Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NBA Player Jason Collins Comes Out, and Chris Broussard Spouts Bible Verses: Bible-Based Anti-Gay Bullying Ramping Up

It's interesting, isn't it, that the immediate and instinctual response of men like Chris Broussard to NBA player Jason Collins's choice to come out of the closet is to issue a blaring pronouncement that Collins is a sinner in "open rebellion" against God? The response of some people to the increasing openness of gay people in many cultures around the world is, in short, to ramp up the bullying. Using the choicest bullying weapons available to them as they engage in this campaign--which is to say, God, Jesus, the bible, etc. . . .

"He Ate with Outcasts": Brief Update on Poster Project, for Readers Interested in It

Both Mike McShea and Coolmom asked me in comments responding to my posting about Cardinal Dolan's "Dirty Freddie" story re: gay folks whether I might consider turning the Margaret Puckette painting "He Ate with Outcasts" into a poster that Bilgrimage readers could perhaps buy. I replied yesterday to Mike and Coolmom to say I hadn't thought of this, but would certainly consider the idea.

His Eminence Chooses a New Spokeswoman, and National Catholic Reporter Chooses to Censor My Comments about This

For those who may not yet have seen this news: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced yesterday that His Eminence Timothy "Dirty Freddie" Dolan will have a new spokeswoman. David Gibson summarizes the story at National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal.

E. J. Graff on Gay Rights and the Courage of Conviction

For The American Prospect, E. J. Graff explains how the determination of grassroots activists has now made the extension of a full range of human rights to LGBT people "eye-rollingly obvious," after powerful media pundits prounounced that it couldn't be done:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dirty Freddie and the Gays: Cardinal Dolan Explains Catholic Welcome of LGBT Persons

I get the feeling that the leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops, Cardinal Dolan, may not have been taught much about manners as he was growing up. Or any time since then, for that matter.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cardinal Dolan's Easter Statement About Catholic Love for Gays: Adjusting Rhetoric to Reality

The Catholic church is just not doing well at communicating that love thing about which His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan spoke on Easter Sunday, is it? Remember the conversation on t.v. with George Stephanapoulos? Sure you do!

Ice-Cream Trucks and Mysteries of the Universe: A Poem

There are mysteries in the universe.

Responding to a Reader: Buckeye Trees and Little Gospels

Last month, when I posted a poem here about a walk in the park which focused on the new spring growth then jumping up all over the place in our area, a reader named r1c10 posted a response that has never left my mind and heart--something gorgeous. She/he wrote:

Friday, April 26, 2013

Footnote to Nicholas Coppola Story: Bishop Murphy Responds to Petition to Reinstate Coppola with Upraised Middle Finger

A footnote to the story of Nicholas Coppola, the gay man who was removed (and see also here) from all ministries in his Catholic parish in Oceanside, New York, recently after someone sent an anonymous letter to Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre complaining that Coppola is a homosexual who refuses to be silent or to hide, and who had married his partner:

Notes from a Funeral: My Uncle Is Buried, I Think About Women

My uncle was buried on Wednesday. I spent the funeral thinking of women. Perhaps I should explain.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Commonweal Chews Over Carla Hale Story: Yes, the Gays Are Totally Welcome in Catholic Churches!

So, yes, I'm more than a little agitated right now. The agitation has to do not precisely with my uncle's funeral, about which I may have a few words to say in a day or so.

John Lichfield: Eyewitness Account of Paris Anti-Gay Riot, Hard-Right Activists and Catho-Traditionalist Youth Colluding

John Lichfield's eyewitness account of one of the demonstrations against gay marriage in Paris after the marriage equality bill passed is one of the best I've seen. It's very clear about the fact that the violence being acted out in France of late is not merely due to hard-right elements in French society, but that Catholics agitating against gay rights have lined up right beside the hard right, and are enabling the violence.

To Gay Youth Amidst Anti-Gay Demonstrations in France: You Are at Home in Our Society

Words of concern (and inclusion and welcome) to gay young people in France, as marriage equality is enacted in that nation:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Footnote on Violence in France: NOM Condemns Violence on "Either Side," Frigide Barjot Claims Anti-Gay Violence Caused by State Promoting Gay Marriage

A quick footnote to what I posted earlier today about the violent protests that continued in France yesterday following the passage of the marriage equality bill in the French national assembly: in that posting, I wrote, "As far as I know, NOM hasn't issued any statement at all deploring the violent actions of protest that continued in France yesterday following the passing of the marriage equality bill."

John Aravosis on Marriage Equality Protests in France: Political Analysis (and Religious Players)

At Americablog Gay, John Aravosis has two good pieces today (here and here) on the ongoing violence roiling France with the debate about marriage equality. As he notes, the coalition between some Catholic leaders and the political hard right in France is squarely implicated in the violence, though Frigide Barjot has tried to distance her Catholic movement from the violent anti-gay backlash after she initially promised that President Hollande would have blood for promoting marriage equality. 

Al Jazeera on Marriage Equality Vote in France

Al Jazeera has an article this morning on the passage of the marriage equality bill in France. In the video accompanying the story (if you click the link, it will bring you to the video), what strikes me is the testimony of the two young gay men whose families have rejected them. As they say, the hostility energized against the gay community in France by opponents of the marriage bill is making life much harder now for younger gay folks who had already been struggling with a lack of family acceptance and support.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marriage Equality Passes in France, Online Furor as Someone Tweets, "Homosexuals Must Be Killed"

A quick footnote to what I published earlier today about Frigide Barjot and Gilbert Collard: as the indefatigable news-reader Chris Morley tells readers here in a comment about that posting, the French National Assembly did pass the marriage equality bill, making same-sex marriage legal in France (though a threat of annulling the bill has already been issued). But as Chris also reports, in advance of the bill's passing, someone tweeted the statement "Il faut tuer les homosexuels" ("Homosexuals must be killed"), and this hashtag is trending on Twitter.

Marriage Equality Battle in France: Catholicism Embracing Hard Right

Pictures tell stories. I wonder what story this picture is telling. 

Whores and Tax Collectors and a Table Open to All: Adam Gopnik on Jesus's Eating with Outcasts

I just finished Adam Gopnik's book The Table Comes First (NY: Vintage Books, 2011), and found this observation in the final pages of the book insightful:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Teresa Forcades's Challenge to Austerity Regimes Receives Notice

And speaking of smart Catholic women saying smart things that old boys' clubs both inside and outside the Catholic church would be well advised to hear: I'm pleased to see that Spanish Benedictine nun Teresa Forcades, whose commentary I've featured here a number of times (click her name on the tag below) is now receiving wide notice at news-analysis sites online. Last Friday, Common Dreams focused on her collaboration with Arcadi Oliveres to launch a political manifesto challenging the austerity model that has come to be seen as sacrosanct by many European and American politicians.

National Catholic Reporter on LCWR and Vatican: The Continued Life of the Catholic Church at Stake

In its latest editorial, National Catholic Reporter addresses the situation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Vatican. NCR proposes that we in the Catholic church are "coming perilously close to a point of rupture," and suggests that the health--and continued life--of the Catholic church depends on the willingness of the current male leaders of the Catholic church to begin treating women as equals:

Andrew O'Hehir and America's Post 9/11 Deal with the Devil

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bishop Gumbleton on the Gospel Message: "This Is a Community Where Everybody Is Welcome"

For those seeking spiritual sustenance at a time when it's sometimes difficult to cling to churches because so much that emanates from the pastoral leaders and some members of churches is eminently unwelcoming, I highly recommend Bishop Tom Gumbleton's homily on John 21:1-19 at National Catholic Reporter right now. This is the gospel for the third Sunday of Easter, and has the risen Lord asking his disciples if they've caught any fish.

Dannika Nash Asks Churches Not to Drive Young Gay-Affirming Christians Away, Church Camp Fires Her in Response

Several days ago, I blogged about a young churchgoer in South Dakota, Dannika Nash, who had written an open letter to the churches pleading with them to stop driving young church members away in droves by forcing them to choose between loving their gay friends and family members, or buying into the churches' draconian and unjust postures towards gay folks. As my posting notes, I learned of Nash's open letter through Fred Clark's wonderful Slacktivist blog.

Carla Hale, Catholic Teacher in Columbus, Ohio, Fired for Mentioning Partner in Mother's Obituary

Meanwhile, here's a taste of what's happening in some sectors of American Catholicism, as some French Catholic leaders predict violence against gay folks (and, in their underhanded way, bless it and set it in motion via their predictions) if church and society accord gay people equal rights and treat them as fully human:

France: In Violent Anti-Gay Protests, Fascist Thugs Echo Slogan of Cardinal Vingt-Trois about Marriage Equality as Violence

Three days ago, the cardinal-archbishop of Paris, who is the outgoing head of the French bishops' conference, told his brother bishops that the French government is imposing marriage equality on the people of France by violence, and this state violence will be met with reactionary violence on the part of the French people (see also here).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson on the "Gay Onslaught" We Can Expect When Marriage Equality Arrives

Remembering My Uncle Lee Compere (1920-2013)

I received word this morning that my uncle in Houston died during the night. During the night last night, I dreamed that I was at my uncle's funeral (though his death was not expected, but he was advanced in age and declining). In the dream, I was asked to deliver a eulogy, and this is what I said in that dream-eulogy which remained vivid in my mind as I awoke this morning:

The Catholic and Evangelical Message Side by Side: Loving Gay Sinners to Death

It's interesting to read (Catholic) commentator Fr. Matt Malone side by side with (evangelical) commentator John Shore on how some Catholics and evangelicals just love gay folks--as incomparable, egregious sinners whom the righteous have an overriding moral obligation to single out and save, while the common lot of sinners all over the place never receive such conspicuously loving treatment.

On This Day in History: CNN Declares That Boston Bomber is "Dark-Skinned," Craven Senators Cave to NRA Money

On the same day on which CNN informed the American public that a "dark-skinned individual" had been identified as a suspect in the Boston marathon bombings and had been arrested, the U.S. Senate shamefully bowed to pressure from the National Rifle Association and killed mild gun-control legislation favored by 90% of Americans

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The "Violence" LGBT Human Beings Are Inflicting on Society: New Zealand Passes Marriage Equality, and Spectators Sing Love Song

Footnotes to Previous Discussions: Mark Regnerus and Margaret Thatcher

Brief glosses today on two items about which I've written recently:

"Pro-Life" Catholics and Healthcare Coverage for All: A Report from Missouri

More on Predictions for Blood in France as Marriage Equality Is Enacted: Cardinal Vingt-Trois's Unhelpful Analysis

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois

Anti-marriage equality comedian-activist Frijide Bardot has declared that France shall have blood as a result of same-sex marriage, and in his final address to the French bishops, the outgoing head of the French bishops' conference Cardinal André Vingt-Trois lays the blood to come at the feet of the French government, and not at the feet of extremists of the political and religious right who are calling for violent protests against marriage equality. Henry Samuel reports on Cardinal Vingt-Trois' remarks for the Telegraph.

The Spiral of Violence: Facing the American Contribution to the Spiral

As Scott Shane reports yesterday for the New York Times, an exhaustive nonpartisan review of the evidence commissioned by the Constitution Project has just come to the unambiguous conclusion that the U.S. practiced torture following 9/11, and our top officials knew this and blessed the torture:

Mary Hunt on Francis and American Nuns: Atoning for Centuries of Discrimination Takes More Than Four Clean Female Feet

Theologian Mary Hunt thinks the jury is still out on Pope Francis, though early impressions of his pontificate are positive on several fronts. She notes that she expects, however, more than friendly cosmetic changes:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Footnotes to Discussion of Pope Francis and LCWR: Sr. Maureen Fiedler and Fr. Helmut Schüller

Some brief footnotes to the story about which I posted yesterday--the decision of the new pope to uphold the censure of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women in the U.S.:

The Kermit Gosnell Story: Media Bias? and Catholic Pro-Life Perspectives

Zack Beauchamp's rundown at Think Progress yesterday is the best I've seen analyzing the bogus meme now being circulated by religious and political conservatives, which claims that the mainstream media have ignored the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. For those who may not have followed this story, Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia, and is charged with heinous crimes, including killing and dismembering babies that had just been born, slitting their spines and keeping body parts in jars in his clinic. 

Dom Hélder Câmara: Violence Begets Violence, Which Begets Further Violence

Dom Hélder Câmara

My theme for meditation today: Dom Hélder Câmara's prophetic analysis of the spiral of violence in his 1971 book of that name, a copy of which Alistair McIntosh has helpfully made available online. Here's the heart of Dom Câmara's argument that violence begets violence, which in turn begets more violence:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quote for the Day: Catholic Hierarchy and Responsibility for Anti-Gay Violence

It was not Frigide Barjot who was hitting my head, or the bishop of Avignon lurking in that street to attack us. But they are responsible.

Remembering Dietrich Bonhöffer: "The Table Fellowship of Christians Implies Obligation"

As the anniversary of German theologian Dietrich Bonhöffer's execution by the Nazi regime passes (it was on 9 April), I think of an observation he makes in his book Life Together that has long formed the framework of my understanding of the eucharist:

A Footnote to Discussion of Gender Politics in the Catholic Church: Pope Francis Affirms Rebuke of American Women Religious

"Women will be players, but never coaches" in the papacy of Pope Francis, despite his new style. It turns out that Colleen Baker's statement written only yesterday (and see my posting about Colleen's remarks) is pretty prophetic, isn't it? 

Homeless Jesus and a Reflection on Gender Politics in the Catholic Church

In the Toronto Star, Leslie Scrivener tells the story of how a statue of Jesus the homeless was itself made homeless when both St. Michael's cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick's cathedral in New York refused to provide a home for the sculpture after having expressed an interest in it. The "Jesus the Homeless" sculpture by artist Timothy Schmaltz "punctures the illusion of normalcy," according to theologian Thomas Reynolds of Emmanuel College in Toronto, who adds,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bishop William Murphy's Removal of Nicholas Coppola from Ministry: My Theological Commentary

Here's my own brief theological commentary on Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy's removal of Nicholas Coppola from parish ministries due to an anonymous letter complaining that Coppola is a homosexual who will not hide or keep quiet (see my previous posting today for more on this story): 

New Evidence Corroborates Conclusion That Regnerus Study Was Politically Driven

Also in the news this week, and not unrelated to the "this was a week" posting I just published: Sofia Resnick published an important exposé article this past week in the American Independent which adds significantly to the growing body of evidence that Mark Regnerus published his widely discredited study of "gay" parents for political and not research reasons.

This Was a Week: As Gay Rights Breakthroughs Occur, Backlash Among Some People of Faith Continues

This was a week. It was a week in which the French Senate voted through legislation enacting marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples, and in which the House in Uruguay also approved a bill for marriage equality, making that strongly Catholic nation the second in Latin American to permit same-sex marriage nationwide.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Glenda Jackson (and I) Remember Mrs. Thatcher: A Legacy of Sharp Elbows and Sharp Knees

Chris Morley has kindly posted a link here today to a YouTube clip of Labour MP Glenda Jackson speaking yesterday in the House of Commons about Margaret Thatcher's legacy. Jackson remembers the dramatic increase in homelessness under Thatcher (and the same thing happened in the U.S. under her friend and ally Reagan, it has to be noted). 

Jim Wallis "Evolves" on Marriage Equality: Responses and Reflections

Now that the left-leaning evangelical leader (and a mover and shaker in the D.C. federal faith-based initiatives) Jim Wallis has come out for marriage equality--well, sort of: marriage equality, but--there's a lot of good commentary circulating about his long, long road to endorsement of gay rights. Well, sort of an endorsement. But. Here's some of it I'm finding valuable:

Charles Blow Explains to Rand Paul How the GOP Lost the Black Vote

Charles Blow's rejoinder to Rand Paul in the New York Times today about precisely how and why the GOP has lost black voters is priceless. Paul naively (as in faux naiveté) asked yesterday in a speech at Howard University how it could be that the party of the Great Emancipator lost the black vote.

Rob Boston Eulogizes David Kuo: A Whistle-Blower Who Deserves Praise

At Talk to Action, Rob Boston eulogizes David Kuo, who died last week. As Boston reminds us, Kuo was a valiant whistle-blower who paid a high price for blowing the whistle on the phony faith-based initiative of the George W. Bush presidency (which President Obama has chosen to continue). Kuo came to D.C. under Bush as a true believer, but his experiences working with the faith-based initiative inside the administration deeply disillusioned him, and he later wrote a book, Tempting Faith, to share those experiences and expose the administration's manipulation of religiously conservative voters through the faith-based initiative.

Colman McCarthy to Disaffected and Alienated Catholics: Should We Come Back Under Francis?

At National Catholic Reporter, Colman McCarthy asks whether Catholics blown out of the church in recent decades by "a strong tailwind of reasons" should return now that Francis is pope: