Saturday, August 31, 2013

Discussion of Joseph Bottum's Essay on Gay Marriage Continues: Re-Enchanting Culture Requires Us to Ask, Who's Doing the Singing?

At CommonwealMatthew Boudway surveys the responses of conservative critics to the essay that Joseph Bottum published recently in Commonweal about Catholics and same-sex marriage. To be specific, Boudway looks at the critical response of Ross Douthat, Isaac Chotiner, Rod Dreher, Peter J. Leithart, Russell E. Saltzman, Robert Royal, and Philip Lawler. Boudway's list of links include Saltzman's article twice, though it appears he had intended to add an additional link to the list and not link to Saltzman twice.*

Kathleen Reardon on Syria: Why Should We Believe Them This Time?

Kathleen Reardon asks another very important question about the current round of cowboy war-mongering in D.C.: Why should we believe them this time? As she writes,

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Footnote to Previous Discussion of Kiva and Opus Dei University in Kenya

A footnote to what I posted several days ago about the controversy in the GLBT group at the website of the charitable non-profit Kiva after Kiva chose to support the Opus Dei university in Kenya, Strathmore: the GLBT group's discussion of this issue has now become so twisted, due to the wish of several group members to attack each other and subvert open conversation, that I've stepped away from it for now. 

Kendra Weddle Irons on Gender Complementarity and the Christian Right: "Continuation of Christianity . . . Depends Almost Entirely on How Well Women Submit to Their Men"

At her Ain't I a Woman blog, Kendra Weddle Irons explains why the notion of gender complementarity and of female submission to male rule looms so large in the thinking of the Christian right--why this notion has now become the most important articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae of our time, the doctrine on which the church stands or falls in the thinking of the Christian right:

Remembering Seamus Heaney: Imagining a World with a "Less Binary and Altogether Less Binding Vocabulary"

Irish poet Seamus Heaney died today. In his 1995 Nobel lecture, he tells the story of St. Kevin of Glendalough. As Kevin knelt at prayer one day, his arms outstretched, a blackbird mistook his hand for a roost, and nested in it, laying eggs there. Moved by pity and love for all creatures, Kevin remained rooted to the ground for weeks until the chicks hatched and fledged and finally flew off.

As U.S. Is Poised for Another Cowboy War, Need for Expedited Action Remains Entirely Unexplained

Steve Benen at Maddow Blog on what Huffington Post's lead headline* this morning is calling the next in line of America's "cowboy wars":

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brazilian Theologian Ivone Gebara on Pope Francis and "Theology of Women"

Ivone Gebara

In an interview with Instituto Humanitas Unisinos helpfully translated into English by Rebel Girl at her Iglesia Descalza site, Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara reacts to the statements made by Pope Francis about women's role in the Catholic church following the recent World Youth Day events in Brazil:

Fred Clark Tears Gospel Coalition a New One

At his Slacktivist blog site, Fred Clark suggests (tongue firmly planted in cheek) that it's certainly theoretically possible to side with ruthless dictators who have horrendous human rights records, and still happen to be on the right side of a discrete moral truth sifted out from said dictators' large legacy of murderous oppression of others. As Fred notes, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong II believed, after all, that Elvis Presley was a musical genius and Japanese monster movies are great, and he was right!

Sister Jeannine Gramick Tells a Story of a Transgendered Young Man: Catholic Readers React

At National Catholic Reporter, Sister Jeannine Gramick discusses the case of Isaac Gomez, who was born biologically female, but who identified as male from early in his life, and made the decision to transition biologically to male as a young teen--with his parents' support. The lesson that Sr. Jeannine draws from this story:

Today in History: Martin Luther King, Jr., Has a Dream

Today in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream Speech" in Washington, D.C. Videos of the speech are available online, but the family of Dr. King owns the copyright to the speech, and I have not embedded one of these videos in this posting for that reason. The American Rhetoric website has an audio version and the full text.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Huffington Post Cracks Down on Commenters Spreading Toxic Memes: Will Catholic Blog Sites Exercise Similar Vigilance?

At Huffington Post, Jimmy Soni explains why that website is now ending anonymous accounts for commenters: while HuffPo will continue to allow people to comment using usernames that do not disclose their identities, it will require proof of identification before someone signs up for a commenting account:

Charitable Non-Profit Kiva Under Fire for Support of Opus Dei University in Kenya

A few years ago, a reader of Bilgrimage whom I greatly esteem recommended the organization Kiva to me. She's a first-rate human being, a practicing Catholic, a lay Franciscan, who is married to another woman and does a great deal to assist those in need. As the "about" page on Kiva's website states, the organization's mission is "to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty." Kiva invites people interested in their mission to give loans to people throughout the world, all in dire need of a helping hand, for all sorts of projects ranging from education to business ventures to home repairs. 

On the Syrian Situation: Immediate Response, Yes; War, No

I agree with Bob Dreyfuss's response (which seems to me also the response of Pope Francis) to the credible reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons recently on citizens in a suburb of Damascus: it is imperative that the rest of the world respond to this shocking act. But war is not the solution. As Dreyfuss points out, Doctors Without Borders appear to confirm the use of poisonous gas against Syrian citizens last week, and mass deaths resulting from the gas attacks. 

First Things Responds to Joseph Bottum: Homosexuality Is "An Image of Transgression . . . Giving Room for Our Own Transgressive Desires"

R.R. Reno

One of the most seriously destructive, the most vicious, things that those mounting war against their fellow human beings who happen to be born gay have done over the years is to suggest that homosexuality is the issue on which all sexual morality rises and falls. It's the issue on which civilization itself rises and falls. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Catholic Right Loses It Over Joseph Bottum's Essay: "Stand Up and Spit in Their Face!"

And then there's this, the latest comment (8/25, 12:09 P.M. CST U.S.)* to judder into the Commonweal thread in response to Joseph Bottum's essay about gay marriage: I cite it without comment, since it seems to speak for itself, doesn't it?:

A Poem for Sunday: Audre Lorde Reading "1984"

And because every single person whose voice I've featured in quotations today is a white middle-class male*--like me--while the voices we most desperately need to hear today as a human community, if we want a bright future for all of us, are the voices of women, and of people from the socioeconomic and racial margins of society, here's a video with one of the most powerful and humane voices of the 20th century.  A video featuring a woman of color who happens to be a lesbian. This is Audre Lorde reading her poem "1984" in Berlin not long before her death from cancer later in 1992.

And Another Quote: "The Whole Point of the Professional Journalistic Creed Is to Form a Closed Circle of Gatekeepers"

Scott Tucker

And yet another quote: Scott Tucker at Truthdig on (mainstream) journalism as a form of priestcraft for states whose spectacles demand devoted servants--not to mention golden calves, incense, and human sacrifices burnt on sacrificial pyres:

And Another Quote for the Day: "The Moral Arc of the Universe Is about the Transformation of That Which 'Is' to That Which 'Can and Must Be'"

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

And another quote for the day: Paul Brandeis Raushenbush on the moral arc of the universe:

Quote for the Day: We Need to Demand "An Authentic, Truthful Understanding of Gay and Lesbian Lives" within Catholicism

Michael Bayly

In an article at Eureka Street entitled "Show Some Respect When Talking with Homosexuals," Australian Jesuit Fr. Frank Brennan urges dropping "the unhelpful, judgmental language of intrinsic and objective disorder" when we discuss the rights of LGBTI human beings and their families. Brennan grounds his proposal theologically as follows:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

In the News: Tchaikovsky Back "In," Manning Verdict and Voltaire, Nuns and Abuse, and Another Right-Wing Catholic Admits Defeat on Marriage Equality

As part of its pogrom vs. gay folks, Russia's now trying to "in" Tchaikovsky, John Aravosis reports. Aravosis's response to this effort:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Pope Francis Doesn't Want to Give Communion Accidentally to "An Unworthy Individual"

This is one of the stinky sort of Catholic birdcage droppings: in a discussion of Michael Sean Winters's article "Pope Francis Effect II?" at National Catholic Reporter, Mary Elizabeth writes

Friday, August 23, 2013

National Catholic Reporter Editorial on Investigation of American Nuns: What the Process Reveals about State of Our Church

In an editorial entitled "Misguided LCWR Mandate Lumbers Onward," the National Catholic Reporter discusses the latest meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious with their Vatican-appointed watchdog, Archbishop Peter Sartain--a meeting that continues to leave LCWR in the dark about why the Vatican has chosen to savage American religious women. NCR writes:

And More "Male and Female He Created Them": Matt Sitman on Religious Right's Proposal That Transgendered People Revolt Against God

More valuable commentary on Chelsea Manning's announcement yesterday: at Andrew Sullivan's Dish site, Matt Sitman responds to statements made recently by Russell D. Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission about transgender people. The Religion Dispatches article by Candace Chellew-Hodge that I discuss in the posting to which the first link above points also engages Moore's comments.

Drew Christiansen, SJ, on Bradley Manning Sentence: "A Tragedy Not Just for Him. But for All Americans As Well"

And speaking of Bradley/Chelsea Manning: Drew Christiansen's essay at America on Manning's harsh sentence is a fine reflection, I think, about what this sentence--and the discrepancy between how we have chosen to treat Manning and how we choose to treat those who torture in our name--says about us as Americans: Father Christiansen regards the sentencing of Bradley Manning as "a tragedy not just for him, but for all Americans as well."

Case of Bradley/Chelsea Manning: "Male and Female He Created Them" All Over Again

Genesis 1:27

In a comment here yesterday, Rachel points out that there's a certain synchronicity about the fact that we just recently discussed the fact of intersex on this blog, and now along comes the story of Bradley/Chelsea Manning, with Bradley's statement that, psychologically and in terms of self-understanding, he has always been Chelsea. As my posting on intersex noted, "The idea that the neat, binary arrangement of . . . everything . . . into complementary genders is perhaps the most important thing the Christian tradition has to say to the world has become a mantra of contemporary right-wing Christians, including many Catholics. "

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Michael Sean Winters for NCR Today: Let's Celebrate Joyful, Female Noise!

Is this Michael Sean Winters's response to Sara_TMS_again when she wrote in a comment at National Catholic Reporter yesterday,

Henry Giroux on America's Descent into Madness: "Stories about Disposability in Which Growing Numbers of Groups Are Considered Dispensable"

Henry Giroux at Counterpunch on America's descent into madness via a politics of cruelty and lies:

Adam Frank on Politicization of Scientific Truth in U.S. Culture: Applications for Anti-Contraceptive, Anti-Gay Agenda of U.S. Catholic Bishops

Adam Frank

In an op-ed statement in today's New York Times, Adam Frank maintains that Americans are now living in an age of denial in which scientific truth has been politicized to suit faith-based groups, resulting in increasing ignorance in the public at large about basic scientific truth regarding issues from climate change to immunization to evolution. Frank states, 

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "We Also Want Men--Including John Allen, Michael Sean Winters . . . --to Realise That There is a Problem with the Role of Women in the Church Today"

Writing in response to Dennis Coday's "Morning Briefing" column in National Catholic Reporter yesterday, which links to an op-ed statement by Elizabeth Tenety in the Washington Post about what Catholic women want, Sara_TMS_again says,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another Liberation Theologian Critiques New Papal Encyclical on Faith: Juan Jose Tamayo on Disappointment of Lumen Fidei

Juan Jose Tamayo

I was so far behind with responding to comments to postings here, that I've spent my normal blogging time this morning doing just that. So I don't have a lot prepared to say today in the form of a new posting. I do, however, want to take note of Juan Jose Tamayo's response to Pope Francis's (and Benedict's) encyclical on faith, Lumen fidei. At her Iglesia Descalza site, Rebel Girl offers an English translation of the original Spanish text at Redes Cristianas.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Theological Footnote: Tables Not Set for Everyone Aren't the Lord's Table

To tie my two postings of this morning (here and here) together with brief, pointed theological commentary:

Catholic Marital Advice From NCR Reader: Invite Our Lord into Your Bedroom to Form a Mini Trinity with You and Your Spouse

And speaking of arrant nonsense--I was, wasn't I, just a moment ago?--can there be any sillier marital counsel than what Edward Hu has been dispensing in the National Catholic Reporter thread discussing Jamie Manson's article about the attacks on gay folks in Russia? Arrant nonsense: I just wrote,

Steve's Comment as His Niece Invites Him to Her Wedding but Excludes Me: "The Facticity of Catholic Hate" (Part 2)

Dear Friends,

I've tried over the weekend to compose a thank-you statement responding to all of your deeply appreciated responses to my posting last Friday about the choice of Steve's niece to invite him to her wedding while excluding me. I'm at a rare loss for words, for a variety of reasons.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Steve's Comment as His Niece Invites Him to Her Wedding but Excludes Me: "The Facticity of Catholic Hate"

In today's mail, an invitation to the upcoming wedding of Steve's niece: that's the first of the two documents at the head of the posting. I've excerpted the invitation section of the document. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

At National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson Publishes Article About Situation Facing Gays in Russia Now

For National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson has published a very good article today about the situation facing gay citizens of Russia. I won't summarize the article, but highly recommend that readers of this site read it in its entirety. It's comprehensive, well-balanced, and is already eliciting a string of responses. I'm grateful to Bob Keller for pointing me to the article in a comment here today, and needless to say, grateful to NCR for publishing information about the very serious situation facing gay folks in Russia, and the violent attacks on gay citizens of Russia that have been going on for some time now.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Question for Readers: Has National Catholic Reporter Published Articles About Anti-Gay Violence in Russia?

I have a question for readers, and will be very grateful for any information you can provide me in response: 

Quote for the Day: Church Claims about Respect for Gays Frequently Belied by Catholic Practice

As 2104 Elections Near, Right-Wing Catholic Groups Mount Attacks on Works-of-Mercy Groups, and Bishop Lynch Concludes, "Many So Called Pro-Life Groups Are not Really Pro-Life"

Here's a story that deserves attention: as Brian Roewe reports at National Catholic Reporter a few days ago, the American Life League has accused Catholic Charities USA of "playing the devil's game of compromise" because Catholic Charities' president Father Larry Snyder sits on the board of America's Promise Alliance, which "is promoting homosexual activism and birth control." 

NCR Contributor: "The Law in Russia Is Actually Quite Moderate"; Steve Benen: "The Crackdown in Russia Is Stunning in Its Scope"

One of the United States's leading Catholic newspapers, the National Catholic Reporter, has permitted a contributor to a discussion thread to inform her fellow Catholics that Russia and nations in Africa want to criminalize homosexuality in order to protect children from an abuse by rich gay Western men that is not happening. The same Catholic newspaper has allowed this Catholic blogger to tell her fellow Catholics that the anti-gay laws now eliciting serious violence against gay citizens of Russia are benign, and are all about protecting young people from sexual abuse by gays:

"Male and Female He Created Them": The Theology of Gender Complementarity and the Biological Fact of Intersex

"Male and female he created them": what could be simpler? The idea that the neat, binary arrangement of . . . everything . . . into complementary genders is perhaps the most important thing the Christian tradition has to say to the world has become a mantra of contemporary right-wing Christians, including many Catholics. The mantra is not merely an observation about how these believers imagine the world is made: it's a command. It's an order to . . . everyone . . . to submit to their idea of how the world is to be arranged. Or else.

Monday, August 12, 2013

More on National Catholic Reporter's Responsibility to Monitor Discourse Justifying Violence Against Gay Citizens of Russia

As a footnote to my ongoing analysis of commentary by a person with the username Purgatrix Ineptiae, who persists in posting comments designed to elicit prejudice against and violence towards those who are gay at the National Catholic Reporter site:

Leonardo Boff on Lumen Fidei, Benedict (and Francis's) Encyclical on Faith: "Without Love, Truth Is Insufficient for Salvation"

Leonardo Boff
At his blog site, theologian Leonardo Boff recently offered a response to the encyclical of Popes Benedict and Francis on the virtue of faith, Lumen fidei. After I read Boff's valuable commentary, I also discovered that early in July, Rebel Girl had provided an outstanding translation of the Spanish version of Boff's response at her Iglesia Descalza site. In what follows, I'll excerpt some key passages of Boff's important commentary, with brief notes.

The Real Danger to Russian Youth: Government-Condoned Gay Bashers

As a footnote to what I've just posted about the situation in Russia:

As New York Times Reports Violence vs. Gays in Russia, National Catholic Reporter Lets Hate Speech Stand

As a new work week begins: I read David M. Herszenhorn's article today in the New York Times about what's happening to gay folks in Russia right now. It's headed by one of those photos* we've come to expect as an accompaniment to these reports: a young activist who has marched for rights for LGBT citizens with his head bashed in, blood running down his face and onto his hands. Friends hold him, crying. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

That's What Hate Speech Is: Spreading Toxic Lies About Targeted Minorities ➞➞ Violence

A Summertime Poem: Stories Are What We Have

You catch it, you clean it:

My father's invariable rule.

No matter how bone-tired

From the day of fishing,

We scaled and gutted our fish.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bayard Rustin Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom: Continuing Pertinence of "Time on Two Crosses"

As the week winds down, I don't want to miss taking note of this important piece of news: the White House announced two days ago that it's posthumously awarding African-American gay activist Bayard Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I've written frequently here about Rustin, who has long inspired me. Readers interested in him and anything I may have said about him can click his name in the labels below. Rustin is the source of my logo at Bilgrimage: "We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers."

Contributor to NCR Thread: Russia and Uganda Are Targeting Gays Because Rich Gay Men Want to Molest Russian and African Children

More Headline News for U.S. Catholics: "Priest Hates Gays So Much, He's Kicking Out the Boy Scouts"

One week, the big headline news: "'I Love You, Too': Cardinal Dolan Says Catholic Church Must Embrace Gays and Lesbians."