Friday, January 22, 2016

Recommended: Joe Biden on LGBT Rights, Catherine Wallace on Gay Marriage and Anglican Anxiety, Patricia Miller on What Pope Benedict Knew When

God bless Joe Biden (the section I've transcribed from his recent remarks at the World Economic Forum begins at about the 1.55 mark):

LGBT people face violence, harassment, unequal treatment, mistreatment by cops, denial of healthcare, isolation, always in the name of culture — which takes me to my concluding point. I've had it up to here with culture. I really mean it. Culture never justifies rank, raw discrimination or violation of human rightsThere is no cultural justification — none, none, none. Think of the countries still hiding behind, "This is our culture." Well, people used to be cannibals, that was part of the culture. People used to do terrible things, it was part of the culture. 
The progress of humankind has been a steady progress toward acknowledging the basic, fundamental rights of other people.

The progress of humankind has been a steady progress toward acknowledging the basic, fundamental rights of other people; culture never justifies rank, raw discrimination or violation of human rights: this is Catholic moral thinking, informed by insights deeply embedded in Catholic social teaching, at its very best. This is mature Catholic moral teaching, as opposed to the childish parroting of catechetical formulas, wedded to the defense of ugly discrimination, which is all too common among U.S. Catholics intent on refusing to respect the rights of LGBT human beings, about which I wrote in my last posting


One thing is remarkably clear, however: in this situation as in so many others, gay people are serving as poster children -- if not scapegoats -- for other anxieties. In this case it's the status of biblical scholarship and cultural criticism. It's the tension between fundamentalist churches and theologically rigorous churches within the global Anglican Communion.   . . .  
This is perhaps the greatest issue at stake in the religious legitimacy of gay marriage: Episcopalians, like other mainline Christians, have in effect admitted that they were wrong in refusing to bless the marriages between men or between women. And so they changed. But if the church can make such a mistake, might it also be wrong on other issues? Can Christians consider that possibility? 
Some can. Some can't. For some people, religion must be rigid, absolutist and judgmental in order to count as "religion." That need for self-righteous absolutes is perhaps the deepest anxiety of all. 

[I]t’s hard not to see Ratzinger’s disciplining of those with a progressive sexual ethic as a desperate—if unconscious—attempt to quell the stench of scandal emanating from inside his own church. In 1989, the year that Father Juan Vaca sent a second dossier to the Vatican detailing his abuse (and the abuse of other seminarians at the hands of Maciel), Ratzinger’s highest profile move was to issue a controversial directive telling progressive theologians they had no right to dissent publicly from church teaching. It’s as if by insisting on the most rigid possible interpretation of the rules regarding sex, he could somehow cleanse sins that he didn’t want to acknowledge.   . . . 
[U]ntil the Vatican acknowledges the extent to which progressives were scapegoated to mask the church’s own unresolved incongruences regarding sex, asking it to police anyone on abuse may be wishful thinking.

Three snippets from articles I've read in the past day or videos I've watched, which I want to pass on to you . . . .

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