Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Updating You on My Own Spot: Here's Some of What Has Happened in Steve's and My Life As a Result of the Obergefell Ruling

In the Religion Dispatches interview with Sara Moslener to which my last posting links, Moslener states, "I’m a big believer that most academics are really writing their own stories. The more authentic we are with those stories, the more people connect to the histories we are trying to uncover."

Sara Moslener on How "Purity Work and Rhetoric Has Emerged at Moments When Socially Conservative Evangelicals Seek to Assert and Maintain Their Political Power"

Religion Dispatches interviews Sara J. Moslener about that inspired her to write her new book Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence (Oxford UP, 2015): when asked what's the most important take-home message of her book, she replies: 

"Just Who Do We Think We Are?": Real People with Real Lives Affected (Really!) by Marriage Equality

Every time something like this happens, somebody says we have to have a conversation about race. We talk a lot about race. There’s no shortcut. And we don’t need more talk.  (Loud applause.)
~ President Obama eulogizing Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 26 June 2015  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Commentary on the Dissenting Obergefell Statements of the Supreme Catholic Men, Noting their Highly Selective Concern for Constitutional Literalism

For your consideration, a selection of commentary I consider very valuable, re: the dissenting statements of the four Supreme Catholic men in Obergefell, much of it centering on the theme that the claim of those four justices that the majority opinion stretches the Constitution to recognize the rights of LGBT citizens is distinctly . . . odd . . . given how those very same gentlemen have bent the Constitution entirely out of shape in rulings like Citizens United v. FEC and Shelby County v. Holder when the rights of elites and corporations are at stake:

Duggars Praying, Satan Dancing: White Evangelicals Respond to Obergefell — What Does Church Mean When Love Wins Everywhere Except in Church?

The Duggars are praying, y'all — for all of the rest of us, it appears, though it seems not for themselves.

"The Easiest Way to Make Oneself Righteous Is to Make Someone Else a Sinner": The Churches and LGBT People Today — Grace or No Grace?

The tweet at the head of the posting, which Joe Troyer tweeted last Thursday, captures a page from Rachel Held Evans's book Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015). As you can see, Joe zeroes in on the statement, "[T]he easiest way to make oneself righteous is to make someone else a sinner."

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Note to My Esteemed Readers: Falling Behind in Thanking You for Your Comments — My Apologies

Dear Esteemed Readers,

As you have probably noticed, I'm in one of those phases in which I'm struggling to keep up with acknowledging your very welcome comments here. As always, I want you to know that I read and appreciate them.

Grace or No Grace: Winnowing Time in American Christianity Following Obergefell v. Hodges

A Week of Amazing Grace, and of No Grace at All: Reading the Testimony of the Mother Emanuel Martyrs Alongside the Dissenting Obergefell v. Hodges Statements of Four Supreme Catholic Men

What's a church for?, President Barack Obama asked the American people on the day on which the highest court of the land struck down barriers to legal civil marriage for same-sex couples What's a church for?, President Obama asks us as he delivers a deep-souled eulogy for the martyred pastor of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina, that will go down in history as one of the most significant orations made by any U.S. president.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Turds or Lemons? The Commonweal Crowd Weigh In on the Supremes' Decision

At the Commonweal blog, after Lisa Fullam posted a good piece on today's Supreme Court decision, the usual suspects representing the nadir best of the American Catholic academic-journalistic elite are already hard at work trying to put turds (or is it lemons?) in the punchbowl of Lisa Fullam's joy and the joy of many other Catholics today.

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush on the Ecstasy and Despair We Feel on This Historic Day — and the Role of the Church

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush's powerful statement about the bittersweet emotions many of us feel on this day that is marked both by the historic Supreme Court ruling recognizing the rights of LGBT citizens, and the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney: 

Brittmarie Janson Perez, "Mexican Prelates' Campaign Against Gay Marriage and Adoptions"

On this day of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing a constitutional right to marriage for LGBT citizens, it's very much worth noting that the U.S.'s neighbor to the South, Mexico, legalized marriage equality on 17 June. And so it's entirely fitting on this day that I share with you this outstanding essay that Brittmarie Janson Perez sent me several days ago, commenting on the Mexican ruling and the response of the Mexican Catholic hierarchy to the ruling. 

My Personal Response to the Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality: There Are Rivers of Overflowing Hearts in the U.S. Right Now

My very personal and immediate unvarnished reaction after reading the news of the Supreme Court decision: 


I'm sure many of you have seen the news, and I don't mean to turn this blog into a news ticker, but what a jolt — in the best way possible — to click on the Huffington Post site right now and see, in big capital letters,


Thursday, June 25, 2015

John Howard Yoder's Story at Notre Dame University, and the Continuing Damage That Heterosexism Does to Catholic Institutions

Yesterday, I noted that Catholic culture (at an official level) remains irredeemably heterosexist, and has gotten even more so in response to the movements for women's and LGBT rights in the 20th and 21st century. I predicted that the upcoming synod on the family will only cement into place more firmly than ever the trend to heterosexism — to the domination of women by men and of homosexual people by heterosexual ones — in Catholic institutions.

Charleston Shootings, the CSA Battle Flag, and Lost Cause Religion: Primer of Valuable Reflections

Larry Wilmore (by way of (Media Matters): "Progress is one step forward, two Bill O'Reillys back." 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jamie Manson on Laudato Si': "How Has the Church's Paternalistic Need for Power Over the Sexualities of Its Flock Exacerbated the Conditions of the Poor?"

Jamie Manson notes that Laudato Si' does not acknowledge that having access to contraception has alleviated both poverty and ecological stress for poor women in some developing nations. Instead, Pope Francis suggests that the greed of the developed nations manifests itself in policies designed to curb population growth in the global South by pushing "reproductive health." This in a world in which, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, more than 220 million women in developing countries do not have access to contraception and family planning  services . . . . 

Me Standing on the Spot I've Been Given Right Now: Nothing Much to Say

I'm sorry for my silence of late, reader-friends. One of those times when I'm acutely aware that any words I have to say about anything at all just don't count for much. They come from a person made voiceless by systems of power, privilege, influence that have never intended to see some folks count at all.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "When Charleston Emanuel AME Church Was Advocating for Abolition, South Carolina's Cath Bishops Were Owning Slaves"

Another tweet for the day: 

Quote for Today: "The Sort of Bland Saluting of Forgiveness with Nothing Else Attached Is Empty"

And on the ways in which forgiveness (about which I posted yesterday) in the wake of an atrocity like the Mother Emanuel shootings can be a trap, a convenient cover for the refusal of those with power in their hands to do anything to change the conditions that produce such atrocities, there are powerful, fascinating, necessary conversations right now at Twitter. Here's a sampler of comments worth noting, which point out that there's a sentimental trope in American literature about master-slave relationships which exalts the forgiving nature of the slave, and that white Americans frequently co-opt the willingness of black Christians to forgive as a way of refusing to face the injustice of racism:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"I Forgive You": Grieving Family Members of Charleston Church Shooting Speak to Dylann Storm Roof

"I forgive you," Nadine Collier said through tears to the accused killer of her mother, Ethel Lance. "You took something very precious away from me. I will never get to talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul" (Michael Daly, Daily Beast).

Friday, June 19, 2015

They Have Names, They Have Faces: Those Killed at Mother Emanuel

Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, and Susie Jackson: they have names, and they have faces. And in all the talk that is going to roll forth now about the Mother Emanuel massacre, these are the most important words of all.

Commentary on Shootings at Mother Emanuel: Why Dylann Roof Is America — As Apple Pie

I'm not sure, honestly, to whom we should listen after the Charleston shootings. What I mean to say is, I'm not sure talking about these issues has gotten us very far, as a society, in the past. As President Obama said a year ago in the clip included in Rachel Maddow's show last night (it's the clip at the head of the posting), 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rabbi Menachem Creditor on Charleston Church Hate Crime: "This Broken World Demands Upon Us All That We Cry Again to 'Mother Emanuel,' to Mother-God-Who-is-with-Us"

Rabbi Menachem Creditor on yesterday's racist hate crime in an African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina: 

Pope Francis's Encyclical on the Environment, and the Impossibility of Discussing Violence Against the Environment Without Discussing Gender Issues

Call me crazy, but if I were a world religious leader writing a major document about ecology today — one which stresses that it is addressing every member of the human community — and if I chose to use the word "sister" fourteen times in that major document, I'd find some way, I think, to include the voices of the sisters of my own faith community in what I had to say. Say, Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich, who have a wealth of significant things to tell us about our relationship to the cosmos and the spiritual implications of that relationship . . . . 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Francis DeBernardo on Pope Francis's Gender Complementarity Ideas: "Sending Harmful Messages to Those in Heterosexual Marriages," Too

As the day goes on, I am just now seeing Francis DeBernardo's very good response to Pope Francis's latest set of statements about gender complementarity, which I mentioned in my previous posting today. As I noted, the pope responded to this past Sunday's gay pride celebration in Rome by harping once again on the theme of gender complementarity: he insisted that every child needs a mother and a father, because the (biological) differences between males and females create a parental "balance" that helps children thrive.

Argentina Protests Violence Against Women, Pope Francis Pushes Gender Complementarity: Need for New Catholic Witness re: Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Violence vs. Women and Children

In a comment here yesterday, Rachel pointed to the importance of the huge campaign now underway in Argentina to protest violence against women. As she pointed out, this campign is especially important since violence threatens not only women but men and children as well — and "as a social problem, can lead to exposure of patterns of domination as criminal acts."

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Shit Women Have to Put Up with Online (and Lots of Other Places): My Reflections

In a Vox article yesterday about why Twitter hasn't taken off in the same way Facebook has, Timothy Lee notes that many women find Twitter (and Reddit), both of which are hardly moderated in any way at all, hostile conversation spaces. Women have to put up with a lot of shit online, don't they?

David Gibson on Nienstedt Resignation and Indictment of Józef Wesołowski: "Unprecedented Effort by Rome to Hold Bishops Accountable in the Abuse Crisis"

Today, too, the Vatican has announced that the former (now defrocked) Polish archbishop Józef Wesołowski who was previously the Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic has been indicted and will face charges for sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography. David Gibson comments at Religion News Service on this announcement and that of Nienstedt's resignation: 

Juan Felipe Herrera, First Latino U.S. Poet Laureate: "My Main Goal Was to Shake Hands with as Many People as Possible, of All Ages, and to Reshake Them into Poetry"

Natasha Hakimi comments on the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera to the position of U.S. poet laureate: as she notes, Herrera is the son of Mexican migrant workers who came to California in 1948. He spent his childhood in tents and trailers as his parents moved around among farm communities in southern California seeking work. 

Nienstedt Resigns: "My Leadership Has Unfortunately Drawn Attention Away from the Good Works of His Church"

This is news to which to wake up on a Monday morning: the archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, and his deputy archbishop Lee Anthony Piché, have resigned, as the archdiocese they lead is under criminal investigation. Nicole Winfield reports for AP.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Quote for Day: "Throughout the Nineteenth Century Biblically Based Racism Found an Unwitting Ally in Science"

In his Saving The Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire and Make Sense of the World (Beacon Press, 2015) (as excerpted by Salon yesterday), Karl Giberson reminds us of how long conservative religion and science colluded in American culture to produce the idea that the subordination of people of color to light-skinned people is "natural," good, and divinely ordained. He concludes,

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ruth Krall on the Just World Fallacy and Sexual Violence Against Women and Children: "She Should Not Have Been in That Parking Lot at 11:30 at Night"

Ruth Krall has sent a wonderful set of notes commenting on the issues of sexual violence and religion we've been discussing here of late. Ruth has generously told me I can share these with all of you here. As I've noted before, Ruth is (as her Enduring Space blog notes) "a mental health-clinician-turned-pastoral theologian" whose religious roots are in the Mennonite tradition, where she has had very important influence in stirring up necessary conversations about issues of sexual violence and abuse of women in the Mennonite church. 

Valerie Tarico on Obsession of Patriarchal Christians with Lording It Over Women, Queers, and Kids, and Christian Smith on Mass Exodus of Young Catholics: Intertwining Stories

As if she were writing from right inside this blog's ongoing discussion of connections between rigid patriarchal religion and abuse of women and children, Valerie Tarico writes two days ago:

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Reader Writes: "All of This Talk of 'Biology' and 'How Do Their Mothers Let Them Wear That?' Boils Down to the 'Boys Will Be Boys Who Just Can't Keep Their Willies in Their Pants' Argument"

And another powerful, thoughtful comment by a contributor to our discussion several days ago of the apparent genetic* link between rigid patriarchal religion and abuse of women and children — this from Dulcis Memoria:

On Gender Transition, Biological Prisons, and Gnosticism: Bob Shine Responds to Fr. Robert Barron About Caitlyn Jenner Story

In a thought-provoking statement at New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog, Bob Shines responds to the influential Catholic televangelist Father Robert Barron as Barron addresses the Caitlyn Jenner story. Barron's take: Bruce Jenner regarded his male body as a "prison" from which he needed to escape by transitioning to the female gender. But:

Men, Women, Science, Gender Roles: "Let Me Tell You About My Trouble with Girls" and the #Distractinglysexy Pushback

For anyone who imagines that science is well, pure, non-ideological, floating above cultural battles about gender roles and other similar low-culture concerns, I recommend a peek at the fascinating discussion now developing after British biochemist Tim Hunt recently said of his female colleagues, 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Reader Writes: "War-Making and Domination Policies Are Not Sufficiently Appreciated as Causes of Continued Rape Culture and the Continuing World-Wide Robust Practices of Gender Complementarity"

Another powerful, insightful contribution to our discussion a few days ago of Nicholas Ducote's article on the Duggars, Christian patriarchy, and rape culture: this is Mark 13 Fs, who, as his Disqus profile tells us (and as he has noted in comments here), has considerable experience as a mental health worker and in working with men dealing with issues of sexual compulsion and violence: 

Jenée Desmond-Harris on Young Feminists Obliterating "Sexist Silliness of School Dress Codes That Seem to Focus on Hiding Girls' Bodies So That They Aren't a 'Distraction' to Their Male Classmates"

At Vox, Jenée Desmond-Harris points to one of the ways that cultural conversations are being shifted as people long excluded from the public conversations that define a culture's identity employ tools of social media to crash these conversations: as she notes, Chloe Cross and other young women are changing public conversations that persistently reproach women and girls for dressing in a "distracting" way that elicits male lust, while they totally ignore male responsibility to grow up, gain some self-control, and stop turning women into objects and playthings.

Dan Savage on What Constitutes Abuse of Duggar Children: "All the Duggar Kids Are Being Abused"

Dan Savage yesterday on the latest Duggar revelation (In Touch has published another article indicating that Arkansas DHS is investigating the Duggars, who are refusing to cooperate with the investigation), and on precisely how the Duggar children have, in his view, been abused:

Rachel Maddow on Franklin Graham's Recent Facebook Hissy Fit: "The Universe Has a Way of Making Things Work Out, Big Guy!"

Here's an example of the kind of sassy from-the-margins political discourse that the Controllers of Significant Conversations have long sought to keep at bay — since apocalypse will, they tell us, ensue if the conversation moves beyond their control. Rachel comments on Rev. Franklin Graham's recent Facebook hissy fit about a Wells Fargo ad featuring a gay couple, and his . . . odd . . . decision to move his money to BB&T bank in protest:

Adam Johnson on Jerry Seinfeld's Complaints About Political Correctness: "Perspectives of Those Annoyed by 'Political Correctness' Are Overwhelmingly White, Male, and Heteronormative"

Things are slowly, slowly changing as the democratization of public discourse permitted by online social networking tools opens the door for voices long excluded from the conversation to have a hearing. This change is radically threatening to those who have long enjoyed without question their divine right to control the conversation, to permit only voices like their own into the conversation.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Reader Writes: "This Is the Logical End of the First Things' 'Protestants and Catholics Together' Project: They Band Together to Fight Against Culture War Issues and Look the Other Way at Each Others' Abuse Cases"

I haven't forgotten my promise yesterday to share with you some of my reflections about the subject of abuse of women and children and rigid patriarchal forms of religion, which we have been discussing here of late in light of the Duggar and Caitlyn Jenner stories. I have gotten a bit sidetracked from that conversation yesterday and today by the court ruling I discussed earlier today, which instructs the state of Arkansas to obey the law and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married legally in May 2014.

Another Quote for Day: "But if the Tetleys Had Lived in Oklahoma, That Sentence [of a British Husband for Raping His Sleeping Wife Over 300 Times] May Have Been Considerably More Difficult to Obtain"

Another quote to share with you as the day goes on, from Samantha Allen at The Daily Beast site:

Arkansas in Marriage Equality News Again: Judge Wendell Griffen Orders State to Recognize Validity of Same-Sex Marriages That Occurred in May 2014

As Chris Morley pointed out in a comment here last evening, yesterday Pulaski County, Arkansas, Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen handed down a ruling that instructs the state of Arkansas to recognize the legality of same-sex marriages performed last May in the brief window of opportunity for such marriages, before the state Supremes slammed that window shut. To their shame, the honorable justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court have, since that time, remained totally silent about their stay on same-sex marriage, leaving all of us who married in May 2014 in a legal limbo.

Quote for Day: In Wake of Duggar Scandal and Conservative Christian Reaction to Caitlyn Jenner, It's Become Clear That Abuse Is a Feature, Not a Bug, of Christian Fundamentalism

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thank You for Conversation about Child Abuse and Patriarchal Religious Cultures: More to Come

Thank you all for the excellent conversation yesterday in response to my question about whether it's fair or correct to suggest that there may be connections between rigid, patriarchal forms of religion and rape cultures — including cultures excusing the abuse of children. I do want to share some of my own thoughts in response to your valuable comments. Today has proven to be a rather interrupted day for me, and I may not be able to formulate my thoughts until later. In the meantime, I did want to say how grateful I am to those who weighed into the conversation yesterday (and may still do so), offering rich insights.

Bob Cesca on Fox News's Defense of Duggars as "Harrowing Turning Point in Our Discourse" — and Father Jonathan Morris's at Fox News's Defense of Duggars

Yesterday, I pointed you to a thought-provoking article by Andrew O'Hehir which argues that it's through public conversation about stories like those of the Duggars and Caitlyn Jenner that Americans now carry on political debate about the role of religion in American life and how sexual abuse is often tolerated, minimized, covered up within families. O'Hehir thinks that if we pooh-pooh these conversations as low-culture events beneath the notice of serious people, as the beltway media and many centrist journals pretend to do, we remove ourselves from "the substance of our national conversation, the central narrative of American political and cultural life in our time."

Monday, June 8, 2015

Homeschool Survivor Nicholas Ducote on Duggars and Christian Patriarchy: "It's Literal Rape Culture"

As the day goes on, Salon's lead story right now is an interview by Jenny Kutner with homeschool survivor Nicholas Ducote about Christian fundamentalism and "rape culture." Ducote, who has helped set up the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog to enable other survivors of homeschooling to share their stories and network, was homeschooled in Louisiana by a right-wing evangelical mother who was heavily into the worldview of Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute.

Discussion of Duggars and Caitlyn Jenner As How We Talk About Religion in Public Life Today, and a Question: Is There a Genetic Link Between Rigid, Patriarchal Religion and Abuse of Children?

Andrew O'Hehir argues that it's through public conversation about stories like those of the Duggars and Caitlyn Jenner that Americans now carry on political debate about the role of religion in American life and how sexual abuse is often tolerated, minimized, covered up within families. The old-fashioned kind of political exchanges carried on by means of the ballot box now engage primarily "the fearful, the crazy and the deeply, pathologically Caucasian (overlapping demographics, to be sure)" when the presidency is not at stake.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Chris Morley on Updating the Pope's Media Machine for the 21st Century

And another valuable Sunday-morning resource — another report from Chris Morley, this one on the tipc of the pope's media machine (and its dire need of updating for the 20st century):

A Sunday Resource: BBC Scotland Program on Slavery and Song

A month ago, I shared with you a wonderful resource compiled by my friend Ian Gilmour, a Church of Scotland pastor. As I noted, Ian and his wife Donna spent a good bit of time in October 2014 interviewing people in Arkansas and Arizona about African-American spirituals and the role they played in enabling enslaved African Americans to combat their oppression in the period of slavery.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Recent Finger-Wrenching Adventure with the Dogs: An Account

So, since some of you have asked, I'll tell you what happened with my fingers recently. This might be an exercise in proving to doubters that a real person writes this blog — an exercise akin to those captcha thingies that pop up at various sites and ask you to prove you're a human and not a, well, perhaps a monkey? writing a comment or sending an e-card.

Cordileone Opens His Mouth Again, Nonsense Falls Out Again: "The Clear Biological Fact Is That a Human Being Is Born Either Male or Female"

It seems to me sadly predictable that San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the "father of proposition 8," who took credit for snatching the right of civil marriage from gay couples in California in 2008, would want to weigh in with a loud, media-grabbing statement about the Caitlyn Jenner story. After all, the hard evangelical right, the Catholic bishops' allies in the culture war against the LGBT community, had already been weighing in before Cordileone opened his mouth. The never disappointing (if one is looking for clownish religious-right soundbytes, that is) Rev. Mike Huckabee, for instance, had made ill-informed, pretend-jocular, but base-revving remarks about women's locker rooms and men who pretend to be women in order to lurk in said rooms.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Criminal Charges Filed Against Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis in Abuse Cover-Up

As Chris has noted in a comment here today, this noontime the Ramsey County, Minnesota, prosecutor's office announced that it has filed criminal charges against the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Mitch Smith writes for New York Times:

Droppings from the Fox News Talking-Points Birdcage: "Slam Dunk Heads Will Roll" Due to Illegal Release of Josh Duggar's Police Report

Someone with the username wreckinball writes in here yesterday in reponse to my update regarding the Duggar family, to challenge my statement that Judge Stacey Zimmerman abused her judicial office in having the police records about Josh Duggar's molestation of minors destroyed, on the ostensible ground that she was protecting the minors who had been molested:

Chris Morley on Extension of Workplace Protection to LGBT Employees in Ireland After Pro-Equality Vote: A Report on the Debate

At the end of this work week, another well-researched report from Chris Morley — this one about the debate now underway in Ireland regarding workplace protection for LGBT employees, following the recent vote for LGBT equality. As Chris points out, the issue is complicated in Ireland by the fact that there has been a close connection between the Catholic church institutionally and Irish government, as well as between the Irish educational and hospital system. In addition, there are strong constitutional protections for religiously-based employers to practice discrimination in hiring and firing if it is claimed that such discrimination is necessary to maintain the religious identity and mission of church-related institutions. Chris writes:

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Duggars Speak Out: Victims? What Victims? The Duggar Story and the Gospel

The Duggars just don't get it, do they? The fact is, they can't get it, because they live in a little countercultural bubble of religious truth that trumps all other truths from the world outside their bubble, the world in which the rest of us poor sinners live — a world that is, to their certain knowledge, going to hell in a handbasket. They and their kind do not answer to the authorities of that world, the one in which the rest of us live. They answer to another authority hidden to those of us going to hell.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ched Myers on Pentecost: "The Spirit Has Busted Up Business-as-Usual Many Times Since Babel and Jerusalem, and She Is Waiting to Do the Same in Our Own Time"

Ched Myers looks at the Lucan Pentecost story in Acts in light of the narrative about the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. As he notes, the "scattering" of peoples in the Babel story has conventionally been viewed as a kind of divine judgment on those who built the tower of Babel. But here's what he thinks the narrative is actually about:

Alan McCornick on Open vs. Closed Models of Church, and Religious Responses to Gay Folks

In light of the Irish vote, Alan McCornick argues that it's simplistic to frame the battle for gay rights as a battle between religion and the gays. As he points out, many people of faith are strong advocates for gay people and gay rights. In his view, the dichotomy that deserves attention here is one between closed and open models of church:

Gabriel Daly on Irish Vote as "Caring for a Wounded Minority Who Were Strangers in Their Own Community": Contrasting Irish and American Catholic Values

Catholic theologian (and priest) Gabriel Daly commenting in The Tablet on the deeply Catholic theological underpinnings of the recent yes vote for LGBT equality in Ireland: 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kapya Kaoma on How Vatican Hypocrisy Endangers LGBTQ People

Yesterday, I wrote that I wonder what Pope Francis will say at the World Meeting of Families this September, given that the Catholic archdiocese hosting this event is headed by an archbishop, Charles Chaput, who is an anti-gay culture warrior with a deplorable track record vis-a-vis the rights of LGBT human beings. Here's Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian-born Anglican priest who's with Political Research Associates, who has blown the whistle on the U.S. religious right's involvement in movements spreading anti-gay hatred in Africa, writing recently about the same topic:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mark Silk Responds to Ross Douthat on Polygamy and Same-Sex Marriage: What Were You Saying Again About Religious Freedom, Mr. Douthat?

Mark Silk responds to Ross Douthat on same-sex marriage and polygamy (see my earlier posting about this) at Mark's "Spiritual Politics" blog — "The Polygamists Are Coming!" As he notes, the argument that same-sex marriage will open the door to polygamy is a longstanding slippery-slope argument of religious conservatives, so it seems . . . odd . . . that Douthat wants to reprise that argument now (obviously, in light of what has just taken place in Ireland and in anticipation of a soon-to-come Supreme Court ruling in the U.S.). 

Sensational Austrialian T.V. Interview with Peter Saunders of Papal Abuse Commission About Cardinal George Pell: "Massive Thorn in the Side of Pope Francis's Papacy"

Last evening, "60 Minutes Australia" aired a segment about Cardinal George Pell, whom Pope Francis has brought to the Vatican to clean up the Vatican Bank. In light of allegations made in hearings of the Australian royal commission into child abuse, "60 Minutes" interviews papal abuse commission member Peter Saunders, an abuse survivor. The interview is online here.

A Catholic Nation Resoundingly Supports Equal Rights for LGBT People, and the U.S. Catholic Right and Its Centrist Enablers Want to Talk About . . . Polygamy?

Steve and I had dinner yesterday with some friends of ours who have long been powerful and effective activists for civil rights. They're an African-American couple who have played, each in his/her field, an extraordinary role in local movements to protect and extend the rights of people of color, women, the poor, LGBT folks, etc., over many years now.