Saturday, July 31, 2010

Timothy Kincaid on NOM's Summer of Hate: Bald-Faced Bigotry Betraying Core Religious Values

A good article by Timothy Kincaid today at Box Turtle Bulletin, putting the rank homophobia of groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) in historical perspective.  In particular, Kincaid notes the inexorable, if slow and spasmodic, movement of democracy, with its belief in the inherent worth and rights of every human being, towards rights for everyone.  Not merely for select, privileged elite groups.

"Mad Men" and the Renegotiation of Masculinity in the Late 20th Century: A Dissenting Perspective

Steve and I watched the first episode of “Mad Men”’s new season last night, and it hit me: the reason this superbly scripted, superbly staged series attracts intense interest is not, as many folks want to argue, that it shows us so meticulously how contemporary definitions of American masculinity differ from those of post-war America.  We’re watching “Mad Men” for another reason altogether: we’re seeking reassurance that, in spite of the hits that the definition of the male sustained  in the final decades of the 20th century, things haven’t substantially changed.

Men remain men.  And all remains right with the world as a result.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Target Riles Gay Customers by Giving Big Bucks to Homophobic Politician

What the hell is going on with Target?

When I blogged back in February about the rude little SOB who called me from Target's corporate headquarters and responded to valid, polite questions with insults, I'll admit it did cross my mind that he might well have googled and profiled me before he decided to insult me rather than take my request for information seriously.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Checking In, Saying Hello

I'm sorry to be neglecting the blog these days.  We returned home last evening.  I'm trying to deal with a bit of a health challenge right now, and hope to be blogging again soon, after I've figured out why my blood pressure is spiking these days and have (I hope) gotten it down, with the doctor's help.

Please keep my extended family in your prayers.  We've had a rough patch lately and are trying to find our way through it.  

Hoping all readers of the blog are having a good summer, and more later, I hope . . . .

The picture of fans?  Me, trying to keep cool in a long, hot summer--which is proving long and hot in many places outside the Deep South, so that I'm sending cool thoughts to readers also dealing with the heat.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mary Hunt on Argentinian Enactment of Same-Sex Marriage, and New Poll on Same-Sex Marriage in California

A don't-miss article by Mary Hunt right now at Religion Dispatches, re: the response of various churches in Argentina to the new legislation there permitting same-sex marriage.  Hunt taught in Argentina in the early 1980s at ISEDET, an ecumenical seminary.  As she notes, in that period of dictatorship, two women drinking coffee in a cafe in Buenos Aires together could have been arrested merely for being together.  Now they can marry.  How much can change in a few decades.

Hunt notes that the waning influence of the Catholic church in this nation, demonstrated in its ineffectual opposition to the gay marriage legislation, began during the dictatorship, as the church kept its mouth shut during the Dirty War, and relinquished vocal support for human rights initiatives to secular groups.  If I'm not mistaken, the period in which Hunt taught in Argentina coincided with John Paul II's visit to Argentina during the height of the Dirty War.  Hopes were high that the pope would condemn the war and its disappearing of thousands of opponents of the Galtieri regime.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Telling the Story of Gay Love: Overcoming Internalized Homophobia as a First Step

We're still on the road, though hope to be settled in by this evening--at which point, I will have more time to blog again.

I'm sorry about the formatting problems in my last post, which I only now noticed.  The loss of paragraph markers is something that seems to be happening lately after I publish a post.  Paragraphs are fine until I publish, and then they disappear.  I'll keep trying to work on that problem.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In the News: Mel Gibson and Waning of Religious Right, Obama Paradox, DADT, Dostoevskian Paranoia of Catholic Leaders

My posting today (and for a few days ahead) may be light, since Steve and I are traveling to North Carolina to visit a friend.  Steve’s birthday arrives this week, and we plan to celebrate it with a friend in Charlotte.  I do hope to find time to keep up with this blog, but am uncertain how much time I’ll have as we drive.

Today, I’d like to note some recent articles that touch on themes about which I’ve blogged here.  I wrote yesterday that, as much as I’d like to agree with Frank Rich that the reaction to Mel Gibson’s latest rants signals that we’ve entered a new era of waning religious right influence, I remain cautious. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gil Caldwell on RMN Blog: A Call for Responses re: Churches and Inclusion

The Reconciling Ministries Network blog has a posting today by United Methodist minister Gil Caldwell, whose prophetic ministry on behalf of justice and inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the United Methodist Church I value greatly.  I’ve blogged repeatedly about Caldwell at Bilgrimage.  I won’t cite those postings.  Anyone interested in finding them can simply enter “Caldwell” into the search engine for the blog, and they’ll pop up.  Or click on "Gil Caldwell" in the list of labels for this posting.

I want to mention Gil Caldwell’s latest posting at the RMN blog for this reason: it contains a call to action.  I want to support this call to action by passing on Rev. Caldwell’s request to readers of this blog.

Frank Rich on Mel Gibson: Last Gasps of an American Era

The same issue of New York Times yesterday that contained Maureen Dowd’s op-ed piece about the Catholic church’s current muddle, about which I just blogged, also has a reflection by Frank Rich on the Mel Gibson saga about which I commented several times in the past week.

Rich’s take: Gibson’s latest round of mind-boggling statements about various minority groups is nothing new.  What has changed is the cultural context that is receiving those statements. 

Maureen Dowd Dares to Speak, and Michael Sean Winters Goes Ballistic: The Two Futures the Abuse Situation Creates for the Catholic Church

Maureen Dowd addresses the intractable problems the Catholic church now faces—and which its leaders keep creating for the church they lead—and Michael Sean Winters predictably goes ballistic.  As he has done repeatedly this year (and here), when the New York Times publishes a hard-hitting article delving into the depth of the cover-up of abuse cases.

And what I want to do here is not so much seek to refute Winters’sarguments, which are, in my estimation, not worth engaging.  What I want to note is how these two articles—Dowd’s and Winters’—provide a sharp, clear snapshot of where American Catholicism finds itself at this point in its history, and of two very different futures the church may make for itself, depending on which of two paths it chooses now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Same-Sex Families as Model Families: Evidence Continues to Increase

I blogged recently about Naomi Cahn and June Carbone’s recently published book Red Families v. Blue Families (NY: Oxford UP, 2010).  I noted that, in my view, this study points to the conclusion that traditional American families will soon need to pay close attention to same-sex ones, as the traditional model of marriage and family falls apart in precisely those parts of the U.S. most determined to resist same-sex marriage.  

Fr. Martin at Huffington Post on Church's Climate of Fear: The Value of Open Discussion of Catholic Issues in the Secular Media

As a brief counterpoint to what I just posted re: today's New York Times editorial decrying the Vatican's attempt to link clerical abuse of minors to women's ordination in its recent guidelines about penalties for pedophile priests, I'd like to note an outstanding article of Fr. James Martin at Huffington Post recently.  This piece had previously appeared at America magazine's "In All Things" blog.

NY Times on Rome's Coupling of Clerical Pedophilia and Women's Ordination: Inept Posturing

This is a brief addendum to what I published yesterday about the document released by the Vatican this week, which couples clerical abuse of minors with women's ordination.  I'd like to note, as a postscript to what I published yesterday, that today's New York Times has an editorial addressing the document. The Times critique of the Vatican document runs along channels similar to my critique.

The editorial notes,
There was not much to like in the Vatican’s news conference this week about its pedophilia scandal, but among all the defensive posturing and inept statements, there was one real stunner: The citing of the movement for the ordination of women as a “grave crime” that Rome deems as offensive as the scandal of priests who sexually assault children.

Calls for ending the ban on women priests are only a blip on the ecclesiastical radar screen. Yet Vatican officials gratuitously raised them at the news conference, while they offered limited antidotes to the crimes of sexual abuse and the long history of bishops dithering and covering up these crimes.
And then it concludes, "Red herrings about female priests only display the tone-deafness of the Vatican’s dominant male hierarchy."

Sadly, because this critique is appearing in a secular newspaper that defensive apologists for the status quo want (ludicrously) to dismiss as an anti-Catholic publication, we will now hear the usual hue and cry from those apologists, who seem as tone-deaf as is the Vatican itself to the serious challenges facing the church they claim to love.  As theologian Mary Hunt notes in her recent essay to which my posting yesterday links, the leaders of our church look ever more out of touch with what rank-and-file Catholics think and believe about these matters.

And with people of good will outside the church, as well.  We must move beyond the defensive, reality-denying posture if we sincerely want the church to live through the crisis in which it now finds itself.  As public opinion, both inside and outside the church, increasingly rejects the red-herring excuses by which the hierarchy tries to distance itself from responsibility for this crisis, those who love the church--who really love the church--need to stop assisting our pastoral leaders in avoiding responsibility, and call them to responsibility.
And to the servant leadership to which they've been called.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Links Between Vatican Thinking about Women's Ordination and Homosexuality: A Brief Addendum

A brief addendum to what I just posted about the logic underlying the Vatican’s recent linking of clerical pedophilia and the “attempt” to “simulate” the ordination of a woman: it goes without saying that there’s a close parallel between the strategy of bald assertion employed by this document, and how church leaders handle the question of gay and lesbian Catholics and our place in the scheme of salvation.

Roman Guidelines Equate Clerical Pedophilia with Women's Ordination: How Many Mistakes Can You Spot in This Picture?

I told him I had been that morning at a meeting of the people called Quakers, where I had heard a woman preach. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all," James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson.

The Vatican has just released its much-touted new norms for dealing with clerics found to be sexually abusing minors.  And what is attracting international media attention in the new norms issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which reserves to itself the right to handle clerical abuse cases worldwide, is not their guidelines for handling abuse cases.  It is, instead, the norms’ equation of the “attempt” to ordain a woman with pedophilia.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Catholic Nation Enacts Gay Marriage: Now Argentina (and Where Is the U.S.?)

Another heavily Catholic nation has passed legislation to enact same-sex marriage, despite fierce opposition by the country’s Catholic hierarchy: today, the legislature of Argentina passed a bill permitting same-sex couples the same marital rights as heterosexuals enjoy.

The Ministry of Silly Hats: New Sartorial Fashions for Bishops, and the Call of Jesus to Servant Leadership

I hadn’t thought about it until I read the following comment at the site of National Catholic Reporter’s recent article about the predicted exodus of Anglicans to the Catholic church, following a decision by the Church of England’s General Synod to consecrate women bishops.  A commenter notes,

Utah Group Targets Immigrants: Mormons and Strangers in Strange Lands

What some citizens of Utah have done recently to create a climate of hostility and fear for undocumented workers is despicable.  The New York Times and Huffington Post are reporting today that some yet-to-be-identified group has compiled a list of 1,300 Utah residents thought to be illegal immigrants, and circulated the list to state authorities and the media.

The list contains detailed information about each name, including in some cases addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth, and in the case of pregnant women, the due date of their child.  A letter accompanying the list says that the citizen vigilante group that compiled it “observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings.”

In other words, the compilers of this list clearly intend to give undocumented workers in Utah the impression that their every move is being closely watched by belligerent eyes, and that these workers are unwelcome in Utah.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Controversy on the 50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird: Reflections from the Front

I’m fascinated to see that the fiftieth anniversary of Harper Lee’s book To Kill a Mockingbird is eliciting controversy.  But as Jesse Kornbluth notes in the Huffington Post piece to which I’ve just linked, who’d have thought we’d live to see Thurgood Marshall’s distinguished career reduced to the dismissive “activist” label, or ministers filing suit to assure the “right” of congregants to tote guns to church, or “educated” Americans blaming our current economic crisis on the poor, who, we’re to understand, bought too many houses in the halcyon days of neoconservative political dominance?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NY Times on the Country-Clubization of American Higher Education: Money Flowing to Adminstrators' Pockets, While Students and Faculty Suffer

Sam Dillon's recent New York Times article about how college and university presidents are now spending their schools' money confirms a point I've made repeatedly on this blog: namely, that many top administrators in American higher education today are earning top dollars, while faculty needs--and the needs of students--receive short shrift.  As I've noted, higher education in the U.S. is modeled more and more on the corporate world whose representatives now dominate the governing boards of colleges and universities.

In the process, the importance of education is being lost sight of, as is the value of a liberal arts education rooted in the core values of the humanities, values necessary to sustain civil society.

Aaron Belkin on Pentagon DADT Survey: Everything Turns on Leadership

Aaron Belkin at Huffington Post, offering a sane assessment of the Pentagon survey asking troops how they'd feel about showering with a gay soldier (well, the survey leads off all its questions about gays by using the word "homosexual," a word known to bias surveys about gay rights and gay people):

Parental Wisdom and the Social Challenge of Dealing with the Rapacious and Violent: Reflections about Bad Seeds

When I read Richard Friedman’s article about good parents and bad seeds in the New York Times today, I thought, “Well, of course.  It’s self-evident, isn’t it?  Parents who do everything right can always end up raising a child who simply goes wild, for unexplained reasons.  It’s built into human nature, the possibility that some of us go astray despite the best rearing possible.”

I suspect that this insight into the tendency of original sin to produce bad seeds in any generation may be built into the upbringing of people raised in traditional Southern families, because, well, there simply are bad seeds.  

Gibson Again: More Tapes of Mel Gibson's Rants Released

When I posted on the weekend about Mel Gibson’s latest bigoted rants (he has a long history of these), I noted that blogsites were indicating that a second installment of Gibson’s enraged threats against Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his last child, was soon to be released.

The tapes are now circulating.  And they’re vile.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Showering with Homosexuals: HuffPo's Lede Article

Huffington Post's top-of-page lede story this Saturday afternoon, linking to a Washington Post article: "Would You Shower with a Homosexual?"

As someone commenting on the story at the WaPo site notes, too bad President Truman didn't take a poll to ascertain how much white soldiers didn't want to share quarters with African Americans when Truman informed our armed forces that racial discrimination is no longer acceptable in a military in which both black and white soldiers put their lives on the line.

Immigration Debate Continues in Arkansas: And Where Are the Churches?

This is an update to something I wrote back on 27 April, as Arizona enacted its draconian new anti-immigrant legislation.  In my previous posting, I noted that a group calling itself Secure Arkansas was pushing to place  an initiative targeting illegal immigrants on our fall ballot.

Early this month, Secure Arkansas announced that it had obtained the 77,468 signatures needed to place its anti-immigrant constitutional amendment on our ballot this fall.  A week later, however, the accounting firm hired by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office to count the signatures on Secure Arkansas’s petition concluded that they fall some 10,000 short of the total needed to put this initiative on the fall ballot.

Governor Linda Lingle on Civil Unions as Marriage by Another Name: A Correction

Another news-catch-up item: when I blogged earlier in the week about the veto of a same-sex civil unions bill by Hawaii Republican governor Linda Lingle, I wrote,

Traditionalist Catholic Governor Jindal Permits Guns in Churches, and I Propose Liturgical Revision to Follow Suit

(I’m catching up on news articles today, and wearing my religion-and-culture-critic hat as I do: hence this commentary on Louisiana Republican governor Bobby Jindal and his recent guns-in-church bill):

The past few weeks haven’t been stellar ones for traditionalist Catholics, with the “only-Latin-Masses-for-me-and-mine” old-fashioned Catholic Mel Gibson caught on tape screaming racist and sexist epithets at his porn-star girlfriend.  And with “traditionalist Catholic” Republican governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana signing legislation that permits licensed gun toters to tote in Louisiana churches.

Mel Gibson, "Old-Fashioned Catholic": The Rest of the Story

Mel Gibson has famously described himself as “an old-fashioned Catholic” who refuses to attend any Masses except the traditional ones.  You know, the kind Jesus celebrated, which the church faithfully preserved up to Vatican II.  The Latin Mass, for God’s sake!  The “Old Rite” that comes to us direct from the hands of Our Lord.

Gibson has spoken at gatherings of the American religious right to attack women’s access to abortions, the use of contraceptives, and gay and lesbian rights.  In 2003, he spoke to a religious-right gathering in Colorado about his film “The Passion of the Christ,” stating, “The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic.”

Our Lord on Making a Lemon Situation into Lemonade

It sounds so much holier and inspiring when it comes from the lips of Our Lord, doesn't it?

(See my previous posting on Sharron Angle's mindless lemons-lemonade remark about rape and incest earlier this week.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Signpost to the Future: Bishop Kevin Dowling on Need for Servant Leadership in Catholic Church

I just posted about the serious problems confronting the Catholic church today, as it tries to pursue its most fundamental mission of all—being a sacramental sign of God’s salvific love in the world.  And so where do we find signposts to a future different than the dismal one to which the dismal pastoral leadership of the church at present seems to point us?

NCR on the Hierarchy's Deep Damage from Within: Facing the Truth about the Catholic Church and Moving Forward

From National Catholic Reporter's latest editorial, entitled "A Hierarchy Deeply Damaged from Within":

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ms. Angle on Rape Victims: Turn Lemons into Lemonade

So very, very simple: why hasn't anyone thought of this before?  Republican candidate for the Senate Sharron Angle is encouraging rape victims to turn the lemons of being sexually assaulted into the lemonade of, well, I'm not quite sure.  I'll let her explain.

Back to the Bathrooms: The Pentagon Polls Soldiers about Showering with the Gays

It always comes back to the bathroom, it seems.  To restroom arrangements.

When we in the mainstream choose to stigmatize a despised minority, we always head to the bathroom with our lurid imagining about what it would be like to rub shoulders with the dirty, diseased Other.  George Orwell notes in his Road to Wigan Pier that  this is how generations of the British upper classes justified the gross exploitation of the lower orders: the plebs were dirty, and did not have the fine feelings that aristocrats have, when forced to interact with their inferiors.

The NYT and Coverage of Catholic Issues: Video Report about Priest Serving Economically Marginal Youth in Mexico

The New York Times is a virulently anti-Catholic rag, of course (IRONY ALERT HERE).

But even as it pummels away at the Vatican while catering to liberal Catholics who have an agenda (unlike their neocon brothers and sisters), it still throws the occasional crumb the way of Catholics who desperately want to find something to be proud of and hopeful about in our church, while our leaders rearrange the deck chairs on their Titanic.

Corporate Responsibility and Consumer Relations: What the Big Boys Might Learn from Small Business (with a Catholic Application)

I blogged back in February about the dismissive response I received from a major chain of stores, Target, when I sought to provide them with some feedback early this year about purchasing patterns in their local store.  As my February posting notes, I think it's important for us as citizens and consumers to try to keep holding the feet of corporations to the fire, no matter how big they are. It's important, it seems to me, that we exercise our rights as consumers by insisting that corporations listen and respond to us, and provide accurate information about their marketing practices when we request it.

I haven't been back to Target after my shoddy treatment by them earlier this year.  I don't intend to return to them after the way they handled my valid request for information in the first part of the year.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Read Classic Science Fiction. And I Become Irritated at Its Misogyny and Homophobia

I’ve blogged here in the past (e.g., here and here) about how I would find it unthinkable not to have read (and to keep reading) literature, theology, and philosophy written by women.  This theme has been in my thoughts lately, all over again, as I try to redress a balance in my own reading history.

When I was around ten to twelve, I went through a science fiction phase in which I read any and every science fiction novel on which I could put my hands.  I remember being struck in particular by Clifford Simak’s City, Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, and a book written specifically for children, Richard Elam’s Young Visitor to Mars.  These are titles that stick out of a sea of many other novels I read in those years of my life.

Twice Divorced Governor of Hawaii Defends Traditional Marriage

The veto of a civil unions bill for same-sex couples by Hawaii governor Linda Lingle doesn't add significantly to what we now know about the determination of the religious and political right to block any and all initiatives to grant human rights to gay persons. We see a familiar pattern replicating itself in this decision.

First, there's the claim that civil unions are "essentially marriage by another name," though study after study shows that civil unions do not, in fact, grant all the rights and privileges of marriage.  The determination of Lingle, a governor who is leaving office and not running for re-election, to veto a bill that does not even grant marriage rights to same-sex couples speaks loud and clear about the intent of the political and religious right to block each and every human rights initiative for LGBT citizens.

David Gibson on Vatican's New Rules for Handling Clerical Abusers: Almost Imperceptible Progress

David Gibson writing about the Vatican's new rules for handling clerical sexual abuse of minors:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Reactions to New York Times Coverage of Benedict, the CDF, and the Abuse Crisis

Two more good pieces about the recent New York Times article of Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger re: the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict), and its relationship to the abuse crisis in the Catholic church:

The Devil as an Explanation for the Abuse Crisis and Its Cover-Up: Benedict's Recent Comments about the Year for Priests

When Pope Benedict observed, at the end of the Year for Priests, that the devil was on the warpath in an extraordinary way right now to sully the image of priests, I didn't say anything on this blog about that observation.  I didn't blog about the remark because it just seemed to me beneath notice at the time.

First, there's the astounding assumption that anyone outside the Vatican cares much at all about the Year for Priests.  I tend to think that the devil has more important business to attend to right now than disrupting a self-indulgent celebration of priests thrown for priests and by priests.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ongoing Challenge for Obama Administration: Bridging the Black-Gay Divide

On Saturday, Pam Spaulding posted a stellar piece of commentary at her House Blend blog, re: how the “pink beltway” community views the Obama administration’s accomplishments vis-à-vis LGBT rights.  Pam notes that, whereas the insular community of A-list gays in the beltway culture see Mr. Obama as a preeminent champion of gay rights, many gays and lesbians who aren’t part of that self-absorbed subculture beg to differ. 

Naomi Cahn and June Carbone on Red vs. Blue Families: Same-Sex Marriage as a Model for Effective Marriage

I’m intrigued by Alternet’s synopsis of Naomi Cahn and June Carbone’s just-published book Red Families v. Blue Families (NY: Oxford UP, 2010).  The synopsis (and the book on which it focuses) intrigue me because, for the first time that I can remember, a major book on contemporary American families is suggesting that families headed by same-sex parents may be role models for traditional families.

At least, that’s how I’m reading the evidence.  Cahn and Carbone’s study focuses on the considerable stress that red-state families, in which the traditional model predominates, are now experiencing.  They’re experiencing stress for all kinds of reasons.  Economic downturn affects these traditional red-state families more than families in the blue states because red-state couples tend to marry younger and to offer their children fewer alternatives, when it comes to sex education and contraception. 

And so the model of child raising in these traditional families replicates the economic problems that have affected the parental generation, by assuring that yet another generation assumes the responsibility of family life at a younger age than is the norm in blue-state families.  At a young age in which it is far more difficult for a family to achieve economic stability and to receive strong education . . . .

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Apropos Nothing: Karma and the Long, Hot Summer

Apropos nothing at all, on this Fourth of July (and yet apropos everything at all in life, in another sense):

I used the following phrase a day or so ago in the comments section of this blog.  It's a phrase that, for reasons I can't even remember now, popped into my head a few days ago, and which keeps circling around in my head for a number of reasons lately.  Hard, in fact, not to think about karma during this long, hot summer of discontent in a church whose pastoral leaders have stepped on so many toes so cruelly and unjustly for a long time now.

The Fourth and Red Meat: as American Birthright (or American Health Challenge?)

Another piece about the American national holiday, this one more self-reflective.  As many of us fire up the grills for a cook-out today,* I can’t get out of my mind Kiera Butler’s recent article at Mother Jones (republished at Alternet) about death by hamburger.  I can’t get this article out of my mind today because hamburgers have become the quintessential American food, our national culinary signature, our birthright.  We’ll celebrate the birth of our nation today, many of us, by grilling hamburgers.

A Happy Fourth of July: Celebrating the Courage and Principles of the Generation to Come

Happy Fourth of July to American readers, and to readers outside the U.S., please forgive our American tendency to self-infatuation on our national holiday.  I’m pretty sure the world doesn’t revolve around us.  But I know quite a few fellow Americans who are less sure of that, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, I’m delighted to see that Laurie Lebo has chosen to post a Fourth of July piece at Religion Dispatches about my fellow Arkansan, young Will Phillips.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dan Savage on Tea Party Jesus

The inimitable Dan Savage on the Tea Party Jesus website about which I blogged a few days ago . . . .

Firedoglake on the Nightmares of Pope Benedict: Another Response to the New York Times Article

Coverage of the Vatican's summer of discontent continues, along with coverage of Laurie Goodstein and David Halbfinger's New York Times article about Benedict and the CDF's dilatory attitude towards addressing the abuse situation when Cardinal Ratzinger headed that Vatican office. And as with many of the articles now appearing about these topics, the one I am recommending now is from a secular website, Firedoglake.

Once again: it seems to me significant that the conversation about the Catholic church is going public and mainstream, and that the secular media are addressing Catholic issues freely and without the constraints they had in the recent past.  Those constraints were there because generations of bishops in powerful sees in major American cities cried holy hell when newspapers dared to print anything those bishops regarded as unflattering to the church.

Michael Sean Winters Responds to NY Times: The "Law and Order" Defense of Indefensible Vatican Behavior

When the best defense of the refusal of top Catholic leaders to address reports of sexual abuse of children by priests immediately and resolutely is this--namely, that the Catholic church functions legally at the level of a police agency in the "Law and Order" show--something is awry.

Woefully so.