Thursday, June 30, 2016

Following Papal Statement About Apologizing to Gay People, U.S. Lay Catholic Leader John Gehring Calls for Listening Sessions with LGBTQ Catholics

When I posted several days ago about Pope Francis's statement that the Catholic church should apologize to gay people (and others it has targeted and harmed), I wrote that the Catholic institution "has a quite serious problem on its hands," adding,

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pope Francis on Apologizing to the Gay Community: "Still Locates the Problem Firmly in the Land of Words" (and How to Move Forward with Bishops Like Wenski Dominating USCCB?)

A quick footnote to my posting earlier today commenting on the papal statement yesterday about the need of the Catholic church to apologize to gay folks for its abuse of them: some of you may have seen, that in my haste to post my previous piece, I started to include a label for the posting —  "Bishop Thomas Wenski." And then I realized I did not have time to write what I wanted to write about Archbiishop Wenski's recent statement taking to task his brother bishop in Florida, Bishop Robert Nugent, for stating after the Orlando massacre that Catholics and other faith communities should examine the way in which they have contributed to hatred of and vioelnce towards LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis: Gay People Should Be Respected, Accompanied Pastorally, and Apologized to by the Church

I have house guests for a number of days, and haven't been able to find much time to blog. I did happen to be online last evening, however, scrolling through Twitter, when news broke of Pope Francis's statement aboard his flight from Armenia to Rome that the church is obliged to tell gay people it's sorry for abusing them. According to Reuters, the pope said the following:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Commentary on U.S. Catholic Bishops and "Religious Liberty" Crusade As "Fortnight for Freedom" Begins: "Fair to Say Religious Liberty Has a Damaged 'Brand' These Days"

This week, the U.S. Catholic bishops began their latest "Fortnight for Freedom" shindig, whose purpose is to drive Catholic voters to the polls to vote Republican (as they claim) to defend a "religious liberty" now under siege because gay people have the legal right to marry civilly, because the Obama administration is mandating contraceptive coverage in its Affordable Care Act, because denying rights, goods, and services to targeted others while claiming that one has a religious warrant to discriminate is increasingly distasteful to more and more Americans, etc. 

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Online Discussions of LGBTQ Lives at Catholic Blog/News Sites Following Orlando — "A Pastoral Failure of Monumental Proportion"

Three instructive comments by Catholics discussing the Orlando massacre at Catholic news and blog sites:

NCR and Commonweal Make Editorial Statements About Orlando: "Wrong to Downplay or Ignore the Fact That Mateen's Victims Were Murdered for Being Gay"

Two leading U.S. Catholic journals have now published editorial statements about the Orlando massacre — National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal. I'm recommending both of them to you with the following excerpts, and making a note of particular gratitude to Commonweal, which I had initially criticized for its anemic response to this anti-LGBTQ act of mass murder.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Day in May: Testimonies of LGBTQ Irish People About Marriage Equality Vote — "I Believe God Did Work Through Us on That Day"

In two postings a month ago (here and here), I pointed you to a book by Irish journalist Charlie Bird — A Day in May (Newbridge: Merrion Press, 2016)— about how the marriage equality battle was won in Ireland. The book came out in June, and I've just finished reading and wanted to share some notes about it with you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On Being a Straight Ally in the Movement for LGBTQ Rights: Lessons I Learned in Fifteen Years at HBCUs

In the past week, as we discussed the Orlando atrocity and the response of faith communities to it, we had good discussion here of the role that straight allies play in the movement for LGBTQ rights. That discussion has had me thinking about the decade and a half I spent working in historically black universities — as a white ally in the struggle for rights and justice for people of color. To be specific: I've been thinking about lessons I learned in those years about being an ally in the struggle of another group of people for rights and justice.

Paul Harvey on Recent Southern Baptist Convention Meeting: Media Get It Wrong, Ignore Continuing SBC Commitment to Culture War re: Gender and Sexuality Issues

Paul Harvey reports at Religion Dispatches about how the media have spun the recent Southern Baptist Convention meeting to suggest that Southern Baptists turned some major corner in their wars with contemporary culture, when they passed a resolution condemning display of the Confederate flag. As he notes, the culture wars remain alive and well among Southern Baptists (and conservative white evangelicals in general, hence the continuing strong support of conservative white evangelicals for one Donald Trump).

Monday, June 20, 2016

Historical Footnote to Orlando Discussions: 19 June 2013, World's Largest "Ex-Gay" Organization Exodus International Announces It's Shutting Down

Jim Burroway reminds us that yesterday in 2013, the world's largest "ex-gay" organization, Exodus International, announced it was shutting down operation: as Jim states,

"They Put Us in Closets and Do All They Can to Keep Us There": More on the Catholic Erasure of LGBTQ People from the Narrative About Orlando

And now some more resources that focus specifically on the erasure by top Catholic pastoral leaders of queer people from an act of mass murder of queer people:

"Churches Will Be Marked in the LGBT Community for Years to Come by How They Respond to Us in This Moment": More on Themes of Erasure and Absence of Christian Solidarity with LGBTQ People Post-Orlando

As this new work week begins, more on the erasure of queer people from an act of mass murder of queer people, and on Christian solidarity with (or its absence from) the LGBTQ community in the wake of Orlando — these are comments dealing with the Christian churches in general; a Catholic-specific posting will follow:

Friday, June 17, 2016

In Post-Orlando Discussion of Religion and Homophobia, "Liberal" Catholics at NCR and Commonweal Once Again Fail to Meet the Mark

As I just noted, the problem queer people face in challenging religious believers to understand the barbarism, the utter cruelty, of erasing us from an account of our own mass murder is not a problem we face solely with conservative religious people: the challenge is equally sharp as we interact with religious people who regard themselves as liberal, as embodying principles of fairness, justice, and inclusion within their religious traditions. Discussions of the Orlando story at both the "liberal" National Catholic Reporter website and the "liberal" Commonweal website richly illustrate my point.

"All I Hear in These Conversations Now Is Death": Queer People Continue Engaging World Religious Leaders and Their Institutions in Light of Orlando

In what I just posted about Garrard Conley's book Boy Erased, I noted that one of the important developments both in the U.S. and internationally following the Orlando atrocity is that a significant conversation has developed about the interplay between toxic conservative religious ideas and anti-LGBTQ violence. As Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry said several days ago (I discussed these comments here), 

Garrard Conley's Boy Erased: Template for Understanding Religion-Based Homophobia and Its Assault on Queer Humanity

I mentioned a few days back that I was reading Garrard Conley's book, Boy Erased (NY: Riverhead, 2016), which recounts his experiences growing up as the son of a Missionary Baptist minister in small-town Arkansas in the final decades of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century. As my previous reference to the book notes, it's primarily a memoir of his experiences at the "ex-gay" reparative therapy outfit Love in Action in Memphis, to which his parents sent him after he was outed to them as gay. Mama vomited on hearing this news, Papa threatened, and Conley had no choice except to go to LIA, if he expected his father to continue to claim him as a son and to help pay for his college education (he was in college when this happened).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"In the Catholic World, This Incident Will Be Remembered Not Just for the Sheer Horror . . . But for the Fact That It Highlighted That So Many Church Leaders Still Have a Long Way to Go"

At New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog site, Francis DeBernardo once again reflects on the following unavoidable, shocking fact of the official response of top Catholic leaders to what has just taken place in Orlando:

"LGBT Experiences Have Been Erased and Nullified": More on Who's Erasing Queer People from Discussion of a Massacre of Queer People, and Why This Is Being Done

More observations on who's erasing queer people from the massacre of queer people in Orlando, and why they're doing this:

Ongoing Discussion of Possibility Omar Mateen Was Gay and Self-Hating: "Makes the Attack More About Homophobia, Not Less," "Nor Is This Unique to Islam"

Meditation point 1: we Americans now live in a political-religious-cultural context in which some citizens sincerely claim to believe that the children ripped to death by bullets at Sandy Hook did not die. That this was a big mock-up exercise arranged by the Obama administration to justify taking our guns away. The human lives of those murdered children and the suffering of their families do not matter. They take second place to the racist political need to demonize the nation's first African-American president and the party he represents.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Footnote to Last Posting: I Cherish Straight Allies Who Push Along with Queer People to Open the Heterosexist, Male-Entitled Club Catholic to People God Has Made Queer

I've been away from my computer for a number of hours and have just recently logged back in. I realize, due to the good conversation that developed in response to my last posting, that I need to be sure the point I wanted to make in it is crystal clear.

Question Orlando Atrocity Raises for Catholic Parishes, Journals, Blogs: When Will You Begin Creating Safe Spaces for Queer People to Make Their Voices Heard?

In what I just posted, I stated, 

Orlando Atrocity As Teaching Moment for American Culture: Religious Roots of Toxic Definitions of Manhood, Homophobia, Transphobia, Misogyny, and Racism

I know that many regular readers of this blog are highly informed people who read and think about news reports on a daily basis. I don't mean to be an irritant in offering you these newsfeed-type postings following the atrocity in Orlando. I do think, however, that many people come to this site to get a feel for conversations going on about religion and issues of sexual orientation or gender. And for those folks, who may often hear only stale, one-sided representations of these matters in the mainstream media and at church-affiliated media sites, I want to keep offering some resources I'm finding as I read and think about Orlando.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Word of Advice for Young Queer People Struggling with Sexuality Issues After Orlando: Avoid Catholic News and Blog Sites Online; They Are Not Healthy Places for You

Following what has just happened in Orlando, I have a simple word of advice for younger people, especially those raised in conservative religious contexts, who are struggling with issues about gender and sexual orientation:

"This Is Erasure of LGBT People – Pure and Simple – After Their Community Was Horrifically Targeted": Media, GOP, and Religious Leaders (Including Pope Francis) Face Pushback for Erasing LGBTQ People from Orlando Story

Discussing Religious Roots of Anti-Gay Violence, and Engaging Official Catholic Statements about the Orlando Atrocities: Five Points About Making LGBTQ People Invisible Even in Death

Francis DeBernardo notes that, following yesterday's heinous massacre of 50 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, both the Vatican and the leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops Archbishop Joseph Kurtz released statements condemning the violence — but neither statement could bring itself to mention the simple, plain, obvious truth that those targeted were LGBTQ human beings. Both statements speak in vanilla generic terms about addressing the roots of violence in incidents like this.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Church of Ireland Bishop Paul Colton Tweets About Orlando Massacre: Prayers an Affront As Long As So Much Religion Fails to Affirm and Include LGBT People

To this statement, I say a hearty AMEN.

Twitter Comments on Mass Shooting at Gay Nightclub in Orlando: "2nd Most Fatal Shooting by Single Shooter in World History"

As news about the atrocity at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando early this morning breaks, tweets that are catching my attention:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Historical Memory and Political Imagination (2): The Magis of History That Frees Our Imaginations to Recognize More Possibility for Present and Future

Here's the historical anecdote I wanted to attach to what I wrote yesterday about how history itself, the real McCoy, the raw data prior to the historical massaging given to the data by historical narratives, always contains a magis, a more, a complexity and imbrication that surpass what historical narratives usually tell us to imagine about history. And so, as I proposed yesterday, paying attention to history — in a way that exercises a justifiable hermeneutic of suspicion about what we've been told to make of historical events and facts — allows us to keep our imaginations about what is possible now and for the future sharp and open when the cultures in which we live want to herd them into official grooves and ideological channels.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Historical Memory and Political Imagination: "When the Discourse of Politics Amounts to a Choice Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton"

What's that I hear you say? More history, please! Or perhaps I'm hearing, at this far distance through the ether of cyberspace, the sound of only one hand clapping as I bring up the topic of history again.

As I was recently telling my friend Alan of the excellent Hepzibah blog (it's in the blog list here), history fascinates me because of how it undercuts the predictability of our expectations about the present and the future. Many historical narratives certainly do seek to smooth out the wild unpredictability, the stubborn odd facticity and givenness of history as it actually unfolded, but those flattening narratives are commonly superimposed on historical events that are far from smooth or flat.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Jennifer Haselberger's Affidavit in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocesan Bankruptcy Case: "A Question of Equity and Fairness" Grounded in the Corporatist Tradition of Catholic Theology and Ecclesiology

Before we left for our recent vacation, I made a promise here, I seem to recall, to read and comment on the 22 May affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, former Chancellor for Canonical Affairs of the Catholic archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. The affidavit is Haselberger's testimony in the bankruptcy case of the archdiocese now pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota (case no. 15-30125).

Quote for Day: "Christianity's Long, Shameful History of Teaching That Gays and Lesbians Are Abhorrent Sinners Is Coming Home to Roost in a Costly Global Way"

Bill Tammeus (who, in addition to being one of the best religion journalists in the U.S. is a Presbyterian elder) compares the struggle of the United Methodist church to welcome and love LGBTQ human beings with the similar struggle of the Catholic church. In both cases, he notes, the "global" dimension of the church is used as a kind of brake on welcoming and loving LGBTQ people, as adherents in the global South (egged on, I'd note, by right-wing political and religious leaders in the U.S. and elsewhere) use the "bible says" argument to veto a welcoming, loving response to LGBTQ people in their global churches. Ironically, this is the very same argument used a half century ago by white Christians in the U.S. to veto a welcoming, loving response to people of color seeking civil rights.

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Spent Five Months in Prison and Got Exiled to Nova Scotia for Loyalty to the Crown and This Lousy Land Is All I Get?! Or, the Story of David Dinsmore and How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

We're back from our vacation, and it may take me a number of days to get into the swing of posting real stuff here again. I apologize that so many of your very welcome comments have gone unacknowledged. Please know that I appreciate them. Meanwhile, a vacation report . . . .

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

More on Daniel Berrigan's Forgotten (?) Legacy of Advocacy for LGBTQ People: A Reader Comments

I'm very grateful for the good conversation that has developed here around the topic of Dan Berrigan's witness to Catholic values of social justice and peacemaking in his pastoral outreach to LGBTQ people, especially people with AIDS. I blogged about this issue this morning, and want once again to make a statement of thanks to both BronxVoter and Bob Shine for correcting what is perhaps an excessively negative or critical focus in my own thinking about this legacy. Both Bronx and Bob pointed me to valuable resources that help me reframe what I think about this legacy.

Daniel Berrigan's Legacy: The Forgotten (?) Advocacy for LGBTQ People

Several days ago, I finished reading Patrick Gale's latest novel, A Place Called Winter. A reader of this blog who's also connected to me by Facebook recommended the novel to me, as well as I can remember, and I'm very grateful to her, because I found the novel's recreation (or imagining might be a more precise term) of an early 20th-century gay love story in Saskatchewan engrossing.