Monday, November 30, 2015

In Holiday Season, Reminder That LGBT Folks Often Experience Exclusion and Isolation from Family: Derrick De Lise on How Homophobia Hurts

In this holiday season, I want to share with you a timely reminder from blogger Derrick De Lise, who publishes the journal Queer Voices and maintains a blog about Christian spirituality called The Inexorable Pilgrim. Yesterday, Derrick posted a valuable essay at Huffington Post reminding all of us that many LGBTQIA+ folks experience exclusion from their family circles at the very time of the year in which we're bombarded by images of happy families gathering around festive tables. 

Catholic Officials Explain Pope's Silence About LGBT People in Uganda: They Were "Included" in Pope's Comments Though Invisible, and Ugandans Are Concerned with "Real Problems"

More on the not surprising (but nonetheless scandalous) decision of Pope Francis to talk about human rights, social justice, tolerance, and respect in Uganda without ever uttering a single word about the LGBT human beings whose lives are made a living hell by social attitudes and laws targeting them in that largely Christian nation: 

Valuable New Resource from Ruth Krall: "A Thomas Doyle Cyber-Anthology: Studies in Religious Community Sexual Violence"

A note this morning to bring to your attention a valuable new resource Ruth Krall has just uploaded to her Enduring Space blog. Some of you may have seen a conversation in the comments thread here last week, in which Ruth and I and others talked about the need to gather together a list of work by Father Thomas Doyle, who has been a prophetic leader in urging the Catholic hierarchy to deal honestly and openly with the abuse situation in the Catholic church.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reader Writes: "Francis Uttered Not a Word About the Plight of LGBT People in Uganda Because [the Catholic Hierarchy Have] . . . Decided We Simply Don't Exist"

Chris Morley's reply to my posting earlier today is so good — powerfully written, clear, and right to the point — that I want to share it with readers in a stand-alone posting. Chris writes,

Fruitcake Making, Home, and LGBT Folks in the Church: An Advent Meditation Noting the Total Silence of Pope Francis About LGBT People in Uganda

A brief report to all of you on a dreary post-U.S. Thanksgiving weekend in which we've had enough rain to warrant two arks instead of the single one that Noah built: I've made the weekend brighter by remaining true to my grandmother's tradition of baking her Christmas fruitcakes on or by Thanksgiving weekend. Her rule of thumb was that fruitcake for Christmas needed to be baked by the last week of November, since it required a month in a sealed tin in a dark closet, wrapped in cheesecloth and laved repeatedly with sherry or bourbon, to mature it for eating at Christmas time.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Two Thanksgiving Videos: Brothers and Sisters Under the Skin, and Our Chance to Atone for the Holocaust

God's Mercy and Hate Rhetoric in the U.S. Public Square: A Thanksgiving Meditation

A little (American) Thanksgiving day meditation I shared this morning on Facebook. Since a friend there told me she thought it was valuable, I now think to share it with all of you here, too — and with greetings to many readers of this blog who aren't celebrating the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving today, but whom I don't intend to exclude by framing this as a Thanksgiving meditation. Here's what I wrote on Facebook: 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Interlocking Moral Challenges: Catholic Bishops Who Covered Up Abuse Crisis Promote Political Leaders Engaged in Overt Race-Baiting and Immigrant Bashing — Our Obligation to Be Morally Astute

I pointed out yesterday that, side by side with the egregious evil practiced by the men leading the Catholic church, who have covered up crimes of sexual abuse of minors for a very long time now, there are other evils to consider in the world, too. Part of what I wanted to communicate with my concluding analysis of the problem (as I see it) of too-easy recourse to the language of evil — the language of exclusive evil — to describe the men leading the Catholic church is that this language then causes us to ignore many other kinds of egregious evil that, to my way of thinking, also demand our attention. 

Father Tom Doyle on Catholic Bishops' "Imagined Leadership" and the Real Leaders in the Abuse Crisis

Longtime advocate for abuse survivors and whistleblower re: the Catholic abuse crisis Father Tom Doyle, writing in today's (emailed) edition of NSAC [National Survivor Advocates Coalition] News, in an essay entitled "Sexual and Spiritual Abuse by the Clergy: The Wound That Will Not Heal":

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Spotlight": My Five-Point Commentary

Steve and I went yesterday to see "Spotlight." Most of you will already know quite a bit about this film, but in case anyone reading this blog doesn't have information about it, it's a depiction of the dramatic story of the gradual awakening of the Boston Globe's investigative "Spotlight" team to the massive ramifications of the abuse story in the Catholic church. It's the story of how, after having been alerted to this by abuse survivors like Phil Saviano of SNAP, the Globe ignored the situation until reports about a single monstrously abusive priest in the Boston archdiocese, John Geoghan, alerted Globe journalists to the fact that there were more abusive priests in the diocese — as many as 90 — hiding in plain sight, whose histories of abuse were known to all kinds of powerful people but above all to the diocese's chief shepherd Cardinal Law, but about whom no one with power to combat the abuse had done anything at all. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Home, Exile, and the Teeth of the Shark: A Meditation by Ruth Krall

Today, I want to share with you a meditaiton that Ruth Krall recently shared with a number of friends by email. It strikes me as such a powerful statement as the global community talks about issues of exile, mass migration, violent expulsion of people from their homelands, and the struggle to exercise hospitality. As I've told you previously when I've posted essays by Ruth, she's a mental health clinician and pastoral theologian who has done a tremendous amount to call the Mennonite church to accountability around issues of sexual abuse. Ruth's series of books Elephants in God's Living Room, which she's generously made available for downloading at her Enduring Space blog site, focuses on this and other issues of importance to the discussion of abuse matters in religious communities. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

On History and the Importance of Remembering: An American Family Story for You

I think that perhaps too many postings from me are a big bore. They bore me, if no one else in the world. With that warning, I have thought to share something with you from the previous two weeks in which I worked intensively on getting that book project underway — keeping in mind your many good suggestions to me about that project.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

bell hooks on Worship of Death As Central Component of Patriarchal Thinking: The Events in Paris and Our Response to Them

On my retreat the last two weeks, I read bell hooks' book All About Love: New Visions (NY: William Morrow, 2000). The following passage has profound resonance for me now, after the events several days ago in Paris:

Friday, November 13, 2015

In Response to Mary McAleese, Some Catholic Commentators Turn to Trash Talk: The Highly Successful Toilet Meme of U.S. Right Wingers Opposing Equal Rights for Minorities

In an outstanding essay in Slate recently, Gillian Frank does an excellent job of demonstrating that the rhetoric of hysteria about bathrooms that anti-gay groups used so successfully in Houston recently to knock down a city ordinance protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination is rooted in previous memes about the danger posed to white people if public restrooms were opened to use by African Americans. As she notes,

Former Irish President on Catholic Teaching About Homosexuality: It's "Wrong," a "Major Conduit for Homophobia," and Needs to Be Repudiated

Yesterday, Irish Catholic published an interview of former Irish president Mary McAleese done by Martin O'Brien at her apartment in Rome Dublin, where she lives when she is not acquiring a licentiate in Canon Law.* Here's a selection of her statements: 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Feedback from Mormon Experts About New Policy Targeting Children of Gay Parents: "Terrible Mistake" That Will Be Regretted Down the Line

In the Salt Lake Tribune today, Peggy Fletcher Stacks reports that, as some Mormon experts respond to the public demonstrations of anger at their church's new policy targeting gay couples by targeting their children, they're noting that the new policy is not doctrine: it's policy. And policy can change.

Kaya Oakes on How "Whitest, Malest, Straightest, Most Educated" Representatives of Christianity Are Driving People from Religion

Kaya Oakes, writing yesterday at Religion Dispatches about the battle that Christians opposed to marriage equality have lost:

Mormons Organize Mass Protests to Push Back Against Abuse of Their LGBT Family Members and Friends: What's Wrong with Catholics?

My two-week fast from blogging is nearing its close, and I'll now break silence again to share some questions with you. They've risen in my mind and heart in the past few days, as we watch at close hand what's happening in the Mormon community in Salt Lake City as a result of the recent disclosure that LDS church leaders now want to attack same-sex couples by punishing their children.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Telling My Story as LDS Church Refuses Baptism to Children of Gay Couples, and Houston and Kentucky Demonstrate Continued Political Power of Gay-Baiting

Dear friends, I'm posting today, despite my fast from posting, because — well — there's something I'd like to say! And here it is: