Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Michael Iafrate on Religion Writing in Time of Trump: Limits of Both-Sidesism (&, Again, Why Queer Employees of Catholic Institutions Will Go on Being Booted)

When I wrote earlier today about the hounding of yet another LGBTQ employee of a Catholic institution out of a job — this time, it was Kristen Nelson of West Catholic High School in the Catholic diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan — I said that the reason we will keep seeing this kind of behavior is that Catholic conversations about these matters are painfully parochial, stifling, and intellectually stutifying. As a result, they simply miss the point frequently. 

Yet Another Queer Catholic Teacher Hounded Out of Job: Why This Situation Will NOT Change

As neo-Nazi groups celebrate the killing of a gay Jewish student (and as white supremacist hate groups make tremendous inroads on college campuses), where are the churches, the defenders of the least among us, the defenders of human rights and the conscience of societies as they decry prejudice, discrimination, and violence?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

As Neo-Nazis Celebrate Murder of Gay Jewish College Student, Where Are the Churches? (When They're Not Firing Queer Employees and Supporting Anti-Queer Discrimination, That Is)

In an article entitled "Inside Atomwaffen As It Celebrates a Member for Allegedly Killing a Gay Jewish College Student," A.C. Thompson, Ali Winston, and Jake Hanrahan report on behalf of ProPublica:

Friday, February 23, 2018

Assessing Billy Graham's Legacy: "Wrong Side of History," "Toxic Brand of Evangelicalism That Has Kneecapped American Politics"

Thoughtful statements I've read about the legacy of Southern Baptist minister and "unofficial pope of white Christianity" (see Fred Clark below) Billy Graham, following his death: 

Yesterday, Yes Means No re: Blessing Gay Couples; Today, Diametrically Opposed Statements about Papal Commission on Abuse: Why Does This Happen in Catholic Conversations?

Why is it that, when issues such as whether same-sex couples can be blessed by Catholic officials or how child abuse by clerics is handled by church officials are discussed in the Catholic church, the discusson immediately descends into he-said, she-said allegations in which yes becomes no?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cardinal Marx and Blessing Same-Sex Couples: Yes Means No, of Course — And You Want to Build a Bridge to THAT?

Well, it seems we are now unambiguously back to, My God, no! We can't bless same-sex couples. And, No, I didn't say yes. Even when you heard yes . . . .

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Assessing Billy Graham's Legacy: "After the Bombing That Murdered the Four Girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church He Visited a White Congregation in the City and Made No Comment about the Attack"

I abide by the old dictum not to speak ill of the dead. I do not think it means, however, that we ought to lie about the dead and their legacy. That said, I'd like to point you to a valuable discussion taking place on Twitter now after Billy Graham has died:

The Bridge-Building Metaphor, the LGBTQ Community, and the Catholic Church: You Want to Build a Bridge to THAT?!

Monday, February 19, 2018

I Learn to Read and Am Given a Bible-Story Book: A Southern Baptist Boy in 1950s Arkansas Learns the Facts of Life

I am six years old. I have just learned to read. It is 1956. Television has come on the scene. But we read, tell each other stories, rather than watch it. T.v. is too new to hold much interest for us. Books are more reliable for entertainment and education.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chauncey DeVega on "Oppressed" White Males as Shock Troops of Alt-Right and GOP White Identity Movement

Here's Chauncey DeVega writing one day before 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took an assault rifle to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and murdered 19 people; DeVega's article is entitled "Terror victims Donald Trump won’t talk about: Americans killed by the 'alt-right'":

SPLC on How Alt-Right Is Killing People: "Young, White, Middle Class, Heterosexual Males Commit Mass Murder at a Disproportionately High Rate"

Southern Poverty Law Center published this valuable essay by Keegan Hankes and Alex Amend entitled "The Alt-Right Is Killing People" on 5 February. On 14 February, Nikolas Cruz, aged 19, took an assault rifle and murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Here is an excerpt from the SPLC's "The Alt-Right Is Killing People":

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Let’s Rename ‘School’ as ‘Uterus’ So Maybe Republican Lawmakers Will Want to Do Something about the Children Dying Inside Them": Short Takes to Recommend

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

#SendBackTheBloodMoney: Politicians Tweet Thoughts and Prayers, Twitter Reminds Politicans About Who Has Bought Their Souls

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Two More Queer Catholics Fired, "Progressive" Evangelicals "Discern" Whether Queer Folks Should Be Treated Equally, CBF Discriminates Against Queer Employees: What's This All About?

"In early December 2017, a representative from the Archdiocese of Edmonton called me in for an investigation."

And we can stop Mark's painful testimony right there, at the opening line, can't we? Because we already see where this story of the firing of yet another LGBTQ employee of a Catholic institution — he was pastoral associate of a parish in Alberta, Canada — is going.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Two More Resources re: Non-LGBTQ-Affirming Policy of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Shane Claiborne's Refusal, as a "Progressive Evangelical," to Affirm Queer Folks Unambiguously


Two items I'd like to share with you today as a follow-up to yesterday's posting noting what's now happening in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, as the church creates a two-tiered structure for its employees that allows rights and privileges to straight folks denied to queer ones. In addition, my posting yesterday focused on the controversy that has ensued after Shane Claiborne, a "progressive evangelical" who refuses to affirm LGBTQ people unambiguously, announced that he and his Red Letter Christians will be sponsoring a revival of "progressive evangelicals in Lynchburg, Virginia, in April.

Trump White House and Rob Porter Story: "Nothing More Important Than a Powerful Man's Word"

Huffington Post U.S. Top Headline, 10 Feb. 2018, 8 A.M. CST

Amanda Terkel, "For Trump, There’s Nothing More Important Than A Powerful Man's Word": 

Trump's reaction is consistent with the way he and his supporters have handled other sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Alan McCornick on Cardinal Marx, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on LGBTQ Employees, Heated Debate About Progressive Evangelicals and LGBTQ Lives: News

I'd like to recommend today good commentary by my friend Alan McCornick about the story of Cardinal Marx and the case of the disappearing yes (aka, My God! No! We can't possibly bless you!).  Alan's commentary, entitled "The price of a blessing," is at his Hepzibah blog. Alan speaks German fluently and has an advantage many of us lack, when it comes to reading and summing up what the German media have been saying about this story.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Quote for Day: John Pavlovitz on How Sideways We've Gotten When We Care More About Fellings of Bullies Than Lives of Those They Bully

Catholic Herald Calls Catholic News Service (and Crux) to Account for "Misreading" Cardinal Marx Story

To add to the confusion, Catholic News Service has reported that Cardinal Marx explicitly rejected the idea of blessing same-sex unions. This, however, seems to be another misreading.
~ Catholic Herald (London), 8 February 2018, "So is Cardinal Marx for or against the blessing of same-sex unions?"

The Catholic News Service article to which Catholic Herald is pointing is the same one published by the widely-circulated U.S. Catholic journal Crux with the headline "German cardinal urges pastoral care, but not 'blessing' of gay couples," which I discussed two days ago. It's that CNS article, published at both the CNS site and by Crux, where it will reach many U.S. Catholics and frame their understanding of this story, which quite badly (and, I'll say it, quite deliberately, in my view) misinforms readers about what the German-language media have been reporting about what Cardinal Marx said.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Where This Week's Story About Blessing Queer Catholics Ends: A Summary — Bullies Win, Lies Win, Catholic Church Loses Spectacularly

In case you're bewildered by the chain of events I've documented here after Catholic News Agency issued a report last Sunday regarding statements made by the the president of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Marx, and the astonishing place at which this story has ended up, pleasse let me summarize some salient points. This story is a snapshot, a story in a nutshell, of the abusive, cruel way in which queer human beings are dealt with by Catholic leaders with the very active and seemingly gleeful complicity of leading figures in the Catholic media and the world of religious journalism in general. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Now "Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay, Nay" Becomes the Case of the Disappearing Yes: A Church in Which Bullies (and Liars) Are Allowed to Win

As Sarasi points out in a comment here a while ago, Catholic News Agency is now reporting that "a spokesman" of Cardinal Marx has contacted CNA and requested that CNA issue a "correction" of its translation of his remarks to the Bayerischer Rundfunk interviewer we've been discussing here in the past several days. CNA has now published the "correction." It reads,

Crux: Cardinal Marx Urges Pastoral Care, Not Blessing of Gay Couples; German Media Corroborate This — But Here's What German Media Are Actually Stating

Yesterday, I reported the following to you about how media sources are handling the response of Cardinal Marx, head of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, when a Bayerischer Rundfunk interviewer asked him recently if same-sex couples could be blessed by the church:

Two Stories: Snapshot of Who We Have Become in Trump Era — Price-Gouging Diabetes Patients While Hedge Fund Managers Rake in Additional $10,000 Per Week

At the very same time, I read the following two reports:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The homophobic hate pouring out of Catholic mouths in response to Father James Martin and Cardinal Marx . . .

The homophobic hate pouring out of Catholic mouths in response to Father James Martin and Cardinal Marx will continue to prance about in public just as long as lay Catholics permit it to keep doing so.

Catholic theologians and Catholic journals bear a huge load of responsibility for either checking and challenging this hate, relegating it to the margins of the church, defining it as anti-gospel, or blessing it through silent complicity. Or mendacious headlines.

When Yes Means No: Astonishing Attempt of Catholic Right (and Some Religion Journalists) to Evade What Cardinal Marx Said About Blessing Same-Sex Couples

This posting is, in some ways, a footnote (but it's more than that: read on) to what I posted yesterday about Catholic News Agency and its recent report entitled "Cardinal Marx endorses blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples." As my posting yesterday indicates, within hours after CNA published that report, fierce pushback began from right-wing groups accusing CNA of, among other things, having mistranslated what the president of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Marx, said to an interviewer on Bayerischer Rundfunk's radio station when she asked him if the Catholic church can bless same-sex couples. Cardinal Marx responded by saying "yes," and then he noted that implementing any policy to offer such blessings will require pastoral discernment on a case-by-case basis.

As #ChurchToo Movement Blossoms, More Light Cast on Abuse and Its Cover-Up in Churches: A Gathering of Recent News (Including Latest on Pope Francis)

There's a plethora of stories about sexual of abuse of minors in church contexts — and the cover-up of such abuse — in the news lately. As Hannah Paasch tells Leonardo Blair in an article linked below, at least part of the reason we're hearing more such news is that the #ChurchToo movement is now giving more people the courage to speak out, and a venue to do so. People will no longer settle for silence and cover-up — though it's taking churches, which are dense, defensive, and generally well-heeled institutions with lots of legal and social protection, a long time to recognize this.

Here are some recent stories that I think are worth following: 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Catholic News Agency Reports That Head of German Catholic Bishops' Conference Endorses Blessings for Same-Sex Couples: All Hell Breaks Loose — Story Within Story


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Kevin Ahern on the Failure of American Catholic Theologians to Defend Father James Martin: "A Crisis or Perhaps Even a Failure in Our Public Theology"

Earlier today, I wrote about the hate being directed against Father James Martin online, and the astonishing silence of most of the intellectual leaders of the U.S. Catholic church — its journalists and academics — about this hate. I pointed you to an article by Frank Bruni in today's New York Times outlining how Father Martin is being relentlessly attacked, and I linked Bruni's account to the discussion of Father Martin that has been underway for several days now at Religion News Service following Jacob Lupfer's report of a lecture of Father Martin's that he attended recently. As I told you yesterday, the discussion of Lupfer's report at RNS has turned into a hate fest that is now all too predictable at religion news sites and religion blogs when LGBTQ lives are being examined.

Frank Bruni's Column on How Father James Martin Is Being Attacked Reads Like Commentary on RNS Discussion Thread About Martin

Pat Bagley on Twitter

As I said earlier today in the RNS discussion thread following Jacob Lupfer's account of Father James Martin's recent lecture at Georgetown, Frank Bruni's column in NY Times today about those hating on Father Martin and obsessed with attacking LGBTQ human beings: it's almost as if he read this thread at RNS before he wrote it. Bruni states,

Saturday, February 3, 2018

For Religion News Service, Jacob Lupfer Reports on Georgetown Lecture by Father James Martin: Queer-Bashing Trolls Go Wild

Most of you readers are no doubt smarter learners than I am. So you will have figured this out long before I did: it's an absolute waste of time to wade into the filthy fecal waters of discussions about Christianity and LGBTQ human beings at religion-themed websites. The discussions of these matters in comboxes at religion-themed websites are not about gaining clarity or promoting understanding of how the churches have failed and keep failing LGBTQ folks.

Friday, February 2, 2018

"Excluding Women from the Gospel — in Jesus' Name": Twitter Hosts a Necessary Conversation Many Churches Don't Intend to Have

A set of tweets today (with a link to an article by Sarah MacDonald) that, in my view, all belong together. . . .They point to a necessary conversation that many Christian churches simply do not intend to have — no matter how many younger members walk away, no matter how many people are harmed by the exclusionary, clubby injustice, no matter how much the public witness of the churches is undermined by the lack of authentic catholicity at a moment in history at which this witness is desperately needed:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

In the News: "In Many Ways, Donald Trump Is 'White Jesus'" — And "Remarkable Upsurge of Hate-Based Killings of LGBTQ People," Etc.

Another offering of articles, tweets, etc., that I've read in the past several days, which strike me as worth sharing with all of you: