Monday, February 27, 2017

Wendell Griffen on White Christian Nationalism and Costly Grace in Era of Trump: Followers of a Palestinian Jew Whose Family Were Refugees

Wendell Griffen, in his just-published Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2017): 

White Christian nationalists who elected President Trump profess to follow Jesus. Yet Jesus affirmed and included women among his closest followers (Matthew 27:55-56), and they were the first to proclaim his resurrection (see Matthew 28:1-10). During the 2016 campaign, Trump bragged that his maleness, wealth, fame, and commercial success enabled and entitled him to sexually assault and disparage women.

Trump's Clear Signal That Some Count and Others Don't: Another Wave of Bomb Threats at Jewish Centers Today, Another Cemetery Vandalized Yesterday

Jewish community centers in at least 11 states received bomb threats on Monday, echoing similar waves of threats on Jan. 9 and Jan. 18.

Notes on "Moonlight": The Price Men Pay for Showing Vulnerability — And the Higher Price Some Men Pay

As it happens, Steve and I watched "Moonlight" Saturday evening, and yesterday, I put together a set of notes about the film — not dreaming it would (as it richly deserved to do) win the Best Picture award at the Oscars. Here are my notes, with an appended "footnote" from Max S. Gordon's essay on James Baldwin yesterday at NCRM's site, entitled "Faggot As Footnote: On James Baldwin, 'I Am Not Your Negro,' 'Can I Get a Witness?' and 'Moonlight'":

"Sharing Our Lives as Theology, Part 4": A Theological Video Conversation Produced by Rachel Fitzgerald and Mark Shumway

It's my privilege to share with you again today a video conversation between Brazilian theologian Ivone Gebara, educator and spiritual director Marlene DeNardo, Rachel Fitzgerald and Mark Shumway, the husband-and-wife team who organized this conversation and produced the video. and me. Rachel is a psychotherapist with a background of teaching spirituality, including at the Latin American School of Spirituality and Ethics, and Mark is a psychologist and mental health counselor who teaches in a variety of culturally diverse contexts. Mark's son Christopher Shumway was the masterful technological guru behind the scenes of this video — a very important part of the production process.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Things Church Folks Say: Communicating the Opposite of Committing Church to Build Safe Space in a Hostile World

Things I have actually heard church folks say — which communicate the opposite of committing themselves and their churches to creating a safe, welcoming, and healing space in a world in which many folks experience hostility against themselves:

The America White Christians Are Building with Trump, and Exodus of Churchgoers: When Jesus and Gospel Are Betrayed, Obligation to Walk Away

Let me start with the statement that no one has asked me to explain why I find church — connecting myself to a church, going to a church — a non-option at present. And that’s significant, I think. It’s significant that no one from a church community has asked me why I am disenchanted with and alienated from church, and what they, as church, can do about my disenchantment and alienation.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Catholic Herald on Trump as a "Proper Christian" vs. Rev. Joel Tooley, Who Attended Trump's Florida Campaign Rally

Tuesday, I read in the British Catholic paper The Catholic Herald Father Alexander Lucie-Smith's proposal that, in reciting the Lord's Prayer/Our Father at a Trump campaign rally in Florida, Melania Trump was perhaps "trying to tell us something" — namely, that Donald Trump is "a proper Christian," and this explains why (white) Catholics and (white) evangelicals elected him.

Rise of the Bully Messiah and the Bully's Fear of Resistance

John Pavlovitz on the rise of the bully Messiah: 

Teen Suicides Diminish as Marriage Equality Is Enacted: Pro-Life Catholic Response?

Bob Shine of News Ways Ministry comments on a recent report in JAMA Pediatrics, the pediatric journal of the American Medical Association, showing that suicide attempts by teens have declined as marriage equality for same-sex couples has been legalized: 

You Get Rights, I Lose Rights: Commentary on the Zero-Sum Human Rights Game of White "Pro-Life" Christians Supporting Trump

In the tweet above, Laurence Tribe is responding to White House media man Sean Spicer:

The Strongman Does What Bullies Do — Picks on the Least Among Us; People of Faith Speak Back

The Big Man, the Strongman elected by "pro-life" white Christians to reChristianize our nation and promote an ethic of life, targets vulnerable transgender children, immigrants frightened for their safety and the security of their families, and Muslims. People of faith speak out in response:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Reader Writes: With ICE Raids in My City and a Parish Half Hispanic, My Parish Priest Is a Magical Being with His Head . . . Someplace

Thanks to Dulcis Memoria for this valuable comment in a thread here this morning:

Well, you'll be happy to know that the priest at the parish where I sing is doing his part to comfort the 57% and ignore the stranger in our midst.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wendell Griffen on Fraudulent Claim That One Can Welcome the Holy Immigrant into One's Heart While Targeting Immigrants

Wendell L. Griffen,  The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 2017):

People who supported, voted for, and now cheer President Trump, while professing to be followers of the One who saves, must be challenged as committing heresy. White Christian nationalists, by supporting politicians and policies that oppress immigrants, demonstrate an irreconcilable contradiction. At best, their claims of allegiance to Jesus are ill-conceived. At worst, their claims of allegiance to Jesus are fraudulent. Any claim that one has welcomed the holy immigrant into one's heart and professed [that] Jesus as the center of one's faith and living — while practicing xenophobia and other unwelcoming behaviors against other immigrants — is beyond unpersuasive. It is moral and ethical nonsense bordering on insanity (pp. 17-18).

Elizabeth and Hazel: The School-Integration Crisis in Little Rock in 1957 and the Presidency of Donald Trump — Not Much Has Changed

Chauncey DeVega recently interviewed Obama pollster Cornell Belcher on what went wrong with the Hillary campaign this year, resulting in the victory of Donald Trump: one of the things Belcher says to DeVega is the following: 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

NY Times Concern Trolls with False-Equivalency Piece about Liberal "Identity Politics" Driving Moderate Republicans to Trump: Twitter Responds

The New York Times today published one of its false-equivalency, concern-trolling pieces (it's linked above by Ian Milhiser) about how liberals, with their "identity politics," are ostensibly driving mythic moderate Republicans into the arms of Donald Trump. Twitter is having none of it. Twitter is eating the concern trolling alive. Here's a string of tweets in response to the Times piece:

Right-Wing Authoritarianism and Trump Supporters: What to Do with Religious Worldview That Thrives on Generating Imagined Enemies?

Brandon Withrow, "Trump & Putin: Our New Biblical Kings":

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Michael Boyle on Catholic Sexual Abuse Crisis: How It Happened, What Can Be Done — "Dysfunctional and Sick Culture Playing Out One Strand of Its Sickness and Dysfunctionality"

I'd like to recommend to you Michael Boyle's four-part series on how the sexual abuse crisis happened in the Catholic church, and what's to be done about it. As Michael says in the first installment in this series at his Sound of Sheer Silence blog, he was motivated to write these postings in response to the release of the Australian Royal Commission's report about clerical sexual abuse, which shows one in five members of some Catholic religious communities including the Marist Brothers and Christian Brothers allegedly involved in child sexual abuse.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Australian Royal Commission on Child Sexual Abuse: "Every Case Represented a Person"

In an article entitled "The Catholic Wrap-Up at the Australian Government's Abuse Inquiry," Frank Brennan reports,

Articles About Human Rights and Assaults on Minority Groups in Era of Trump: "ICE Has Been Targeting Those Weakest, According to Reports"

Articles about matters of human rights and assaults on minority groups in the era of Trump that I've read this week and want to pass on to you: 

End-of-Week Articles on Religion and Politics in Era of Trump: "Communities Devoted to Authoritarian Ideologies Are Grounded in Abuse"

More material on religious issues and politics in the era of Trump, which I've read in the past few days and want to recommend to you:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Some Valentine's Day Thoughts: On Love, God, and the Churches' Destruction of Gay Lives and Gay Love

And now some Valentine's Day statements for you — about love (and what assaults on love in the name of "God" can do to people):

Things I've Read Recently About Religion and America Under Trump: "Dear White Christian Trump Supporters: We Need to Talk"

Things I've read in the past day or so, commenting on the dangerous political situation we're now living through in the U.S. and the world at large, and the role of religion and religious groups in this situation — statements I'd like to recommend to you:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

High-School Teacher in Tennessee Calls for Christian Discussion of Healthcare Coverage — and This Is Shocking News to Many Christians

To me the central message of Jesus Christ is pulling up the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the poor. You could apply that to a lot of things today. Black Lives Matter, people with disabilities, the LGBT community, the refugees, or health insurance. The central principle remains the same.

Sunday Sermons and Resources for Resistance: "Greatest Threat to Justice in the United States, and Now the World, Is Heretical White Christian Nationalism"

Reverend William J. Barber II, Moral March on Raleigh, 11 February 2017:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Steve Bannon's White Ethnonationalist Worldview Undergirded by Alliance of U.S. Catholic Bishops with Right-Wing Evangelicals

In the Rachel Maddow video that I featured in a posting yesterday, did you notice Tim Russert grilling George W. Bush on 13 February 2000 about what Bob Jones, founder of Bob Jones University, publicly stated regarding his university's religious beliefs and why the university had banned interracial dating — while continuing to hold its hand out to receive federal funds prohibiting racial discrimination? I've captured the quote from Bob Jones that Russert read to Bush in a screen shot above.

Steve Bannon's Thick Ties to Cardinal Raymond Burke and Trumpist Catholicism: Recent Commentary

Since last October, When the BuzzFeed site provided a transcript of Steve Bannon's statements to a Vatican conference organized in 2014 by the Human Dignity Institute (the comments are captured in a YouTube video) we've known that Bannon's white ethnonationalist ideology links to white supremacist groups globally who want a bloody "holy war" against Islam in the name of Christendom. Bannon told the Vatican conference,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

William J. Barber on Silencing of Coretta Scott King As Act of Systemic Racism: "We Will Cry Out. We Will Not Stand Down."

"Nevertheless She Persisted": The Moral Obligation to Stand Together and Speak Out vs. World Being Built by White Ethno-Nationalism

It's not in the least accidental that, in the space of three days, a young straight white male in my neighborhood would order me to shut up when I dared to talk on a neighborhood blog site about the need to discuss racism in my own community, and that Mitch McConnell would order Elizabeth Warren to shut up when she read Coretta Scott King's letter about Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Twitter on Mitch McConnell's Silencing of Elizabeth Warren and Coretta Scott King: "We Are Losing Our Democracy"

Speak Out, and They Will Silence You: John Pavlovitz on "the Heart Sickness American Evangelicals Have Inherited"

If you speak out, they will shut you down — or try to do so. As happened to me this past weekend when I insisted on talking about racism in my own neighborhood and community, and was told repeatedly by a young punk — a young straight white male — to shut up.

Conversations in the Age of Trump: Cousins, Guns, Church, and Blood-Thirsty Idols

Conversations in the age of Trump:


Guns make us safer.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Local Activism and the Problem of Elitist Gatekeeping Groups: The Case of Nextdoor and Discussion of Racism in My City of Little Rock

Go local, the gurus tell us. Engage in local action. Start in your own backyard.

Donald Trump and U.S. Christians, Three Perspectives: "There Is a Sickness in American Christianity, and Trump Is Feeding on It"

Commentator William Saletan, a self-styled "liberal Republican," writes, "There is a sickness in American Christianity, and Trump is feeding on it."

Friday, February 3, 2017

Emerging All Over Again in American Culture — Biblical Literalism (but Strictly Limited Literalism Ignoring Constant Command to Welcome Strangers)

Emerging all over again in the wake of the nameless one's pseudo electoral "victory": biblical literalism. It just never seems to go away in American culture. It's peculiarly American, and not really found in Christianity outside the U.S. except insofar as Americans have exported it.

"A Conscience That Is Not Awake to Suffering and Fails to Respond Is Walled Off from the Love of God": Commentary on Trump and Religious Issues

With his performance at yesterday's National Prayer Breakfast (an event organized by the shadowy anti-LGBT group calling itself "The Family," as David Badash reminds us), and with the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, Trump and religious matters are in the news. Here's commentary in the past few days I'd like to recommend:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why Does the "Heaven" of the Religious Right Look So Much Like Hell to the Rest of Us?

Failure of Catholic Progressives to Speak Out for Years Now About LGBTQ Humanity Undercuts Catholic Witness vs. Muslim Ban

From 1986 forward, when Cardinal Ratzinger issued his infamous "Hallowe'en document" defining gay people as intrinsically disordered, there has been a silent, steady purge of LGBTQ people from the Catholic church. Catholic pastoral organizations ministering to LGBTQ people were ruthlessly excluded from Catholic parishes and institutions as a direct result of Ratzinger's orders. In some cases, including in my own city, all members of those organizations then left the Catholic church in a mass exodus and became Episcopalian.