Monday, December 31, 2012

From the Blogs: End-of-Year Statements by Phil Ewing, Michael Bayly, and Frank Cocozzelli

Three good end-of-year pieces by fellow bloggers whom I esteem greatly and from whom I always learn a great deal:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

McCain from Fiscal-Cliff Talks (FCTs): CPI is Off the Table (OTT)

As the year ends some things never change: right-wingers continue to lurv them some mendacious acronyms (like, for Catholic right-wingers, TBO, SSA, NFP, etc.):

In the News: End of Year Commentary on Religious News Stories (Uganda, Gay Marriage, Papal Pathology, Hobby Lobby, SSPX)

Good commentary from articles uploaded to Facebook feed by friends in the past day or so, and from blogs I read:

Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family, and El Niño Pobre: A Meditation

Today's the feast of the Holy Family in some Christian religious traditions . . . 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Peggy Drexler on Why Gender Matters in Politics (with Catholic Applications)

Dr. Peggy Drexler on why gender matters in politics, and why it matters that women sit as justices on the Supreme Court:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dutch Website Helping Catholics "De-Baptize" Themselves Has Soaring Hits After Benedict's Christmas Vendetta vs. the Gays

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Michael Moore on America's Violence Fix

Lots of folks find Michael Moore too much. I myself find his ability to speak uncomfortable but illuminating truth refreshing, and I suspect that not a little of that ability--and his keen moral insight--come from his Catholic (and working-class) roots. Here's Moore's assessment of why we won't solve our American gun problem anytime in the near future:

Joan Walsh on Conservatives' Full-On Meltdown

From Joan Walsh's mouth to God's ears (about the rest of us finally getting something done as the haters turn on each other):

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "I Am Sad for God" re: Women's Contraceptive Use

The bottom of the birdcage is getting a tad bit noisome as the year winds to a close. I have to remember to clean it more often in the new year.

An end-of-year conversation for your listening ears:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mark Regnerus Back in News: Straight Men Who Support Marriage Equality Consume More Porn

Also not to be missed as the year turns: Mark Regnerus, the author of this year's widely criticized study about "gay" parenting that Regnerus himself admits wasn't really about gay parenting at all, is back in the news again. His latest foray into scholarship demonstrating that the notion of marriage equality is unsound: an article at the Witherspoon Institute website claiming that straight men supporting marriage equality tend to watch more porn than do other straight men. 

More Lists of Lists: Progressive Victories, Memorable Tweets, and Crazy GOP Legislation in 2012

And since I'm referring to end-of-year lists of news stories (see what I just posted about underreported stories of 2012), don't miss Think Progress's series in the same vein right now. Entries I've noticed in this series up to now:

Underreported Stories of 2012: Peter Laarman for Religious News, Bill Moyers for Other Stories

It's that time between Christmas and new year's when news commentators like to compile lists of who said what when during the year that is now winding down. This year, I'm particularly drawn to several lists of underreported news stories of the year.

Catholic Hierarchy's Christmas Vendetta Against the Gays Captures Widespread Media Attention

A point I've been making throughout 2012 is that, though many tribalistic Catholics are unhappy at this development, stories once considered intra-Catholic stories by the media are now increasingly appearing in mainstream media reports in both traditional print venues and internet ones as well--often, with rather unflattering implications for the Catholic church and its leaders . . . 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Family Gatherings and Gay Family Members: Christmas Reflections

As Christmas day winds down, thinking still of Pope Benedict's insistence that we who are gay are a threat to family. In 2009, Bao Ong reported in the New York Times that "gay and lesbian baby boomers are more likely to be caregivers than their heterosexual contemporaries, including siblings." Ong states that one in four gay baby boomers are likely to be caregivers compared with one in five of the general population in the U.S., citing a 2006 study by MetLife's Mature Market Institute.

A Christmas Story: The Incessant, Disturbing Arrival of God

A Christmas story:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wayne LaPierre's Catholic Education: Questions Worth Asking

At his This Cultural Christian site, Mike McShea notes that the Wikipedia biography for Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, does not provide any information about LaPierre's religious affiliation or religious stance, if, indeed, LaPierre has a religious affiliation or a stance. In fact, finding any information about LaPierre's religious affiliation or stance, or the lack thereof, seems exceptionally difficult.

Ancient Carols and the Gospel Story: "Es Kommt Ein Schiff Geladen"

Think Progress Chooses Picture from Religious Freedom Hearings as One of 12 Memorable Photos of 2012

I'm not the only one, it seems, who thinks this picture crystallizes some really important recognitions about the agenda of the religious right in its involvement with the American public square: Think Progress has just chosen the photo as one of the 12 most memorable images of 2012. 

Benedict's Anti-Gay Christmas Statement to the Curia: Theological Reflections

I've now read Benedict's Christmas statement to the Roman Curia, which I mentioned in the concluding section of my posting on Friday, the day on which this statement was delivered. As that posting notes, the themes that persistently preoccupy this pope's attention as Christmas and new year's days come and go tend to remain constant--particularly when the issue is the place of gay and lesbian human beings in church and world.

Friday, December 21, 2012

This Year's Vatican Christmas Gift to the Gays: You Inhabit a "Different Reality"

While many faith communities and people committed to human rights for all celebrate the growing acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons and their gifts in the human community (I'm referring here to Mr. Fish's holiday message about lights of many colors), the men running the Catholic church remain stuck. In a time warp.  Or an alternate universe.

Holiday Greetings from Mr. Fish at Truthdig: Let There Be Lights of Every Color

Happy Winter Solstice/Yule/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Christmas: happy holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quote for Day: NCR on New Notre Dame LGBT Support Group and Enfleshing Respect for Human Dignity

The editors of National Catholic Reporter applaud Notre Dame University for establishing a new student organization to support and serve LGBTQ students and their allies:

James Livingston: "Why Do These Young White Male People . . . Always Rehearse and Recite the Same Script?"

That discussion that makes many of us eminently uncomfortable, which quite a few of us would prefer either to ignore or shut down? It keeps on keeping on.

God-Talk and the Public Square After Sandy Hook: Where Are the Catholic Bishops?

Bishop William Lori and Confreres, Religious Liberty Hearing, Feb. 2012

With a bow to Sr. Maureen Fiedler at National Catholic Reporter, Frank Cocozzelli asks yesterday in a powerful essay at Talk to Action, "Who knew that the Catholic bishops support gun control?" Frank wonders why so few Catholics and so few American citizens know anything about the position taken by the U.S. bishops, when they are on record calling for strict controls on the sale and use of firearms. He wonders if the quid pro quo arrangement the bishops have made with the political right to gain its support on culture-war issues now makes them so completely captive to "movement conservatism" that they have effectively muzzled themselves on issues like gun control.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After Connecticut Shootings, Meghan Murphy Asks, "What Is It About Men . . . ?"

In her article "What Is It About Men That They're Committing These Horrible Massacres?", Meghan Murphy asks:

God-Talk and the American Public Square: Responses to Sandy Hook Massacre

One of the noteworthy aftershock effects of the unthinkable massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, has been to cast a spotlight on a national conversation that never quite vanishes from the American public square, but which becomes subliminal in non-crisis moments. What kind of God does the nation with the soul of a church worship? Who is He? Or should it be, Who is She?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Bunch of This and That: Tying Up Loose Ends of Previous Bilgrimage Stories

This is an "odds-and-ends" posting tying up loose ends of previous postings, or glossing them in some way. This tying up of loose ends or glossing former postings is all that the items below have in common--and they may well bore most readers, so please be forewarned. As I see it, the obligation to deal with dangling threads is one of the prices I pay for trying to live out loud via a blog--an ethical obligation of sorts, which is about seeking to follow threads of truth wherever they lead me.

Looking for Hope As Days Darken

Monday, December 17, 2012

David Sirota on the Unaskable Question (about White Males and Mass Shootings)

David Sirota dares to ask the profiling question about America's appalling history of mass shootings, and is immediately pilloried for asking that the question of "why the composite of these killers is so similar across so many different massacres" "be at least a part of the conversation":

Silvio Berlusconi and the Increasingly Farcical Defense of Family Values in the Catholic Tradition

Wouldn't you like to be a, well, what? A silent butler waiting on the pope in his private suite, as he receives news like this?: Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's former prime minister whom the Vatican placed in office to protect family values when a center-left government contemplated offering civil unions to gay couples, is engaged to be married once again.

News Tidbits: Gun Sales Going Great Guns, Adam Lanza's Mother a Gun Enthusiast, Garry Wills on Gun Idolatry, Jerry Slevin on Petition to Protect Children

Ed Kennedy reports at AfterElton today that, according to buzz on social media, "gun shops are doing record business this [past] weekend in the wake of the massacre, though some say it's just normal Christmas business." Kennedy also notes that the National Rifle Association website has gone silent since the Sandy Hook atrocity, as it did for ten days following the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting--but, according to Kennedy, the NRA website is usually silent only a day following a mass shooting.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 2012: Rachel Weeping

Santa hangs by scarlet threads
Beside a candle in our front-porch window.

Family and Serendipity: Dancing with the Ones That Bring Us

This week was the anniversary of my father's death. The day before the anniversary, Steve and I took one of our periodic drives to the cemeteries in which my father and my mother are buried (they're buried apart, having separated not long before he died)--a trip of some 200 miles all told, but very much worth the effort.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adam Gopnik on Newtown and American Gun Madness

Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker on "the truth, plain and simple," which makes America a shocking exception to the rest of the civilized world, when it comes to the issues of gun control and gun violence:

The American Addiction to Violence and Yesterday's Tragedy: A Theological Reflection

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and Guns, Guns, Guns: American Religious Right and the Betrayal of Christ

The very same people who tell us there's a "war" on Christmas, the very same people who scream and shout about keeping Christ in Christmas: these are the people now up in arms about guns.  About their right to have guns, to multiply guns, to use guns with abandon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

In Religion News: Scalia Father, Scalia Son, Uganda and Stone-Cold Silence of U.S. Catholic Bishops

On Wednesday, I noted that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia's son Father Paul Scalia has served as a chaplain for the Catholic group Courage.  Yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, Michael McGough notes the younger Scalia's connection to Courage, and points out that Father Scalia has gone on record suggesting that gay people don't really exist--there are only homosexual acts:

Maddow Blog on Gerrymandering and GOP Minority Control of House

As a quick postscript to the end-of-week news roundup I just posted, with its commentary about how the Republican party continues to exercise considerable control over the political life of the U.S. even as a minority party, Will Ferris's graphic presentation at the Maddow Blog of how gerrymandering facilitates GOP minority control is extremely helpful.  

End of Week News Roundup: GOP Botox Problem, Continuing Civil War, Debt Crisis as Existential Crisis, and Defense of DOMA

Jeremiah Goulka thinks botox (same old face, desceptive cosmetic changes plastered over it) is not going to help the GOP successfully negotiate its current crisis:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pope Benedict Blesses Speaker of Ugandan Parliament, Who Promised Anti-Gay Bill as "Christmas Gift" to Ugandan People

Well.  Isn't this spayshul?

Droppings from the catholic Birdcage: "Never Thought of It That Way"

This is not really a Catholic dropping.  And so I've lowercased the "catholic" in the title of this posting, to indicate it's a comment by someone in the wide-open catholic spaces of the internets, about whose religious leanings (or non-religious leanings) I have no clue at all.

Advent Hope, Dystopian Futures, Michigan Attack on Labor and the Supremes' Choice to Hear Prop 8 Case

Part of the message of Advent--a large part--is that the future is never a foregone conclusion.  It depends on divine initiative and invitation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Desmond Tutu Appeals to Ugandans' Conscience, and Another Gay Teen Commits Suicide

Josh Pacheco (1995-2012)

And (piggybacking on what I just posted about Justice Scalia and his recent response to a gay Princeton student re: homosexuality and murder) in contrast to Scalia the defender of Catholic orthodoxy, there's Desmond Tutu, the defender of humane values and human rights: at Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway publishes an editorial by Tutu in today's Daily Monitor.  The editorial appeals to the conscience of the Ugandan people as their parliament is poised to pass draconian anti-gay legislation as a "Christmas gift" to the people of this nation.

Mary Elizabeth Williams on Scalia's Response to Gay Princeton Student: "Behaving Like an Arrogant, Dismissive Tool"

Justice Scalia at Red Mass, D.C., 2008

Mary Elizabeth Williams assesses Antonin Scalia's recent supercilious response to a question from a gay student at Princeton about his equation of laws banning sodomy with laws banning murder:

Politics of Revenge in Michigan (with Catholic Parallel in Wisconsin)

Lisa Graves reads ALEC's broadside assault on Michigan workers through "right to work" legislation as revenge politics.  It's punishment of the voters of a state that went for Obama over Romney by almost 10%.  She writes,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

In Catholic News: A Whole Lot of Stuff for Your Stockings

Also in Catholic news during this week of preparation for Christmas joy:

Tom Tomorrow on the Bipartisan Adventures of Simpson and Bowles

"That's why we now spend our time giving speeches--for which we are paid $40,000 apiece--on the need to cut Social Security and Medicare". . . 

Brilliant political commentary from Tom Tomorrow of "This Modern World," via The Nation.  (Clicking will enlarge the cartoon.)

Richard Pierard's Advice to Evangelicals: "Get Off the Abortion Issue"

Richard Pierard

Richard Pierard thinks that anti-abortion evangelicals have badly overplayed their hand with the "pro-life" issue: 

John Atcheson on Marlboro Man Myths (Plus Papal Preferences in Cigarettes)

John Atcheson thinks it would be dangerous for America to return to the mythology of Marlboro Man and his rugged individualism and hostility to gubmint.  Three of the Marlboro Men, after all, died of lung cancer.  And the Republicans peddle such retrograde mythology and the hard and fast gender roles it comprises primarily to distract us from their determination to help the über-rich pick more money from the pockets of the rest of us.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leonardo Boff on Paths: Finding Them, Walking Together as "Solidarians in the Same Destiny"

An Advent reflection I find beautiful and challenging--Leonardo Boff on paths, on finding and putting our feet into them:

Political Musings: Fascism under the Skin and Crazy Still Walking and Talking after Elections

On our various trips to research Steve's family's roots in Germany (and Luxembourg and the Bohemian and Moravian parts of the former Austrian Empire), one of the most chilling documents from World War II we've encountered was a picture in a photo album of a cousin of his in Baden.  The cousin lives in the small village outside Karlsruhe from which some of Steve's ancestors emigrated to America after the revolution in Baden in the late 1840s.

Faith Seeking Understanding: Catholic Commentary on the State of the Church, Advent 2012

A Monday-morning smorgasbord of smart, thoughtful statements I've read in recent days about matters Catholic: