Thursday, March 31, 2016

Again with the Claim that Critics of Catholic Bishops' "Religious Freedom" Crusade Use Scare Quotes to Attack Religious Freedom: Michael Sean Winters' Continued Misrepresentation of Discussion of Bishops' Betrayal of Religious Freedom

As I've noted previously, National Catholic Reporter's Michael Sean Winters just doesn't get it when it comes to understanding why many of us commenting on the "religious freedom" crusade of the U.S. Catholic bishops and of their right-wing white evangelical allies place the phrase "religious freedom" or "religious liberty" in quotation marks as we issue our comments. Again yesterday, Winters repeated what he's said about this before: he maintains that people are using quotation marks in such commentary because they want to put the notion of religious freedom itself into "scare quotes."

I Celebrate My Birthday, I Encounter "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep" All Over Again: Continuing Challenge of Confronting Racism in American Culture

Charles Wilber White, "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep," Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

(My apologies that the Salon video embedded in this posting below seems to be set to come on automatically when you open the posting. I wanted to let you know this may happen before you click to open the posting, so that you can, if you wish, mute it immediately.)

Thanks to all of you esteemed readers who left birthday greetings for me yesterday. I'm slow to respond to comments, because Steve had planned a small trip for us in celebration of my birthday and I've been on the road yesterday and today. Yesterday, we drove to Crystal Bridges Museum (some 215 miles northwest of us), and spent the afternoon walking around the museum, enjoying its always intriguing collection of American art, strolling on the beautiful wooded grounds of the museum, and then enjoying a birthday meal at the museum restaurant overlooking the Crystal Springs from which the museum takes its name. A perfect birthday meal for me — a deviled Scotch egg followed by a chipotle Caesar salad, with a glass of the Australian white wine offered for the restaurant's happy hour (they called it a "culture hour," but they didn't fool me: it was a happy hour) . . . .

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Koch-Funded Business School of Catholic University of America Holds Neocon Conference on Catholic Social Teaching with Nightly "Cigar Reception"

Note the nightly Cigar Reception for those attending the recent neocon-spun conference on Catholic social teaching at the Koch-brothers-funded business school of Catholic University of America. I'm grateful to Tony Annett in a recent Commonweal essay for pointing to it and suggesting how wildly incongruous it is in the kind of church we're told Pope Francis wants. (Annett's suggestion was, of course, ridiculed by a Commonweal regular who routinely flaunts [and loves to do so] symbols of heterosexual male phallic power — manliness, he calls it — in the faces of men he deems quasi-female due to their sexual orientation and of women.)

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: LGBTQ Human Beings, "the Church Doesn't Owe You Understanding or Mercy, but Recognition"

Basque Franciscan theologian Jose Arregi tells LGBTQ human beings (his statement in Spanish is at the ATRIO site, and has been translated into English by Rebel Girl at Iglesia Descalza),

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "Instead, We Are Left with the Likes of John Allen and Rocco Palmo Who Are Just Pole Dancers at Bishop Conventions"

In response to Kaya Oakes's recent article about John Allen's decision to turn to the Knights of Columbus to fund his Crux journal, which I discussed yesterday, Tony Adams writes

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

As Crux Turns to Knights of Columbus for Funding, A Reflection on Catholic Heterosexism and Lack of Solidarity with LGBTQ People Among Heterosexually Privileged "Liberal" Catholics

Tomorrow's my birthday, but Steve has informed me that the Birthday Rules dictate that one's birthday begins at sundown the day before, so I'm settling into the start of my birthday celebration as I type this posting, and hope that will make me more douce than usual. I doubt it.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and the Longing to See Pharoah's Army Drowned: A Project in Which Atheists, Agnostics, and People of Faith Should Be Able to Collaborate

In this Easter Sunday's New York Times, philosopher William Irwin describes a strategy for people who question the notion of God who want to contribute to meaningful conversations in the public square — especially in the public square of a culture like that of the U.S., which is saturated with religion that is often downright demonic. For many of us who really want a viable alternative to demonic religion that has harmed us, and who welcome the persuasive critique of religion offered by our atheist or agnostic friends, the absolute, dogmatic certainty of those same friends places us between a rock and a hard place: it's the mirror image of the dogmatic religious demon from which we want to escape, in order to find safety. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

As Easter Nears, I'm Pondering Kaya Oakes's Question, "Is the Catholic Church in America Getting Worse for LGBTQ People and Women?" (My Answer: Yes)

I've replied to Kaya Oakes's tweet (and Facebook posting) above. Here's my reply: Yes.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Note to Chris Morley About a Disappearing Comment

A quick note to esteemed reader Chris Morley, who left a comment here yesterday in response to the posting about the Zubik v. Burwell case: your comment showed up in the Disqus queue as soon as you made it, Chris. But for reasons I cannot figure out, I do not see it displaying in the set of comments posted in response to my posting. If I click on your comment in the Disqus queue and ask Disqus to show it to me on the original posting, it does show up — but with none of the other comments that are now displaying on that page.

I wanted to let you know this problem has occurred and that I'm trying to figure out how to solve it — and that no one has erased your comment or placed it in a spam folder. I'm baffled by what has happened. It's a new occurrence, and I am hoping the tech experts at Disqus can help me resolve the problem.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

As Violence Is Discussed in Light of Brussels Atrocities, Some Food for Thought — About Violence As Our Problem, Too

Violence is in the air these days. After the events in Brussels, it's being discussed all over again — as if it's something occasional, far-away, over there, not really affecting most of us much of the time. As if violence has roots in them but not among us . . . .

Jamie Manson on Pope Francis's Curiously Straitened Notion of Mercy When Women and Women's Ordination Are Under Consideration

For the University of Arizona's Zócalo Public Square blog, Jamie Manson explains the anguish of Roman Catholic women like herself, who experience a calling to the priestly vocation, but who are told by the pastoral leaders of their church that "[t]he body God gave women makes God incapable of working through women." Jamie concludes,

Supremes Hear Zubik All-or-Nothing "Religious Liberty" Arguments: Commentary Worth Noting

The Supreme Court hears arguments this morning in the case of Zubik v. Burwell.  At issue in this case: a number of religious groups including the Little Sisters of the Poor of Denver (i.e., where the current archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, used to hang out) want to maintain that the accomodation provided by the Obama administration to employers objecting to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers include contraceptive coverage in employee healthcare plans burdens their religious freedom. The Little Sisters and others are arguing that even writing a letter stating that they object on grounds of conscience to providing contraceptive coverage to employees, and thereby allowing another entity to provide the coverage, infringes on their religious freedom.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trump and Working-Class White Anger: Valuable Commentary Pushing Back Against Refusal to Face Racism As Key Factor Fueling Trump's Rise

I'm glad to see increasing pushback against the meme that Donald Trump's phenomenal rise to power reflects justifiable working-class white anger — and that the overt, strongly discernible racism fueling that rise to power and energizing Trump's supporters is beyond the pale for discussion. Here are some valable pieces of commentary about this theme that have caught my eyes in the past two or three days:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Kelly Ladd Bishop on Complementarianism and Its Defense of Male Patriarchal Headship: Recipe for Abuse

I like very much that Kelly Ladd Bishop calls complementarianism what it actually is: support of "male patriarchal headship." Complementarianism is the ideology, dominant in many forms of Christianity today, that God made male and female to complement each other, to occupy separate spaces in the world, and to fulfill separate roles. All of this is rooted in biology: biological gender represents destiny, in the view of complementarians, and one rebels against the Creator God by trying to act like someone of the other gender — for example, in the case of those made without a penis, by trying to seize the power and control God allocates to those "He" has made with a penis.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Retrieving (and Critiquing) Imagination in a Time of Moral-Political Threat: A Compendium of Commentary

How and when did the imaginations of some of us who vaunt ourselves on being "liberal" thinkers become so stunted, that we imagine the valid responses of LGBT citizens to a clear and malicious "misstatement" about the Reagans' AIDS legacy are beside the point as we vet a political candidate to occupy the highest office in the land? What future do we expect to have when we throttle our imaginations and trample down necessary conversations about our future?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Defensive Responses to Critiques of Hillary's "Misstatement" About Reagans and AIDS: What Do They Portend for Future of Democratic Politics?

I've been noticing an interesting (yes, that word again) thing lately in comments in my circles of Facebook friends. I'd like to think out loud about this interesting thing now, in dialogue with any of you who might care to respond to my meandering thoughts here.

Raymond Arroyo on Why (White) Evangelicals and (White Republican) Catholics Love Trump: They're "Keep[ing] Their Faith Out of Politics"

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Raymond Arroyo of EWTN on "Amazing" Catholic Vote for Trump

Another dropping from the Catholic birdcage today (so many droppings, so little time!): Raymond Arroyo of Eternal Word Television Network tweeting last evening about how "amazing" it is that 50% of Catholics voting in Florida yesterday (presumably Republican-voting Catholics) cast their votes for Donald Trump, while a comparable number of evangelicals (presumably white ones) did the same:

As Trump Unmasks Catholic Republican Voters' Complicity in Racism, Catholic Centrists Continue to Declare Discussion of Complicity in Racism Off-Limits

A week ago, I drew readers' attention to a bold, clear statement by Anthony Annett at Commonweal which notes the many respects in which the Republican party line has not been, even pre-Donald Trump, in line with Catholic social teaching for some time now. Annett implicates Catholic neoconservatives like George Weigel and Robert P. George, who want to challenge Trump by claiming that he undermines Catholic moral teaching — Annett implicates these Catholic neocons in Trump's rise, as he notes,

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: Why Trump Keeps Winn Despite Crystal-Clear Evidence of Growing Violence Among His Supporters

Michael Sean Winters on how no amount of reporting on the growing violence at Trump rallies will deter Trump voters — rather, it spurs them on, because it's what they're about, when all is said and done:

Derrick Jensen on What Happens When Hatred Masked as Economics, Tradition, or Religious Belief Unmasks Itself

Derrick Jensen on what happens when hatred that has masked itself as economics, tradition, or religious belief ("I'm not a racist; I vote Republican because I'm a fiscal conservative") unmasks itself as it is challenged — and the naked raw force of the underlying hatred then emerges.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: "I Look Forward to the Day When He Is President and My White Maleness Automatically Propels Me to the Front of the Line"

In response to Maureen Fiedler's National Catholic Reporter article about Trump voters as "nostalgia" voters (they want their white Christian hegemony back), nic brilliantly sends up said "nostalgic" Trump voters:

Even Post-Donald Trump, Many White Catholic Voters Keep Denying That Racism Has Anything to Do with Republican Politics

I said yesterday that I'm finding this U.S. campaign season interesting. I'm going to use that word again today. You do realize that "interesting" is fraught with all sorts of other implications when I use it in this context? Shades of horror at the depths to which our culture is now descending; shock that we can have done this to ourselves as a nation, that we can have brought ourselves to this point; disbelief that people still want to pretend and deny as they keep trying to smear the huge writhing pig in front of our faces with pretty lipstick.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Stephanie Krehbiel on Ruth Krall's Importance in Understanding Yoder Story: "Without Her Steadfast Work of Decades, I Don't Want to Imagine Where We'd Be"

Several days ago, I published an essay here by the distinguished Mennonite scholar and abuse survivors' advocate Ruth Krall, responding to her erasure from the record of Mennonite scholarship and activism regarding the legacy of John Howard Yoder in a recent National Catholic Reporter article about these matters. Today, I'm delighted to add to this discussion an excellent essay written by a young Mennonite scholar, Stephanie Krehbiel, who strongly defends Ruth and her contribution to the discussion of Yoder's legacy, noting,

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Massimo Faggioli on Catholic Trumpism and the "Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy" of American Catholic Leaders

I wrote yesterday that the fact that white working-class Catholics are flocking to the out and out racist and xenophobe Donald Trump as he aims for the presidency is a serious indictment of the pastoral and intellectual leadership of the American Catholic church in the recent past. It's an indictment of the pastoral leadership of the U.S. bishops and of the lay leadership exercised by Catholic academics and journalists.

"Trumpvangelicals" and Trump As Quasi-Evangelical Leader: The Mark Driscoll Comparison

Here are a few links for all of you updating you on the "Trumpvangelical" (the term is Sarah Posner's) discussions we've had here previously, looking at why Donald Trump may be appealing so strongly to white evangelicals. I am borrowing rather shamelessly from Fred Clark's marvelous Slacktivist site yesterday in recommending a number of these articles to you: 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Anthony Annett and Patrica Miller Respond to Catholic Neocons Calling on Catholics to Stop Trump: "These Issues Are All—to Coin a Phrase—Non-Negotiable"

At Commonweal, Anthony Annett responds to the appeal of Catholic neocons Robert George and George Weigel to Catholics to stop Donald Trump in his tracks, which I discussed earlier today (and here):

A Footnote to Previous Posting: Trump's Appeal to White Catholic Voters Demonstrates Colossal Pastoral and Intellectual Failure of U.S. Catholic "Leaders"

To put the point of my previous posting very succinctly: the people who profess to "lead" the U.S. Catholic church — its bishops and its lay leaders in the media and academy — have, to a great extent, not been leaders at all in the past several decades. If they had exercised any pastoral and intellectual leadership in the U.S. church, we wouldn't be confronting what's so unimaginable to these leaders, namely, wide white Catholic support for an out and out racist and xenophobe.

Racism Is Not a Non-Negotiable: White Catholic Voters and Trump, Responsibility of the U.S. Bishops and Catholic Neocon and Centrist Lay Leaders

And so who's voting for Donald Trump in the primaries now being held around the country? The "surprising" (but entirely predictable, for those of us with close ties to white evangelical culture) finding that white evangelicals are gung-ho about Trump keeps being noted and is no longer surprising to anyone, though it apparently presents quite a conundrum for political and religious commentators who have blinded themselves to solid evidence for several decades now that the defection of white evangelicals in the South from Nixon forward has been all about race.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ruth Krall, A Considered Response to Lambelet and Hamilton: Vis-à-vis the Topic of Being Made Invisible…One More Time

John Howard Yoder (1927-1997)

It's my honor to share with you today an important essay by Ruth Krall responding to a recent report published by National Catholic Reporter regarding the discussion of the legacy of John Howard Yoder in the Mennonite Church. As I've noted repeatedly on this blog,* the work of Ruth Krall, a Mennonite peace-and-justice scholar, and of other Mennonite women, has been critically important in making the Yoder story known to the public, and in forcing Mennonite institutions to come to terms with Yoder's legacy of serial sexual violence towards female students and women he counseled pastorally, even as he represented the church in the public square as its most well-known advocate of non-violence.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Quote for Day: Chris Hedges on Working-Class White Americans' Embrace of Fascism with Trump

More on the Conundrum Confounding Beltway Media and GOP Establishment: Explain to Me Again Why White Evangelicals Are Going for Trump?!

My headline for the posting I just published mentions the continued strong support of white evangelicals for Donald Trump, support that is confounding the beltway media and the Republican establishment, but will astound no one who lives among white evangelicals and has had his or her finger on the pulse of white evangelical culture since this religious group began trending Republican in the South following the enactment of the Civil Rights Act (It's about the racism). Here's some commentary on why white evangelicals are, for the most part, deliriously happy about Donald Trump:

New Normal in U.S. Politics As Trump Rises: "Little Führers" and White Supremacists Foment Race Hatred, Evangelicals Applaud, Establishment Pretends

Steve has had the flu all week long, and he's had the misfortune to have to rely on me, who am the world's least patient nurse, as his caregiver. He's now getting better, and I find myself more than a little exhausted — so may not post much of any substance here for a day or so. Meanwhile, some tidbits from noteworthy things I've been reading as I brew herbal tea, take Steve's temperature, make soup, fluff pillows, administer medicine, and worry.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Goldie Taylor Notes Rise of New Dixiecrat Voters with Trump, Michael Sean Winters Attributes White Catholic Defection from Democratic Party to Anything But Racism

Goldie Taylor comments on how Donald Trump represents the rise of New Dixiecrats whose geographic range is not confined to the American south:

The Rant and Its Shortcomings As a Method of Moral Decision-Making: More on Self-Righteous Anger in American Political Life Today

Connected to what I said earlier today about self-righteous anger and  how it has a way of shutting us off from everyone else in the world who does not share our particular anger at a particular injustice at a particular moment, so that we band together only with others who share that particular anger: here are a few stories.

Anger of Followers of Trump the Strongman-cum-Carnival Barker, Anger About Catholic Abuse Situation: Thinking Through Reactions to "Spotlight"'s Oscar Win

See "Anger and Aggression," APA.

Anger's in the news right now. For Americans, anger's in the very air we breathe at present. Read articles analyzing the spectacular rise of strongman-cum-carnival barker Donald Trump to the top of the GOP primary, and you'll encounter the word anger over. And over. Again.