Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bible Repeatedly Commands Us to Welcome Strangers; "Bible-Believing" Christians Focus Instead on Homosexuality and Abortion

As Matthew Schmalz points out in the Religion News Service article I shared a few minutes ago, the Hebrew and Christian scriptures are FULL OF references to the "stranger" or the "alien." And all the verses speaking of the stranger or alien tell us we have a sacred obligation to welcome and provide for the stranger/alien in our midst.

Holy War, Blowing Everything Up, White Supremacy, and "Pro-Life" White Christians: Commentary for Your Consideration

Rachel Held Evans responds to the tweet above from Christianity Today:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Can Someone PLEASE Get Word to Archbishop Chaput That Banning Refugees and Ripping Away Healthcare Coverage Are Not "Pro-Life"?

P.S. Can someone please get a few of the tweets (with shocking photos attached) featured in my last posting to His Excellency Archbishop Charles Chaput, as he praises the current president as a champion of life and castigates the president's critics? The disconnect between . . . oh, let's be daring and call it reality (the real world and unvarnished truth about it) . . . and what His Excellency wants to sound forth in the name of a "pro-life" ethic is, well, downright embarrassing.

"Life Is Winning Again in America": Executive Order Banning Muslim Refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day, As Pro-Life Christians Celebrate

Willa Frej and Elise Foley, "Trump Targets Muslims, Refugees in New Executive Order Issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day":
"We don’t want them here," he said.

Friday, January 27, 2017

When No One Was Gay: We Must Not Deceive Ourselves; It Can Happen Again. In a Heartbeat.

New York Times, 2 July 1937, p. 1, col. 6-7

It's the late 1980s or possibly early 1990s. I'm at my first full-time teaching job in the theology department of Xavier University in New Orleans.

When my colleague comes to work one morning, eyes blackened, face bruised all over, limping, we rush to him to ask what has happened, how we might help. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Lions' Dens Are Not Comfortable Places for Humans: A Post-Trial Report on Psychopaths and Those Who Prop Them Up

I'm back from the trial in which I testified. Back, and thinking about psychopaths . . . . As my friend Wendell Griffen says in a posting he made at his Justice is a verb! blog a day ago, "Reasonable people do not wittingly employ a psychopath for morally and socially responsible work."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Into Lions' Den Again: I Will Appreciate Your Thoughts and Prayer As I Testify Again in Trial

Dear Readers,

I appreciate your comments here very much. The primary reason I haven't been able to reply to or acknowledge them in the past several days is that I have been called to give testimony in a trial. I wrote about this trial several years ago when I previously gave testimony in it — here and here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"Christendom Adjusts Itself Far Too Easily to the Worship of Power": Theological Bases for Resistance in the Trump Era

And so right now a large portion of the American Evangelical Church sits pretty, believing itself victorious; momentarily giddy at its spoils, gloating in its apparent advantage, and oblivious to the cost. 
The cost, is that the Church itself, though winning this political battle has lost the greater war for its humanity and its dignity. It has been fully separated from its namesake. It is no longer synonymous with Jesus. It is no longer good news for the poor, the marginalized, the hurting, the downtrodden. It is an exclusive brothel where power lusting white Christians fornicate freely. 
The Evangelical Church is no longer a brilliant beacon of God's love in a dark place, it is simply another building upon which Donald Trump will slap his name, exploit for a bit, and eventually abandon, leaving behind lots of people hurting who are broken and bankrupt.

Singing Songs of Resistance: I Will Not Go Back As Trump Presidency Seeks to Pull My Nation Back While Right-Wing White Christians Applaud

Ruthless exploitative capitalism has decisively unmasked itself now as a deeply anti-human force, as it colludes with white ethnonationalism and right-wing Christianity to dismantle liberal democracy throughout the world. The election of Donald Trump is one result of this collusion.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Alan McCornick and "Boomerang Back to Conservative Causes" of Gay Catholic Theologian David Berger: Why the Boomerang?

A day or so ago, I mentioned that I'd have a few words to say about an important posting Alan McCornick made at his Hepzibah blog recently. This is a rich and wide-ranging report-cum-meditation on issues as diverse as the role of religion in global politics today, the perceived battle between Christianity and Islam, the rise of ethnocentric nationalism in Europe and North America, and the place of LGBT people and questions about LGBT rights as all of this takes place.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Continuing Moral Witness: Churches and Their Apologists Offer Language of Healing in Face of Trump Presidency. We Need Language of Resistance.

Things I have read Trump supporters/apologists saying on social media today:

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Keeping the Moral Center Alive in Age of Retrenchment: Valuable Commentary from Last Week

A selection of things I've read this week on disparate topics, but all bound together by a common concern to keep moral perspectives alive in discussions of public issues — at a point at which powerful forces in public discourse seek to obliterate the moral center (nor can you expect to hear such morally probing discourse in your white evangelical, Catholic, and Mormon churches, for the most part — since that constituency placed Trump in the White House and has set fresh hell into motion in the name of a "pro-life" ethic):

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Commentary on Trump's "Pro-Life" White Christian Base As Healthcare Is Ripped from Millions of Poor People: "Tell Me Again How These People Are Pro-Life"

For that scrapbook I've been urging you to keep for the next generation, when they ask you, "Where were you and how did you respond when Donald Trump rose to power?" And when they ask, "And you tell me 'pro-life' white Christians supported him in heavy percentages? How did they imagine that ripping healthcare coverage from millions of poor people to put millions of dollars into the pockets of the super-rich is 'pro-life'?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Brittmarie Janson Perez, "On the Informal Powers Trump Brings to the Presidency"

I'm honored today to have an outstanding, timely, minatory (as in, warning us of a threat we'd be foolish to ignore) essay to share with you from Brittmarie Janson Perez, entitled "On the Informal Powers Trump Brings to the Presidency." Brittie's essay follows:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#ReligiousFreedomIs: Defending and Celebrating Religious Liberty As a Foundation of Democratic Society

Liberty and Justice for All from Coalition for Liberty & Justice on Vimeo.

Next Monday, 16 January, will be the 231st anniversary of the Virginia Religious Freedom Statute. In commemoration of this event, the Coalition for Liberty and Justice (which produced the video at the head of the posting) and others are engaging in various actions to educate about the authentic meaning of religious freedom, a core value of the American democratic experiment that has been under attack in recent years by people using the term as a slogan to justify religion-based bigotry and religion-based attacks on minority communities struggling for their rights.

Who's Dismantling Liberal Democracy and Why? The Conversation We Need to Have

We talk these days about the grand shift in liberal democracy — about the dismantling of the liberal democratic project worldwide — as if we're talking at a purely theoretical level. About ideas. That's my takeaway as I read Andrew O'Hehir's recent Salon essay about Trump, Assange, and the enemies of liberal democracy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Robert Leonard on Why Rural America Voted for Trump: A Critique of the Argument

Robert Leonard's recent op-ed piece in New York Times on why rural America voted Trump is receiving a lot of attention as a cogent new statement in the growing body of literature upbraiding American liberals for their failure to understand the thinking and mores of heartland citizens who voted for Trump. This literature inevitably proceeds from the assumption that liberals live for the most part in "elite" enclaves on the two coasts of the nation, and have done too little to inform themselves about what people think and feel in flyover country — hence their abasement in the 2016 elections.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tired Old "Discussion" of Democrats As Anti-Religious after 2016 Elections: Valuable Recent Commentary

Following a presidential election in which 4 in 5 white evangelicals and 3 in 5 white Catholics and Mormons placed Donald Trump in the White House, claiming "pro-life" intent as they did so, there is a predictable "conversation" now in the mainstream media about the purported tone-deafness of the Democratic party and liberals to religion. This "conversation" takes place repeatedly in the mainstream media following Republican political victories. It reinforces the assumptions that 1) Republicans own religion, 2) religion is to be equated with its right-wing iterations, 3) the religious views and practices of people who do not equate religion with its right-wing iterations should be ignored as the media discuss religion in American politics, and 4) non-right-wing iterations of religion are to be kept in check by the mainstream media.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

"Trust in Obedience: Remain Silent, and Never Say a Word" — Hubert Wolf's The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal

Sister Maria Ignazia of Sant'Ambrogio Franciscan Cloister, Rome, Testimony Before Inquisition, March 1860

I've just finished reading Hubert Wolf's The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal, trans. Ruth Martin (NY: Vintage, 2015). The excerpt from this book I've highlighted for you above catches my eye for a number of reasons, which I'll explain at the end of this "review."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

For Consideration: Assortment of Thought-Provoking Statements About Current Events and Ethics — from Trump to Prosperity-Gospel Preachers to Churches and LGBTQ People

As the first work week of 2017 gets underway following the New Year's holiday, here's a collection of items I've read in the past few days, which you may find interesting. The only strong thematic connection between them is that they're all, in one way or another, commenting on current events from an ethical standpoint:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Making Light of Darkness Together: A New Year's Gift from a Bilgrimage Reader

Larry Motuz shared a wonderful poem here several days ago. I'm sharing it with all of you now as Larry's new year's gift and inspiration to us (click on the image above to see the light move):