Saturday, May 31, 2014

Andrew O'Hehir on How Elliot Rodger Is All Men's Problem

Patrick Leigh Fermor's The Broken Road: "A Bird of Passage Like the Rest of Us"

I've said before on this blog that, for my money, Patrick Leigh Fermor is one of the great English-language prose stylists of the last century. Reading his The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, ed. Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper (NY: New York Review of Books, 2013), last week hasn't in the least disabused me of that opinion. 

We Watch "Normal Heart," and Think of Our Recent Marriage and Friends Who Went Before Us

Steve and I watched "Normal Heart" this past week, and as we did so, how could we not think about the story it told without viewing it through the optic of our recent marriage? I don't mean (I hope) that I'm obsessed with talking about and seeing things through the optic of our marriage.

Quote for Day: "The Personal Testimonies of Thousands and Thousands of People Cannot Be Ignored"

Fred Clark at Slacktivist, writing about the #YesAllWomen Twitter discussion that developed following the Isla Vista murders: 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Postscript to Discussion of Catholics Excluded from Jobs Over Gay Issues: On the Failure of American Catholic Conversation to Be Catholic

Another tiny (postscript) thought about why the parochial intramural conversation about gay people and gay issues has failed to make a dent in the culture's thinking about those people and issues (and in the thinking of many Catholics):

Catholics Excluded from Jobs and Ministries Over Gay Issues Write Pope Francis to Request a Meeting: My Reflections

At his Slacktivist site, Fred Clark pulls together a valuable brief compendium of the heart of the recent judicial rulings in various states knocking down bans on marriage for same-sex couples. With perhaps a tiny tad of chauvinism, I note that he heads his list with the following statement by Arkansas Judge Chris Piazza:

"Misogyny Kills Men, Too": More Commentary on the Isla Vista Shootings

At Slate, Amanda Hess takes on the disclaimers of those who point to the men whom Elliot Rodger killed in his murderous rampage last week to argue that misogyny is not the root of the Isla Vista killings. Hess: "Misogyny kills men, too." 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Living in the Whirlwind: In the Days Since We Married . . . .

I'm sorry to be slow about blogging this week, dear friends — and even more about failing to acknowledge your many welcome comments here in the past several days. To say that the past weeks have been a whirlwind for us would be an understatement.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inspiration for the Day: "We Shall Win by Love"

Inspiration for the day from the Facebook feed of Dream Defenders, whose Facebook page describes the group as "an organization directed by Black & Brown Youth, who confront systemic inequality by building our collective power."

Men. God. Guns: Conversation about Privilege of Straight White Men Continues after Recent Isla Vista Atrocity

The tweet above, by Alyssa at #YesAllWomen, has become emblematic of a new feminist movement of resistance to male violence spawned by the recent Isla Vista shootings. For The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf comments on the movement and the preceding tweetAs Rebecca Leber notes at Think Progress, 

In the online reaction to the tragedy, nothing has matched the conversation that began with a simple hashtag, #YesAllWomen.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Top Headline in Charlotte Today: "Charlotte's Catholic Diocese Faces Big Needs, Deep Divisions"

The top front-page headline in today's Charlotte Observer: "Charlotte's Catholic Diocese Faces Big Needs, Deep Divisions." The story (by reporter Tim Funk) focuses on growing divisions within the diocese over matters like the refusal of the local cathedral, St. Patrick's, to permit females to serve at the altar (as with altar girls), or over a new campaign to raise millions to expand and refurbish diocesan facilities, or the recent controversy over Sister Jane Dominic Laurel's ill-informed remarks about gay people at Charlotte Catholic high school. 

Quote for Day: Alan McCornick on Bowtie Controversy at San Francisco Catholic School — "Powerful Men, All. But Maybe Not All That Powerful"

Alan McCornick at Hepzibah, commenting on the recent controversy at San Francisco's Sacred Heart Prep School, where student Jessica Urbina chose to wear a tux and bowtie in her senior picture — to the consternation of school officials: 

Dropping from the Catholic Birdcage: "What a Schizophrenic Relationship the Catholic Church Has with Gay People"

Hal Watts writing in National Catholic Reporter about the recent announcement that a court has cleared the way for Mark Zmuda to fire Eastside Catholic in Seattle for firing him after he married his partner:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Catholics, Love for Gay Folks, and Gay "Marriage": My Point in Pressing the Issue As a Married Gay Catholic

I don't want to badger you with postings on what's a holiday weekend for many of us. Steve and I have been, in fact, away visiting friends over the holiday weekend, and won't return home until tomorrow — hence my slowness about responding to your much-appreciated comments here in the past two days.

The Catholic Church Gay Folks Can Encounter Daily: "The Religious Left Is All about 'Faux Love.' Two Gay People 'Marry,' That's Supposedly an Increase of Love"

Meanwhile, in the real world — in the real Catholic world that many of us who are gay encounter on an everyday basis as we interact with members of the Catholic community — here's the kind of thing with which those of us who are gay often have to put up:

American Catholics Ask Why Gay Folks Feel the Church Is Hostile to Them: Continued Non-Conversation

There's a lot of talk right now about how gay folks respond to the Catholic church (and vice versa). And as I read the discussions, I wonder where they're going — and why the present moment could possibly be perceived as an opening to a rapprochement between the gay community and the Catholic community, when any attempt we've made to have this rapprochement conversation in recent years has been entirely abortive and utterly unproductive.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcages: The Gays Get Human Rights, and the Blood of Christian Martyrs Will Run in the Streets

A teacher fired by a Catholic school for marrying his partner files suit to contest the discrimination, and some commentators at the National Catholic Reporter site speak of a "militant homosexual war on the Catholic church" that's now in full flame. Others think less of flames than of guillotines and the blood of martyrs running in the streets:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"God Loves Uganda": Some Critical Notes

Steve and I had a chance to watch Roger Ross Williams's documentary "God Loves Uganda" last night. Our local PBS station aired it Monday night, and we had saved it. I don't have much to add to what astute reviewers have already said in praise of this film (and here).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Catholic News Service on Arkansas Same-Sex Marriages: "Several Marriage Licenses Were Issued"; and Pennsylvania Governor Refuses to Appeal Ruling

It's interesting, isn't it, to read Catholic News Service's Pravda-like distortions of the truth (via National Catholic Reporter!), as CNS does everything short of standing on its head to convey the U.S. bishops' party line on same-sex marriage: Same-sex marriage is a mistake! Travesty of justice!

For Wednesday Fun: Learn to Speak Benghazi and Learn to Simplify Your World!

And because Wednesdays should have some fun in them, learn to speak Benghazi in several easy steps: "Learn to speak Benghazi, and learn to simplify your world!" (I've been unsuccessful at embedding the video here; if you click this link, it will lead you to the video.)

Marriage Equality in the U.S.: Where Things Now Stand — Overviews from the Latest News

As Chris Morley points out in a comment here earlier today, I managed to photo-bomb the photo of the very first legal marriage license issued to a same-sex couple in Pennsylvania yesterday (Fred Clark alert!). It took some doing to hie me over to Pennsylvania and shove the court officer out of the way, but, hey, I'm a resourceful fellow. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rocco Palmo Tweets that USCCB Will No Longer Issue Statements As States One After Another Affirm Human Rights of Gay Citizens

And Now Pennsylvania: "We Are a Better People Than What These Laws Represent"

Chris Morley has helpfully been posting links to the ruling striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania a little while ago, including this link to the ruling itself. The picture at the head of the posting is from commentary by David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement site

This and That: News Nibbles about Marriage Equality and Bigots, the "Boy Crisis" in American Schools, and Men Behaving Badly

John Shore asks whether every Christian opposing same-sex marriage is a bigot, and if not, how do we decide where the line lies? His answer:

Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Pennsylvania? and NOM's Very Bad Day: Where Marriage Equality Stands in the U.S., 20 May 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "These Heavy-Handed Decisions Touch Hundreds, Even Thousands of the Faithful"

In a just-published essay, Robert McClory notes how much things have changed in a half year, in the way in which many American Catholics respond to Pope Francis. A half year ago, people were cheering. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Another One Falls: Federal Judge in Oregon Rules Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional

Here's commentary by Max Brantley of Arkansas Times comparing the situation in Oregon with that in Arkansas:

"God Loves Uganda" Airs Tonight on PBS Stations in U.S.

A note to all of you that Roger Ross Williams's powerful documentary "God Loves Uganda," which tracks the role of the American evangelical right in fostering anti-gay hysteria in Uganda and other African countries, is being released today in DVD, and is also airing today on many PBS stations. If you click the link "TV (May 19)" on this page, it will open to a window that allows you to check your local PBS station to see whether it's showing the film, and at what time.

Good News: I Receive an Artist in Residence Appointment

A bit of good news I'd like to share with all of you as a new week begins (more good news): I mentioned some time ago that a university had indicated to me it wanted to appoint me an artist in residence in the fall semester, but that I would wait to share details after I had received official notice of the appointment and had signed the contract. I'm now happy to tell you that the University of Central Arkansas has made me an artist in residence for the fall semester.

Morals Clauses for Employees of Catholic Institutions, and the Terrible Price the Whole Church Pays for the Attack on Gay Folks

Some of you probably saw this posting last week at Iglesia Descalza. If not, I wanted to bring it to your attention, since it's a perfect complement to what I posted around the same time about the new contract being imposed on teachers in Catholic schools in Cincinnati (with similar contracts beefing up anti-gay restrictions for Catholic teachers in Oakland, Hawaii, and perhaps other places now). 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Arc of the Moral Universe Arcs Through Little Old Arkansas, and We Move an Inch: Keeping Hope Alive

Thanks to all of you who provided such insightful, wise, empathetic feedback in the thread of comments responding to my posting yesterday about the decision of the Arkansas Supremes to stay same-sex marriages yesterday. By the point at which the court issued its stay, I understand that more than 450 same-sex couples had married legally in Arkansas in one week — a remarkable number, when one considers the size of our state, its general backwardness and its bible-belt culture of hostility to gay people and gay rights. It's also remarkable that so many marriages of same-sex couples occurred during the brief window of opportunity when one notes that almost every county in the state refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a judge's order.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Breaking News: Arkansas Supremes Stay Same-Sex Marriages in One-Sentence Ruling

In case you haven't seen the news, the Arkansas Supreme Court chose a little while ago to stay all same-sex marriages in the state. The ruling states,

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Cincinnati Contract for Catholic Teachers and "Tragic, Needless, Preventable Descent into Irrelevance for the Catholic Church"

Charles J. Reid thinks that the draconian new employment contract the archdiocese of Cincinnati is imposing on its "minster-teachers" will provoke a "tragic, needless, preventable descent into irrelevance for the Catholic Church in Cincinnati" — and, by implication, similar actions in other parts of the Catholic world are provoking a similar tragic, needless, and preventable descent into irrelevance for the Catholic church.

Another Quote for Day: "Walls of Discrimination Come Tumbling Down" as University of Arkansas System Allows Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses

And yet another quote for the day, from Max Brantley at Arkansas Times

Another Quote for Day: Ordinary Citizens Creating "Contagious Courage Out in the Country" Which Finally Reaches the Nation's Highest Court

Another quote for the day: Ruth Conniff at Common Dreams writing about the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education:

Quote for the Day: "Jaw-Dropping Multitudes of Gay Couples . . . Are Racing to the Altar in Arkansas"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Footnote to Earlier Posting: Arkansas Judge Clarifies Ruling Striking Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriage, Marriages Resume

A quick footnote to my posting this morning which noted that the county in which Steve and I married on Monday, Pulaski County, had stopped issuing licenses to gay couples today while legal wrinkles were ironed out of the process:

Eugene Kennedy on What Gets the Men Running the Catholic Church Really Het Up: Hint — Not War, Poverty, and Plagues, but Uppity N-U-N-S

A quote for the day from Eugene Cullen Kennedy writing in the National Catholic Reporter:

You Asked, I Provided: A Few More Pictures from Our Big Fat Gay (Arkansas) Wedding

Okay, you all asked, and you're hard folks to say no to (to whom to say no, Mary Huber?): here are a few more photos:

"It's Like 1957 in Little Rock, a New Dispensation": An Update on the Marriage Equality Story in Arkansas

This past week has been amazing. It's like 1957 in Little Rock. A new dispensation, as the theologians say.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why It's So Important for Same-Sex Couples to Have the Right to Marry in Arkansas (and Similar Places)

I'd like to share with you all one more comment about the same-sex marriages now taking place in my state of Arkansas (albeit in very limited areas: almost every county in the state is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and several that initially did so have shut the process down. I have absolutely no doubt at all that they're receiving very serious threats from the evangelical right, the Catholic bishop, and Republican leaders in the state). 

More News: Pope Francis and the Nuns, Clericalism and Abuse Crisis, Right-Wing Policies and Women's Health, Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media

More news: 

In the News: On Not Saying Gay, Idaho Strikes Down Ban on Gay Marriage, Marilynne Robinson on Leviticus and Gays, and Cincinnati Catholic School Contract

Brief takes from recent news or commentary on the news:

Catholic Bishop of Arkansas Attacks "Same-Sex Marriage," Calls on State Supreme Court to Close Door Opened to Gay Couples to Marry

And speaking of hallucinating Arkansas: the Catholic bishop of Arkansas, Anthony Taylor, has issued a statement attacking "same-sex marriage" (his quotation marks, certainly not mine) in Arkansas, after Judge Chris Piazza's ruling opened the door to marriage equality last week. He issued it Monday, the day on which Steve and I married. The statement is on the diocesan website, and is so embarrassing to read that I hesitate to give it any prominence here.

Hallucinating Arkansas and Our Big Fat Gay (Arkansas) Wedding: A Response to Those Who Have Asked, Why Arkansas?

Allen Ginsburg, "Howl"

I didn't wake up one morning and say to myself, "I think I'll try being a homosexual today." Truly, I didn't. That's not how it happens.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quote for Day: "The Love Between a Black Man and a White Man Punches a Hole Through the Wall of Racism"

Andrew Sullivan on the kiss just seen 'round the world, between Michael Sam and Vito Cammisano:

In the News: Vatican Attack on U.S. Nuns, Jesuit Theologian Under Vatican Investigation, Vatican Before U.N., and Liberal Responsibility to Talk Religion in Public Square

Snippets of articles about important religious (but mostly Catholic) topics discussed this past week in various publications:

Photos from Yesterday's Wedding: "Equality Is Always an Arc and the Arc of Justice Always Bends toward Equality"

I don't want to bore you all with photos from our wedding ceremony yesterday. But some of you asked if I had more photos to share, so I'll do so now. These were all taken by a photographer, Marcus Rachard, who's a friend of our friends Steve and Allan (the other Steve from yesterday, hrh), and who happened to be recording Steve and Allan's wedding, and then took photos of ours out of the goodness of his heart.

Monday, May 12, 2014

More Oh Happy Day: In Which I Tell the Rest of the Marriage Story

Our happy day:

Sealed, Signed, Delivered, and Oh Happy Day: Steve and I Married Today in Little Rock

I'll be posting more about this, but before the day gets away from me (and all of you), I wanted to let you know that Steve and I did take advantage of the short window of opportunity in our home state of Arkansas to marry today. We're legally married for today, that is to say, though the stay that the state will almost certainly obtain will immediately place in limbo the marriages of the 100+ same-sex couples who came from around the state of Arkansas to marry today in the Pulaski County courthouse.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Equality, Y'All: Marriage Equality Arrives in Arkansas — A Report from on the Ground

Meanwhile, back home in Arkansas (though we're still in Richmond, and will return to Little Rock later today, God willing): here's what's happening:

Frank Bruni on New Contract for Catholic School Teachers in Cincinnati: Would Pope Francis Sign the Contract?

In the New York Times today, Frank Bruni looks at the new six-page contract for Catholic teachers in the Cincinnati archdiocese (the previous one was two pages), which is all adither about "libido and loins." The contract solemnly informs you that you will endanger your job as a "teacher-minister" in a Catholic school if you show any "public support" for "a homosexual lifestyle." In response, Bruni notes, the following is happening:

As U.S. Evangelicals Continue Exporting Homophobia, Northern Irish Anti-Gay Activist Decries "Unbelieving" Catholics Who Refuse Gay-Bashing Agenda

This week in his weekly Religion Dispatches column gathering news about LGBT people and religious issues around the world, Peter Montgomery notes that U.S. evangelicals are still feverishly at work to export American-style homophobia to other parts of the world. A case in point: Northern Ireland, where anti-gay activist Liam Gibson of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children wants to take a leaf from the American playbook and encourage opponents of gay rights in Ireland to start talking about gay folks as people promoting a dangerous, risky lifestyle that spreads disease.

For Mothers' Day, a Photo Essay

As Mother's Day arrives, a photo essay — several generations of my family, mothers holding babies: