Sunday, January 31, 2016

Reported Spike in Suicides of LGBT Mormon Youth After LDS Church Enacts New Gay-Excluding Policy: Some Links for You

As Chris Morley notes in a series of comments here yesterday (this is his initial comment in the thread), a story has made the rounds this weekend about the new policy the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints recently enacted punishing the children of same-sex couples (previous commentary on this story is here, here, and here). On 28th January, the Salt Lake Tribune published a report citing data from the group Mama Dragons, Mormon mothers supporting their gay children, which indicates that there have been 32 suicides of young LGBT Mormons following the church's adoption of its new gay-excluding policy.

Reader Writes: "In the Masculinist Agenda It Is Axiomatic That Men Are Justly Privileged Because Men Alone Are the Accurate Image of God"

And another stellar comment from the last day or so: Mark 13 Fs responding to my posting about Kate Clinton's send-up of Cardinal Burke and his emangelization crusade: 

Reader Writes: "So Easy and Convenient to Automatically Assume that the Problem Is Not Local, That It Doesn't Happen Here, Wherever 'Here' Is"

In what follows, I'd like to point you to some noteworthy comments readers have left here in the past several days. First, I'm struck by Annika's valuable comment noting her response to the film "Spotlight" (which, by the way, won the Screen Actors' Guild ensemble cast top award last evening):

Why Do We Have to Dress Up Like Mommy in Order to Act Like Daddy? Strange Irony of the Catholic Emangelization Project (with Thanks for All Your Comments)

This has been a lively several days of discussion at Bilgrimage (133 comments and counting now, on my previous posting about Cardinal Burke and his emangelization initiative!), and I confess I'm having a bit of trouble catching up with comments. I cherish all of your remarks. I may not have time to acknowledge each of them individually, however. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Comedian Kate Clinton on Cardinal Burke's Solution to the "Man-Crisis" in the Catholic Church: #Feminism

Yesterday, I linked to Dara Kelly's article in Irish Central reporting on an recent interview* that Cardinal Raymond Burke gave to Matthew James Christoff at the New Emangelization Project website.

Tom McCarthy on Ultimate Takeaway of "Spotlight": "Film Is About Personal Accountability and Responsibility, and Not Just Institutionally, but in Terms of the Ctizenry"

Tom McCarthy says, 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Marianne Duddy-Burke on Pope Francis' Intervention in Italian Debate About Gay Unions: "Pope Has judged Our Relationships, Our Marriages to Be Inconsistent with the Divine Plan"

As Marianne Duddy-Burke of Dignity-USA says in response to Pope Francis's recent public statement opposing marriage equality in Italy, what Francis appears to be attempting is to open a more pastorally affirming space for LGBT people in the Catholic church while continuing to uphold the (very recent) magisterial teaching that LGBT people are "essentially disordered." As she also maintains, you can't have it both ways: you can't claim to be welcoming and affirming while you promote teachings that make a set of fellow human beings less human than everyone else in the world, and while you argue on the basis of those teachings that these denigrated fellow human beings should enjoy fewer rights than other human beings enjoy.

Footnote to a Footnote: Fixation on Homosexuality in Discussions of Catholic Abuse Crisis, and Questions About Hate Speech

I'll admit to you all a frustration bordering on peevishness at the way many people in religious circles seem inclined to turn plain truth on its head as they parse the lives and fates of fellow human beings who are LGBT. The classic formulation of this truth inversion: "I'm not homophobic. I love gay folks. I just want to speak the truth to them in love as I tell them they are under God's judgment, are headed to hell if they do not repent, and cannot have the same rights other people have -- because love."

Friday, January 22, 2016

Footnote to Discussion of St. John's Abbey Story: NCR Thread Filling Up with Homophobic Charges That Catholic Abuse Crisis Is Rooted in Homosexuality

A footnote about what I posted earlier today regarding the documents just made public by St. John's Benedictine Abbey in Minnesota, re: monks credibly accused of having abused minors: as happens so often in the toxic, homophobic context of American Catholicism when stories about sexual abuse by Catholic clergy are made public, a string of people have already logged into the thread discussing Brian Roewe's story to sling around the usual accusations about homosexuals abusing boys. Check out the thread started by Marty Eble's comment setting that line of discussion rolling.

St. John's Abbey Releases 15,000 Pages of Disclosure re: 18 Monks: NCR Reader Writes, "To Me, This Story Encapsulates the Entire Scandal"

Does anyone but me ever have the sense that Catholic pastoral authorities have played and continue playing an ugly game with the rest of us about the abuse situation in the Catholic church? (I'm being facetious, of course: we all know that they've long been playing games with us about this.)

Recommended: Joe Biden on LGBT Rights, Catherine Wallace on Gay Marriage and Anglican Anxiety, Patricia Miller on What Pope Benedict Knew When

God bless Joe Biden (the section I've transcribed from his recent remarks at the World Economic Forum begins at about the 1.55 mark):

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Footnote to Previous Posting re: Jamie Manson's New NCR Article: Knives Are Out in NCR Thread Full of Pseudo-Charity and Pretend-Objectivity

A footnote to what I published earlier today about Jamie Manson's powerful statement at NCR noting that it's justice that LGBT Catholics need, not mercy. I've just posted the following observations to my set of friends on Facebook:

Quote for Day: "LGBTQ Persons Do Not Need Mercy from the Church. We Need Justice"

In a powerful statement at National Catholic Reporter today, Jamie Manson notes that many Catholics would like to hope that the door of mercy they think Pope Francis is opening in the church has a "connecting corridor" to a door of justice for LGBT people. She reports that many of her well-meaning heterosexual friends encourage her to hope that Francis's appeal to mercy will some way, somehow, lead to a decision on the part of the Catholic church to treat LGBT human beings with justice, as well — though (as she also points out) the pope was utterly silent on his recent trip to Africa about draconian laws targeting LGBT people in some African nations. And as she also points out, LGBT people are still being ceaselessly fired by Catholic institutions.

Adriano Oliva's Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels: Book Notes

I've just finished reading the new book by the noted French Dominican Thomist scholar Reverend Adriano Oliva, Amours: L'Église, les divorcés remariés, les couples homosexuels (Paris: Cerf, 2015), and would like to offer you today some notes about this important new study. Oliva is a distinguished student of the very important Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas, on whose understanding of natural law much Catholic theology has been built over the centuries. He is president of the Leonine Commission, the group charged with producing and publishing faithful critical editions of Aquinas's work, and is a research fellow at the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, and a researcher with the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), both in Paris.

Ms. Palin Supplants Mr. Whitman As the Bard of the Common Man and Woman: "You Rockin' Rollers! And Holy Rollers! Proud Clingers of Our Guns!"

Really, who needs fusty old Walt Whitman any longer, when we have Ms. Palin creating her brilliant word-salad paeans to the American common man and common woman? It's poetry, I tell you! It's poetry, the speech that Ms. Palin gave yesterday in support of that monumental champion of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Six Packs, and Mr. Whitman's work can't hold a candle to it:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

When Tea and Sympathy Are No Longer Nearly Enough: A Response to Archbishop Justin Welby's Apology to LGBT Community

On Sunday, at his Winsome, Lose Some blog site, Anglican priest Reverend Richard Haggis published an open letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Here's its conclusion:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Francis DeBernardo on Vatican's "Gay Lobby": Red Herring Distracting Us from Necessary and Real Conversation about LGBT Issues and People

Francis DeBernardo on the persistent rumor of a "gay lobby" in the Vatican, a rumor recently popping up (or is the word I'm seeking "pooping"?) again at right-wing Catholic blog sites, as he notes:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Diarmaid MacCulloch on Anger of Heterosexual Men Driving Religious Conservatism, and Mess Anglican Leaders Have Made for Themselves

I've shared these observations with you in the past. I think it might be helpful now to gather them together in one posting, following the recent decision of Primates 2016 to discipline the Episcopal Church USA for its full embrace of LGBT human beings as children of God equal to other children of God. These are three incisive statements by a member of Oxford's Faculty of Theology and Religion, historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. MacCulloch grew up in the household of an Anglican parson. He also happens to be openly gay.

Defining Christianity by Exclusion of LGBT Human Beings: "If This Is the Christianity They Want, Perhaps It Is Time for That Christianity to Die"

Thinking back this morning to Kaya Oakes's post-Obergefell essay last November: as she points out, anti-LGBT right-wing Christians have really lost the battle to exclude LGBT people from the circle of humanity and the church. But the more they recognize the futility of continuing this losing battle, the angrier — and more exclusionary — they become. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Quote for Day: Alexander Stille on What Pope Benedict Knew About Abuse in the Catholic Church

Alexander Stille in The New Yorker yesterday, commenting on the disclosure by a German lawyer that 231 boys were abused in the Regensburg cathedral choir over several decades, with beatings, food deprivation, and rape — a choir directed by Pope Benedict XVI's brother Georg Ratzinger from 1964 to 1994:

Anglican Communion Sanctions Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop of ECUSA Responds: Commitment to Be an Inclusive Church Based on Outstretched Arms of Jesus on the Cross

As Chris Morley has reported to us in several comments, at its Primates 2016 meeting in Canterbury, the Anglican Communion chose yesterday to sanction the Episcopal Church USA for supporting same-sex marriage. For Episcopal News Service, Matthew Davies reports what the presiding bishop of ECUSA, Michael Curry, told his fellow bishops as they moved towards sanctioning ECUSA for supporting LGBT people and their rights:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Little Sisters of the Poor, Kim Davis, and the Challenge of Preserving Real Religious Freedom: Frederick Clarkson's Important New Essay "When Exemption Is the Rule"

As Frederick Clarkson points out in a just-published (and exhaustive and richly-resourced) must-read overview of the religious liberty battles facing us in the U.S. today, the "I believe it, so it must be right" "religious freedom" argument that the Little Sisters of the Poor and the U.S. Catholic bishops want to shove in the face of the American public through the sisters' lawsuit against the Obama administration builds on the claim that the Supreme Court allowed to prevail in the Hobby Lobby lawsuit of 2014. As I noted in my previous posting today, the Little Sisters of the Poor object even to signing paperwork exempting them from responsibility for providing contraceptive coverage to their employees, with the claim that they believe that certain contraceptives are abortifacients, no matter what sound scientific evidence says about these contraceptives.

Kim Davis Does the SOTU — With Little Sisters of the Poor: Anti-Obama "Religious Freedom" Advocates Joined at the Hip

And so last evening, both the Little Sisters of the Poor and Kim Davis were invited by Republican officials* to the State of the Union address. Interestingly enough, the leading Catholic "liberal" publication National Catholic Reporter chose yesterday to highlight the presence of the Little Sisters of the Poor at this event with not one, but two, articles, one a Catholic News Service report indicating that the U.S. Catholic bishops have filed an amicus brief on behalf of the group of nuns in their battle with the Obama administration over the contraceptive mandate, the other an article by reporter Dawn Araujo-Hawkins providing yet more rather glowing publicity for the Little Sisters of the Poor's challenge to the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Note of Thanks to Those Who Make This Blog Possible — Above All, My Husband Steve

As a new year gets underway, I feel moved to make a statement of heartfelt thanks here — thanks to my husband Steve, who makes it possible for me to blog (and read and write) by assuming the responsibility of being the primary breadwinner of our household. As some of you know (but you may not all know this), I don't have a full-time job, while Steve does. 

Why Wheaton College Is Really Going After Dr. Larycia Hawkins: The Full Story Begins to Emerge

Several days ago, I took note of Wheaton College's firing of its controversial tenured theology professor, Dr. Larycia Hawkins. Many of you will know that Dr. Hawkins teaches political science at Wheaton, the "Harvard of evangelicalism," and ran afoul of the college's administrators when she chose to wear a hijab (as an evangelical Christian) to protest the targeting of all Islamic Americans as terrorists. The ostensible reason Wheaton has given for moving against her is that this gesture and statements she made about it contravene the college's statement of faith by implying that the God worshipped by evangelical Christians is the same God worshipped as Allah by Muslims.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

African-American United Methodist Minister Asks Other African-American Ministers to Support LGBT Rights: Heads of White Heterosexual Catholic Men Explode at NCR

I know some Bilgrimage readers have been following (and participating in) the mind-blowing discussion of Gil Caldwell's Religion News Service article at National Catholic Reporter in the past several days, because I can see your contributions in the discussion thread. For those who don't know what this discussion is about: Reverend Gilbert H. Caldwell is a United Methodist minister with a long, admirable history of advocating for equal rights for people of color within the United States and in the church in which he's ordained. His book Something Within recounts his life story, his days of marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Civil Rights movement, his years of work for racial justice and reconciliation in both the culture at large and the Christian churches. (I've blogged about Gil Caldwell's work in the past: click his name in the labels below for my previous postings about him.)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Interview with Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa: "Today the Church Is One of the Most Powerful Agencies of Irrational Hate Towards Sexual Minorities"

Yesterday, LGBT News Italia published an interview with the former Vatican official Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa, who made a public announcement that he is gay and partnered last October, and who was then removed from his position in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here are some excerpts:

Michael Sean Winters on Bishops' Treatment of LGBT People: "Affirmation of the Dignity of Gays and Lesbians Is Usually More Rhetorical Than Real"

Several days ago, when I took note of National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters' soft selling of a statement by Cardinal Donald Wuerl defending the firing of LGBT employees of Catholic institutions who contravene magisterial norms, I zeroed in on the glaring gap between Catholic leaders' entirely rhetorical statements about "welcoming" LGBT people, and how those same leaders actually treat LGBT people. I wrote,

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"If I Believe It Sincerely Enough, I Have the Right to Deny You Rights": Religious Freedom Argument Remains Alive and Well in 2016

Religious freedom (as in, "If I believe it hard and sincerely enough, I have the right to deny rights to you: because my God tells me so!") remains in the news as 2016 begins, and in all likelihood, will continue to be in the news this year, especially as the election cycle heats up:

More on the Religious Roots of What's Happening in Oregon: Mr. Bundy Cites Scripture

More in the yes-it-does-have-religious-roots category, re: what's happening in Oregon right now:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Firing of LGBT Employees in Catholic Institutions — Welcome? What Welcome?!

In an essay published yesterday by National Catholic Reporter, Michael Sean Winters quotes approvingly a statement by Washington, D.C. Cardinal Wuerl on his blog defending the firing of LGBT employees of Catholic institutions who marry a same-sex partner, but claiming that the Catholic church "welcomes" "everybody," LGBT people included.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

LDS Church Dissociates Itself from Bundys: More on Mormon Connection to Oregon "White Privilege Performance Art"

Yesterday, I wrote about how one of the fascinating aspects of the way in which non-mainstream sources, at least, are reporting about the occupation of a federal building in Oregon by a ragtag band of white supremacists, Islamophobes, and right-wing Mormons is that — in contrast to the coverage of the Bundy standoff in 2014 — these sources are taking note of the right-wing Mormon connections of the Bundy family. I find this development heartening, for two reasons.

Pathology of Internalized Homophobia in Gay-Bashing Catholic Clerics: "How Strange Their Psyches Must Be As a Result...and Sometimes Dangerous As Well"

The synchonicity of conversations on the worldwide web never fails to intrigue me — discourse community linking to discourse community when they're to all appearances not connected at all. As Mary Q pointed out in a comment here two days ago, at the same time (roughly) that I was having a conversation with Chris Morley here about the peculiar pathology of the Roman Catholic clerical system, which intermixes hypocrisy (especially about matters sexual involving the clergy) with power and the abuse of power, with the ravening desire of career clerics to be at the top of an ecclesiastical ladder in which being on top means using, hurting, throwing away a lot of folks at the bottom, a reader of Jennifer Haselberger's blog was leaving a comment there very similar to my statements to Chris.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Valuable Commentary on Oregon Situation: "Did I Miss the Call for the National Guard in Oregon? I Recall Them in Ferguson and Baltimore"

Valuable commentary I've read in the past two days about what's happening in Oregon right now:

With Bundy Family in a New Standoff with Federal Government, Ties to Extreme Right-Wing Mormonism Finally Being Noted (Plus Scalia on Religion in Government)

It's interesting, isn't it, that immediately after the right-wing Opus Dei Catholic Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia informed a group of Catholic high school students in Metairie, Louisiana, that we need more religion in the federal government, an armed rebellion breaks out in the state of Oregon? With religion as one of its roots . . . . And with that very same federal government that should, Scalia thinks, bow to religion in the sights of this rebellion . . . .

NY Times Claim That Anti-Gay Laws in Africa Are Blowback for U.S. Intervention: Critical Reflections

I have to admit that I raised my eyebrows a few weeks ago when the New York Times published Norimitsu Onishi's article citing various African commentators claiming that stepped-up anti-gay legislation in a number of African countries is "blowback" for U.S. support of LGBT rights in Africa. I did so because so much that I heard the African voices cited by Onishi saying sounded precisely like what I remember white Southern "liberals" saying during the period of the Civil Rights struggles in the 1950s and 1960s in the U.S.