Thursday, December 31, 2015

Comments at Bilgrimage Now Include Media Option — With Thanks to Chris Morley

A new year's gift to you all, through the kindness of Chris Morley: Chris has told me that Disqus has the ability to permit comments to include photos, sound, and videos. I think I have just now turned on that feature. 

When you open a comment box, you should now see below it (to the left) a little icon you may click to add those forms of media to your comment, if you wish. I'm adding this feature since John Bijarney mentioned recently how useful it would be, and Chris seconded the suggestion, and then very helpfully told me that Disqus does have this feature, and all I needed to do is turn it on.

A happy 2016 to all of you!

Frank Cocozzelli Presents His Annual Coughie Award: And the Winners Are . . . Maureen Mullarkey and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone!

It's that time of year — Coughie time! I have come to look forward to Frank Cocozzelli's annual announcement of his Coughlin Award, given to the U.S. Catholic who has, well, here's Frank's explanation of what the Coughie is all about: 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Twitter Bans Language Promoting Violence Against Targeted Minority Groups: Wake-Up Call to Online Catholic Forums Where LGBT Lives Are Discussed

Reuters reports (by way of Religion News Service) this morning: 

Twitter Inc has clarified its definition of abusive behavior that will prompt it to delete accounts, banning "hateful conduct" that promotes violence against specific groups.

Commentary on Tamir Rice Story: "Tamir Would Be Alive If He Were White"

Lead headline at Huffington Post this morning.

Noteworthy commentary I've read in the last two days about the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland, which I'd like to share with you all here:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

NCR's Editorial Naming Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon Persons of the Year: Word Count Revealing Preoccupations of Catholics Responding to NCR (Sin: 47 Mentions; Mercy: 7 Mentions)

As of 3:30 P.M. CST in North America, National Catholic Reporter's editorial naming Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon has garnered 310 comments. In typical fashion when any U.S. Catholic publication publishes an editorial calling for less Catholic cruelty to LGBT people, the editorial is now picking up the comments of the attack squads who monitor Catholic blog sites for such articles, and then inundate them with hateful comments.

NCR's Choice of Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon As Persons of the Year: A Pretty Big Deal (See SCOTUS Daily)

A footnote to what I posted yesterday about the editorial announcement of National Catholic Reporter that it has chosen as its 2015 persons of the year the Catholic couple Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon, lead plaintiffs in the Obergefell case: I subscribe to the more-or-less daily email newsletter of the Come to Terms Project. Come to Terms sends out an emailed newsletter entitled SCOTUS Daily. To my knowledge, issues of this emailed newsletter are not archives online (but if you're interested, it's very easy to go to the link I've just provided, click on it, and add yourself to the email list by clicking on "Supporters" and then following the instructions given there.

Monday, December 28, 2015

National Catholic Reporter Editorializes: "How Will We As a Church Live with Our Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Brothers and Sisters?"

National Catholic Reporter names Catholic couple Greg Bourke and Michael DeLeon of Louisville, lead plaintiffs in the Obergefell case, persons of the year. NCR writes, 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Looking Back at 2015 on Christmas Day: "The Light Around Us Remains, We Take Our Mercies As We Get Them"

More Christmas gifts I've unwrapped this morning, that I now want to give to you, my friends and fellow pilgrims around the world:

Why Ebola Never Reached Many of Us: A Christmas Day Sermon from Tim Cunningham (and Rev. Wendell Griffen)

There's a beautiful Christmas sermon wrapped up in Tim Cunningham's narrative about why the U.S. and other affluent countries never had an Ebola epidemic (hint: it's about people working together across religious, ideological, ethnic boundary lines; it's about the amazing courage of some people willing to risk their lives to save the lives of other people). Tim, who's a pediatric emergency nurse in New York, and who went to Sierra Leone last year to combat the Ebola epidemic, writes,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Greetings with Photos

Camellia blooming beside our porch as Christmas nears.

This Christmas eve, sending good wishes to all Bilgrimage readers of any or no religious persuasions — with a few photos:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Catholic Committee of Appalachia Releases People's Pastoral Including LGBT Voices: "Churches That Condemn Same-Sex Relationships End Up Attacking the Very Personhood of Gay and Lesbian People"

Today, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia released its "People's Pastoral" (pdf file) entitled "The Telling Takes Us Home; Taking Our Place in the Stories that Shape Us." The pastoral document is being released on the 40th anniversary of the 1975 pastoral letter "This Land Is Home to Me." I'm grateful to my friend-colleague Michael J. Iafrate, who chaired the board of the committee producing the pastoral, and who sent me the press release the committee sent out as it released the pastoral statement. Jeanne Kirkhope was coordinator of the pastoral-writing process.

Alan McCornick on Why Religion Is the Problem: "Imagine a World Where Cherry-Picking Does Not Take Place and You Have the Kind of World Which ISIS Is Trying to Create"

An early Christmas gift: Alan McCornick's smart, wonderfully dense (think an outstanding slice of dark, rich fruitcake), fetchingly written essay about religion as the problem at his Hepzibah site yesterday. Precisely because Alan's essay is dense and so well-written, it's hard for me to select a passage to try to tempt you to read it in its entirety. Here's one that does leap out at me, since it so well summarizes the primary point Alan is making in the essay — that religion is the problem when adherents of a particular religion (and the culture at large) permit any given religion to rest easy with the reduction of its complex message to something like the obligation to kill one's perceived enemies: Alan writes, 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Video with Bible Verses Mistaken for Quran Goes Viral: Why Are So Many Christians Blisfully Unaware of Christian Legacy of Oppression and Violence?

As Steve Benen notes, the video at the head of the posting, in which two young men in the Netherlands read verses from a Bible disguised as the Quran to people on the street, and then ask for their reaction, has gone viral. Steve Benen writes,

As the Solstice Arrives, Christian Radio Stations in Bible Belt Prepare for Birth of Prince of Peace by Targeting Muslims

As we approach the solstice, the day of the year with least light, a report to you from on the ground in the deep, dark heart of the bible belt, where hysteria about people of a religious persuasion different than our owns appears to be reaching fever pitch as Christmas arrives:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

New Ways Ministry on Belmont Abbey College's Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals: "Undermining Catholic Education and an Approach to Gender That Is Rooted in the Gospel "

As wild hair reports in a comment here this morning, New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog has now published a statement about Belmont Abbey College's request to receive Title IX funds while discriminating against transgender folks. Writing for Bondings, Bob Shine notes that Belmont Abbey has attracted the negative attention of various LGBT groups that combat discrimination against LGBT people.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Verdict in Philadelphia Gay-Bashing Case from 2014: Catholic Juror Notes (and Deplores) Catholic School Connection of the Assailants

And another quote to share with you this evening (well, it's evening in my neck of the woods): as many of you may now have read, Kathryn Knott, one of those charged in the Philadelphia gay-bashing incident in which two gay men were assaulted by folks leaving a restaurant gathering of graduates of a local Catholic high school in September 2014, has been found guilty of assault. Here's John Kopp reporting on the verdict at Philly Voice:

Mary Elizabeth Williams on Massachusetts Ruling Forbidding Catholic Schools to Discriminate: Icy Chill for Homophobes Hiding Behind Religion

Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon on the ruling handed down yesterday by Judge Douglas Wilkins in Massachusetts about Fontbonne Academy's rescinding of a contract to a married gay man: 

Judicial Ruling in Massachusetts: Catholic Schools Cannot Claim That Religious Belief Sets Them Above Laws Prohibiting Anti-LGBT Discrimination

And so yesterday as I was blogging about the choice of a Catholic school on the far-right fringes of U.S. political life and of the Catholic academy to obtain permission to discriminate against a minority group while receiving federal funds, what news should break but this news? As Bob Shine notes at Bondings 2.0, in Massachusetts, Judge Douglas H. Wilkins handed down a ruling (pdf file) that a Catholic school in that state, Fontbonne Academy, violated state non-discrimination laws when it rescinded a contract offered to Matthew Barrett after learning that Barrett was gay and married — to Ed Suplee.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Belmont Abbey College in National News Again: Claims Catholic "Right-to-Discriminate" Title IX Exemption Targeting Transgender Students and Staff

I have shared with you the story of how a Catholic college in North Carolina owned by a Benedictine community destroyed my career as a Catholic theologian and that of my now husband Steve in the early 1990s, though we were abiding by the unwritten rules of the Catholic academy that required us to be closeted and to keep our relationship hidden as we taught at this college. In a series of postings here this past October (here, here, here, here, here, and here), I shared with you a detailed document I compiled and circulated in October 1993 recounting the story of what Belmont Abbey College and monastery did to end my career as a Catholic theologian.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Derrick De Lise's Interview with Me — "Courageous Conversation with Bill Lindsey" — Now Published at Huffington Post: Why This Conversation Is Important

Several days ago, I shared with you a link to an interview that Derrick De Lise did with me, and published at his blog Inexorable Pilgrim. This is a quick footnote to my previous posting, to tell you that Derrick has now published the same interview, which he entitles "Courageous Conversation with Bill Lindsey," at Huffington Post.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Detroit Free Press Article About Gay Couple Who Are Active Catholics: An Image of the Divided U.S. Catholic Church

If you're looking for a rather neat snapshot of the two theological universes that coexist uneasily in American Catholicism today, especially vis-a-vis the question of welcomingly openly gay people and married gay couples in Catholic parishes, I'd highly recommend Patricia Montemurri's report in Detroit Free Press today about Bryan Victor and Thomas Molina-Duarte, a gay couple who married this summer in an Episcopal church in Detroit, but who are active members of a Catholic church in Detroit. Montemurri indicates that Victor's uncle Rev. Ronald Victor, a Catholic priest, attended his wedding along with other family members, and supports the couple, noting that the Catholic community "needs more examples of gay holiness."

Louder and Meaner Trump Talks, Higher His Poll Numbers Surge: Mary Hunt's Call for a National Theological State of Emergency to Address Islamophobia

Charles Pierce and Joelle Casteix on the Rot in the NY Archdiocese: The Sordid Story of Father Peter Miqueli and What Cardinal Dolan Knew When

Until yesterday, the story of what's happening with Father Peter Miqueli and former USCCB president Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the New York archdiocese seemed largely confined to the tabloid news, and for that reason, I haven't commented on it. I'm averse to wading through tabloid slime, I'm far from confident that what the tabloids report is accurately reported, and stories they break have a nasty way of twisting and turning, leaving folks who comment precipitously on them  embarrassed at having trusted a tabloid report.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Quote for Day: Judith Light, "It Was the LGBTQ Community That Inspired Me to Be the Kind of Person I Wanted to Be"

Actress Judith Light in an interview with Chris Azzopardi on the light she has found, as a straight advocate, in the LGBTQ community:

U.S. Christian Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Muslim Hate Speech: Making Advent Real

Steve and I went yesterday to a local Episcopal church again, as we observed the third Sunday of Advent. Friends have repeatedly invited us to this church, too — one who's a recovering Southern Baptist, another who's the son of a United Methodist minister. One female, the other male; one straight, the other gay; one a former student of mine in a graduate ministry program, the other a longtime friend.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blogger Derrick De Lise Interviews Me at Inexorable Pilgrim About Living As a Gay Christian

I'm grateful to Derrick De Lise for publishing an interview with me at his Inexorable Pilgrim site yesterday. Derrick entitles his interview "Courageous Conversation with Bill Lindsey," and notes that the subject of our conversation (via email) was the challenge to be both openly gay and a person of faith.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Frank Brennan, SJ, on the Australian Catholic Bishops and Marriage Equality: My Response and Critique of the Clericalist Closed-Circle Argument

I very much appreciate that Chris Morley recommended to us Jesuit Father Frank Brennan's recent article at Eureka Street noting the futility of the battle of some church leaders, the Catholic bishops of Australia included, against same-sex marriage in Australia. As Father Brennan rightly notes, there are compelling reasons — moral ones — for recognizing the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage. These include the protection of children such couples may be raising, the state's interest in supporting couples committed to each other who provide care for each other as they age, and the undercutting of homophobia, which, as he notes, has toxic social consequences.

Theological Roots of Bitter Battle of Some Christians Against LGBT Rights: The Bible Can't Be Wrong (We Can't Be Wrong, and Heterosexual Men Rule)

Here's a set of interlocking observations that, to my mind, share a common theme: 1) a comment an Episcopal priest made to me yesterday about why some streams of Christianity are so adamant today in their opposition to LGBT rights; 2) Diarmaid MacCulloch on the same topic and how it's all about shoring up the supremacy of heterosexual males; 3) David Marr's commentary on why the Australian Catholic bishops are bitterly opposed to legalization of same-sex marriage; and 4) Fred Clark's account of the baffling determination of some U.S. white evangelicals to continue, generation after generation, choosing the wrong side of the moral arc of history in battles for human rights:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch on Why Angry Conservatism Characterizes Many Religions Today: It's About Threatened Heterosexual Male Power and Privilege

The graphic should enlarge if you click it. And I want to add a note of gratitude to Rachel Fitzgerald for recommending Diarmaid MacCulloch's work to me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Advent: Meditating About "The Humorless Puzzle of Inequality and Hate"

Another Advent offering for you today from a log of quotations I've kept over the years as I've read: as with yesterday's set of illuminations, all of these feature a certain word about which I propose that we think with concentration these days, whether we're meditating as members of a religious tradition or are not connected to or hostile to religion: 

Opening Doors or Closing Them? Anthea Butler Comments on Pope Francis and Donald Trump

Questions Trump's Fascist Demagoguery Raises: Why Do We Have This Problem? Can It Happen Here? Why Can It Happen Here?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: An Eye-Opening Dialogue About Pope's Year of Mercy and Catholic Gay-Bashing

One Purgatrix Ineptiae, responding* to Joshua McElwee's article at National Catholic Reporter noting that Pope Francis has opened a Jubilee year calling for a church that puts mercy before judgment:

Advent: "Darkness and Death Take Different Forms in Every Generation, But the Challenge of Gathering the Forces of Light and Love to Oppose Them Remains the Same"

An Advent offering for you, continuing the themes of the meditation I posted yesterday: illuminations from many different books and poems I've read over many years, and have recorded in my quotation log: 

As Trump Goes Full Fascist, Thoughtful Testimony from Various Witnesses: "Repudiate Him, or Become His Monster"

Where our world is heading, if we American citizens, who wield enormous global influence and power at a global level, don't soon wake from our slumber: 

Monday, December 7, 2015

An Advent Meditation: The Struggle for Hope As Dark Rises and Light Shifts, and Churches Become Trivial Cultural Adjuncts of Affluent Values

It's that time of year in which the waning of the light really does put us into a new — a different — space emotionally and spiritually. We wake these days to bleak darkness, and long before bedtime, the sun has vanished below the horizon. During the day, it comes into the house at new, and sometimes challenging, angles as it moves itself to the southern side of the sky.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Just Another Day in the United States of America, Another Day of Gunfire, Panic, and Fear": Commentary on Latest Mass Shooting in U.S.

Paul Vallely and Patricia Miller on the Pope's Failure in Africa: "How Gays Are Treated Is Fundamental to the Future of the Universal Church"

I am not by any means the only person giving testimony about how Pope Francis's silence regarding the threat to LGBT lives in Africa radically undermines his "reform" agenda for the Catholic church. Today's New York Times carries an essay by papal biographer Paul Vallely entitled "The Pope's Failure in Africa." Vallely's testimony is critically important because he has been a strong defender of Francis and a promoter of his reform agenda. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bob Shine on Pope Francis's Silence About LGBT People in Africa, and How This Silence Colors His Message of Good News

Bob Shine of New Ways Ministry on Pope Francis's silence about LGBT people in Africa, and how this silence colors his message of good news to the world:

On World AIDS Day, What Message of Good News Do Catholic Leaders Have for People Affected by HIV — After Pope Francis's Trip to Africa?

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. What was the official, unambiguous statement of good news offered by the leaders of the Catholic church to the world on World AIDS Day, regarding an illness that remains epidemic and lethal in particular in the continent of Africa?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ken Briggs on the Shocking "No Big Deal" Approach of Pope Francis to Questions About Catholic Position on Condom Use and AIDS — The Moral Limits of Pretending That Some People Don't Exist

As Ken Briggs notes today in National Catholic Reporter, the "no big deal" approach Pope Francis appears to take to some issues causes him to hard-sell some topics (e.g., the need to respond to climate change), while soft-pedaling or bypassing others. The latter category includes, Briggs suggests, how the Catholic church should respond to LGBT people and to the use of condoms to combat the spread of HIV.

John Pavlovitz on Outgrowing American Christianity: "Feeling Estrangement from These Things Is a Good Thing"

John Pavlovitz writing today at his Stuff That Needs to Be Said blog about his emancipation from American Christianity, which he realizes he has outgrown:

Frank Mugisha, Ugandan Advocate for LGBT Rights, on Pope Francis's Missed Opportunity for Conversation on Protecting LGBT Persons