Friday, November 17, 2017

"The Fish Rots from the Head" and American Catholic Reasons for Choosing Trump: My Take

In an article yesterday at Vox entitled "'The fish rots from the head': a historian on the unique corruption of Trump's White House," U.S. presidential historian Robert Dallek tells Sean Illing that "the Trump administration easily ranks among the most corrupt in American history." Dallek states,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Moore (Roy, That Is): Why White Evangelicals Can't Quit Their Man, and the Horrors Posed by "the Alabamization of This Country"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Commentary on Why Roy Moore's Evangelical Supporters Won't Abandon Him (Hint: Look at How They Reponded to Trump's Boasts About Sexual Assault of Women)

As I said yesterday, the stories and commentary keep coming out, so I feel obliged to keep blogging about these matters, especially when they're so germane to the kind of discussions I've tried to stir on this blog site since I started it. What's happening with the Roy Moore story points us back to the choice of 8 in 10 — 8 in 10! — white evangelicals and some 6 in 10 — 6 in 10! — white Catholics and Mormons to place the moral monstrosity now occupying the White House there last November. We want to keep forgetting that fact, conveniently so, and the way in which that choice betrayed the most fundamental principles of morality for which these ostensibly "pro-life" voters claimed to stand, as long as those principles could be applied exclusively to Democratic presidents like Mr. Clinton.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Accuser Comes Forward to Say Roy Moore Assaulted Her When She Was a Teen, 53 Pastors Sign Letter Supporting Moore

The stories keep coming along, and I think it's important to keep blogging about them:

The Bridge-Building Project in the U.S. Catholic Church and Reaching Out to the Poor Bishops as A Primary Task: My Take

It's very hard to get my mind around Catholic groups, including ones working for the full inclusion of queer people in the Catholic church, which think that the major challenge today is to invite the bishops to the table and to avoid being "angry" at the bishops.

"In the Darkest Timeline, Where Republicans Have No Shame": Top White Evangelical Leaders Stand by Their Man in Alabama

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Charles Pierce on Roy Moore as Exactly What Republicans Are All About Now: "Wake Up and Smell the White Supremacist Theocracy"

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trending on Twitter: #RoyMooreChildMolester — "I Never Thought I’d See the Day When Pedophilia Became a Divisive Issue Within the GOP"

Trending today on Twitter: #RoyMooreChildMolester. At the New Civil Rights Movement website right now, David Badash has a good assortment of tweets from this hashtag. The tweet above by Dave Zirin is one featured in David's article.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Michael Kruse's Politico Analysis of Trump Voters in Light of Tuesday Elections: "A Story of People Who Are Addicted to White Supremacy"

On Facebook and Twitter, I'm finding that the most lively conversations now taking place after Tuesday's election focus on Michael Kruse's article published yesterday in Politico, about diehard Trump supporters in the economically depressed mining community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Kruse is not directly commenting on Tuesday's election results, but his piece appeared at a fortuitous moment in that regard. It might as well be analysis of one side of the American political landscape — and why the other side of the political landscape so resoundingly repudiated that side in the elections held on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Twitter Chews Over Election Results: "Thoughts and Prayers to all the Republican Politicians Who Lost Their Seats Today"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fantasies of Some American Christians about "Good" Violence as Precursor of Second Coming: Theological Root Not to Overlook in Gun-Control Debate

Because of our historical amnesia and religious illiteracy — both of them aided and abetted by our media — many Americans know little about powerful strands in American Christian thought, especially among white evangelicals, that feed our national fantasies about guns and violence. When Western Christianity made its fateful turn with Constantine, conflating church and state in many troubling ways and resulting in the church's blessing of state violence, it turned decisively away from the pacifist theology of such early Christian thinkers as Tertullian, who taught (On Idolatry) that wearing the belt of a soldier was incompatible with following Jesus, who had instructed his followers that those who take the sword will die by the sword. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why Do Many of Us Feel "Impotent Helplessness" in Face of Cultural Violence? A Reflection (Implicating the Churches)

In both of the postings I've made this morning in response to the Texas mass shooting yesterday (God, how glibly that ugly phrase begins to flow from our mouths now, week after endless week), I've spoken about the feeling of helplessness many of us bring to this situation. To be specific, in my first posting this morning, I wrote very specifically about my own feeling of helplessness, my own feeling that my voice simply does not count: I stated, 

"Thoughts, Prayers, God — Why Didn't Anyone Think of That Before?": More Commentary on America's Gun (and NRA-GOP) Problem

Huffington Post, "Mass Shooting Suspect Devin Patrick Kelley Had ‘Connection’ To Texas Church"

Enough with the Thoughts and Prayers: A Twitter Thread in Response to Texas Mass Shooting

Friday, November 3, 2017

Footnote to Discussion of Elevated Theology of Priesthood and Who Gets Invited to Table: Truth Claims of Doctrine Require Verification in Real Lives

This posting is a footnote to a string of interrelated postings I've made here recently, for which I have provided links below. Readers who have read that string may not see a common theme in it. I do, perhaps because I tend to think in an idea-links-to-idea way as I make postings here. This footnote is my attempt to make explicit an idea that, to my way of thinking, runs through the thread of postings listed below.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Russian Propaganda, Critical-Thinking Skills, and How the Christian Right Broke America: Valuable Recent Contributions to the Discussion

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

More from Michael Boyle on Elevated Theology of Priesthood: "'Theory' and 'Intellectual Integrity' Are Really Place Holders for the Unfettered Discretion of the Priest'"

At his Sound of Sheer Silence blog, Michael Boyle has responded to my posting commenting on his own reflections about how the central nexus from which the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic church is an "elevated theology of who priests are." Interestingly enough, as I just typed that phrase, I misremembered Michael's exact words and typed, "an 'elevated theology of who priests think they are.'"

Monday, October 30, 2017

As Manafort Goes Up in Flames, Major White Evangelical Leaders Tweet About . . . Something Else, Anything but Manafort

As the man who managed the campaign of the moral monstrosity placed in the White House by eight in ten white evangelicals and some six in ten white Catholics and Mormons goes up in flames on #MuellerMonday — the man I'm talking about is Paul Manafort, of course — it's fascinating to see what the leading white evangelical epigones of that moral monstrosity in the White House are tweeting about this morning.

The tweet above is what Reverend Robert Jeffress tweeted* just after news broke about Manafort's and Gates' indictments.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Catholic Clerical Sexual Abuse Crisis, Clericalism, and Pope Francis: Michael Boyle's Take — "The Problem Is an Elevated Theology of Who Priests Are"

In February this year, I recommended to you the four-part series by Michael Boyle on his A Sound of Sheer Silence blog site entitled "How Did This Happen?" In these valuable essays, Michael walks through an assessment of the clerical culture that produced the crisis around sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church, and its cover-up. He's responding to the report of the Australian Royal Commission on Abuse. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quote for the Day: Queer Catholics Once Again Reminded "That, in Both Life and in Death, They Can Be Shunned by Their Church"

At Huffington Post yesterday afternoon, Carol Kuruvilla writes about a set of "pastoral" directives that have been leaked from the offices of the Roman Catholic diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, which is headed by His Excellency Bishop Robert Charles Morlino. The Pray Tell blog published an email several days ago in which the Vicar General of the Madison diocese, the Reverend Monsignor James R. Bartylla, tells priests of his diocese how to handle funerals of queer Catholics. In a nutshell, the policy established by this communication permits priests to deny funerals to queer Catholics, if they judge that this is an appropriate action for the following reasons:

A Reader Asks: "If You Could Sit Down with Fr. Martin for a One on One," What Would You Say? My Response

In response to what I posted yesterday as I recommended to you the podcast discussion featuring Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson, Sarasi asked me a very good question:

Bill, if you were to be invited to one of these "both-sides" discussions, if such a thing existed, where would you begin? (even if this might not be a realistic scenario) If you could sit down with Fr. Martin for a one on one, would you say anything different?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Some People Get Uninvited from Talks. Some People Never, Ever Get Even an Invitation to the Table at All": Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, Jamie Manson NCR Podcast Conversation

I've previously recommended to you Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson's essay at National Catholic Reporter entitled "Kick-Starting a New Catholic Conversation." I'd like now to recommend a podcast conversation between the three that NCR published several days ago. I've embedded it above for your convenience in listening. 

In this discussion, Mary, Marianne, and Jamie talk with NCR's Brittany Wilmes about their essay and what they intended in co-authoring it. Some key points that stand out for me as I listen:

Monday, October 23, 2017

An Apology from New Ways Ministry Official for His Comment About Me on Facebook

I do want to acknowledge that I have received an emailed apology from the New Ways Ministry official who left the comment on Facebook yesterday that I have discussed in the past two postings. He generously tells me that I may share the apology, and I appreciate that. I'm doing so now.

On the Characterization of Some Catholic LGBTQ Voices as Uncharitable Garbage: Continuing the Necessary Conversation

Because I think this conversation is extremely important — if the goal of any reformist group within the Catholic church really is to create conditions for open, honest dialogue about same-sex love — I want to capture some of the conversation as it is occuring here (and on Facebook) in response to my posting yesterday about how an associate director of New Ways Ministry has publicly characterized me and my work as "uncharitable garbage." He made the comment in response to my recent essay recommending some wonderful analysis offered by Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson, which critiqued the response of Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry to this analysis.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Associate Director of New Ways Ministry Responds to My Essay about Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy Burke, and Jamie Manson's Recent Proposal as "Uncharitable Garbage": My Reflections

A number of days back, I recommended to you an essay by Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson calling for kick-starting a new Catholic conversation about same-sex love. My posting notes some criticisms of this essay made by Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cahill and Wilkinson's Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: "Most Comprehensive Report Ever Published on the Systemic Reasons Behind Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church"

Several days ago, when I blogged about Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson's study Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, I told you I planned to say a bit more about this ground-breaking study after I had read it thoroughly. My previous posting looked at one of the systemic roots of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church: how the encyclical Humanae Vitae has undermined the credibility of any official Catholic teaching about human sexuality by ignoring the wisdom of lay Catholics as it seeks to impose, from the top down and with no consultation of lay Catholic experience, a ban on contraception widely rejected by the laity. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Saltwater Baptism," by Jared Callahan and Russell Sheaffer: The Awful Rowing Toward God for Two Gay Latino Evangelical Youth

A painful journey to self-acceptance, and to the understanding that God calls us to love and accept ourselves as we have been created — a journey undertaken within a Latino wing of evangelical Christianity in the U.S. today . . . .

(The phrase "awful rowing toward God" is from Anne Sexton.)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trump Eviscerates Obamacare by Executive Action, "Pro-Life" North Carolina Catholic Virginia Foxx, a Member of Bishop Peter Jugis' Flock, Exults

Charles Pierce on the executive action taken today by the man "pro-life" white Christians placed in the White House, to undermine healthcare coverage of millions of Americans in need of coverage:

On the Danger of Allowing Gay People to Be Public in Catholic Institutions: A Story from the Recent Past

Yesterday, I blogged about the recent statement of a bishop, Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina, that Catholic officials and institutions must have the right to punish gay employees who "go public" about their gay identities and relationships. During the night last night, as I lay awake thinking about these issues in the wee hours of the morning, a memory flashed back. It's from my years teaching at Xavier University, a Catholic university in New Orleans. The following events occurred around 1989 or 1990, as best as I can recall.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wolf or Sheep? Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis Defends Right of Catholic Institutions to Fire Gay Employees Who Go Public About Their Lives and Loves

As Michael Gordon and Tim Funk report recently for the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, Catholic bishop Peter Jugis says that gay employees of Catholic institutions should be fired when they "go public" about their disagreement with "fundamental moral tenets" of the Catholic magisterium.

"When Wolf Meets Sheep": On the Possibility of Safe Dialogue Spaces to Discuss Same-Sex Lives and Love in the U.S. Catholic Church

At New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog today, Robert Shine cites Damian Torres-Botello, an out gay Jesuit who writes the following in The Jesuit Post about the possibility of open, respectful dialogue about same-sex love in the Catholic church after anti-LGBT right-wing Catholics succeeded in having a talk by Father James Martin cancelled recently:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson Propose Reframing Catholic Conversation re: Same-Sex Love; Francis DeBernardo Responds — My Reflections

Recently, at National Catholic Reporter, Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson published an essay calling for kick-starring a new Catholic conversation about same-sex love. Several days ago, at New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog, Francis DeBernardo posted a response to this essay. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cahill and Wilkinson's Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church on How Humanae Vitae Undermines Sexual Ethic of Catholic Church

As a complement to what I just posted about how the U.S. Catholic bishops and Republican party brought right-wing white evangelicals on board the anti-contraception and anti-abortion bandwagon, I'd like to share a posting I made yesterday to my Facebook friends. I'm now reading the recent ground-breaking, exhaustive study of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church entitled Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson's of Melbourne University's Centre for Global Research. (Thanks to Sarasi1 for inviting me to do that). When I've finished reading it, I'll have more to say about it, but for now, here's something that leaps out at me as I read:

How Right-Wing White Evangelicals Fixated on Birth Control and Abortion: Answers from Tara Isabella Burton, Fred Clark, and David Gushee

At Vox this past weekend, Tara Isabella Burton asks how birth control became a part of the conservative evangelical agenda, when even the most conservative evangelical churches never had a peep to say about this matter until fairly recently. She writes:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Update on Judge Wendell Gfiffen of Little Rock: Judge Griffen Files Suit vs. Arkansas Supreme Court for Violating His Religious Liberty

In May, I told you of a move to impeach Arkansas judge (and my friend) Wendell Griffen after he took part in a public demonstration against the death penalty organized on Good Friday by the church he pastors in Little Rock, New Millennium Baptist church. In response to his involvement in this protest, the Arkansas Supreme Court and Arkansas Attorney General restricted the kinds of cases at which Judge Griffen might preside, claiming that he was too biased to hear some cases, such as ones in which the death penalty might be an appropriate sentence in their view.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Las Vegas Story: Google Finds Itself Gamed Again by Organized Hate Groups (Back to the Case of Father Martin and Church Militant)

On 21 September, I presented you with a series of screenshots showing you that on that day at about 2 P.M. CST (in the U.S.), the three "top news" stories that Google was returning to those who googled the name "James Martin" were all personal attacks on Father Martin from the Church Militant website, which is not a bona fide news site at all.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers: The American Way of Evading Meaningful Action Through Resort to Meaningless "Religious" Nonsense

Monday, October 2, 2017

Back from Trip, Thinking About American Catholicism, the "Both-Sides" False Equivalency Argument, and Ethics of Survival

I'm sorry to have been silent for a week. Steve and I spent last week in New Orleans visiting friends and family, and as we did so, I couldn't keep up with blogging — even, to any great degree, with following the news. I'm back now, and among all that I might talk about (the dire situation in Puerto Rico and the morally bankrupt response of the Trump administration to it; the event of mass murder in Las Vegas last evening), what is foremost in my mind today, for the purpose of this blog, is a discussion I read in the past day or so at the National Catholic Reporter site.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

David Gushee's Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism on His Experience When He Spoke Out vs. Anti-LGBT Theologies

In his book Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2017), David P. Gushee speaks about what happened as he began to revise his understanding of how the churches treat queer people — as he began to change his thinking as a religion scholar specializing in the field of ethics whose academic career was spent teaching in Baptist-affiliated institutions (Southern Baptist and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship). When he began to speak his mind and publish about these matters, he found himself slapped, excluded, shunned, disinvited from lecturing at places that had invited him to lecture, receiving hate mail, hate email, and hate tweets. He found his books yanked from shelves in Christian bookstores. Here (and above) are some excerpts for you (clicking graphics makes them enlarge):

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Google's "Top Stories" re: Fr. James Martin Right Now? All Vile, Hateful, Lie-Filled Personal Attacks by Church Militant — Google's Continuing Irresponsibility with "Top Stories"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bridge-Building with the Catholic and LGBTQ Communities, and the "Both Sides" Argument: More Critical Responses

I very much like Robert Shine's response to Bishop Robert McElroy's wake-up call. Robert Shine applauds Bishop McElroy's wake-up call regarding the "cancer of vilification" seeping into American Catholicism as a response to people like Father James Martin who discuss building bridges with the LGBTQ community. As Shine notes, as welcome as Bishop McElroy's call is, it ends on a disappointing note of false equivalency, which claims that "both sides" are at fault in this situation. Robert Shine writes writes,

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On the (Hateful Homophobic) Vitriol Eating Away at the Communion of the Church: "If Good Religion Slumbers and Stagnates, Bad Religion Is the Alternative"

I see connections galore between these good articles I've read in the past few days. Do you, too, I wonder?

Laura Donlon, "Fr James Martin says Cafod 'not entirely accurate' in its account of why his London lecture was 'cancelled'":

Two Obituaries, Two Very Different Stories of What Family Is About: Who Counts, Who Doesn't, and the Role Churches Play

Two obituaries, two very different stories about what family is about — who counts, who doesn't, who is included, who may be excluded, looked down on, denigrated, told that he/she is worthless when family gathers:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Faith Defined as Dogma Is Weaponized Faith: A Theological Footnote to Father Jenkins' Response to Senator Feinstein re: Catholic Dogma

I'd like to add a theological footnote to what I posted yesterday reflecting on the recent claim of Notre Dame University president Father John Jenkins that "'dogma lives loudly' . . . is a condition we call faith." As I noted, Father Jenkins makes this assertion in an open letter to Senator Diane Feinstein criticizing her statement to Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett, who is being vetted for a federal judge's position, that "dogma lives loudly" in Barrett and might impede her ability to uphold the law when the law conflicts with her dogmatic religious positions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Notre Dame President Father Jenkins Responds to Senator Feinstein: "'Dogma Lives Loudly' . . . Is a Condition We Call Faith" (But No, It's Not)

At a hearing last week, Senator Diane Feinstein grilled federal judge nominee (and Notre Dame University law professor) Amy Coney Barrett about a paper she co-authored in 1998 with John Garvey, who is now president of Catholic University of America. Senator Feinstein suggested that the position Barrett took in her 1998 paper is tantamount to proposing that, for someone sitting on a court bench, religious faith should trump law when the two appear to be in conflict. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Love Does Not Permit Us to Plug Up Our Ears with Bible Verses": Donald Trump and White Christians' Patriarchal Worldview — Connecting Dots

I see lots of dots connecting in these valuable pieces of commentary I've read in the past several days. I hope you might, too:

Is the Problem That Brought Us Trump Racism or Sexism? Or Both? Commentary in Today's Newsfeed

A reader of Talking Points Memo gives Josh Marshall some feedback about the interconnection of racism and sexism in the rise of Donald Trump to power: 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Betsy DeVos' Attack on Obama-Administration Regulations re: Sexual Harassment on Campuses: It's What Heterosexual Males Want

Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos has ripped up Obama-administration regulations that sought to put teeth into the attempt of women in university settings to report sexual harassment and rape. She's actually defending rapists: that's the gist of her comments about her decision to ditch Obama-administration policies in this area. (See here, here, here, here, and here).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

People Who Have Been Told That Their Gifts and Talents Don't Count: Unearthing Buried Stories of LGBT Family Members

I shared some of this story here a number of years back. Because I told the story again on Facebook today and a Facebook friend encouraged me to share it with wider circles, I'm going to tell it here again, with apologies if you read my previous posting in the same vein several years ago:

Opening to "Dialogue" in U.S. Catholicism and the Fracas Involving Father James Martin and Austin Ruse: My Take

I see mention online of some kind of fracas involving Father James Martin and Austin Ruse — or perhaps "fracas" is not the right word. What seems to have happened is that Ruse attacked Martin in an exceptionally ugly way on social media. That's not surprising: Austin Ruse is an exceptionally ugly man representing an exceptionally ugly iteration of Catholicism that has considerable sway within the U.S. Catholic church.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

4 Sept. 1957: Elizabeth Eckford Walks Gauntlet to Integrate Central High; 4 Sept. 2017: Robert E. Lee's Great-Grandson Forced to Resign Pastorate After Denouncing White Supremacy

Robert Wright Lee, "Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV Statement on Leaving His Church after Speaking Out Against White Supremacy at MTV Video Music Awards": 

In the News: Hurricanes, America's Moral Crisis with Trump, and What Are Churches Good for Again?

Some pieces I've read in the last few days that, to my way of thinking, tell a story. I hope you'll agree: what story do you hear as you read this commentary?

Neal Gabler, "America's Moral Crisis": 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What Do You Hold Onto After Floods Have Swept Everything Away? Questions LGBTQ Christians Are Also Forced to Ask

What do you hold onto after floods caused by a hurricane have swept through your house and destroyed almost everything? I haven't had that happen, and can hardly imagine.

It did happen to close friends of ours with Katrina, and to a cousin of Steve's and her family who live in New Orleans. These folks rebuilt and went on with their lives.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Commentary on the Nashville Statement: "Strikingly Trumpian Brand of Redemption That Saves by Statements of Division"

Commentary I have read about the Nashville Statement and found good. I hope you will, too:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Joel Osteen Story and Nashville Statement Raise the Question, What Good Do Churches Do? — #EmptyThePews More Important Than Ever

As hurricane Harvey has devastated southeastern Texas and is now moving to Louisiana, there has been lively discussion, especially on social media, about the initial refusal of prosperity-gospel preacher Joel Osteen to open his Houston megachurch to those displaced by flooding. Osteen eventually responded to the negative publicity he and his church were earning by saying that he will admit people in need of shelter after other shelters are at maximum capacity. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

U.S. Catholic Bishops Address Racism After Charlottesville: Critical Questions Arise

After Charlottesville, the U.S. Catholic bishops have created an Ad Hoc Committee on Racism. The committee will presumably address racism within the U.S. Catholic community — as a problem worth talking about in an open way, a problem we can no longer pretend about as we vote in tandem, year after year, with white evangelical voters whose resistance to the agenda of the Democratic party is patently rooted in racism, while we claim that voting in this way is a "pro-life" choice and that motivation exonerates us of racism. As some commentators are noting, this facing of reality is going to prove to be a difficult task for the U.S. bishops, given their choice some years ago to ally themselves with overtly racist right-wing white evangelicals, and to bless the Republican party as God's anointed party, when it has been using race-baiting as a potent political tool since the Nixon era. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eclipse Pulls the Veil from Some of the Darkest, Looniest (Yes, an Eclipse Joke) Corners of American Christianity

Monday's eclipse pulled the veil away from some of the darkest, looniest (yes, an eclipse joke) corners of American Christianity — which we're discovering in the Trump era are really mainstream U.S. white Christianity, after all. An astonishing number of our fellow citizens buy into this toxic nonsense.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Trump's Evangelical Court Prophets: Discussion of Their Refusal to Criticize Him Now Widespread

As CEOs shut down their advisory council in disgust with his Charlottesville remarks, the refusal of Trump's court-prophet evangelical preachers to renounce their role as faith advisors to the president (there is no formal advisory board) is gaining wider and wider attention:

White, Male, Heterosexual or Heterosexual Posturing — and Privileged to the Nth Degree: What Charlottesville Marchers Had in Common

As I watch video clips of and read articles about the young white men who made it their business to run to Charlottesville and march in a Nazi + Klan hate march, I'm struck by their sameness: same young white male faces, over and over again. Oh, I know, the features vary, the haircuts may be different. But these are an iteration of a type, over and over again: white, male, heterosexual or heterosexual-posturing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

At #EmptythePews, Evangelicals Speak Out About Choice to Leave Churches After Election of Donald Trump: Is There Parallel Catholic Discussion?

We don't live in 325, or 400, or 1200, or 1600.  We are living now, and Jesus is calling us to the work of the Kingdom now.  The things that were said and done in the past can be a resource and a guide for us, but the work is in the here and now.  We cannot hide from that work by taking refuge in the past.  The past will not save us, and it will not save anyone else. . . . 
White American Christianity has a horrible track-record on race. Christianity generally has a horrible track-record with regard to gender and LGBT issues. If we feel like we have to live with one foot in the past, we get into a position where we feel we have to "deal" with that reality. But our attempts to "deal" with that reality almost inevitably lead to paralysis, because there is no way for us to "deal" with these facts. The past consists of ghosts, and all of these attempts to "deal" with them just give them more power. The only solution is to move forward and focus on the world that we live in, the one Jesus is calling us to work with.  I can't change the fact that the Kingdom as expressed in previous eras did not do right by all sorts of folks, but I can work to make sure the Kingdom is doing right by those people now.   
That, to me, is what Jesus means by "let the dead bury their own dead."  
~ Michael Boyle, "Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead"

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"To Call These Statues Historical Is to Be Willfully Ignorant of History. The Statues Are Monuments to White Supremacy, Not to Lee, Not to Jackson"

In "The Monuments Must Go," Stonewall Jackson's great-great-grandsons William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian write Richmond mayor Levar Stoney and his monuments commission:

Descendants of Stonewall Jackson and Thomas Jefferson Speak Out: Take the White Supremacy Monuments Down; Time to Repent

This is Carnot Posey, the nephew of my 4-great grandmother Lucretia Posey Winn. Her brother John Brooke Winn graduated from Franklin College in Georgia, represented Elbert County in the Georgia legislature, and then moved to Wilkinson County, Mississippi, where he claimed a valuable plantation that he operated with slave labor. Lucretia and John's father gave John a number of slaves before he left Georgia. John was a member of the Mississippi Territorial House of Representatives and a federal judge in Mississippi Territory.

Churchy Conversations Post-Charlottesville: CEOs Flee Trump, Not Evangelical Advisors; Can Catholic Church Survive Trump?," etc.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Vice's On-the-Ground Video Footage from Charlottesville: You Need to Watch

The Churches and Charlottesville: Valuable Commentary — "We Christians, in Particular, Need to Face the Degree to Which White Christianity Has Failed"

Our Culture Is Starving for Substantial, Truthful Responses to Racism, and the Best the White Church Can Offer Is Milk Toast

A Twitter thread:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Housekeeping Note: Why I Banned a Commenter Here Recently

A housekeeping note: I think it's important that I tell you readers that I banned a commenter here after he attacked me in the discussion threads here one time too many a day or so ago. This is a recurring attack-commenter here. I've let him lob his little missiles up to now, in the hope that he'd 1) grow up, 2) have the decency to acknowledge who he is publicly (I know his identity), 3) stop, or 4) go away.

After Charlottesville, Twitter Makes Lists and Names Names: "It Was the Silence of Good People That Allowed the Nazis to Flourish the First Time Around"

Every single person who showed up at that torchlit rally on Friday night will forever be identifiable as a person who attended that rally. It's going to end up being important that they all showed their faces. They were all very well-lit. They were all very, very well-photographed. 
~ Rachel Maddow

Saturday, August 12, 2017

National Catholic Reporter Calls for Dialogue on Sexual Ethics: My Response

Meanwhile, in the strange, hermetically sealed, intensely self-gazing and obdurately parochial world of white Catholicism in the U.S., folks are still talking about what the magisterium has to say about human sexuality — as if this is a live issue a full half-century after the papacy commissioned a study of birth control because it knew even then that a large percentage of married Catholic couples were contracepting. And then the papacy chose to ignore the sound, theologically well-grounded recommendations of that commission and reasserted its teachings about birth control knowing full well that those teachings flew in the face of the sensus fidelium.

Notable Quotes for Weekend Reading: "We're at a Hinge Moment in the Public Witness of American Christianity"

William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis, "Trumpvangelicals are using faith to bring us to the brink of nuclear war": 

Fire and Fury in Charlottesville, Virginia, As Neo-Nazis and KKK March: Reports/Commentary from Twitter

Friday, August 11, 2017

Two Powerful Statements Ask What's Wrong with White Christians: White Christians Respond with Fire and Fury

Tori Glass writes an open letter to the white Christians in the U.S. as the anniversary of Michael Brown's death at the hands of Darren Wilson comes around again:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Christopher Douglas and Kurt Anderson on How America Lost Its Mind (or How the Christian Right Broke America)

Christopher Douglas responds to Kurt Anderson on how America lost its mind, with a statment entitled "How America Really Lost Its Mind: Hint, It Wasn't Entirely the Fault of Hippie New Agers and Postmodern Academics":

More Critical Responses to Trump's Fire and Fury: "Yes, It's Prophesied in 1st Caucasians"

Monday, August 7, 2017

Readers Write: "Über Catholics Are Brought Up to Reflexively Gag at the Thought of Putting on Someone Else's Shoes"

There have been some spectacular comments left here in the past several weeks, and for a variety of reasons, I have not been able to respond to them as I would like to do — in a personal way. To enable more readers who may not haunt blog threads to benefit from some of the good conversations going on here, I'd like to lift several comments out for you and post them as a "Readers Write" posting. 

As Trump's Approval Ratings Plummet, His White Christian Base Ratchets Up Its Support

He's tweeting again this morning, though he's also supposedly on vacation. One of today's tweets boasts that "[t]he Trump base is far bigger &  stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling)." 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Lots of Commentary on Trump and White Evangelicals: "If This Poison Isn't Worse Than Racism, Then It Certainly Runs a Close Second"

So much good critical analysis of the role white evangelicals are playing in the Trump regime is coming out at once, it's hard to keep up with it. These are items I've spotted just today, which I'd like to share with you — and I'd also like to suggest that this analysis complements the analysis I just posted about "pro-life" American Catholics who are more-Catholic-than-Catholic (but who often reflect evangelical theological positions more than Catholic ones):

Was Charlie Gard Euthanized? A Seriously Unhelpful Claim Emerges Among Catholic "Pro-Lifers"

Earlier this week, I posted some testimony about what is happening in a Catholic family I know rather well. My testimony focuses on how the family has divided over questions about how to deal with end-of-life issues in the case of a beloved elderly family member who is nearing death. One wing of this Catholic family adheres to a rigid more-Catholic-than-Catholic interpretation of Catholic moral teaching about the permissibility of withholding extraordinary interventions as dying family members move to the end of their lives.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ruth Krall's Important Book Living on the Edge of the Edge: Paradox of Violent Exclusion of LGBTQ People from Christian Communities That Cover Up Sexual Violence by Clergy

I'd like to recommend a new book to you today: I don't only recommend this book; I highly recommend it. It will one day, I believe, be regarded as a classic summary of major themes of Christian thought at the turn of the 20th and 21st century. The book is Ruth Krall's Living on the Edge of the Edge: Letters to a Younger Colleague, which has just been published by Friesen Press. As its subtitle suggests, the book is a gathering of "letters" (emailed ones) that Ruth exchanged over a period of time with a younger colleague, Lisa Schirch (and so the book attributes authorship to Ruth with Lisa as a co-contributor). Ruth was Lisa's teacher at Goshen College, and has remained her mentor and colleague as both have worked in a number of significant peace-and-justice ministries over quite a few years — ministries reflecting their shared Mennonite roots.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Family Story: When "Pro-Life" Catholic Trump Voters Confront Sexual Abuse of Minors by a Priest — In Their Own Family Circle

I have a story to tell you this morning. It's a story with a question embedded in it. The question is one with which I am personally struggling. This story is about a specific family and family situation, but it also seems to me a parabolic story, in that this specific family in some ways mirrors many white Christian (to be specific: white Catholic) "pro-life" families who voted for Donald Trump, claiming that he is "pro-life," and who continue stoutly to defend him even as he wishes to rip healthcare coverage from millions of economically challenged citizens.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Attack on LGBTQ People Coupled with Attack on Healthcare Coverage: Double-Whammy Attack Emanating from "Pro-Life" White Christians

The "Debate" About Transgender People: Don't Buy Framing That It's About Gender

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Current Spectacle of Astonishing Cruelty in U.S. Cheered by White Christians: Jesus Makes Winners, Not Losers!

Mark Joseph Stern tweeted the tweet above one minute ago.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In Which I Explain Why I'm Responding to This Blog's Latest Troll As I'm Choosing to Do

I struggle to understand the psychology of someone — in this case, an ordained minister of the Christian gospel, a heterosexually married priest in a non-Catholic church — who occasionally logs in here to voice his contempt for the author of this blog and for everything he writes. What kind of strange masochism compels someone to slum in this way, when there's so much better reading everywhere online — and when, presumably, no one has a gun to the man's head to force him to read the words of someone he characterizes as a failure?

Donald Trump and the Scouts: Feeding Appetite for Disdain of Targeted Minorities (and, No, the Hitler Parallel Is Not Overblown)

Signposts on the way, which we overlook to our great peril:

Tom Roberts on Clergy's Task to Confront Abuse Crisis: A Response Noting Impoverishment of Communitarian Imagination of U.S. Catholic Intellectual Leaders

I am, of course, sympathetic to Tom Roberts' recent essay in National Catholic Reporter calling on Catholic clergy and hierarchical leaders to confront the clericalist base of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. This argument echoes an argument made powerfully by one witness after another confronting the abuse crisis and its cover up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump and the Christian Fascists, and What Trump Election Says About Us

Speaking-truth-to-power sorts of statements I've read in the past day or so, that I'd like to pass along to you:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Doc's a Woman, My Inflatable Doll Is a Lesbian, and It's Never About Misogyny: "Doctor Who" Freakout and Trump-Era Politics

There's a common thread in these tidbits from today's news, I think. Can you spot it? (One hint: it's never about racism, misogyny, or homophobia — even when it's always about racism, misogyny, and homophobia).