Saturday, June 29, 2013

Marriage Equality Returns Immediately to California, and History Marches On

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Quote for the Day: "True Hospitality Is Marked by An Open Response to the Dignity of Each Person"

Kathleen Norris

I published this meditation back in 2010, the day after Christmas. I've run across it all over again today as I thumb through a journal I kept in 1997, into the back of which I've tucked photocopies from Kathleen Norris's book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), from which the meditation comes: 

In News: SCOTUS on Dignity and DOMA, Chris Hedges on Edward Snowden, Regnerus Cavils, Pam's House Blend

At dotCommonweal, John McGreevy suggests that Andrew Sullivan may be the most influential lay Catholic in the U.S. in the past fifteen years, noting that his liveblog about the SCOTUS decision on DOMA stressed Justice Kennedy's emphasis on human dignity, as Kennedy struck the unconstitutional law down. McGreevy quotes Sullivan:

Friday, June 28, 2013

On Archbishop Aymond's Apology for the Catholic Response to Victims of UpStairs Lounge Fire: Conflicting Viewpoints

I didn't mention this earlier in the week, but some impulse (which may turn out to be one of the lesser angels of my nature) impels me to point it out now:

DOMA and Voting Rights: More Articles on Struggle for Gay Rights and Civil Rights for People of Color as One Struggle

Here are some good articles published in the last day or so on the importance of linking the struggle for rights for people of color and gay rights in the U.S.--and on how gay Americans should not celebrate the striking down of DOMA without standing in solidarity with people of color in the struggle to secure and maintain voting rights:

More on the Heavy Emphasis on Concept of Dignity in SCOTUS Ruling Striking Down DOMA

Yesterday, I cited a tweet of Dan Amira following SCOTUS's DOMA decision, which points out that Justice Kennedy's majority opinion striking down the Defense of Marriage Act uses the word "dignity" nine times. Here's Cass Sunstein writing for Bloomberg about the strong emphasis that Kennedy's ruling gives to the term "dignity," as it argues that DOMA deliberately assaulted the dignity of LGBT Americans and their families:

Christians v. Gays: Anti-Gay Behavior of Christians Seriously Damaging Christian Brand, According to David Gushee

Yesterday, when I recommended to readers a list of articles I'd read in the last day or so about how religious bodies are responding to the DOMA decision, I included David Gushee's recent statement at Religion Dispatches on the damage some Christians have done to the Christian brand in the painful period through which we've been living, in which many Christians have imagined they have a God-given duty to taunt, attack, belittle, scapegoat, and exclude some fellow human beings simply because they happen to have been born gay. I'd like to highlight Gushee's statement today.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

DOMA Decision and Voting Rights Act Decision: We Stand Together or We Fall Together

I want to lift a statement I made at the end of my posting yesterday about the initial Twitter commentary re: the Supreme Court and DOMA, and place it in a separate posting today. I think it's very important that this be said:

Commentary about Response of Religious Bodies to SCOTUS Decision Striking Down DOMA

For those seeking commentary about the response of various religious bodies to yesterday's SCOTUS decision striking down DOMA, a wealth of good material has come online in the past two days, particularly at the Religion Dispatches site. Here are some links, in no particular order:

Lay Catholics in Support of Gay Rights: Statements after SCOTUS DOMA Decision

Meanwhile, on the planet on which most of us human beings (as opposed to His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone) live, here are some responses to what Dolan and Cordileone said about the Supreme Court decision yesterday, and some articles noting lay Catholics' considerable involvement in the struggle for gay rights:

Dolan and Cordileone Speak Out about DOMA Decision: No Catholic Church Bells to Be Rung!

Yesterday, I noted how, under the leadership of His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the U.S. Catholic bishops have as a body invested much time, money, and energy in defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Supreme Court (with its majority of conservative Catholic justices) has just struck down. In the past decade, the bishops have spent untold millions of dollars (money given by the faithful to pursue works of mercy and keep churches and Catholic schools open) to outlaw same-sex marriage. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whither the U.S. Bishops Now, After SCOTUS, with Majority of Conservative Catholics, Strikes Down DOMA?

In the oh, dear, oh, dear! category: what will His Eminence who leads the flock of U.S. Catholic bishops, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, be saying now that the Supremes, a majority of whom are conservative Catholics, have struck down the Defense of Marriage Act with a statement by Justice Kennedy,

Reactions from My Twitter-Feed: SCOTUS Overturns DOMA

Another Snippet from My Recently Published Book: Wilson R. Bachelor on June 1898

In May, I published a snippet from the diary of Wilson Richard Bachelor, the whole of which has now appeared in print in my recent book Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Country Doctor and Philosopher (Fayetteville: Univ. of AR Press). What I shared in May was something he wrote about the month of May in 1898. Both as a scientist and a freethinker, Dr. Bachelor was keenly interested in the passing of time and the movement of the seasons, and from year to year, his diary documents the procession of the months.

Reactions to Yesterday's SCOTUS Ruling on Voting Acts: Hubris, Hard Falls, Poisoned Chalices, and Long Games

Reactions to yesterday's Supreme Court decision (i.e., Justice Roberts's decision) to gut the Voting Rights act:

Remembering My Brother on His Birthday

My brother was born this day in 1951. It's also the day my parents married in 1948.

The photo: my brother Simpson and I in the year of his birth. Simpson died tragically young in 1991. I miss him, and he is my thoughts and prayers on this day of his birth. Painful to remember those who have gone before . . . . 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Watching You Watch Them Watch Me: A Parable

And so, yesterday this happens: 

Fr. Bryan Massingale to Pax Christi: "Human Rights Must Be Protected and Defended Without Compromise . . . . This Is the Gospel"

With great gratitude to Bilgrimage reader Janet Hanson for bringing this lecture to my attention, I'd like to post today my transcript of some observations that Fr. Bryan Massingale of Marquette University has just made to those gathered for the 2013 conference of Pax Christi USA, a leading Catholic peace and justice organization. The link I've just embedded points to a page listing all conference reports. If you scroll down to day three and click on the keynote address by Fr. Massingale, a page with an audio file of his keynote address will open up.

John Prior on USCCB and "Multifaceted Threat" of Same-Sex Marriage: "A Gospel of Condemnation, Punishment, and Exclusion"

At Commonweal, Lisa Fullam remembers the fire that killed 32 people at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans on 24 June 1973, and notes that as SCOTUS is poised to hand down its ruling on DOMA, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to talk about same-sex marriage in "extraordinarily harsh terms" as "a multifaceted threat to the very fabric of society."

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Reader Writes: All the Mess in the Church, and We Waste Ink on Instructions about When to Mention St. Joseph?!

Another "reader writes" item following the one I posted yesterday: this is something that a priest-reader of this blog emailed to me, and has given me permission to share, after I've made the letter anonymous by expunging names. It's a letter recently sent by a liturgical regulator of his religious community to members of the community. 

On This Day in 1973, "The Largest Killing of Gay People in U.S. History": UpStairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans

Today is the day on which the UpStairs Lounge fire about which I wrote last week took place (here and here, and don't forget Kittredge Cherry's article that sparked my interest in remembering this tragedy). Both Kathy Hughes and Chris Morley have noted in comments here that Time did an article on the UpStairs Lounge fire this week. The article, by Elizabeth Dias and Jim Downs, is behind a paywall. Here's Time's editorial summary of the article, which states,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Readers Write: Christians Threatening Supremes, Catholic Bishops and Fortnight Nonsense, and UpStairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans

The comments here are routinely so brilliant, that I often think a whole book could be made out of them. Three from this week stand out for me, among many that are also absolutely wonderful. I'd like to share those three with all of you now:

Christian Leaders to Supreme Court about Marriage: Not on Our Watch!

Just as the Catholic bishops began another round of summer solstice freedom songs and freedom dances that will end on Independence Day, a group of Christian leaders calling themselves the Freedom Federation released a public statement (watch for the cute logo of an American flag with a cross superimposed on it) proclaiming their intent to defy the Supreme Court if the court strikes down DOMA:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Quote for the Day: Exodus International and Saving Wretches Like Them

Quote for the day--Fred Clark at Slacktivist on Exodus International's apology to the gay community:

Exodus International's Big Announcement (and Apology): A Selection of Valuable Responses

More on the UpStairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans: Refusal to Bury the Dead, Failure to Speak Out Against Prejudice

That UpStairs Lounge fire in New Orleans that killed 32 people about which I spoke yesterday: it was on 24 June 1973. As the anniversary of this event approaches, I want to continue remembering this event with an excerpt from an article about the fire and the response of the churches to which I linked yesterday--Wayne Delery's account, which is available online at the website of the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

New Round of USCCB Fortnight for Freedom Bashes Starts on Summer Solstice, Runs to Independence Day: Y'all Be There, You Hear?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Remembering the UpStairs Lounge Fire: "Deadliest Attack on LGBT People in U.S. History"

At her Jesus in Love blog, Kittredge Cherry remembers the fire at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans on 24 June 1973 that killed 32 people. UpStairs was a gay bar. The fire was caused by arson. Someone who has never been identified deliberately set the bar on fire. Claude Summers provides a good summary of the story for the glbtq encyclopedia site.

Exodus International Shuts Doors: We've Been "Imprisoned in a Worldview That’s Neither Honoring Toward Our Fellow Human Beings, Nor Biblical"

Big news in the world of "ex-gay" therapy: the leading organization in the U.S. that has long dangled false hopes of curing the gay in front of gay folks desperate to be turned into heterosexuals announced last night that it's shutting its doors. Fred Clark tells the story at his Slacktivist site today con his usual brio, noting that Exodus International president Alan Chambers made a stunning admission as he announced the closing of the group--that it has been 
imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.

Recent Commentary on Nation-Dividing Tactics of GOP: Charles Blow, Robert Reich, Frank Cocozzelli

In his op-ed piece for the New York Times today, Charles Blow provides some strong reminders about why the self-defeating game of ideological purism that progressives play to sort "real" progressives from inauthentic ones is so dangerous at this moment in American history: the nation is coming apart at the seams. Literally so. It's not a moment in which we have the luxury of sorting ourselves into more- and less-pure ideological factions, if we expect to survive as a nation. 

Rick Perlstein on Glenn Greenwald (and the Perils of Purism)

At The Nation, Rick Perlstein takes on the purism (my word, not Perlstein's) of Glenn Greenwald and some of his followers:

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cold Water (and Sacraments) on a Summer's Day

Steve and I have just returned from bringing a copy of my book Fiat Flux: The Writings of Wilson R. Bachelor, Nineteenth-Century Country Doctor and Philosopher to a friend of ours. John and his wife Tina are pillars of the local Quaker community and have been extraordinarily kind to and supportive of Steve and me. We wanted to give them a copy of the book to express our gratitude for the kindness and support (and it actually does have some notes on the Quaker history of Wilson Bachelor's ancestors, who are also my own ancestors).

Book Tour for Michael D'Antonio's Important New Book on Abuse Crisis, Mortal Sins: A Schedule of Places and Times

I know that, by all means, not all readers of Bilgrimage live on the west coast of the U.S. But a number of you do, and I've had the pleasure of meeting a number of you with whom I'd never have connected without the blog--fine folks and people I'm now privileged and happy to call friends.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pew Finding That 8 in 10 LGBT Americans See Catholic Church As Unfriendly: Where's the Media Coverage?!

Meanwhile (and this relates to the two pieces I've just posted about LGBT folks and Catholic, Inc., and about how Pope Francis is being perceived), isn't it interesting how very little notice the finding of that recent Pew study that most gay Americans see the Catholic church as conspicuously unfriendly to us is getting in the media? It has been more or less ignored by both the secular and the Catholic media. Why is that the case, I wonder?

Pope Francis: A Progressive's Dream Come True or Ersatz Pope? Recent Media Discussions of the Issue

It's interesting to see glimmers of a meme now developing in the secular media regarding Pope Francis. A few days ago, at the Talking Points memo site, Sahil Kapur posted an article about why liberals are enchanted with the new pope. Here's how Kapur sums up the case:

Catholics As Unfriendly to Gay Folks? Who Owns Catholic, Inc.?

Marianne Duddy-Burke on the amazing disconnect between lay Catholics in the U.S., who are clearly well-disposed to LGBT people (according to the findings of one research study after another), and the bishops led by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal "Dirty Freddie" Dolan:

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Hague, the Vatican, and Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Never Quitting Till the Work Is Done

I'm reading Dara Horn's novel The World to Come (NY: W.W. Norton, 2006) right now, and was taken with this passage when I read it last night:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers' Day

Before the day passes, I want to wish a happy fathers' day to readers of Bilgrimage who may be fathers celebrating this holiday. This year, the celebration falls just before the anniversary of my own father's birthday on 18 June. That anniversary and my father have been on my mind in the past week and today on fathers' day. I hope that for all of you who are fathers or who have been celebrating the day as family members, this has been a good day.

The photo: my father Benjamin Dennis Lindsey's graduation photo (simultaneously from Hendrix College and Arkansas Law School, I think) in 1951.

Frank Bruni on Pope Francis's Gay Panic and the "No-Fly Zone of the Heart" Reserved by Catholic Leaders for the Gays

Frank Bruni at New York Times on Pope Francis's gay panic:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Equating Marriage Equality with a Loss of Religious Freedom . . . Is Utter Nonsense"

This is one of the good ones, and not the kind that need to go into the compost heap because they're so noisome there's no other place to put them--David Hart responding to an article by Brian Roewe on how various states are propelling the push for marriage equality in the U.S.:

Diarmaid MacCulloch on How Same-Sex Marriage Is Leaving the Bishops Behind

Garden Rules: Imagined Gardens and Real Ones

Few things are begun with as much hope as a garden, and it can disappoint in direct proportion to one’s anticipation (Diane Ackerman, Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden [NY: HarperCollins, 2001], p. 32).

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Bit of Good News: Paperblog Chooses Me as Blogger of the Day

Sharing a bit of good news with you all: Paperblog chose me as its blogger of the day this past Tuesday (and see also here). I'm very grateful to that site and its readers for this vote of confidence in the work I do here--and to all of you readers for your interest in what I write. I'm particularly grateful to a number of readers of this blog who have contributed support in various ways, including one reader who has sent astonishingly generous gifts over the course of several years, and again recently. Too kind . . . .

Candace Chellew Hodge on Pew Finding That 8 in 10 LGBT Americans Rank Catholics as Among Groups Most Unfriendly to Gays

At Religion Dispatches, Candace Chellew-Hodge discusses the new Pew Research survey dealing with LGBT folks and religion that I cited in my posting earlier today. Here's her commentary about the finding that eight in ten LGBT Americans rank Catholics (along with Muslims and Mormons) near the top of the list as religious groups most unfriendly to those who are gay: 

Pew Study: 8 in 10 LGBT Americans See Catholic Church as Unfriendly (Or, When Good News Becomes Bad News)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Remembering Bishop Joseph Sullivan: In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli

Yesterday was the funeral of yet another esteemed leader of the American Catholic church who has died recently--Bishop Joseph Sullivan of Brooklyn. For National Catholic Reporter, Joshua McElwee remembers Sullivan's advocacy (in his retirement) for LGBT persons in the Catholic church, and for their full inclusion in the life of Catholic communities:

Book Notes: Ronan Bennett's Havoc, in Its Third Year

Footnote to Tragic Story of Savita Halappanavar: Irish Health Service Executive Publishes Report on Story

A brief footnote to the tragic story of Savita Halappanavar and her death from septicemia in the 17th week of pregnancy in a Galway hospital last October, about which I blogged here and here: following Halappanavar's death, the Irish Health Service Executive conducted a review of what happened in her case. HSE has just made available its report, which finds multiple failures by the hospital's medical personnel to assess properly and to monitor carefully Halappanavar's situation.

Pope Francis on the Gay Lobby in the Vatican: A Selection of Responses

Pope Francis has made another of those unexpected, off-the-cuff (or was it?) remarks that have the world media atwitter. This time, he referred to that "gay lobby" in the Curia we heard about around the time Benedict resigned just after having received a report informing him of the existence of such a lobby. At her Iglesia Descalza blog site, Rebel Girl offers a summary of what Francis said.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Travels and Blogging Slowdown

Dear Readers,

As you may have guessed, I'm still away from home, and haven't yet found any time to work on the posting I promised a week ago. We're scheduled to travel back home tomorrow, and my hope is to be settled in and posting more regularly a day or so after that. Meanwhile, hoping this is a good week for all of you!

Quote for the Day: "Talk about 'Intrinsically Disordered'!"

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Friday, June 7, 2013

Disqus Commenting Problems?

An esteemed reader of Bilgrimage has told me lately that he's having problems with the Disqus commenting system. When he tries to load a comments box, he receives a message that Disqus is loading slowly, and then eventually another message asks if he wants to try reloading Disqus. The end result: no Disqus comments box ever opens for him.

More on the Case of the Intersex Infant in South Carolina: The Moral Principle of Doing No Harm

Iowa Scholars of Religion: "A Biblical 'Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage Is Wholly Unsustainable'"

Last Sunday, three scholars of religion teaching at universities in Iowa published an editorial statement in the Des Moines Register noting that the debate about marriage equality often centers on what people imagine the bible says about homosexuality--but those citing what they imagine the bible says about this topic are often woefully biblically illiterate. I'm particularly struck by a point that one of the scholars, Iowa University professor Robert R. Cargill, makes in an interview with Huffington Post about the editorial.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Michelle Rhee Responds to Plea of 11-Year-Old Boy: Why Reward "Don't Say Gay" Educational "Reformers"?!

Fred Clark on Patriarchy and Sacraments: If Patriarchal Notions of Marriage Undermine Validity of Sacraments . . .

At his Slacktivist site, Fred Clark points out that the conservative-leaning Catholic Answers site recently featured commentary by Michelle Arnold which suggests that patriarchal understandings of the sacrament of marriage call into question the validity of the sacrament. What Arnold says is that the traditional Catholic understanding of the sacrament of marriage is that the two spouses give themselves to each other, and the bride is not given to the groom by a father or some other male family member. And she concludes that construing marriage as a contract in which a father or male family member gives away the bride actually militates against the traditional Catholic understanding of this sacrament.

Readers Comment: NOM's Secrets (and Catholics and Mormons) and UK House of Lords' Vote for Marriage Equality (and What Gays Might Teach about Marriage)

Sometimes the comments here are so good that I feel obliged to lift them out of their comboxes and post them on the blog itself, in the hope that readers who aren't following comments will benefit from them. Here's Boltingmadonna commenting a day or so ago about the recent ruling of the Maine Supreme Court that the National Organization for Marriage must now reveal who funded its political operation in 2009 to strip gay citizens of Maine of the right of civil marriage. Bolting's also commenting on Fred Karger's musings about NOM's likely funding base and about why NOM keeps fighting so hard to keep its top donors hidden:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remembering Andrew Greeley: "Absorption in Mystery with a Capital M"

On this day on which Andrew Greeley is laid to rest, I'm reading Eugene Kennedy's moving tribute to him in last Sunday's Chicago Tribune. The heart of the matter for Kennedy, who was, in typical Irish fashion, both an ardent friend and a scrappy pugilist in his long connection to Greeley:

On the U.S Catholic Bishops' "Victory" Over Gays in Illinois: Can Anyone Say P-Y-R-R-H-I-C?

And about that headline to which I just linked--"Catholic Bishops Declare Victory After Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Bill Stalls"--can anyone say P-Y-R-R-H-I-C?