caught in a Target store is honoring God. I would not want to be in Target when the Rapture comes.”

Seriously?? The Rapture?? This is a person who is second-in-line (after the Vice President) to take over the nation??


Shorter items, along similar lines.

Slate, Justin Peters, 16 May 2024: The Resting Smirk of the Bulletproof Moron, subtitled “Jesse Watters and the haunted 8 p.m. hour on Fox News.”

With detailed examples of how he inflates incidents into hoaxes.


Joe.My.God, 16 May 2024: GOP Rep: I Have Proof Biden Was “Jacked Up” At SOTU

Of course he doesn’t have “proof”; only that “I absolutely believe that from a medical viewpoint and have a good bit of knowledge that happened.” Again, conservatives seem to not understand what evidence or proof actually mean.


Joe.My.God, 16 May 2024: Hannity Demands No Fact-Checks During Debates

Well of course!


Joe.My.God, 16 May 2024: Evangelical And Tony Perkins: God Has Sent Record Number Of Tornadoes Over The US Stance On Gaza

Once again, you’d think God would have more direct ways of expressing disapproval than through events that could be considered mere coincidences. Yet for any natural catastrophe, conservatives interpret it as divine approval or disapproval that corresponds to whatever they themselves like or dislike.

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