Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I'm Here, and Appreciate Your Asking After Me; My Apologies for Being Silent

Thank you all for asking about me. I've had a number of emails from people asking how I am, and I see John's comment today asking if I'm in a coma.

I'm in the land of the living. Just feel very blah, very despondent, right now — as if not much I say is worth reading or hearing. As some of you who have followed this blog for some time now know, I go through periods like this, and don't know how to handle them except by being silent.

Having a bout of protracted ill health has not helped, I will admit, though it seems I'm on the mend. My spirits are affected more, I think, by what's happening politically in my country, and by the dismal response of many leaders of faith communities to what's happening politically. I really do feel as if my words don't count for much when I read some of the bilge coming out of the mouths of leaders of the Christian community — notably, the leaders of the Catholic community in the U.S. — in response to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the choice of Joe Biden to officiate at a same-sex wedding, etc.

Then I turn to the Vatican, and hear Pope Francis making ugly, ill-informed comments about transgender people, and my spirits sink lower. I see him appointing a commission to study the possibility of ordaining women to the diaconate, and see the Catholic media in the U.S. lionizing one of the people he chose for that commission, a scholar who also writes for National Catholic Reporter . . . . 

Who recently published an article for NCR talking about violence in our culture, referring to the mass murders at "a nightclub" in Orlando . . . . The article conspicuously avoids noting that "a nightclub" was a gay nightclub and the people killed in it were LGBTQ people.

This is consistent with this scholar's approach to her LGBTQ brothers and sisters for a long time now. 

Though the vast majority of us who are LGBTQ and connected to the Catholic community strongly defend the rights of women, leading advocates of women's rights within the Catholic community repay our solidarity by savaging us who are LGBTQ, by playing women's rights against LGBTQ rights and sending the message that LGBTQ people simply do not and cannot belong to the Catholic community.

Those people are rewarded by Pope Francis and given a platform by Pope Francis. And they are lionized by the intellectual leaders of the American Catholic church and by the leading journals of the American Catholic church.

I turn to another leading Catholic publication in the U.S., Commonweal, and hear one of its contributing editors, a heterosexual male, speaking of how those who write about food or read publications dealing with food matters tend to be "effete" — effeminate, soft. Reading these comments brings to mind a discussion the same Catholic journal had several years ago in its blog space about whether men who visit museums are really bona fide men.

This is the same publication in which I was ridiculed as not quite male by a group of Commonweal regulars in a discussion thread there several years ago, in which several Commonweal regulars pretended to think that, despite my username — William Lindsey — I am female. 

Those regulars are still there, holding forth in discussion threads at Commonweal and very welcome, to all appearances, after I have accepted the fact that I am not welcome in these discussion threads and no longer post in them. No one has ever castigated them for their behavior towards me and others like me. The two people who stood up for me when Commonweal regulars mounted those misgendering attacks on me stopped posting there in protest at the lack of solidarity that all the other Commonweal regulars showed me. One of the men who attacked me in this way was holding forth just this past week at Commonweal, offering people a link to the Breitbart site as he defended Donald Trump and Trump's attacks on the Khan family.

Good Catholics. Catholics who fit in. Catholics who belong to the club. Catholics who understand the values of a heterosexist, male-entitled, misogynistic boys' club in a way I clearly don't understand.

I bounce back to NCR and see the moderators of the discussion threads there doing something they've done before to people who do not merit such treatment — blocking a commenter without explanation, placing this commenter's comments (he happens to be openly gay, by the way) in a moderation queue, and then erasing them without explanation. They have done this repeatedly to this poster.

I see the same NCR regulars defending this atrocious behavior, and blaming the victim, who have defended this kind of behavior by the NCR moderators in the past, blaming those who get dumped on — without explanation — in NCR discussion threads, as if the victim invites his/her victimization.

A club whose rules make no sense to me, a parochial, tribal, exceedingly adolescent and mean-spirited one comprised of people who seem to have no moral courage at all, no courage to stand up against bullies, but who take the side of might and power instinctively . . . . A club that clearly does not welcome me or want me and never did welcome or want me . . . . 

And all of this is simply excruciatingly sad and painful as a response to the rise of Mr. Trump to power in the U.S. It makes me feel as if anything I say about anything at all does not matter and will not count.

And so I've been choosing to be silent in response. I do appreciate the concern of those who have contacted me, and am sorry to be a disappointment. I truly don't know what to say when it appears what I have to say matters so very little to the people who claim to be speaking on God's behalf in our world today.

I'm not sure, to be honest, that this blog does any good or ever has done so.

(Please see this continuation of the points made in the preceding posting.)

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