Thursday, May 1, 2014

Brief Takes from Week's News: Palin and Baptism, Brendan Eich and Double Standards, Churches and the Gays, Etc.

Brief takes from the week's news on Sarah Palin and her comparison of water-boarding to baptism, on Brendan Eich and double standards, and on the gays, the churches, and Fox news:

More than 55,000 Christians have signed a petition stating they are "appalled by [Sarah] Palin’s twisted misrepresentation of our faith."

For Christians, torture is not a joke or a political punchline, but a ghastly reminder of the suffering of Jesus upon the cross. By equating it with Holy Baptism -- the act by which we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection -- Sarah Palin is blasphemously twisting our faith into a weapon of hatred and violence.

Most faith traditions incorporate water's restorative power. The Muslim ritual ablution of Wudu, the Jewish Mikveh ritual bath, the Hindu ritual immersions in the River Ganges, and the Christian practice of baptism, each point to renewal, transformation, and life. How dare the NRA tolerate -- worse, amplify -- hatred garbed in religious symbolism.

Donald Sterling is a bigot too. He also has free speech. And that speech, as the owner of a professional sports team, has consequences that most of us agree are warranted. Brendan Eich has free speech as well. But when he faced the consequences of that speech -- brought on by the free market, not forced by any intervention -- many applied a double standard, defending him. And that reveals how, no matter how many books are written by ambitious heterosexual reporters about how we gays have supposedly won, homophobia is alive and well -- and openly tolerated -- in America.

John Shore, Christianity with Humanity (on the expectation of his and his wife's Presbyterian church that they sign an anti-gay pledge before serving as deacons): 

I looked at Cat. She was already looking at me. Although no one but me would have read it, the message Cat's eyes were sending was, "Yikes! Did our train just stop at Crazy Town?"

It's the first time for a national Christian denomination to sue in favor of same-sex marriage, citing restricted freedom of religion. Currently ministers who marry couples without a marriage license can face misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 120 days in jail.

The network seems to pretty much despise LGBTQ people, and reliably supports the policies and politicians that make their lives dramatically shittier. This is Fox News’ actual LGBTQ problem.

The real Catholic-Evangelical convergence is between the Republican leadership, the Catholic bishops, right-wing Catholics, and rank-and-file Evangelicals, a coalition that was cemented by Karl Rove with his aggressive outreach to "conservative" Catholics during the Bush administration. But the fact that a big chunk of moderate and progressive Catholics are missing from this coalition continues to be lost on many in the media.

And so it goes in the nation with the soul of a church, this May day morning in the year of Our Lord 2014.

The graphic: a graph showing responses of U.S. Catholics and white evangelical Protestants to various social issues, from a recent survey by Public Religion Research Institute; the survey is discussed in Patricia Miller's article linked above.

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