What follows are some questions put to Larry in recent months. In some cases, the questions are those of specific individuals; in others they are a composite, reflecting the questions of many people on the same topic.
Q: I read The Grace Effect. Loved it. How is Sasha these days? I have often wondered about the rest of her story.
A: Sasha, now 22, is doing great. She is getting married this summer! We think very highly of her fiancé. Sasha is a remarkable testament to God’s redeeming love and “the grace effect.” We are very proud of her.
Q: What news network do you watch?
A: This may shock you, but I don’t watch any of them unless I am required to do so for an appearance on one of the network’s shows or for some research purpose. I find the news depressing. If I didn’t do what I do for a living, I would only watch college football, Andy Griffith, and old movies!
Q: It seems to me that your tone has changed over the years. You have become much more polemical in your writing and speaking. Why?
A: In the early years of Fixed Point Foundation, I kept my opinions very guarded and generally voiced them only in local teaching/speaking engagements. This is because we were organizing a lot of debates in those days and, as the organizer/moderator, it was my job to maintain some degree of neutrality. But beginning with my debate with Christopher Hitchens (2010) and the publication of The Grace Effect (2011), we made the strategic decision that I would enter the ring as an active combatant.
I also feel a great sense of urgency these days as God’s people are attacked, a wicked agenda is enacted, and the greatest country in the world is being destroyed from within. I do not feel friendly or gentle toward people who think the slaughter of innocents is not a big deal; who think the sexualization of children is a noble cause; who couldn’t care less for the common people of this country (and others) whose lives have been destroyed in idiotic lockdowns; who rig elections, burn businesses, incite violence, and distort the truth in their reporting of such events. So, yes, my tone has changed.
Finally, I have been the target of numerous (and very personal) media smears. I have been attacked by The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Independent, BBC, The New Yorker, and a plethora of others. The first time this happened to me, I was naïve enough to think that truth mattered to them. I would, I thought, have a reasonable discussion with these outlets and they would retract their stories. You soon discover that truth is irrelevant to these people. That changes you.
Q: Does Fixed Point Foundation still exist?
A: Of course. And I am the founder and executive director. Perhaps you thought otherwise because we merged all of our websites—we had several—into larryalextaunton.com. But larryalextaunton.com isn’t an organization or an entity, it is just a staging area for all of our articles, books, interviews, etc.
Q: I live local and always knew you as “Larry Taunton.” What’s up with “Larry Alex Taunton”?
A: A very funny question. The simple answer is Larry Alex Taunton is my name! But more pertinent to your question, I was named after my uncle, Larry Taunton, a college president. When Fixed Point Foundation was founded, some people mistook me for him. Also, amazingly, there was a Democrat congressman and friend of Bill Clinton (!!) named Larry Taunton. I certainly did not want to be confused with him.
Q: What has been your most difficult debate?
A: Every debate is a unique challenge if only for the massive amount of preparation that is involved and the pressure one feels standing before an auditorium full of people or a vast television audience with only seconds to answer questions like: “Where was God in the Holocaust?” With that in mind, my debate with Muslim Imam Zaid Shakir and Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett on Al Jazeera was probably the most difficult. Aired to a global audience of 270 million, it is a daunting prospect to know that you carry the mantle of the Christian faith into such a setting. The potential for a catastrophic misstep is colossal. And while I was generally pleased with the outcome of that debate, debating two men at once—three if you count the moderator who was hostile to my position—on two entirely different topics is madness.
Q: What are the most difficult questions to answer?
A: Any that are emotionally charged. In the aforementioned debate on Al Jazeera, I had an exchange with the moderator that went something like this:
Me: “Every great reform movement in the West has been motivated by a Christian worldview …”
Host: “What about gay rights?”
Me: “I don’t consider that a legitimate civil right.”
The host affected a mock look of horror to invite scorn on me and my answer. I knew the response I would get. I was ready for it. The temptation in such moments is to compromise biblical truth.
Q: Do you think we are in end times?
A: I have no idea. How about this: I think we are closer today than we were yesterday!
Q: What do you think about the vaccine? Some say it will change your DNA and even make you transhuman.
A: I hope you are joking. Either way, don’t believe that nonsense. If you want to take the vaccine, take it. You won’t become part man, part lizard. If you don’t want to take it, don’t. I realize we live in a time when conspiracy theories are often more than conspiracy theories. But in this case, it is just that: a whack job conspiracy theory.
Q: Can you update us on Bishop Zhumbes?
A: For those of you who don’t know him, Bishop Jwan Zhumbes is the Anglican Bishop of Bukuru, Nigeria. I visited his diocese in 2017 and saw firsthand the struggles of Nigerian Christians against poverty, disease, government corruption, and persecution at the hands of Boko Haram and the Fulani Herdsmen Militia. This story forms a chapter in my new book. We hosted Jwan for a visit to the USA to bring attention to problems there, persecution most of all. Before his visit, his wife, Lois, died of cancer. Then, while he was with us, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His planned two-week visit turned into him living with Lauri and me for five months while he received chemotherapy. At the end of that time, we returned him to Nigeria with a clean bill of health where his ministry now thrives.
Q: What do you think of vaccine passports?
A: I am adamantly opposed to them. This is an instance where the conspiracy theories deserve thoughtful consideration. Proponents on the Left at one and the same time speak of them as merely a way of proof of vaccination and a new means of excluding dissenters from participation in a free society. Consider the tweet below by the legal consultant for the LA Times:
Do you see the potential for abuse? Don’t have the vaccine? You can’t fly, eat at a restaurant, attend school, buy groceries, etc. What’s next? Refuse to cow-tow to the “woke” mob’s agenda and some government commissar will “cancel” your whole life. This sounds very much like China’s social credit system. Perhaps Mr. Litman forgets that Jews were “foreclosed from doing a lot of things” in German society. We must resist this or freedom as you know it will cease to exist.
Q: CNN recently declared that you cannot determine the sex of a child at birth. This is terrifying in its implications. What is happening with this sudden push to demolish sexual distinctions?
A: Your question prompted me to read the CNN piece. For those who have not read it, here’s the key line:
It’s not possible to know a person’s gender identity at birth, and for some people, the sex listed on their original birth certificate is a misleading way of describing the body they have.
The author of the column, Devan Cole, is, in effect, acknowledging that anatomical factors are used to determine sex at birth. When my eldest son, Michael, was born, the doctor declared: “This one has outdoor plumbing!” As a consequence, the nurse recorded “male” on his birth certificate. But Cole is saying these anatomical facts are irrelevant: “While sex is a category that refers broadly to physiology, a person’s gender is an innate sense of identity.” This is nuts. I may identify as a unicorn, but it doesn’t make me one.
But none of this is sudden. It may feel that way because the social engineers on the Left are suddenly empowered to do what they have wanted to do for decades. Above all else, a perverse sexual agenda is at the heart of their objectives. While millions of Americans languish in lockdowns, suffer the loss of jobs and businesses, and fear for their future and that of their families, on Biden’s first day in office did he sign a stimulus package? No. Perhaps he reduced the tax burden on a beleaguered people? No. He issued an executive order allowing transgender athletes to participate in female sports.
We are governed by an evil, warped, sexually deviant mob.
Q: My wife and I are conservative Christians and we are alarmed by all that we see happening in America. Your writings have been very helpful in understanding it, but we want to know what we can do.
A: Glad you asked! This July 22-25 (we had earlier said July 16-18) we will host a conference designed to answer that question. Stay tuned!
Q: You recently said that Republicans are getting immigration and education wrong. I think I know where you are going on education. That seems obvious. But I don’t follow on immigration. Are you saying you are in favor of open borders?
A: Definitely not. I have condemned the Left’s open borders philosophy in numerous interviews and articles. That, however, should not be understood to mean that I uncritically embrace the messaging of conservatives who can sound utterly heartless on immigration. One conservative influencer recently said to me, “I don’t care if [immigrants] are fleeing the Holocaust, I don’t want them.” Wow.
There are both practical and moral reasons why this is wrong:
Practically, we must come to terms with the fact that immigrants are coming, and a people who will brave mafia, militia, and the jungles and deserts of South America won’t be put off by the Rio Grande or a wall. (As a teen, I swam across the Rio Grande to Mexico and back. And I did it on a lark. These people are much more motivated.) As it stands, would-be immigrants view Republicans as hostile to them. As a consequence, they are driven into the arms of waiting Democrats who want only to use them to flip traditionally red states. But most refugees fleeing South America are not naturally predisposed to the Democrat Party platform.
Don’t confuse America’s immigration problem with that of Europe’s. Europe is being overrun by Muslim immigrants who neither respect European culture nor want to preserve it. They are an alien culture. By contrast, immigrants crossing our southern border are almost exclusively an altogether different sort. They possess a broadly Catholic worldview, are often hardworking, family-oriented, and know firsthand the evils of socialism. But given the choice between a government that will not let them into the USA under any circumstances and one that will, they are going to side with Democrats.
Morally, I offer this caution to my Christian readers: your faith should inform your politics, not your politics your faith. We are commanded to show compassion for “the least of these.” Does that mean opening our borders to them willy-nilly? Not necessarily. Besides, most of the immigrants I have interviewed in South America want to return to their native countries, but only when the socialist governments have been removed. At the very least it means a different posture toward these desperate people. Speaking anecdotally, I did not encounter a single Christian missionary in those places in South America where refugees were the majority population. That’s troubling.
What is needed is a sensible immigration policy that is informed by compassion and the needs of this country. Conservative company heads will tell you (privately) that they need immigrant labor. Homegrown kids, expecting the corner office on Day One, simply aren’t interested in starting at the bottom anymore. But our immigration policy must endeavor to bar admission to criminal elements and those who are hostile to our way of life.
Follow my new series on these issues.
Q: You have said that Republicans are wrong on education. What do you mean?
A: Perhaps I should have said “Christians.” My career has been spent engaging students. I cannot tell you the number of times parents have asked me to help them with a troubled child. The story almost always goes like this: mom and dad are committed Christians. Their child holds views that are hostile to their own. They don’t understand how this could happen. The answer is quite simple: they have turned them over to the state to be inculcated with ideas that are corrosive to Christian belief. Worse, parents are paying to have their children radicalized. This would be like the Israelites paying the Philistines to educate their children.
Christians and conservatives alike are missing an extraordinary opportunity these lockdowns have given them. Public school teachers are refusing to return to work? Good! Don’t send your children back to these institutions. Where do you think the people who are filling the ranks of BLM and Antifa are coming from?
Lauri and I homeschooled all four of our children, and we did it in an era when resources were not so nearly abundant as they are now. Sinners that they are, the Lord has richly blessed all of our children through our commitment to train them up in the way they should go: (in descending order) Michael is happily married, has a beautiful little girl, teaches Sunday school, and is a litigator; Christopher graduated seminary last year, gets married this summer, and is deeply involved in prison ministry; Zachary is a high-flying entrepreneur, is enjoying the freedom that comes with being single, and is engaged in the work of Fixed Point Foundation; and Sasha, as stated above, is getting married. They are all committed believers. Thanksgiving and Christmas are not stressful around our table because we share a common worldview. Most of our arguments are related to fantasy football.
Q: What is your opinion of the lockdowns?
A: I can’t help but notice the fact that those who are pushing for them are people who get steady bank deposits. Perhaps if they weren’t in quarantine, they would see what I have seen.
When the pandemic started, I was in North Africa. Panic had set in among the Egyptians like that of Exodus 14:24-25. I couldn’t believe it. 800,000 Africans die every year from malaria alone and almost no one notices, and here they were gripped by fear of a virus thanks to media hysteria.
By the time I got to Portugal, France, and Spain, lockdowns were going into effect. While initially supportive of quarantines until we got some sense of what we were dealing with, I was starting to witness the spiritual, mental, and economic devastation they were causing. I was seeing friends lose their jobs and businesses; elderly people made to say their last goodbyes to families through closed windows or on an iPad; and, worst of all, I was seeing the loss of personal freedoms become a permanent feature of ostensibly democratic countries.
Since that time, I have been in maybe seven more countries, most of them of the third world variety, and that is when I began to really see the wreckage on a continental scale. In South America my heart ached at the reality of what these arbitrary and unscientific mandates are doing to people at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid. Jobs are scarce in the best of times in the developing world, and those who have them rely heavily on service industries as well as skilled and unskilled labor. Those jobs have largely evaporated, leaving people homeless, hungry, and desperate.
So, to answer your question, I think the lockdowns are institutionalized cruelty. One day, the bureaucrats who so casually, and daily, inflict this suffering on the people they are meant to serve will be called to give account for the evil they have wrought for the purpose of nefarious government agendas.
I am in favor of protecting the vulnerable, respecting individual liberty, and getting on with life.
Let us pray for the suffering.
 I use “Left” rather than “Democrats” when I am referring to a group that is broader than the Democrat Party. In the case of open borders policy, those embracing the ideology can be found throughout the Western world.
Larry Alex Taunton is the Executive Director of the Fixed Point Foundation and a freelance columnist contributing to USA Today, Fox News, First Things, The Atlantic, CNN, Daily Caller, and The American Spectator. He is also the author of The Grace Effect, The Gospel Coalition Book of the Year The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, Around the World in (More Than) 80 Days. (Available to order now) You can subscribe to his blog at larryalextaunton.com and find him on Twitter @larrytaunton.
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