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Sitdown Sunday: Why the Christian right loves Trump

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Douglas Christian

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour. 

1. Identifying the Berlin bicycle assassin

In this investigative piece – a joint investigation with Spiegel, The Insider and Dossier Centre, Bellingcat looks at the story of a man being held in Germany over the murder of a man in Berlin. It establishes that he had a fake passport. 

(Bellingcat, approx 8 mins reading time)

Russian authorities were able to identity the suspect using a description from an incidental witness, and video footage from parking lot security cameras that had captured the murder. In early 2014, Russia initiated a national and international search for the suspect – who they identified as Vadim Krasikov. An Interpol warrant was also issued by Moscow. However, just over a year later, in July 2015, the Interpol notice and national search warrants were withdrawn, implying that the suspect had been detained, or alternatively no longer a suspect in the crime. 

2. We spent 10 years talking to people about Britain

Here’s what John Harris and John Domokos learned while doing this.

(The Guardian, approx 25 mins reading time)

The people we met during this initial period have been stuck in our heads for years. From 2011: the two young men selling paintball sessions in central Birmingham – one of them just back from military duty in Afghanistan – who were lucky to even make the minimum wage, and completely detached from politics. In 2013: the two older men in Merthyr Tydfil who answered our questions about the death of Margaret Thatcher by telling us they still thought about the 1980s miners’ strike “every day”, and a 17-year-old student who did not know what a trade union was. 

3. Running dysmorphic

Devin Kelly writes about coming from a family of runners – but using running as a way to control his body weight and dysmorphic feelings.

(Longreads, approx 18 mins reading time)

Years before, in high school, my coach had told me I could stand to lose a few pounds. Then, in college, one of my teammates said, “You’re not fat, you’re just …” before trailing off. I began to understand a few things. I looked in the mirror and saw someone society might’ve deemed as lean or athletic, but someone who was too big, too thick around the bones to be taken seriously as a competitive college runner. I understood, too, that this was an issue the women on my team, and women all around the county, faced daily.

4. Why the Christian right worships Trump

 You’d expect ‘values votes’ to reject Trump… but they don’t. Why?

(Rolling Stone, approx 29 mins reading time)

And without the evangelical voting bloc, no Republican candidate could hope to have a path to the presidency. Evangelicals — a term that today refers to people who believe that Jesus died for their sins, that the Bible is the word of God, that every believer has a “born again” or salvation moment, and that the good news of Jesus should be widely disseminated — make up as much as a quarter of the country, or close to 80 million people. Around 60 percent vote, more than any other demographic, and among white evangelical voters, more than three-quarters tend to go to Republicans, thanks to wedge issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights.

5. Liar, conman, snitch 

Paul Skalnik has a long criminal record – and is a prolific jailhouse informant. Now a man is set to be executed largely on his word.

(ProPublica, approx mins reading time)

In jail, it is widely understood that helping prosecutors and the police can earn extraordinary benefits, from reduced sentences to dismissed charges. By the time Dailey’s trial began the following summer in Clearwater, in June 1987, no fewer than three inmates had come forward claiming to have heard Dailey confess to the killing. The first two worked in the jail’s law library, where they professed to have heard Dailey say about the murder, “I’m the one that did it.” They also told the jury of ferrying several handwritten notes between Dailey and Pearcy; in the letters shown to the jury, Dailey appeared eager to appease his co-defendant, whom prosecutors planned to put on the stand.

6. Chaos at 29,000 feet

We’ve all seen those incredible photos of the summit of Mount Everest – the line of suited-up climbers, all in row in one of the most incredible places in the world. Here’s what it was really like to be up there, squashed into that barely-believable queue.

(GQ, approx 25 mins reading time)

The space was crowded. Shakily, Grubhofer held up a small flag and posed for photos with his climbing partner, a fellow Austrian named Ernst Landgraf, who’d made the slog to the summit uneasily. It had been a brutal day. Their 13-man party had awoken at eleven the previous night and trudged through the darkness up the icy incline of Everest’s north side. Along the way, the temperatures dipped to well below zero. At some point, the water bottle that Grubhofer packed had frozen into a solid brick. He was thirsty and exhausted.

AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES… 

In this 2008 piece on The New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten looks a the lives of elevators.

(The New Yorker, approx 30 mins reading time)

Hoberman has been undergoing behavioral elevator therapy for six months. His therapist began by taking him to the U.C.L.A. psychology department and locking him in a black box about the size of a phone booth. The first time, Hoberman lasted just five seconds. After four or five sessions, he could handle ten minutes. Before long, he and his therapist were riding elevators together, all over campus. He just built a house in Los Angeles, and it has an elevator, because his parents insisted that it will be useful to him when he grows old. “I will never ride in it,” Hoberman said. “I don’t have a fear of dying in an elevator, or of the elevator losing control—I have a fear of being stuck with my mind.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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