Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fred Clark on Rev. William J. Barber's Moral Revolution: A Rebuke to White Evangelical Reading of the Bible

As Fred Clark says, there's a reason Rev. William J. Barber cited "Revive Us Again," a venerable hymn long beloved by Southern white evangelicals, in his stirring commentary at the Democratic National Convention. I blogged about this commentary yesterday; a video of Rev. Barber's address to DNC is at this posting.

Friday, July 29, 2016

"This Campaign Is a Choice Between a Normal Political Party and an Abnormal One": Ezra Klein on the (Moral) Choice Confronting American Voters in 2016

Ezra Klein on the significance (a moral significance) of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections:

Rev. William Barber on 2016 Elections: "I'm Troubled and I'm Worried by the Way Faith Is Cynically Used by Some to Serve Hate, Fear, Racism, and Greed"

Proponents of the religious right have been in the business for a long time now of pretending that they and they alone mediate God to the rest of us. Remember when Anita Bryant, the wildly popular Southern Baptist anti-gay crusader (well, until her marriage crashed and burned [the gays made that happen, her shameless ex-husband maintained] and she went through multiple bankruptcies), solemnly assured us that God did not intend a woman to be president of the U.S.?

Father Thomas Reese on How Catholic Vote May Well Decide 2016 Elections: This Analysis Leads to the Question, What's Wrong with White Catholics?

Like religious ‘nones,’ black Protestants strongly favor Clinton

Father Thomas Reese at National Catholic Reporter this morning on how the 2016 elections, which present a stark choice between two very different presidential candidates and two very different visions of American democracy, may well hinge on what Catholic voters choose to do:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

White Catholics, White "Liberal" Churchgoers, and Racism: Three Discussions Hot Off the Presses in Light of Trump

Three passages from my reading in the past day that speak quite directly to questions I have raised repeatedly in the last several days here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Apologies for Errors in My First Posting Today — Have Now Corrected Them

Just a note to tell you I've re-read my posting earlier today about Robert Jones' book The End of White Christian America, and have spotted some glaring errors in the text — for which I apologize. I've now corrected them, and wanted to tell readers this, in case you tried to read the garbled text and could not make sense of it. 

I know I'm behind in acknowledging and replying to your very welcome comments in the past few days, and I apologize for that, too. Still trying to deal with health issues and not feeling very energetic much of the time, though I can't let myself stop reading and thinking and trying to share ideas in this very critical time in American political-religious life, I also tell myself.

Jennifer Finney Boylan on Moral Imagination and the Anti-Trans Agenda of the GOP: Once Again, What Good Does Church Do?

Jennifer Finney Boylan argues that developing "moral imagination" — the ability to imagine the lives of those different from ourselves, and to empathize with those different from ourselves — is an essential human task. We become fully human precisely by developing this ability in ourselves. We are not fully human when we have not developed it.

Robert P. Jones and The End of White Christian America: What Good Does Church Do, When Churchgoers (White Ones) Display Less Sensitivity to Racism Than Non-Religious People Show?

When I began blogging two days ago about Robert P. Jones' new book The End of White Christian America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2016), I told you I'd have a bit more to say regarding Jones' observations re: the role being played by White Christian America in debates about LGBTQ rights and about racial matters. Yesterday, I discussed the first of those two topics. Today, I want to present some more tidbits from Jones about White Christian America and the issue of race.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Robert P. Jones and The End of White Christian America: LGBTQ Rights, White Christian America, and a Trump Presidency — Questions for Consideration

As I noted yesterday when I offered you my first installment of excerpts from Robert P. Jones' new book The End of White Christian America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2016), this book is important for us to consider in the 2016 election cycle. As I noted, Maureen Fiedler recently reported that when she interviewed Jones for Interfaith Voices a number of days back and asked him, "When Donald Trump says he wants to 'make America great again,' is he really saying, 'Bring back white Christian America?,' " Jones replied,

Monday, July 25, 2016

Robert P. Jones and The End of White Christian America: Want to Understand Trump's Rise to Power? Pay Attention to White Christian Strategy

In her recent commentary on Robert P. Jones' book The End of White Christian America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2016) at National Catholic Reporter, Maureen Fiedler provides a very good reason for why we might want to familiarize ourselves with Jones' book and its argument (based on extensive sound empirical research) that White Christian America* is now waning: Fielder reports that she has recently interviewed Jones for Interfaith Voices, and,

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Documents in Settlement of Curtis Wehmeyer Case Reveal Vatican Interference in Investigation of Allegations about Archbishop Nienstedt's Sexual Improprieties

WHAT HE'S SAYING: Well, there you have it at the top of this posting. Archbishop Nienstedt's full statement in response to the revelations contained in documents in last week's settlement of the Curtis Wehmeyer case in St. Paul-Minneapolis can be found appended to this article by Marino Eccher in Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Nienstedt's response: 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage (2): "When You Jump in Bed with Caesar You're Bound to Get Screwed"

Elagabalus at National Catholic Reporter, commenting on Msgr. Kieran Harrington's invocation on the opening night of the Republican National Convention, and noting that Harrington worked five years for the RNC:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Ross Douthat on Coronation of Donald Trump — "Disgraced Themselves on a Level Unique in the History of Our Republic"

Conservative right-wing Catholic journalist Ross Douthat tweets as the Republican party chooses Donald Trump as its 2016 presidential candidate:

"Asking God to Tell Her Who to Vote For? Is She Crazy?": Turn of White Southern Evangelicals to Religious Right Politics in Wake of Civil Rights Movement — A Story

I don't remember which election it was. What I do remember is that my great-aunt was as mad as hell. Might have been as early as the Kennedy-Nixon election, might have been 1964 or 1968. Whichever election it was, my great-aunt had gotten a letter from her daughter (married, living with her husband and children in Mobile) telling her mother that she was praying and asking God to tell her how to cast her vote in the election.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage (2): GOP Will Form a Commission to Determine Whether Michelle Obama Plagiarized Melania Trump's Speech

More from the Catholic birdcage today as last evening's . . . GOP thing . . . is being discussed today at National Catholic Reporter: this is Agni Ashwin speaking:

The GOP will form a commission to determine whether Michelle Obama in 2008 plagiarized Melania Trump's 2016 speech.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Great That . . . a Hot Immigrant Model Can Come to This Country with Nothing But the Clothes on Her Back (and Occasionally Without Them) and Land a Sugar Daddy Bazillionaire"

Lovin' me some Catholic birdcage as yesterday's . . . well, there's not a polite term to name it, is there? . . . thing transpired in Cleveland, and as that thing is being dissected in some online Catholic discussion spaces: here's rockchalkwombat talking about the Cleveland thing at National Catholic Reporter this morning:

Questions from a Ewe Responds to Archbishop Chaput About Excluding the "Irregular" from the Sacraments: "Here's What I Suggest. Walk Up to Your Local Priest and Ask about His Sex Life"

In recently published commentary on Archbishop Chaput's newly released guidelines to deal with "irregularities" in dispensation of the sacraments in his archdiocese, the blogger writing at Questions from a Ewe notes with her usual panache and verve that it's exceedingly odd that Chaput is concerned with "irregularity" of a sexual sort — well, with some folks' "irregularity — when it's well known that 50% of U.S. Catholic priests and an even higher percentage than this in other parts of the world are sexually active. All those priests are, in other words, leading the kind of "irregular" lives for which Archbishop Chaput wants to bar only openly LGBTQ Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics not living together as brother and sister from the sacraments.

Why Was "This Mixture of Arrogance and Hankering for Advantage Breaking Out in Germany, of All Places?": The Testimony of Joachim Fest's Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood As Donald Trump Rises to Power

In his memoir entitled Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood (NY: Other Press, 2012) (trans. Martin Chalmers), Joachim Fest talks about how his family in Berlin chose to resist Hitler and the Nazi regime, while all around them, people acclaimed Hitler and regarded him as a savior figure who would make their nation great again. Among other dissenters with whom they talked as Hitler rose to power — always with great caution — the burning question was how this could happen in Germany, a nation devoted to law and order. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

About the Fifty Percent of White Catholics Reporting They Will Vote for Trump: It's Donald Trump!

Like religious ‘nones,’ black Protestants strongly favor Clinton

About the fifty percent of white Catholics who reported to Pew pollsters that they support Donald Trump, as opposed to the forty-six percent of white Catholics reporting that they favor Hillary Clinton:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pew Results Released Yesterday: Half of White Catholics in U.S. Support Donald Trump — The Egregious Failure of Moral and Pastoral Leadership of U.S. Bishops

Like religious ‘nones,’ black Protestants strongly favor Clinton

Have a look at the table above, which represents findings released by Pew Research Center yesterday, reporting on a poll Pew did in mid-June. The line to which I want to draw your attention:

#GOPRacism #GOPHomophobia: My Theological Two Cents' Worth

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Catholic-Themed News: Nienstedt at Napa, Chaput and Amoris Laetitia, Joe Paterno and What He Knew, Violence of Catholic Teaching about LGBTQ People

Brother Body can be a real ass sometimes, can't he? I'm dealing with some health things right now, and finding it hard to concentrate on blogging. Please forgive the "lightness" of this posting, which is more or less a list of Catholic-themed news items or commentary I'd like to report to you, as I work on encouraging Brother Body to stop being so much of a donkey to me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Judge Carlton Reeves on Parallel Between Mississippi White Christians' Rejection of Black Civil Rights in 1960s and Rejection of LGBTQ Rights Today

Claude Summers notes that, as he knocked down Mississippi's "religious freedom" law, Judge Carlton Reeves drew the obvious historical parallel between the religiously fueled attack of many Mississippi Christians on LGBTQ rights today, and how many (white) Mississippi Christians used religion to attack the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century:

"I'm Done Believing That Religion Will Help Black People Get Justice in America": God, Guns, and Race in America, July 2016

"We've Seen the Videos. The Difference Between You and Me Isn't a Matter of Error, but of Will": Guns, God, and Race in America, July 2016

Chris Lebron, New York Times

If America had decided that black lives do matter when it had the chance, the cycle of violence that has robbed us and threatens to continue to rob us of precious lives could have been broken. 
One reason the correspondence theory of truth has lost favor among professional philosophers is that we can't always rely on our senses to corroborate facts. But we've seen the videos. The difference between you and me isn't a matter of error, but of will.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Krzysztof Charamsa Publishes Book Explaining Choice to Come Out as a Gay Priest: The First Stone: I, Gay Priest, and My Rebellion Against the Church’s Hypocrisy

As many of you will know, shortly before the Catholic Synod on the Family opened, a Polish priest, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, who worked in the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, revealed that he was gay and has a partner, Eduard Planas. He was subsequently removed from his CDF position and defrocked. If you click on Krzysztof's name in the labels below, you'll find a series of postings telling his story, with links to statements he has made.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "It Is Another Thing Entirely When You Think That the Positions Being Taken in Your Name Are Doing Affirmative Harm to People"

At his Sound of Sheer Silence blog, Michael Boyle notes that Cardinal Robert Sarah is the new darling of the Catholic right, particularly in the U.S. As Michael notes, Sarah was flown across the Atlantic to deliver a bombastic speech to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in May. He used his platform there to attack marriage equality and to mount the by now very tired accusation that the West is engaging in "ideological colonization" of Africa by appealing to African nations to respect the rights of women and LGBTQ people.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Then and Now: A Nation Awash with Blood, Torn by Racially Driven Violence, Unwilling to Learn — My Reflections on Dallas Shootings

Charles Pierce, Politics Blog at Esquire

The universe has physical laws: For every action, there's a reaction.

Bloody Summer of 2016 and Coming U.S. Elections: "A Great Sorting on the Trump Question Is Coming" (As Guns Fail [Again] to Save Us)

"This Is Actually Happening, and It's Real, and It's Right Now": Christian Churches Responding (or Refusing to Respond) to Pastoral Needs of LGBTQ Human Beings

Gay (former) Mormon Tyler Glenn in a video he posted to Facebook on 5 July (the video above), about the suicide of LGBTQ Mormon youth after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints enacted its policy punishing same-sex couples and their children and excluding them from church participation:

This is actually happening, and it's real, and it's right now.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Most Whites Saw Civil Rights Not in Terms of Black Liberties, but As a Loss of White Freedom": White Southern Response to Civil Rights Act and "Religious Freedom" Debate Today

Read Jason Sokol's There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975 (NY: Knopf, 2006) as the 2016 elections approach, and the parallels between then and now shout to be noticed. There's a clearly discernible line from the period of white Southern reaction to the Civil Rights movement in the 20th century, and the political culture of the U.S. in the early 21st century. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Betty Clermont on Real Goal of Catholic Bishops' "Religious Freedom" Campaign, Michelangelo Signorile on Need for Pope to Apologize for His Own Statements about Gays

As the U.S. Catholic bishops threw their 2016 "Fortnight for Freedom" shindig several days ago, Betty Clermont issued the following valuable reminder of what the "religious freedom" crusade of the bishops has been all about all along: not religion, but money, power, and politicking: she writes,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Quote for Day: "We Have to Confess . . . That the Genealogy of Gay Suffering Has Roots Deep in Church History"

Michael Coren was once a leading opponent of marriage equality in Canada. His recently published book Epiphany: A Christian’s Change of Heart & Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage (Toronto: Signal, 2016) explains how he came to an epiphanic insight that his highly selective reading of Judaeo-Christian scripture to attack LGBTQ people (while he ignored the central affirmation of love, mercy, and justice in the bible) betrays what is most foundational in the Christian tradition.  

Jason Sokol on White Southern Resistance to Civil Rights Movement: "Some White Southerners Perceived the Civil Rights Movement as a Threat to Their Very Notion of Freedom" — Implications for "Religious Freedom" Discussion

In his book There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975 (NY: Knopf, 2006), Jason Sokol writes about the response of white Southerners to the Civil Rights movement of that period:

Whites were so deeply influenced by a racial caste system that few could imagine a world in which blacks and whites would share power. They thought in terms of white supremacy or black supremacy: if blacks gained rights, whites would correspondingly "wear the yoke" (p. 80, citing Albany [Georgia] Herald, August 19, 1962, p. 18; and interview with James McBride Dabbs, by Dallas Blanchard, Southern Oral History Program).

Friday, July 1, 2016

Quote for Day: "The Church's Position on Homosexuality Illustrates Why It's So Important to Link Ethical Claims to the Reality of Human Suffering"

At Salon, Sean Illing argues that with his comments about apologizing to gay people, Pope Francis did not go far enough in addressing the anti-LGBTQ effects of the institution he leads. As Illing notes, 

Sensational News Report That Benedict . . . of All People . . . Broke Up a Gay Lobby in Vatican: My Comments

The sensational story that the Vatican contained a "gay lobby" before Pope Benedict . . . of all people . . . broke it up, a story making the rounds of news sites today: