Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Blogs: Reforming the Catholic Church, Sr. Farley's Book, Southern Baptists, Regnerus, and Religious Right

Some mid-week commentary on a wide range of issues from bloggers whose insights I value, writing about the Lynn-Sandusky convictions, the need of the Catholic church for reform, the decision of the Vatican to bring Fox news in, the condemnation of Sr. Margaret Farley's book Just Love, Southern Baptists, the Mark Regnerus study (and controversy), and the role of the Catholic church in the American religious right:

Adam Fisher at genkaku-again, on the Lynn-Sandusky convictions and the inability of some powerful institutions left to their own devices to correct themselves: "[I]t remains to be seen if the very foundations of such infamies -- the philosophies that inspired them -- will receive any correction."

Colleen Baker at Enlightened Catholicism writes in similar vein about how the "reform of the reform" implemented by popes John Paul II and Benedict is anything but a reform:

The reform of the reform will not result in a blossoming of vocations to this current priesthood nor a rebirth of the Church in the West.  It is not designed to do any such thing.  It is designed to force out of the Western Church any Catholics whose belief structures include notions of the primacy of individual conscience, anglo style democratic governance and judiciary, and enlightenment notions of human dignity, equality, and civil rights for all men and WOMEN. 

Michael McShea at This Cultural Christian about how the Vatican's recent decision to bring Fox into its house is, well, hardly calculated to get at the roots of its need-for-reform problems:  "[I]t’s Timmy Dolan to the rescue with a recommendation from Knight of Malta Rupert Murdock’s FOX NEWS."

TheraP at Heresy & Humor is of a similar mind about the Fox decision:  "A perfect choice for a tiny piece of real estate that claims to be a State and a Religion - a type of religious Dicktatorship, which means it's male and authoritarian and merges spiritual with temporal, especially temporal power and money."

At Fur-licity, very wise advice from Daisy the Dog to Brother William Levada of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith about Sr. Margaret Farley's book, puppy mills, and priestly training: "I think the women who will eventually be ordained would appreciate working with more mature men."

Terry Weldon at Queering the Church concludes that the "grave harm" that Brother Levada imagines Sr. Farley is doing to the faithful through her book "is caused by the CDF itself."

Fred Clark at Slacktivisit offers a valuable counterpoint to what I said the other day about recent developments among Southern Baptists, by focusing on a Baptist pastor in east Tennessee and his struggles to reconcile what his church says with his love for a gay son, with the following conclusion: "Most of the Bible was written for people in exile. That’s where it’s meant to be read."

Misty Irons at More Musings takes a closer look at the recent study by Mark Regnerus which claims to "prove" that children raised in opposite-parent household turn out better than those headed by gay parents and concludes, as many other commentators are doing, "The study isn't so much about what happens when children are raised by gay parents as it is about children who grew up under traumatic circumstances."

Alan McCornick at Hepzibah agrees, as he notes, "Regnerus has to be pretty na├»ve to wonder where all the flak is coming from.  He has just demonstrated that kids in troubled homes don’t do as well as children in non-troubled homes."

And last but by no means least, Betty Clermont at Open Tabernacle draws on the spectacular research she published in her book The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America to demonstrate that the Catholic church has been at and remains at the forefront of the coalition of right-wing faith communities constituting the religious right in the U.S.

As Betty notes, the "religious right" has been from the moment of its birth an "artificial construct" that is all about ginning up bogus fears, bolstering convictions about right-wing Christian moral superiority and American exceptionalism, and promising salvation to impoverished people who are moved to vote against their own economic self-interest through promises of the "return" to a "values-based" "Christian" government, if they remain docile to religious leaders.  She writes,

From the beginning, the corporatocracy selected the Roman Catholic Church as their instrument, an institution with millennia of experience in unity of church and state – prelates urging the laity to a docile acceptance of tyranny in return for government support and feigned obsequiousness.

Betty is absolutely right, I think.  And this is one of the best frames I can envisage to understand what the bishops and their super-rich handlers of the 1% are all about in the "Fortnight for Freedom"--and why some of their right-wing allies are now asking for the nuns who critique the Ryan budget to be "pistol-whipped" as they carry out their Nuns on the Bus tour.

About that pistol-whipping comment: if you want to make your voice heard in response, Faithful America is sponsoring a petition to Iowa Representative Tom Latham, who was on the radio show of Jan Mickleson when Mickelson made the remark, and who laughed at the comment.  The petition calls on Latham to apologize.

That petition is here, if you feel moved to sign it.

The graphic is Picasso's "Conversation (Croquis)" (1958), as posted by Joshua Abelow to Art Blog Art Blog.

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