Sunday, December 31, 2017

Kathryn Brightbill on U.S. White Evangelicalism in Era of Trump: "A Deeply Immoral Enterprise That Must Be Condemned and Resisted at Every Point"

As people compile lists of events and articles that impressed them in 2017 to share on social media, I happened to notice someone I follow on Twitter (and respect very much) tweeting a link yesterday to Kathryn Brightbill's essay this past August entitled "The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism." I clicked and read the essay, and am very glad I did so.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Response to Timothy Keller on Rebranding White U.S. Evangelicalism: Going to Take a Lot More Than Rebranding

As an avis rara who has had feet in both the white evangelical and the Catholic world in the U.S., who has been repuidated by the latter, here's my response to Timothy Keller's parsing-and-rebranding proposal to solve the problem that is white evangelicalism in the U.S.:

At Year's End: Discussion of What to Do About the Now-Toxic Brand of White Evangelicalism in the U.S. — A Project That Should Go Well Beyond Rebranding

Among the biggest U.S. religion stories as 2017 ends: the attempt of a significant number of U.S. white evangelicals to distance themselves from the toxic brand that white evangelical Christianity has created for itself at this point in history — as the same percentage of white evangelicals (8 in 10) who voted for the man now in the White House after all we had learned about him then voted for Roy Moore. After all we had learned about him . . . .

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bishop William G. Curlin: Some Last Words (about Pastoral Image and Pastoral Substance)

I don't like beating dead horses — and could not bring myself to beat a live one, either. I do think it's important to make one final statement about Bishop Curlin and why I posted a series of pieces about my dealings with him over the years, and about his record in the Catholic abuse cover-up, at the time of his death.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"Bishops Like Curlin and Cardinal Law, What They Have Done Is Criminal": A Church That Wants to Be Pastoral Must Listen to Testimony of Abuse Survivors

In a 27 April 2002 letter to the Charlotte Observer entitled "In Eyes of Abuse Victims, Bishop Curlin Is No Hero,"* Neal Evans of Asheville, North Carolina, reports that after an initial 1995 meeting with Bishop William G. Curlin to discuss his abuse at the hands of a diocesan priest and after Curlin came to Asheville to issue a public apology to victims of clerical sexual abuse, Evans heard nothing — not a single word — from Curlin in the ensuing seven years. According to Evans, when Evans met with Curlin, Curlin made promises that he failed to keep, including a promise to form a lay advisory committee to advise him about clerical abuse of minors, a committee on which he would place Evans.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What Christmas Means, and Why (White) U.S. Christianity Is in Crisis Now (Hint: It's about Pretend, as Opposed to Real, Pastoral Behavior)

Celia Wexler, author of Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope (Rowman & Littlefield), in an essay just before Christmas entitled, "Cardinal Law's Papal Sendoff Shows Church's Laxity On Sex Abuse Scandal":

Remembering Bishop William G. Curlin of Charlotte As Eminently Pastoral (There's Still No Room in the Inn for You Queer Catholics) (2)

On 22 January and 3 February 2003, Cardinal Bernard Law was deposed in Boston by attorneys representing abuse survivors. In that deposition, the attorneys deposing Law asked him about Rev. George Berthold and how and why Belmont Abbey College ended up hiring Berthold with the approval of the bishop of Charlotte, William G. Curlin. 

Here are some highlights from that deposition:

Remembering Bishop William G. Curlin of Charlotte As Eminently Pastoral (There's Still No Room in the Inn for You Queer Catholics)

Tim Funk, the Charlotte Observer religion commentator, remembers Charlotte Catholic bishop William G. Curlin, who died on Christmas eve, as someone known as "a pastoral bishop" who followed Mother Teresa in reaching out to people considered untouchable lepers. As Funk notes, Curlin's tenure as bishop of Charlotte was, however, "not without controversy." Speaking as if the abuse crisis in the Catholic church in Charlotte is over and done with, Funk says that Charlotte never had the volume of abuse cases found in places like Boston:

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Message of the Church to LGBTQ Catholics: Merry Christmas — Oh, and There's (Still) No Room in the Inn for the Likes of You

One of the definitive messages of the Christmas story — perhaps more definitive for many of us who are LGBTQ and Christian — is the message of no room: there was no room anywhere for Joseph and Mary as they came to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve in Dark Times: Still, One Can Dream. And Hope.

I am, I have to admit, a pushover for flashmob videos, though I have a feeling the flashmob phenomenon has peaked. The world has taken a dark turn from the heady period in which this concept performative concept broke on the scene, when it seemed that European union and the election of an African-American president in the U.S. might herald a new age of international cooperation in which the human community might strive to overcome some of its old, deep hatreds and work to build a better world for all.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Solstice: Veni et Illumina Sedentes in Tenebris

Happy winter solstice to all of you readers. The photo above is one Steve took in 2013 a day or so after the winter solstice, at the Pantheon in Rome. We were visiting the Pantheon around noontime on that day.

The photo below is one we took of the basilica of St. Francis in Assisi a few days before the solstice. I see a parable here, in the juxtaposition of these two photos.

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae et sol justitiae,
veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

"A Living Symbol of the Catholic Church's Tolerance for the Sexual Abuse of Children": Cardinal Law's Legacy Remembered (2)

"A Living Symbol of the Catholic Church's Tolerance for the Sexual Abuse of Children": Cardinal Law's Legacy Remembered

For the New Civil Rights Movement website, David Badash gathers a thought-provoking compendum of responses to news of the death of Cardinal Bernard Law, whose legacy will be summed up by his protection of priests abusing minors, by the lies he told to accomplish that end, by his hunger for ecclesiastical power and power in the secular realm and how he used that power to harm others. As one thinks about this life and that legacy, it's hard not to hear gospel verses ringing in one's ears — about how we'll be judged at the end of our lives according to how we dealt with the least among us; about how what we whisper in the dark will be shouted from the rooftops; about how the crops we reap will be from the seeds we have sown.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Statement of Religious Right Leaders about Biology-Based Gender Roles as Key to Divine Revelation: "An Approach to God That Biblical Tradition Calls Idolatry"


I'm grateful to you readers who shared with us here a link to the "new" statement about gender matters from various religious right leaders. The U.S. Catholic bishops, several of whom are signatories to the statement, have placed the statement on their website, as several of you noted here yesterday. I read the response of Francis DeBernardo at Bondings 2.0 to this statement yesterday, and then offered my own response on Twitter as I shared Francis DeBernardo's reflections.

Dark and Light: Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas (2)


It never takes longer than a few minutes, whenever they get together, for everyone to revert to the state of nature, like a party marooned by a shipwreck. That’s what a family is. Also the storm at sea, the ship and the unknown shore. And the hats and the whiskey stills that you make out of bamboo and coconuts. And the fire that you light to keep away the beasts. 

~ Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (NY: Harper, 2007), p. 309.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Amy Sullivan on the Weaponized (White) Fox Evangelicalism That Is America's New Religion: "You Can Do Anything and Still Be on the Right Side"

Amy Sullivan, "America's New Religion: Fox Evangelicalism":

Dark and Light: Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas (1)


The events of September 11 were a dark epiphany, a terrible revelation of what life is like if we do not recognize the sacredness of all human beings, even our enemies. Maybe the only revelation we can hope for now is an experience of absence and emptiness. We have seen too much religious certainty recently. 

~ Karen Armstrong, Spiral Staircase (NY: Random House, 2004), p. 303.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

"When the Music Is Low and the Whiskey Is in the Glass": The Difference Southern History Makes in Seeing that Masterpiece Cake Is Piggie Park Redivivus

Tom Lee, "Song from a Birmingham Church," at The Bitter Southerner:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Not Even Close: Knowing Exactly Who Roy Moore Is, Majority of White Alabamians — and White Evangelicals Overwhelmingly — Tried to Put Him in Senate

Charlene White, "In Alabama, black women saved America from itself – as they've always tried to do":

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Quote for Day: Marie Griffith on How Deeply Entwined Is U.S. (White) Christians' Fixation on Sex and Power with (White) American Nationalism

At Religion News Service today, Jana Riess interviews Marie Griffith, author of the just-published Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics. Riess asks Griffith what surprised her as she did research about the fixation of American Christians with sex and power historically. 

Hot Takes on Moore Defeat: White Evangelicals Did It! It's All About Abortion! (And Why Masterpiece Cake Will Likely Prevail)

Some takes on the Alabama election I should have anticipated, but did not:

1. Though 80 percent of white evangelicals in Alabama cast their votes for Roy Moore, Doug Jones won because — are you ready for this spin? — white evangelicals abandoned Moore!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Roy Moore Defeated, But Polling Data Tell Us Why We Have Miles and Miles to Go Before We Jubilate — Fusion of White Nationalism and White Christianity Remains Potent Toxic Challenge

Ezra Klein, "Why Doug Jones’s narrow win is not enough to make me confident about American democracy":

Sunday, December 10, 2017

CNN Asks, "Roy Moore, Jerusalem and LGBT Rights: Why Is Religion So Divisive?" My Response in Twitter Thread


For CNN today, Daniel Burke asks, "Roy Moore, Jerusalem and LGBT rights: Why is religion so divisive?" Here's my response to the question he asks, in a Twitter thread:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Wedding Cakes and Conscience: A Twitter Discussion of the Heart of the Matter

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cakes as Religious Freedom and Artistic Expression, and Rolling Civil Rights Back to Year Two: What Americans Love to Argue About in God's Name

Dana Milbank reporting on the first day in the current Supreme Court hearing about cakes as fetishes of religious freedom and artistic expression (yes, this really is happening; yes, this is what some of the finest judicial minds in our land are devoting their attention to right now):  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Supremes and Cake Bakers' "Artistic Expression": Back to Piggie Park, But This Time with (White) Catholics on Board

As Antonia Blumberg and Amanda Marcotte note, if the Supremes rule for business owners' right to discriminate against LGBTQ people and call that discrimination religious freedom, we're back to Piggie Park. We're back to South Carolina barbecue joint owner Maurice Bessinger in the 1960s, with Bessinger's claim that religious faith mandated he discriminate against African-American customers, and he should be permitted religious freedom to discriminate because his belief was sincere.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Roy Moore's Strongest Supporters? White Evangelicals — New Poll Results

News just breaking: a Washington Post-Schar School poll shows that white evangelicals continue to stand by their man Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race after all a number of women have come forth to tell their stories about how he sexually assaulted them when they were minors. Roughly the same percentage of white evangelicals in Alabama as the percentage of white evangelicals nationally who placed the moral monstrosity in the White House — 78% — say they intend to vote for Moore. Commentary on this:

Franklin Graham Tweets that the Man in the White House Stands Stronger for Christianity Than Any President in Graham's Lifetime: Twitter Goes Wild in Response

Franklin Graham, son of the noted U.S. white evangelical leader Billy Graham, tweets that he's never in his lifetime seen an American president stand so strongly for the Christian faith than the moral monstrosity white Christians have placed in the White House. Twitter responds to this claim:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Roy Moore's Attack on LGBT People at Baptist Church Yesterday: "They Are the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender" Folks Spearheading Resistance to Him — The Narrative Line We Must Not Miss

There is a narrative line in these disparate textual pieces. A narrative line emerges when you put them together, and it's a narrative line essential to spot for anyone trying to understand why the revelations that Roy Moore has preyed sexually on female minors have resulted in more — not less — support for him among white evangelicals in Alabama. This is a narrative line that implicates the 60% of white Catholics who voted for the moral monstrosity now occupying the White House, and the U.S. Catholic bishops who are the pastoral and moral leaders of those Catholics — though neither the bishops nor white Catholics want to admit that they are in any way implicated in this narrative.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"White Voters Backed a Candidate Who Assured Them That They Will Never Have to Share This Country with People of Color as Equals": White Jesus, White Bible, White U.S. Christians & Trump Presidency

A week ago (plus a day), I shared with you an excerpt from Adam Serwer's outstanding recent essay in The Atlatic entitled "The Nationalist's Delusion." At his Slacktivist site, Fred Clark has been commenting on and sharing pieces from Serwer's essay. Here's a valuable passage from Fred's commentary today:

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"It Is THEOLOGY That Makes the Church an Unsafe Place for Survivors & a Haven for Abusers": #ChurchToo Discusses Theological Underpinnings of Churches' Defense of Sexual Predators

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"In Reality, a Gospel without Justice Is No Gospel at All": Implications for the Catholic Church and LGBT People, and for Catholic "Bridge-Builders"

A key implication of Jemar Tisby's statement that, "[i]n reality, a gospel without justice is no gospel at all," is that the gospel itself — the good news of God's salvific, redemptive love for everyone offered in Jesus Christ — is unavailable to those who are not accorded justice. The good news of God's all-inclusive love for the world through Jesus is unavailable to those who are not accorded justice by Christians and Christian institutions proclaiming the gospel to the world.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Boston Declaration: A Prophetic Appeal to Christians of the United States

As followers of Jesus, the Jewish prophet for justice whose life reminds us to, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31) we hear the cries of women and men speaking out about sexual abuse at the hands of leaders in power and we are outraged. We are outraged by the current trends in Evangelicalism and other expressions of Christianity driven by white supremacy, often enacted through white privilege and the normalizing of oppression. Confessing racism as the United States' original and ongoing sin, we commit ourselves to following Jesus on the road of costly discipleship to seek shalom justice for the least, the lost, and the left out. We declare that following Jesus today means fighting poverty, economic exploitation, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression from the deepest wells of our faith.
~ Boston Declaration, 20 November 2017

In Today's News: "If Jesus Christ Gets Down Off the Cross and Told Me Trump Is with Russia, I Would Tell Him, 'Hold on a Second. I Need to Check with the President'"

Astead W. Herndon, "Why evangelicals are again backing a Republican despite allegations of sexual misconduct":

Friday, November 17, 2017

"The Fish Rots from the Head" and American Catholic Reasons for Choosing Trump: My Take

In an article yesterday at Vox entitled "'The fish rots from the head': a historian on the unique corruption of Trump's White House," U.S. presidential historian Robert Dallek tells Sean Illing that "the Trump administration easily ranks among the most corrupt in American history." Dallek states,

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Moore (Roy, That Is): Why White Evangelicals Can't Quit Their Man, and the Horrors Posed by "the Alabamization of This Country"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Commentary on Why Roy Moore's Evangelical Supporters Won't Abandon Him (Hint: Look at How They Reponded to Trump's Boasts About Sexual Assault of Women)

As I said yesterday, the stories and commentary keep coming out, so I feel obliged to keep blogging about these matters, especially when they're so germane to the kind of discussions I've tried to stir on this blog site since I started it. What's happening with the Roy Moore story points us back to the choice of 8 in 10 — 8 in 10! — white evangelicals and some 6 in 10 — 6 in 10! — white Catholics and Mormons to place the moral monstrosity now occupying the White House there last November. We want to keep forgetting that fact, conveniently so, and the way in which that choice betrayed the most fundamental principles of morality for which these ostensibly "pro-life" voters claimed to stand, as long as those principles could be applied exclusively to Democratic presidents like Mr. Clinton.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Accuser Comes Forward to Say Roy Moore Assaulted Her When She Was a Teen, 53 Pastors Sign Letter Supporting Moore

The stories keep coming along, and I think it's important to keep blogging about them:

The Bridge-Building Project in the U.S. Catholic Church and Reaching Out to the Poor Bishops as A Primary Task: My Take

It's very hard to get my mind around Catholic groups, including ones working for the full inclusion of queer people in the Catholic church, which think that the major challenge today is to invite the bishops to the table and to avoid being "angry" at the bishops.

"In the Darkest Timeline, Where Republicans Have No Shame": Top White Evangelical Leaders Stand by Their Man in Alabama

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Charles Pierce on Roy Moore as Exactly What Republicans Are All About Now: "Wake Up and Smell the White Supremacist Theocracy"

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trending on Twitter: #RoyMooreChildMolester — "I Never Thought I’d See the Day When Pedophilia Became a Divisive Issue Within the GOP"

Trending today on Twitter: #RoyMooreChildMolester. At the New Civil Rights Movement website right now, David Badash has a good assortment of tweets from this hashtag. The tweet above by Dave Zirin is one featured in David's article.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Michael Kruse's Politico Analysis of Trump Voters in Light of Tuesday Elections: "A Story of People Who Are Addicted to White Supremacy"

On Facebook and Twitter, I'm finding that the most lively conversations now taking place after Tuesday's election focus on Michael Kruse's article published yesterday in Politico, about diehard Trump supporters in the economically depressed mining community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Kruse is not directly commenting on Tuesday's election results, but his piece appeared at a fortuitous moment in that regard. It might as well be analysis of one side of the American political landscape — and why the other side of the political landscape so resoundingly repudiated that side in the elections held on Tuesday. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Twitter Chews Over Election Results: "Thoughts and Prayers to all the Republican Politicians Who Lost Their Seats Today"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fantasies of Some American Christians about "Good" Violence as Precursor of Second Coming: Theological Root Not to Overlook in Gun-Control Debate

Because of our historical amnesia and religious illiteracy — both of them aided and abetted by our media — many Americans know little about powerful strands in American Christian thought, especially among white evangelicals, that feed our national fantasies about guns and violence. When Western Christianity made its fateful turn with Constantine, conflating church and state in many troubling ways and resulting in the church's blessing of state violence, it turned decisively away from the pacifist theology of such early Christian thinkers as Tertullian, who taught (On Idolatry) that wearing the belt of a soldier was incompatible with following Jesus, who had instructed his followers that those who take the sword will die by the sword. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Why Do Many of Us Feel "Impotent Helplessness" in Face of Cultural Violence? A Reflection (Implicating the Churches)

In both of the postings I've made this morning in response to the Texas mass shooting yesterday (God, how glibly that ugly phrase begins to flow from our mouths now, week after endless week), I've spoken about the feeling of helplessness many of us bring to this situation. To be specific, in my first posting this morning, I wrote very specifically about my own feeling of helplessness, my own feeling that my voice simply does not count: I stated, 

"Thoughts, Prayers, God — Why Didn't Anyone Think of That Before?": More Commentary on America's Gun (and NRA-GOP) Problem

Huffington Post, "Mass Shooting Suspect Devin Patrick Kelley Had ‘Connection’ To Texas Church"

Enough with the Thoughts and Prayers: A Twitter Thread in Response to Texas Mass Shooting

Friday, November 3, 2017

Footnote to Discussion of Elevated Theology of Priesthood and Who Gets Invited to Table: Truth Claims of Doctrine Require Verification in Real Lives

This posting is a footnote to a string of interrelated postings I've made here recently, for which I have provided links below. Readers who have read that string may not see a common theme in it. I do, perhaps because I tend to think in an idea-links-to-idea way as I make postings here. This footnote is my attempt to make explicit an idea that, to my way of thinking, runs through the thread of postings listed below.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Russian Propaganda, Critical-Thinking Skills, and How the Christian Right Broke America: Valuable Recent Contributions to the Discussion

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

More from Michael Boyle on Elevated Theology of Priesthood: "'Theory' and 'Intellectual Integrity' Are Really Place Holders for the Unfettered Discretion of the Priest'"

At his Sound of Sheer Silence blog, Michael Boyle has responded to my posting commenting on his own reflections about how the central nexus from which the abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic church is an "elevated theology of who priests are." Interestingly enough, as I just typed that phrase, I misremembered Michael's exact words and typed, "an 'elevated theology of who priests think they are.'"

Monday, October 30, 2017

As Manafort Goes Up in Flames, Major White Evangelical Leaders Tweet About . . . Something Else, Anything but Manafort

As the man who managed the campaign of the moral monstrosity placed in the White House by eight in ten white evangelicals and some six in ten white Catholics and Mormons goes up in flames on #MuellerMonday — the man I'm talking about is Paul Manafort, of course — it's fascinating to see what the leading white evangelical epigones of that moral monstrosity in the White House are tweeting about this morning.

The tweet above is what Reverend Robert Jeffress tweeted* just after news broke about Manafort's and Gates' indictments.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Catholic Clerical Sexual Abuse Crisis, Clericalism, and Pope Francis: Michael Boyle's Take — "The Problem Is an Elevated Theology of Who Priests Are"

In February this year, I recommended to you the four-part series by Michael Boyle on his A Sound of Sheer Silence blog site entitled "How Did This Happen?" In these valuable essays, Michael walks through an assessment of the clerical culture that produced the crisis around sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church, and its cover-up. He's responding to the report of the Australian Royal Commission on Abuse. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quote for the Day: Queer Catholics Once Again Reminded "That, in Both Life and in Death, They Can Be Shunned by Their Church"

At Huffington Post yesterday afternoon, Carol Kuruvilla writes about a set of "pastoral" directives that have been leaked from the offices of the Roman Catholic diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, which is headed by His Excellency Bishop Robert Charles Morlino. The Pray Tell blog published an email several days ago in which the Vicar General of the Madison diocese, the Reverend Monsignor James R. Bartylla, tells priests of his diocese how to handle funerals of queer Catholics. In a nutshell, the policy established by this communication permits priests to deny funerals to queer Catholics, if they judge that this is an appropriate action for the following reasons:

A Reader Asks: "If You Could Sit Down with Fr. Martin for a One on One," What Would You Say? My Response

In response to what I posted yesterday as I recommended to you the podcast discussion featuring Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson, Sarasi asked me a very good question:

Bill, if you were to be invited to one of these "both-sides" discussions, if such a thing existed, where would you begin? (even if this might not be a realistic scenario) If you could sit down with Fr. Martin for a one on one, would you say anything different?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"Some People Get Uninvited from Talks. Some People Never, Ever Get Even an Invitation to the Table at All": Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, Jamie Manson NCR Podcast Conversation

I've previously recommended to you Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson's essay at National Catholic Reporter entitled "Kick-Starting a New Catholic Conversation." I'd like now to recommend a podcast conversation between the three that NCR published several days ago. I've embedded it above for your convenience in listening. 

In this discussion, Mary, Marianne, and Jamie talk with NCR's Brittany Wilmes about their essay and what they intended in co-authoring it. Some key points that stand out for me as I listen:

Monday, October 23, 2017

An Apology from New Ways Ministry Official for His Comment About Me on Facebook

I do want to acknowledge that I have received an emailed apology from the New Ways Ministry official who left the comment on Facebook yesterday that I have discussed in the past two postings. He generously tells me that I may share the apology, and I appreciate that. I'm doing so now.

On the Characterization of Some Catholic LGBTQ Voices as Uncharitable Garbage: Continuing the Necessary Conversation

Because I think this conversation is extremely important — if the goal of any reformist group within the Catholic church really is to create conditions for open, honest dialogue about same-sex love — I want to capture some of the conversation as it is occuring here (and on Facebook) in response to my posting yesterday about how an associate director of New Ways Ministry has publicly characterized me and my work as "uncharitable garbage." He made the comment in response to my recent essay recommending some wonderful analysis offered by Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson, which critiqued the response of Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry to this analysis.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Associate Director of New Ways Ministry Responds to My Essay about Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy Burke, and Jamie Manson's Recent Proposal as "Uncharitable Garbage": My Reflections

A number of days back, I recommended to you an essay by Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson calling for kick-starting a new Catholic conversation about same-sex love. My posting notes some criticisms of this essay made by Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cahill and Wilkinson's Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: "Most Comprehensive Report Ever Published on the Systemic Reasons Behind Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church"

Several days ago, when I blogged about Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson's study Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports, I told you I planned to say a bit more about this ground-breaking study after I had read it thoroughly. My previous posting looked at one of the systemic roots of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church: how the encyclical Humanae Vitae has undermined the credibility of any official Catholic teaching about human sexuality by ignoring the wisdom of lay Catholics as it seeks to impose, from the top down and with no consultation of lay Catholic experience, a ban on contraception widely rejected by the laity. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Saltwater Baptism," by Jared Callahan and Russell Sheaffer: The Awful Rowing Toward God for Two Gay Latino Evangelical Youth

A painful journey to self-acceptance, and to the understanding that God calls us to love and accept ourselves as we have been created — a journey undertaken within a Latino wing of evangelical Christianity in the U.S. today . . . .

(The phrase "awful rowing toward God" is from Anne Sexton.)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trump Eviscerates Obamacare by Executive Action, "Pro-Life" North Carolina Catholic Virginia Foxx, a Member of Bishop Peter Jugis' Flock, Exults

Charles Pierce on the executive action taken today by the man "pro-life" white Christians placed in the White House, to undermine healthcare coverage of millions of Americans in need of coverage:

On the Danger of Allowing Gay People to Be Public in Catholic Institutions: A Story from the Recent Past

Yesterday, I blogged about the recent statement of a bishop, Peter Jugis of Charlotte, North Carolina, that Catholic officials and institutions must have the right to punish gay employees who "go public" about their gay identities and relationships. During the night last night, as I lay awake thinking about these issues in the wee hours of the morning, a memory flashed back. It's from my years teaching at Xavier University, a Catholic university in New Orleans. The following events occurred around 1989 or 1990, as best as I can recall.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wolf or Sheep? Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis Defends Right of Catholic Institutions to Fire Gay Employees Who Go Public About Their Lives and Loves

As Michael Gordon and Tim Funk report recently for the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, Catholic bishop Peter Jugis says that gay employees of Catholic institutions should be fired when they "go public" about their disagreement with "fundamental moral tenets" of the Catholic magisterium.

"When Wolf Meets Sheep": On the Possibility of Safe Dialogue Spaces to Discuss Same-Sex Lives and Love in the U.S. Catholic Church

At New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog today, Robert Shine cites Damian Torres-Botello, an out gay Jesuit who writes the following in The Jesuit Post about the possibility of open, respectful dialogue about same-sex love in the Catholic church after anti-LGBT right-wing Catholics succeeded in having a talk by Father James Martin cancelled recently:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson Propose Reframing Catholic Conversation re: Same-Sex Love; Francis DeBernardo Responds — My Reflections

Recently, at National Catholic Reporter, Mary Hunt, Marianne Duddy-Burke, and Jamie Manson published an essay calling for kick-starring a new Catholic conversation about same-sex love. Several days ago, at New Ways Ministry's Bondings 2.0 blog, Francis DeBernardo posted a response to this essay. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Cahill and Wilkinson's Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church on How Humanae Vitae Undermines Sexual Ethic of Catholic Church

As a complement to what I just posted about how the U.S. Catholic bishops and Republican party brought right-wing white evangelicals on board the anti-contraception and anti-abortion bandwagon, I'd like to share a posting I made yesterday to my Facebook friends. I'm now reading the recent ground-breaking, exhaustive study of child sexual abuse in the Catholic church entitled Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: An Interpretive Review of the Literature and Public Inquiry Reports by Desmond Cahill and Peter Wilkinson's of Melbourne University's Centre for Global Research. (Thanks to Sarasi1 for inviting me to do that). When I've finished reading it, I'll have more to say about it, but for now, here's something that leaps out at me as I read:

How Right-Wing White Evangelicals Fixated on Birth Control and Abortion: Answers from Tara Isabella Burton, Fred Clark, and David Gushee

At Vox this past weekend, Tara Isabella Burton asks how birth control became a part of the conservative evangelical agenda, when even the most conservative evangelical churches never had a peep to say about this matter until fairly recently. She writes:

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Update on Judge Wendell Gfiffen of Little Rock: Judge Griffen Files Suit vs. Arkansas Supreme Court for Violating His Religious Liberty

In May, I told you of a move to impeach Arkansas judge (and my friend) Wendell Griffen after he took part in a public demonstration against the death penalty organized on Good Friday by the church he pastors in Little Rock, New Millennium Baptist church. In response to his involvement in this protest, the Arkansas Supreme Court and Arkansas Attorney General restricted the kinds of cases at which Judge Griffen might preside, claiming that he was too biased to hear some cases, such as ones in which the death penalty might be an appropriate sentence in their view.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Las Vegas Story: Google Finds Itself Gamed Again by Organized Hate Groups (Back to the Case of Father Martin and Church Militant)

On 21 September, I presented you with a series of screenshots showing you that on that day at about 2 P.M. CST (in the U.S.), the three "top news" stories that Google was returning to those who googled the name "James Martin" were all personal attacks on Father Martin from the Church Militant website, which is not a bona fide news site at all.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers: The American Way of Evading Meaningful Action Through Resort to Meaningless "Religious" Nonsense

Monday, October 2, 2017

Back from Trip, Thinking About American Catholicism, the "Both-Sides" False Equivalency Argument, and Ethics of Survival

I'm sorry to have been silent for a week. Steve and I spent last week in New Orleans visiting friends and family, and as we did so, I couldn't keep up with blogging — even, to any great degree, with following the news. I'm back now, and among all that I might talk about (the dire situation in Puerto Rico and the morally bankrupt response of the Trump administration to it; the event of mass murder in Las Vegas last evening), what is foremost in my mind today, for the purpose of this blog, is a discussion I read in the past day or so at the National Catholic Reporter site.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

David Gushee's Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism on His Experience When He Spoke Out vs. Anti-LGBT Theologies

In his book Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2017), David P. Gushee speaks about what happened as he began to revise his understanding of how the churches treat queer people — as he began to change his thinking as a religion scholar specializing in the field of ethics whose academic career was spent teaching in Baptist-affiliated institutions (Southern Baptist and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship). When he began to speak his mind and publish about these matters, he found himself slapped, excluded, shunned, disinvited from lecturing at places that had invited him to lecture, receiving hate mail, hate email, and hate tweets. He found his books yanked from shelves in Christian bookstores. Here (and above) are some excerpts for you (clicking graphics makes them enlarge):

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Google's "Top Stories" re: Fr. James Martin Right Now? All Vile, Hateful, Lie-Filled Personal Attacks by Church Militant — Google's Continuing Irresponsibility with "Top Stories"

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bridge-Building with the Catholic and LGBTQ Communities, and the "Both Sides" Argument: More Critical Responses

I very much like Robert Shine's response to Bishop Robert McElroy's wake-up call. Robert Shine applauds Bishop McElroy's wake-up call regarding the "cancer of vilification" seeping into American Catholicism as a response to people like Father James Martin who discuss building bridges with the LGBTQ community. As Shine notes, as welcome as Bishop McElroy's call is, it ends on a disappointing note of false equivalency, which claims that "both sides" are at fault in this situation. Robert Shine writes writes,

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On the (Hateful Homophobic) Vitriol Eating Away at the Communion of the Church: "If Good Religion Slumbers and Stagnates, Bad Religion Is the Alternative"

I see connections galore between these good articles I've read in the past few days. Do you, too, I wonder?

Laura Donlon, "Fr James Martin says Cafod 'not entirely accurate' in its account of why his London lecture was 'cancelled'":

Two Obituaries, Two Very Different Stories of What Family Is About: Who Counts, Who Doesn't, and the Role Churches Play

Two obituaries, two very different stories about what family is about — who counts, who doesn't, who is included, who may be excluded, looked down on, denigrated, told that he/she is worthless when family gathers:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Faith Defined as Dogma Is Weaponized Faith: A Theological Footnote to Father Jenkins' Response to Senator Feinstein re: Catholic Dogma

I'd like to add a theological footnote to what I posted yesterday reflecting on the recent claim of Notre Dame University president Father John Jenkins that "'dogma lives loudly' . . . is a condition we call faith." As I noted, Father Jenkins makes this assertion in an open letter to Senator Diane Feinstein criticizing her statement to Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett, who is being vetted for a federal judge's position, that "dogma lives loudly" in Barrett and might impede her ability to uphold the law when the law conflicts with her dogmatic religious positions.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Notre Dame President Father Jenkins Responds to Senator Feinstein: "'Dogma Lives Loudly' . . . Is a Condition We Call Faith" (But No, It's Not)

At a hearing last week, Senator Diane Feinstein grilled federal judge nominee (and Notre Dame University law professor) Amy Coney Barrett about a paper she co-authored in 1998 with John Garvey, who is now president of Catholic University of America. Senator Feinstein suggested that the position Barrett took in her 1998 paper is tantamount to proposing that, for someone sitting on a court bench, religious faith should trump law when the two appear to be in conflict. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Love Does Not Permit Us to Plug Up Our Ears with Bible Verses": Donald Trump and White Christians' Patriarchal Worldview — Connecting Dots

I see lots of dots connecting in these valuable pieces of commentary I've read in the past several days. I hope you might, too: