Monday, April 14, 2014

"Everything We Do Seems Designed to Make This Thing Possible": Holy Week Reflections on Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation (and Power, Privilege, and Homelessness)

Common threads: where is their shared point of origination, I wonder? And where are they all going? Where are the rest of us going, along with these threads that are all about power and privilege?

Michelle Goldberg at The Nation on Mozillagate, Brendan Eich, and right-wing hypocrisy:

But even if it wasn’t—even if Eich had been forced out purely on political grounds—conservatives would have little standing to object, since they’ve spent years defending the right of corporations to promote their own moral values, even at the expense of customers and employees. Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, after all, is premised on privileging the antiabortion stance of the company’s owners over the rights of its workers to comprehensive healthcare coverage. Those who don’t like the way Hobby Lobby’s values inform its policies, conservatives say, can shop or work elsewhere.

Heidi Moore at Common Dreams on why the men at the top of the U.S. financial structure always get a second (and a third, and a fourth, etc.) chance:

That's why financiers and CEOs are largely destined to overcome any scandal. Money and influence reserve a permanent place at the trough of money. It's usually absurd to hope that any kind of setback – a loss, a bankruptcy, a harrowing proximity to eight insider-trading convictions – will leave a mark. They never do. Disgrace is not a functional term in a business that is still, at its core, based upon relationships with a closed circle of people.

Frank Cocozzelli at Talk to Action on why convicted criminal Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City continues as bishop, and what this portends for the reform of the Catholic church:

The success of the Church generally, and this papacy in particular, may depend on how it finally addresses the sex abuse scandals.  For example, Francis is going to need all the credibility he can muster in order to really be heard when he calls for reform of the shortcomings and abuses of laissez-faire capitalism. 
If anyone has enjoyed the protection of corporative spirit, it has been Bishop Finn. 

Thomas Frank at Salon on who's paying — ultimately — for all those McMansions:

Everything we do seems designed to make this thing possible. Cities must sprawl to accommodate its bulk, eight-lane roads must be constructed, gasoline must be kept cheap, coal must be hauled in from Wyoming on mile-long trains. Middle-class taxes must be higher to make up for the deductions given to McMansion owners, lending standards must be diluted so more suckers can purchase them, banks must be propped up, bonuses must go out, stock prices must ascend. Every one of us must work ever longer hours so that this millionaire’s folly can remain viable, can be sold successfully to the next one on the list. This stupendous, staring banality is the final outcome for which we have sacrificed everything else.

Catherine Bracy for NPR on the gender (and racial) complexion of the media-powerful new tech industry — and who controls and leads that industry's firms:

The tech industry faces a dangerous problem — a lack of gender and ethnic diversity that, I think, will lead to increased economic inequality and fewer innovative ideas originating from the Bay Area, the region that produced Google, Tesla, Facebook and more. 
The statistics are pretty depressing. Only 3 percent of venture-backed companies were led by all-female teams, while 89 percent were all male. Fewer than 1 percent of those founding teams were led by black founders.

Media Matters on Fox News's 11 April panel on "Race in America":

And NPR (by way of Truthdig) on how "somebody called the cops on Jesus":

Residents of "an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept town homes" in Davidson, N.C., now share the block with a bronze statue depicting Jesus Christ as a vagrant asleep on a park bench on the grounds of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, NPR reports. 
The Son of God is "huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away."

And so it goes this Holy Week as we listen to narratives about priests, potentates, and those they sentence to death as common criminals, about sin and redemption, about who matters and who doesn't, about who gets squeezed out of the operations of social systems like human junk and who gets to do the squeezing.  

About who lives in the McMansion and who has no place to lay his head. And about how God views these arrangements.

The photo of Timothy Schmalz's homeless Jesus statue is from Timothy Siburg's blog. For my posting a year ago about this statue, please see here.

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