Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And Now Arkansas. As the Nuns and Friars Grin and Jubilate. In Holy Week. (I'm Tired, Folks)

And now, as expected, Arkansas passes its version of the anti-gay "religious freedom" bill that is bringing Indiana such negative worldwide attention. Our Republican governor Asa Hutchinson has said he will sign the bill, and has been salivating to do so — to win more cred with the anti-gay Republican base by appearing defiantly to kick LGBT human beings, "liberals," and Democrats in the teeth.

Thanking You Kindly for Your Birthday Good Wishes

I want to issue a note of thanks to all of you who left birthday greetings for me here yesterday. I'm deeply grateful for your kind expressions of congratulations on my birthday, and for your support. I had a very nice birthday, part of which we spent walking in the historic cemetery in downtown Little Rock, Mount Holly, and taking photos of the spring wildflowers running riot through the grass there: spring beauty, star of Bethlehem, Quaker ladies, grape hyacinth, etc. The photo at the head of the posting is from our outing. 

Commentary on Indiana, Religious Freedom, and Gay Rights: How Anti-Gay "Religious Liberty" Laws Differ from RFRA

A selection of excerpts from articles discussing Indiana's (and other states') anti-gay "religious freedom" law(s) — especially the bogus talking point now widely circulated by both conservatives and centrists that these state laws don't differ from the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA):

Grinning Nuns and Friars Standing Beside Anti-Gay Bigots: The Discussion the U.S. Catholic Church Should Be Having about Indiana, But Refuses to Have

Twitter feed of Governor Pence, private signing, anti-gay "religious freedom" bill

Put the photo at the head of the posting together with the one below, and what picture do you see?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Birthday Photos

And, heck, despite my promises not to bedevil you with postings today, why not share with you three photos I've just shared with friends on Facebook? The photo at the top of the posting is my brother Simpson and I appearing to enjoy cake on Simpson's first birthday in 1952.

It's My Birthday, and I'm Recommending a Heart-Warming Video to You

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Petition for Your Consideration: Tell Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to Veto Anti-Gay "Religious Liberty" Bill

Dear Folks,

After Indiana passed its anti-gay "religious liberty" bill and it was signed into law, the Arkansas Senate passed a similar bill targeting LGBT citizens of my state. That bill will then go to the House for amendments to be considered, and from there to the desk of Arkansas's governor Asa Hutchinson, who has promised to sign it.

Bigotry Continuing to Masquerade as "Religious Liberty" in Indiana: Governor Pence Meets the Press, Finds His Pants On Fire

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Shouldn't the Synod Documents Label Couples Using Birth Control As 'Wounded'?"

Patrick T. Reardon commenting in National Catholic Reporter on the strange (and more than a little biased) way in which the final statement on the family produced at last year's Catholic synod on the Family talks about "wounded" families:

Twitter Lights Up with Critical Commentary About Indiana Governor Pence and New Anti-Gay "Religious Freedom" Law

Where Are the Catholics, As Laws Across U.S. Target Gay Citizens? Photographic Evidence from Indiana

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Furor in Chile About Juan Barros's Installation as Bishop of Osorno: A Footnote

A quick footnote to the update I published earlier today about the protest of Pope Francis's decision to make Juan Barros the new bishop of Osorno, Chile: at his Facebook page, Wisconsin SNAP leader Peter Isely has posted commentary today about the controversy. Peter writes, 

Yesterday, Indiana, Today, Arkansas: Recent Commentary on Anti-Gay "Religious Freedom" Legislation in U.S.

Yesterday, Indiana, today, Arkansas: yesterday, Governor Pence of Indiana signed into law that state's new anti-gay "religious freedom" legislation; today, similar legislation was voted through the Arkansas senate by a wide majority of members. Some commentary that has caught my eye in the past two days:

The Furor in Chile as Juan Barros Madrid Is Installed as Bishop: An Update

As a follow-up to my posting this past Sunday, which pointed you to a posting by Jerry Slevin at his Christian Catholicism site talking about the furor that ensued recently in Chile as Juan Barros Madrid was installed as bishop of Osorno, Chile: today, in his "Morning Briefing" column in National Catholic Reporter, Dennis Coday writes,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Same Day, Another Quote: Rachel Held Evans on How LGBT People Have a Lot to Teach Christians

Same day, another quote (for the day): evangelical blogger and author of the new book Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church Rachel Held Evans tells Candace Chellew-Hodge,

A Note of Thanks, with a Note Asking for Prayers/Supportive Thoughts/Holding a Friend in the Light

Before I forget: I want to issue a note of sincere thanks to Bob/tinywriting, for his assistance in reformatting the photo of me I've chosen to use as the header of this blog's homepage. This is a photo Steve took of me in May 2006 when we went on pilgrimage to the shrines of Walsingham in East Anglia and of St. David's in Wales, with stops at other holy places (including a monastery where friends of ours had arranged for us to stay with a gloriously kind group of Benedictine nuns) across southern England.

Quote for Day: Fred Clark on Hobby Lobby, the Supremes, and "Religious Hucksterism"

Fred Clark yesterday, commenting on the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that corporations must be permitted to exercise conscience and assert religious belief, even when the sincerity of the religious beliefs the corporation asserts is not well-established, or the beliefs themselves do not stand up to evidence that contradicts them: 

Francis As a Reform Pope: The View from Where I Stand As a Gay Catholic Nearing My 65th Birthday

I'm now a few days from my 65th birthday, and have been occupied lately trying to figure out the complexities of applying for Medicare — the normal complexity of an intricate process compounded in my case, since my marriage last May is legally recognized by the federal government but not by my state, and the lack of clarity about my marital situation radically affects my Medicare options. Work on a new office for me continues right around my head as I tussle with federal and state government websites and make phone calls to try to obtain clarity about the Medicare situation.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Confronting the Real History of American Families: Stories Hiding in Plain Sight

This is one of those family-history postings that may interest only a slice of regular readers of this blog — except that it tells, I myself think, a story that may interest people who aren't particularly interested in genealogy. A story that hrh might call zaftig . . . . Often, in our research about family history, such fascinating stories are hiding in plain sight. This is one of that sort, I've concluded, one about a cross-racial family. 

Jerry Slevin on Chilean Catholic Revolt and Need for a New Ecumenical Council

Friday, March 20, 2015

Question for You As Week Ends: When Is a Provacateuse Just a Provocateuse and When Does She Become a Troll?

I'm full of questions as this work week ends. My question here: when is a troll a troll, and when is she just a provocateuse? Yesterday, in this National Catholic Reporter thread, a contributor characterizes an NCR regular she calls "Purgi" as "not a troll but sometimes a provacateuse, at least on LGBT subjects."

End-of-Week Items: Utah, Arkansas, Religious Freedom and Anti-Gay Laws, and Fixations of Conservotrad Catholics

A miscellany of end-of-week news items or blog postings I've read, thought were good, and want to pass on to you as the week ends:

Thomas Reese on Five Strikes Against Pope Francis When It Comes to Women: "The Smartest Thing Men Can Do When It Comes to Women's Topics Is Shut Up and Listen"

I think I know where Father Thomas Reese is going with this opening observation about the five strikes Pope Francis has against him, when it comes to women:

Droppings (and Sprinkles) from the Catholic Birdcage: "If You Cannot Find Christ in the Beggar at the Church Door, You Will Not Find Him in the Chalice"

Abby Zimet at Common Dreams, in commentary entitled "The Un-Francis: I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food, I Was Thirsty and You Gave Me Drink, I Was Homeless and WTF You Drenched Me With Sprinklers To Drive Me Away":

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On Antithetical Thinking, the Masculine Protest, and Double Consciousness: Gay Men and Women's Rights

I think I've mentioned to you several times before that I keep a log of quotations from things I've read  over many years that leapt out at me as I read. My journals over the years are full of snippets from work I was reading as I kept my journals. They're also stuffed with photocopied pages from books or articles I've read, which struck me as important and as worth remembering.

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Most Men with Homosexual Tendencies Enjoy Denigrating and Ridiculing Women"

Two days ago, I noted,

Comments threads at Catholic blog sites are, to put the point bluntly, all too often used to attack LGBT people and fellow Catholics who are LGBT. Under the guise of "discussing" the issue of homosexuality and the church, some users who delight in trying to inflict wounds on members of the gay community hammer home over and over and over rhetorical points that are full of disinformation or even outright lies about those who are gay.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Droppings from the Bilgrimage Birdcage: "When the Critical Moment for Cultural Change Is Reached, the Hate Becomes Intense"

I'm struck by a wise observation of Ruth Krall in response to my posting yesterday about how the actual behavior of some U.S. Catholics belies the claim that the Catholic church is shifting into welcoming-and-mercy mode today. I want to share Ruth's comment with you all, so that no one misses it while it's tucked away in a combox.

Women's Rights, Gay Rights: Snapshot of an Ongoing Conversation

We've been having a conversation here of late about recent much-ballyhooed statements of performers Patricia Arquette and Madonna that gay rights are more "advanced" than women's rights, and that gays (in particular, gay men, it's implied) need to step up and support women's rights. I recently wrote

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Talking Welcome and Mercy, Acting the Opposite: A Footnote to My Previous Posting

A quick footnote to what I posted earlier today: after I posted about the comments responding to Tom Fox's series of articles at National Catholic Reporter about Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco, NCR closed its comments threads following Fox's articles, with the following note:

As Pope Francis Talks Welcome and Mercy, I Listen to What Many U.S. Catholics Are Actually Saying About Those Matters

What exercises the minds of many Catholics right now is interesting, isn't it? I remain in a despondent space — I'm struggling these days — and I had decided this week, while I struggle, to forgo reading the news online. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I Try to Keep You in My Memory: On the Struggle to Remember, a Poem on the Anniversary of My Brother's Death

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of my brother Simpson in 1991. His was one of several family deaths at which I'd be present during the decade 1991-2001. As I noted in this posting in 2008, I wrote the poem above in 1989 when a brilliant young Dominican priest whom I had hired to teach theology when I chaired the theology department of Xavier University in New Orleans — Stephen Goetz — died suddenly as he was working on his doctoral studies at Yale University. The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament organized a memorial service for Stephen at Xavier, and I wrote the poem as my contribution to that service.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lisa Fullam and Gary Gutting on Catholic Natural Law Theology and Need for New Approach to Sexual Ethics

When I read Lisa Fullam's recent Commonweal essay about contraception and Gary Gutting's New York Times essay about unraveling the Catholic ban on gay sex, I'm tempted to ask, "Who knew that natural law theology would be so much in the news in 2015"? I don't by any means intend to cast aspersions on these two essays with that question. They're both fine theological expositions of the natural law theology that underlies magisterial prohibitions against artificial contraceptives, gay sex (and, as Gutting reminds us, masturbation or any sexual act between a married man and woman in which the penis is not inserted into the vagina when the man reaches orgasm). 

Madonna on Gay Rights as "Way More Advanced Than Women's Rights": Some Noteworthy Responses

Something else gaining attention in this week's news: Madonna's statement,

Gay rights are way more advanced than women’s rights. People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period.

News Catch-Up: Philadelphia Gay-Bashing Story, Bondage Illustration for Vatican Gathering on Women, and Band of Brothers Dominating Vatican News Coverage

This is one of those end-of-week posts in which I try to catch you up on stories about which I've blogged in the past, which have a sequel:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Quote for Day: Oklahoma Legislators Providing Signal That "It Is Open Season on Expressing Prejudice and Discrimination Toward Any or All Minorities"

Following the online circulation of the video to which I linked in my previous posting, in which members of a fraternity at University of Oklahoma chant racist taunts en route to a frat party, Faith in America has asked Oklahoma lawmakers to reconsider "legislation that gives a green light to discrimination when justified with religious teaching or belief." As I've noted here previously, the Oklahoma legislature is considering a slew of bills that deliberately target LGBT citizens of that state, with claims that those citizens represent a threat to the "religious liberty" of Christians in Oklahoma.

Jesuit Education and the "Band of Brothers" Back in the News: University of Oklahoma Race-Baiting Incident Has Link to Jesuit High School

(The video above is from an 8 March 2015 tweet of the University of Oklahoma group Unheard: warning — OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE).

Remember that posting I wrote at the end of January? It talked about how commentators on Pope Francis as a reformer seem oblivious to what a mixed bag his Jesuit heritage is, and, in particular, to the militarism with its attendant misogyny woven through much of that heritage. I told you a story about a graduation Steve and I attended in 2003 at a Jesuit high school in Texas from which the son of one of my cousins was graduating.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Frank Bua on How Movement for LGBT Rights Must Not Leave Southern LGBT People Behind

Another quote for today, this one directly related to my first posting this morning, which speaks of my decision in 1965 to leave my family's Southern Baptist church and join the Catholic church: Frank Bua maintains that the movement for LGBT rights in the U.S. is not yet over the rainbow and cannot yet claim victory in this struggle, noting,

Quote for Day: Derrick Jensen on How Long-Held Hatred Propped Up by Religion, Tradition, Economics Appears "Normal" Until Those Props Are Removed

As Derrick Jensen notes, long-held hatred masked by tradition, religion, economics, etc., often appears "normal" until its religious, economic, or other props are knocked down. Then it's unmasked as what it always was: plain hatred. (Thanks to Fred Clark for posting this quote today at Slacktivist).

(If you click the graphic, it should become larger for easier reading.)

Selma, Catholic Support for the African-American Struggle for Rights, and LGBT Catholics Today — The Pain of Familial Repudiation

Before I fell silent for a period of time at the end of February and in early March, I blogged about my decision to choose the Catholic church as a church home in the 1960s. As that posting indicated, I have long been predisposed to view this decision to leave my childhood family of faith for another family of faith in familial terms: I was choosing a new church family when I left behind my family's Southern Baptist church, in which I had been raised, for the Catholic church.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Story for You on a Cold Sunday in Lent: I Go to Mass, I Start to Fall, a Stranger Catches Me — You Draw the Moral

Stories sometimes demand to be told, and as they form in our minds, we aren't entirely sure why they want to be heard. The following is one such story.

Quote for Day: Naomi Klein on Why We're Stuck with Climate Change — It's about the Economic Elite, Stranglehold, and the Fetish of Centrism

Naomi Klein is incisive — and powerful — as she explains why the human community is unable to address climate crisis that is now threatening the whole planet and therefore all of our existences:

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: What's Changed Since Selma? Ask the Five Supreme Catholic Men.

At Commonweal, Dominic Preziosi asks what has changed since Selma, and Tom Blackburn replies

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Women in the Catholic Church: Critical Voices Engage the "Francis Revolution" (with Notes about John Boyne's Novel A History of Loneliness)

In a New York Times article yesterday, Elisabetta Povoledo notes that, though Pope Francis has spoken of the importance of women in the life of the church, critics note that he is "strikingly tone-deaf toward the sensitivities and needs of women," and that he has flatly declared that he will not discuss the possibility of ordaining women — the sole door to any official power in the governing structures of the Catholic church. She adds, 

Remembering Selma's Bloody Sunday (in Light of Ferguson): Some Links for You

Read these excerpts (and articles) commenting on Selma and Ferguson as a narrative, and I wonder what story they tell. What story do they tell about us? What story do they tell about us and our unfinished (perhaps now hopeless?) quest for participatory democracy in the United States?

Remembering Bloody Sunday: "Those Small Acts That Are Actually Gargantuan Acts of Bravery"

As Amy Goodman notes in this moving interview with Congressman John Lewis, history is made by seemingly ordinary folks engaging in small acts of courage that are actually gargantuan acts of bravery. As Goodman notes, these are often overlooked in the official versions of history we're taught in schools, churches, families. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

To My Fellow Catholics Hiding Behind Pseudonyms While Using Catholic Blog Sites to Attack Gay Folks: Have the Decency and Courage to Come Out of the Closet, Please

As this long week of Lent ends, I want to issue a note of thanks to my fellow Catholics like Dennis Herrera who stand in solidarity with their gay brothers and sisters, and who state unambiguously that the ugly, discriminatory treatment that Catholic leaders like the archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, keep dishing out to gay folks and those who love them, makes their job as Catholic parents infinitely more difficult. 

I'm Here: Grateful for Your Concern and Comments

I'm very grateful to those who have been asking where I am (in a comment thread at my last posting). I appreciate your concern, and apologize for having abandoned the dialogue here for a period of time.