Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Current Spectacle of Astonishing Cruelty in U.S. Cheered by White Christians: Jesus Makes Winners, Not Losers!

Mark Joseph Stern tweeted the tweet above one minute ago.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In Which I Explain Why I'm Responding to This Blog's Latest Troll As I'm Choosing to Do

I struggle to understand the psychology of someone — in this case, an ordained minister of the Christian gospel, a heterosexually married priest in a non-Catholic church — who occasionally logs in here to voice his contempt for the author of this blog and for everything he writes. What kind of strange masochism compels someone to slum in this way, when there's so much better reading everywhere online — and when, presumably, no one has a gun to the man's head to force him to read the words of someone he characterizes as a failure?

Donald Trump and the Scouts: Feeding Appetite for Disdain of Targeted Minorities (and, No, the Hitler Parallel Is Not Overblown)

Signposts on the way, which we overlook to our great peril:

Tom Roberts on Clergy's Task to Confront Abuse Crisis: A Response Noting Impoverishment of Communitarian Imagination of U.S. Catholic Intellectual Leaders

I am, of course, sympathetic to Tom Roberts' recent essay in National Catholic Reporter calling on Catholic clergy and hierarchical leaders to confront the clericalist base of the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. This argument echoes an argument made powerfully by one witness after another confronting the abuse crisis and its cover up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump and the Christian Fascists, and What Trump Election Says About Us

Speaking-truth-to-power sorts of statements I've read in the past day or so, that I'd like to pass along to you:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Doc's a Woman, My Inflatable Doll Is a Lesbian, and It's Never About Misogyny: "Doctor Who" Freakout and Trump-Era Politics

There's a common thread in these tidbits from today's news, I think. Can you spot it? (One hint: it's never about racism, misogyny, or homophobia — even when it's always about racism, misogyny, and homophobia).

Friday, July 14, 2017

Eugene Peterson Suggests God May Love LGBTQ Human Beings, and White Evangelical Gatekeepers Go Ballistic: Tempest in a Stewpot

As readers who follow religion news, especially insofar as it relates to LGBTQ lives and issues, probably know, there has been an interesting little tempest in the stewpot* of white American evangelicalism in the past day or so. At Religious News Service, Jonathan Merritt has been publishing portions of an interview he has conducted with Eugene Peterson, a Presbyterian writer-pastor who is something of a superstar among U.S. white evangelicals. Two days ago, he published a portion of his Peterson interview in which Peterson made some mild statements about how maybe LGBT folks are human beings and if God loves all human beings, maybe She loves LGBT folks, too. After that, all hell broke loose.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Telling My Story (Follow-Up to OUTWORDS Interview) 2

As I think about the interview that OUTWORDS did with me on Saturday, it's impossible to disengage what I said in the interview from the attack my relative made on me on my Facebook page a few days before the interview, in which she said to me, "You queers make me sick," and then went on to talk about Jesus and the bible. As embodied beings, we think within a real-world, social context that involves human relationships, and our thinking is shaped by our interactions within that real-world context.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Telling My Story (Follow-Up to OUTWORDS Interview)

I thought that if I performed brilliantly in school, I could carve out a safe niche for myself in a hostile world, so that when the wrath came, it would not find me in my hidey-hole. I was mistaken.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

My Interview with OUTWORDS Project: The Importance of Hearing LGBTQ Stories As Foundation for Defining LGBTQ Humanity

I mentioned here some weeks ago that I had been invited by a national project collecting the stories of LGBTQ leaders (and, in cases like mine, not so much leaders, but ordinary people down in the trenches) in communities around the nation to do an interview for the project. That interview took place yesterday, and I confirmed with the interviewers that I can share more specific information about it now. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Robert P. Jones on Exorbitant Price White Evangelicals Will Pay for Grand Bargain They've Made with Trump

Jamie Manson's Critique of Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Proposal: "Compassion, Respect and Sensitivity Are Not Enough to Bring about a Truly Just Relationship Between Bishops and LGBT Catholics"

Jamie L. Manson responds to Father James Martin's proposal for a bridge to be built between the LGBTQ community and the Catholic hierarchy, in his book Building a Bridge:

As I'm Interviewed by National Project Collecting Stories of LGBTQ Pioneers, Thinking About "Humorless Puzzle" of Hate

I'm to be interviewed tomorrow by folks from a national project collecting stories of what the project calls "LGBTQ pioneers." I will say more about this interview after it takes place. For now, after I filled out a questionnaire sent to me by the interviewers, I've been preparing for the interview by thinking about what I can possibly say about my own minuscule contribution to the national movement to secure rights for LGBTQ human beings.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Twitter Responds to NY Times on Overlooked (White) Conservative Voters in Northern California: "Rural Whites Are the Only Folks Who Matter"

My Twitter feed in the last few days has offered a number of incisive responses to the article New York Times published on 3 July (see the tweet above) about how conservative voters in northern California feel alienated from the state's liberal urban enclaves. As a number of respondents have noted, we've seen an endless stream of such articles in the mainstream media since the 2016 elections — the overlooked white working-class voter, the ignored white working-class unemployed miner in West Virginia, the maligned white working-class gay man for Trump: on and on and on ad nauseam.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saturday-Afternoon Twitter Thread about Catholic Clericalism and Ministry to LGBTQ Persons

Saturday-Morning Twitter Thread about Gospels, Welcoming Guests, and Catholic Response to LGBTQ Persons

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: Cardinal Pell Facing Criminal Charges with Multiple Complainants

Hot off the presses: "Cardinal George Pell charged with multiple sexual offences: Third-ranking official in the Vatican charged by Victoria police in move that will send shockwaves around the Catholic church."

Delta Responds to Me About My Complaint

An update for all of you: after I posted my story two days ago on Monday about having filed a complaint with Delta when my seat next to Steve on a recent flight from Atlanta to Charlotte was taken from me as my boarding pass was scanned and assigned to another passenger, though there were empty seats in comfort class, to which we had been told we were being upgraded, I got a reply from Delta to my complaint at long last on Tuesday. As my posting on Monday states, immediately after I emailed my complaint about this matter to Delta on May 25, I got back an acknowledgment from Delta stating that I would receive a response to the complaint before 30 days had passed.

Father Klaus Mertes on False Victimization Claims of Catholic Hierarchy in Abuse Crisis: Application to Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Project

I've recently asked several questions that seem to me imperative for us to ask, if we're to take seriously Father James Martin's proposal for bridge-building between the Catholic hierarchy and the LGBTQ community. Here's one of those questions

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Guardian on Abuse in Church of England in Peter Ball Case: "A Reputation Deservedly Damaged"

Not to be missed: the Guardian editorial yesterday on the cover-up in the Church of England of Bishop Peter Ball's abuse of minors, including Neil Todd, who committed suicide after he was unable to get a hearing for his story among the powers that be in the Church of England. The Guardian writes:

Flying the Not So Friendly Skies: A Report on One Same-Sex Couple's Experience with Delta Airlines

The following is a report about how businesses — in this case, an airline — now routinely treat their paying customers in the U.S., and get away with it. Because they can do so — and all the more so with the Republican party totally controlling the federal government. Don't want the healthcare system ripped apart and millions having their healthcare coverage torn away from them? Too damned bad. We can do it, and we will do it, no matter how many of you make your voices heard in opposition.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

More on Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Project: If Derision Is a Societal Necessity, Is Mocking the Sartorial Excesses of the Hierarchy Really Disrespectful?

As the current discussion of the staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in Central Park in New York reminds us, mockery can be a powerful artistic and political tool to lampoon the pretensions of worthies demanding respectful obeisance. From Father James Martin's Bridge Building presentation to New Ways Ministry last year up to the present in interviews he has given about his book, a recurring theme as he chides the LGBTQ community for not doing its bit to build a bridge to the Catholic hierarchy is that LGBTQ people (and others) have mocked the sartorial excesses of highly placed Catholic hierarchical figures.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What Twitter Is Saying About the GOP Wealthcare Bill: "Broad Tax Cut to the Affluent, Paid for by Billions of Dollars Sliced from Medicaid"

What folks are saying on Twitter about the wealthcare bill the Republicans have finally released after weeks of secrecy as they seek to ram it through the Senate:

Father James Martin's Bridge-Building Metaphor and Call to Mutual Respect Between Catholic Leaders and LGBTQ Community: My Critical Commentary

I have not read Father James Martin's new book Building a Bridge, which calls on the pastoral leaders of the Catholic church to collaborate with the LGBTQ community and vice versa in building a bridge reconnecting the Catholic and LGBTQ community. I did read the presentation Father Martin made to New Ways Ministry when he received its Bridge Building award last year, and I commented on that address here (and see here and here). I commented on what I had read of the address at that point in time, that is to say.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Twitter Thread in Response to Franklin Foer on What's Wrong with the Democrats

This is a Twitter thread in response to Franklin Foer's "What's Wrong with the Democrats?" in the latest issue of The Atlantic. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Catholics, Take Responsibility for Hate": Twitter Discusses Terrorist Attack on Muslims in London Yesterday

I've recently been a lurker in an online conversation about Jordan Denari Duffner's Religion Dispatches article claiming that Islamophobia is common in the Catholic media. Several people involved in this conversation who are movers and shakers of the American Catholic intellectual establishment, with strong ties to leading "liberal" Catholic journals in the U.S., responded viterupatively to Duffner's report: Totally unsubstantiated, they said. Sloppy research, they said. Grew up Catholic and never saw any evidence of Islamophobia among Catholics, they indicated.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Condemning White Supremacy and the Alt-Right Movement Shouldn't Be Hard. But the Southern Baptist Convention . . ."

Things I've read and shared on social media in the past few days, about the kerfuffle that ensued at last week's meeting of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., the Southern Baptist Convention, when an African-American delegate offered a resolution asking the convention to condemn white supremacist and alt-right ideology and the longstanding use of the bible to support this ideology:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Remembering the Pulse Massacre: "Less Talking about LGBT Catholics; More Listening to Them"

Some things I've been reading (and conversations in which I've been involved on social media) in the past two or three days, about the Catholic community's response (or non-response, as the case may be) to the Pulse massacre last year and its commemoration this year:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Remembering the Pulse Massacre: Or Why I'm Still Not Feeling the Love from Christians in Donald Trump's America

From the day that the massacre of 49 LGBTQ people (most of them Hispanic and African-American) happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, I began blogging my heart out. I wrote, in particular, about the roots of violent homophobia in the attitudes of many people of faith. I wrote about the lethal tendency of people of faith to erase LGBTQ people and refuse to speak the names of LGBTQ people even as something like the Pulse massacre took place.

Friday, June 9, 2017

My Statement in Support of Religious Liberty and Judge Wendell Griffen at Today's Rally in Little Rock

I was asked (along with a number of other guests) to make a brief statement at the religious liberty rally held in Little Rock today on the steps of the state capitol in support of Judge Wendell Griffen. As I have reported, the Arkansas state government, which is now totally controlled by right-wing Republicans most of whom strongly wish to impose their right-wing religious views on everyone in my state, is seeking to have Wendell impeached after he took part in a protest against capital punishment on Good Friday along with members of the Baptist church he pastors. The purpose of today's rally was to show support for Wendell as he exercises his right to religious liberty in a way that has never infringed on his role as a justice. I read a portion of the statement below at today's rally:

Chris Morley on UK Election Results and What They Mean: On-the-Ground Report from Manchester

And since we're talking politics here today, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with you one of the wonderful reports Chris Morley posts in comboxes here on an ongoing basis — this one having to do with the election that just took place in the UK. Chris lives in Manchester, and so his commentary is on-the-ground commentary from that part of England. Here's Chris's report:

Brittmarie Janson Perez, What Was the Founding Fathers' True Legacy?

Brittie Perez has sent me another of her stellar statements about things happening in the world today, and I want to share it with all of you now. As you'll see, this is commentary about the implications of the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, focusing on what happened on 7 June with Dan Coates and Mike Rogers. Here's Brittie's essay:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

In Pride Month, Lots of (Empty) Talk about Catholic-LGBTQ Bridge Building: Why I'm Not Feeling It

During Pride month, there's a lot of talk circulating about bridge-building — between the Catholic church and the LGBTQ community. I'm not feeling the talk, to be frank.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pride Month: Remembering Ellen Degeneres' Coming Out on National T.V. Twenty Years Ago

Pride month is a good time to point you to the commemoration Ellen Degeneres did on 28 April of her historic coming-out episode twenty years ago. It's on my mind today because I save episodes of Ellen's show to watch as I slog on my treadmill daily, and have just gotten to that episode in my queue of saved shows. Steve and I just finished watching it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Correction to Last Posting: Religious Freedom Rally in Little Rock Is 9 June — And Also a Question for Bilgrimage Readers

Yikes! Mary Jo O'Grady sent me a message to tell me that I had typed 9 July in yesterday's posting, as the date of the upcoming rally in Little Rock in support of religious liberty and Judge Wendell Griffen. The correct date is 9 June.

I'm very sorry for the mistake and want to correct it immediately — and am grateful to Mary for letting me know about this. Fortunately, the title of my posting did give the date correctly as 9 June, and the graphic I shared with the posting also gave that date. I am truly sorry for the confusion caused by my giving the wrong date in the body of the posting.

Monday, June 5, 2017

We're for Religious Liberty: Rally to Be Held June 9 in Little Rock in Support of Judge Wendell Griffen

I think most readers of this blog are not in Arkansas or nearby states. But on the off chance that there are readers of Bilgrimage in my local area about whom I don't know, or readers of this blog who have friends in Arkansas or nearby areas who might be interested in this event, I wanted to share news about it:

Divisions in American Left Yield Trump: The Case of Bill Maher and Response of Some Liberals to Discussion of This Case

It's clear to me following the last federal election in the U.S. that the American left is divided in a way that powerfully contributes to the dysfunction that has produced a Trump presidency and a Republican majority in Congress. Bernie bros vs. Hillary supporters. Libertarian-leaning Democrats vs. socialist-leaning and progressive ones. Those who see "identity politics" and "political correctness" as the bane of the Democratic party, and those of us who cannot imagine a Democratic party without a commitment to identity politics — because identity politics touches on the concreteness of those who are "actually" poor and marginalized in our society; it names the reasons many of us are shoved to the margins and struggle economically.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rachel Held Evans on White Evangelical Roots of Trump's Decision to Ditch Paris Climate Agreement: My Response

Like Rachel Held Evans, I was raised in a white evangelical family in the South. Her approach to white evangelicals in this tweet is charitable, and I'd do well, I'm sure, to emulate her.

In the News: Conservatives Respond Differently to Kathy Griffin's Tasteless Stunt Than to Online Pictures Showing Obama Hanged in Effigy — Why?

Items I've read online this morning, which catch my attention as important — and, for that reason, I want to share them with you. The unifying thread here is "this morning":

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

National Catholic Reporter: "Describing the Trump Administration as "Pro-Life" Drains the Expression of Any Meaning" (But Wait: NCR Is Saying This?)

Describing the Trump administration as "pro-life" drains the expression of any meaning.
This is a very fine line in the National Catholic Reporter editorial about the baleful influence of the Knights of Columbus' money in American Catholicism that I shared earlier today.

"Trump Administration Is Dismantling Its Predecessor's Moves to Protect Women, Minorities, the Poor, and LGBTQ People": Thoughts About the Morning's News

David Gushee, "The Most Fantastic Association of Men Imaginable"

In one morning, I read (1),

The Trump administration is dismantling its predecessor's moves to protect women, minorities, the poor, and LGBTQ people (Mark Joseph Stern).

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Strange That a Political Movement That's Totally Not About Racism Would, Once Empowered, Do This Over and Over Again": Footnote to Last Posting

As a footnote to what I posted yesterday about how "pro-life" white Catholics would be well-advised to drop their act of pretend innocence about what they're colluding with as they vote Republican election after election — even when a Donald Trump is on the ticket! — in tandem with white evangelicals who have shifted to the Republican party after the Civil Rights era:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Morgan Guyton on Ugliness of Toxic Christianity Laid Bare in Trump Era, Robert P. Jones on White Shift to GOP: Implications for "Pro-Life" Catholic Trumpists

What Morgan Guyton knows as a Southerner about how things used to be in the South in the pre-Civil Rights era aptly describes the South I knew growing up in a period before Morgan was born:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Meets Francis, Twitter Talks: One Photo Seen Through Many Eyes

One photo, many different ways of reading it — as Twitter commentary this morning is suggesting; different eyes see different things:

Commentary on Manchester Terrorism: "Women [and Girls] Are the Canaries in the Coal Mine for Male Violence"

Thought-provoking commentary I have read on the Manchester terrorist bombing as in all likelihood an attack quite specifically targeting girls:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lisa Sharon Harper on Hijacking of White Evangelicalism by Politics: "That's at the Root of the Religious Right"

In a just-published interview with Lisa Sharon Harper, author of The Very Good Gospel, Deborah Jian Lee, author of Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Evangelicalism, asks, "Given its history and this past election, is white evangelicalism redeemable?" Lisa Sharon Harper's response, which seems to me right on target:

Arlie Hochschild on Race as "Elephant in the Room" of Trump's America: "Racial Resentment Lies at the Very Heart" of the Story of Trump Voters

For the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, David Talbot interviewed Arlie Hochschild, author of the acclaimed book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. Hochschild's book is an account of her attempt, as a liberal social scientist from Berkeley, to sojourn among and understand people in south Louisiana's bayou country who appear consistently to vote against their own economic self-interest, as they vote Republican election after election. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

White Churches and American Racism: Three Recent Statements — "Among Evangelicals, Race Matters, and Race Doesn't Matter"*

Three statements that I've read in the past day or so, noting the extent to which white evangelicals (I'd add white Catholics) are a serious part of the problem, when it comes to addressing matters of racial injustice in the U.S. — and not a part of the solution:

Commentary on Evangelical Leader Mike Pence and His Role in Trump's Administration: "Bobblehead," "Willingness to Lie for Trump Knows No Bounds"

Rolando has pointed us in a rcent comment to some valuable analysis of the role being played by vice-president Mike Pence — a noted "Catholic evangelical" leader infamous for promoting "religious liberty" attacks on LGBTQ citizens of Indiana when he was governor there — in carrying water for Donald Trump as Trump seeks to stonewall investigations of his administration's Russian ties. Here's Richard Cohen's take on this noted "Catholic evangelical" leader:

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"People in Control in Gilead Aren't 'Really Interested in Religion; They’re Interested in Power'": Notes on Atwood's Dystopian Handmaid's Tale and Today's News

To complement the notes I have just posted about Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, here are some observations from my news-and-commentary reading in the past day or two:

Some Notes on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Intersectionality: Class Privilege Connects to Racial Privilege Connects to Heterosexism Connects to Misogyny Connects to Religion

A fascinating aspect of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, especially in the Hulu series that we continue watching, is how it weaves together issues of feminism, race, heterosexism-homophobia, class privilege, and religion. If anything, the t.v. series is making the interconnection of these issues even stronger.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Move to Impeach Judge Wendell Griffen: "Latest Effort to Punish a Judge, a Black Judge . . . with Whom the White Power Structure in Arkansas Disagrees"

I thought I'd update you today on what's happening with my friend Judge (and Reverend) Wendell Griffen right now. As his recent Democracy Now! interview with Amy Goodman and Juan González reports, a move is afoot to have him impeached as a member of the Arkansas judiciary due to his outspoken opposition — as a Christian pastor — to the death penalty. On Good Friday, he took part in a protest against the death penalty organized by the church he pastors, New Millennium Baptist church in Little Rock, and the impeachment proceedings are due to his participation in that protest.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trump's Education Secretary DeVos Presents Commencement Address at Bethune-Cookman University: Things Do Not Go Well for Her

Mr. Trump's Secretary of Education (and right-wing Christian activist) Betsy DeVos was the commencement speaker yesterday at the historically black United Methodist university founded by Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University. Things did not go well.

Frances FitzGerald's The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, on Billy Graham and Richard Nixon: Valuable Historical Reminders

One of the important contributions of Frances FitzGerald's book The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017) is that it recovers for us history that is, for many of us, still alive in memory, but about which younger Americans now have no inkling. One section of her book focuses on the strong connection the leading white American evangelist Billy Graham made with Richard Nixon, and how that connection was tested when the Watergate débacle happened. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"No Shoes Left to Drop," "Dark and Perilous Moment": Commentary on Trump's Firing of James Comey

Commentary worth reading (so it seems to me) about Trump's firing of James Comey:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"Church Should Provide Healthcare Coverage, Not State": Two Statements Confronting This Claim of Many U.S. White Christians with Reality

As a way of prefacing the two articles to which I'm pointing you below, with excerpts, I want to remind you of several observations made by Frances FitzGerald in her book The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017) (for previous discussions of this book, see here and here). First, there's this:

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Charles Pierce on the Party in D.C. Today: Celebrating Taking Healthcare from Poor People to Give Trillion-Dollar Tax Cut to Super-Rich

GOP Votes to Rip Healthcare from Millions of Americans, Beer Bash Ensues: Twitter Documentation of Today

Twitter capturing what's happening in Washington, D.C., today as a bill to strip millions of Americans of healthcare coverage to afford tax credits to the richest people in the country passes the House, and cases of beer are rolled into the Capitol for the celebration:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More from Frances Fitzgerald's The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America: Race and the Shift of White Evangelicals to Republican Party

And, as a complement to what I have just posted about Trump's analysis of the Civil War and Andrew Jackson and how both reflect white supremacist ideology, here aresome more excerpts from Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America (NY: Simon & Schuster, 2017).  These are not in the least unrelated to Trump's remarks about the Civil War and Jackson:

Trump and the Civil War: "Belief That the Civil War Could Have Been 'Worked Out' Reflects the Influence of the White Supremacist Neo-Confederate Movement on the Republican Party"

I think Susan Rice is correct: the current president is seeking in every way possible to create smokescreens to deflect our attention from the probe into his probable knowledge of an probable collusion with Russia in that nation's project to subvert the electoral process in the U.S. in 2016. The video above is embedded in a tweet by Jonathan Beeley that says, 

Monday, May 1, 2017

"Why Was There the Civil War?" Mr. Trump Asks: Some Answers from Frances FitzGerald's The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

Since the president of the United States asked this morning, "Why was there the Civil War?," I thought I might take a stab at offering Mr. Trump some educational resources in the hope of helping him understand "why there was the Civil War." Unfortunately, coming to that point of understanding will require him to begin understanding the mentality of the white evangelical Christians, concentrated in the former slaveholding states of the American South, who are his strongest base of support.

Friday, April 28, 2017

White Christian Right "Over the Moon" About Trump Presidency: News Worth Noting Today

Some "in the news" items I've noticed in the last day or so, which have to do with matters we often discuss here, and to which I want to draw your attention:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Pew Study: Trump's Support Strongest Among Churchgoing White Evangelicals (and in White Catholic Community, Among Regular Churchgoers)

Greg Smith for Pew Research Center on the results of the just-released survey about which he's commenting in the tweet above:

Tipping Over into Something "So Dark, So Real, So Evil That There Was Really No Precedent for It in Terms of Its All-Encompassing Possibilities for Death"

From the news and news commentary in the past day or so: read these snippets as a unified narrative, and the question arises, If I had to write a plot description for this narrative, what would that plot description say? What might it say about the role religion is playing in tipping the United States over into unimagined possibilities of death, destruction, and violence at this point in history? How does a "pro-life" Christianity end up dealing death, and doing so proudly and defiantly? 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Arkansas, the Beginning of "Rapid-Fire Flurry of Executions Unprecedented in Modern U.S. History": Why All Americans Should Care

The attorney representing Ledell Lee, the first man put to death in the current killing spree of Arkansas GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and the Arkansas Supreme Court, posted a statement yesterday on Facebook about Ledell Lee's final hours. Attorney Lee Short writes (by way of Leslie Newell Peacock), 

A Twitter Conversation: "Church That Does Not Defend Humanity of LGBT People Is Not Credible When It Speaks About the Value of Life"

The tweet above is my response to the next tweet below. My tweet in response to Father Andrew Hart then produced a Twitter conversation that some readers (and perhaps Father Hart himself) may regard as raucous. It's there on Twitter, in case anyone wants to find and read it. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Arkansas Killing Spree Now Underway, as "Pro-Life" White Christians Applaud

My state of Arkansas did move ahead to execute a man named Ledell Lee last night. Our state Supreme Court cleared the way for this execution and for what Ed Pilkington and Jacob Rosenberg rightly call a "killing spree" on which the state has now entered under the leadership of its current Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, its Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and its Republican-extremist legislature dominated by "pro-life" white evangelicals — who also predominate on the state's Supreme Court.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tweets For You: Conversations Between Trump's "Pro-Life" Supporters and Their Critics — "Aren't You the Same Guy Who Just Yesterday Was Clamoring to Kill Prisoners?"

Some Easter tweets for you, capturing important conversations about what Easter (and Jesus and the gospels) mean to different groups of American Christians at this point in time. The tweet above from Sister Helen Prejean is a response to the following tweet by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, an evangelical Christian who was working overtime in Holy Week to see 8 human beings executed by the state in 11 days immediately after Easter:

Monday, April 17, 2017

As Arkansas Rushes to Execute 8 People in 11 Days, Remember Who Stands Behind Trump: White "Pro-Life" Evangelicals

Remember, as the state of Arkansas rushes to kill 8 people in 11 days because our killing drugs are about to go stale:

Brock Thompson's The Un-Natural State: Arkansas and the Queer South: Book Notes — Repudiating GLBT Family Members As an Old Arkansas Story

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from Brock Thompson's The Un-Natural State: Arkansas and the Queer South (Fayetteville: U. of AR 2010): the heart-breaking tragedy of how Arkansas families have, for so long now, treated their queer family members.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

As Easter Approaches, World Is Closer to Nuclear Destruction Due to the Choice of "Pro-Life" White Christians in U.S. in 2016 Elections

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Good Friday, a Letter I Wrote a Bishop Twenty Years Ago: The Abuse Crisis and "A Picture of Christian Pastors Colluding with the Powerful of the World, to Protect Assets"

Twenty years now, and in those twenty years, the story that perhaps more than any other characterizes the Roman Catholic church and has come to brand it in the eyes of the public is the crisis caused by clerical sexual abuse of minors and the cover-up of such abuse by church pastors. In continuation of the theme I began on Palm Sunday, I'm sharing with you now a letter I sent Bishop William Curlin of Charlotte on 10 September 1997 — some twenty years ago — speaking about the abuse crisis before it had even broken out in American Catholicism via media reports (with the exception of Jason Berry's ground-breaking coverage), and about what I could foresee it would mean, when news of it did really reach the world. This letter builds on the 1 September letter I posted here on Holy Thursday. It refers to Mother Teresa because Bishop Curlin has regarded himself as a close personal friend of Mother Teresa and brought her to Charlotte.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Holy Thursday, a Letter I Wrote a Bishop Twenty Years Ago: "Will a Church That Destroys the Careers of Valuable Lay Ministers, While Protecting Pedophile Priests, Have a Bright Future?"

It's Holy Thursday, and so I'm thinking, of course, about Jesus' command that his followers serve each other and not seek to lord it over others. As was typical in his ministry, he put this message into action by taking a basin and towel and washing his disciples' feet, an action people considered "lower" than others — slaves and women — undertook in his culture. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump and (White) Evangelicals: Commentary Continues in Holy Week

As I noted yesterday, perhaps because it's Holy Week and Passover has begun, there's a plethora of articles in the news right now about religion-and-politics matters. Here are a few from my morning reading, all about white evangelicals in the U.S. and their idolization of commitment to Republican leaders, to any Republican leaders, and that this is doing to the (white) evangelical brand:

Alan Blinder, "For Alabama Christians, Governor Bentley's Downfall Is a Bitter Blow": 

Triduum Begins: Commentary on Catholic Leaders' Silence, Especially About the Abuse Crisis, and How It's Driving Faithful Catholics from the Church

Kristina Keneally, "This Easter, It's the Catholic Church That Needs Redemption:" 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Religion and Poltics in News: From Passion of Southern Christians to Walk-Out in Italian Catholic Parish

Because of the intersection of Jewish Passover and Christian Holy Week, the news is chock-full of religion stories and religious commentary today in the nation with the soul of a church — which made Donald Trump president. Here's are some of my own picks from articles/commentary I've read this morning, whose only common thread is that they're about matters of religion (and, usually, politics):

Passover 2017: Reflections on Passover as More Than a Holiday — "It's a Call to Arms"

Mark Silk on the seder that POTUS hosted (but did not attend) at the White House:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

On Palm Sunday, a Letter I Wrote a Bishop Twenty Years Ago: "Your Eyes Are Fixed More on Power, Privilege, and Façades, Than on the Substance of the Gospel"

I shared excerpts of this letter here almost three years ago to the day, noting that I sent it to the then-bishop of Charlotte, North Carolina, William Curlin, as Steve and I, with my mother (who was declining and suffering from dementia and for whom Steve and I were providing care), left the diocese of Charlotte, because we had no other choice. Our jobs as Catholic theologians had been taken from us without explanation, we had been blacklisted as Catholic theologians, we had no way to make a living and no health-insurance coverage.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

End-of-Week Miscellany: War and Rumors of War, the Catholic Vote in 2016, Catholic Leaders and LGBT Community

David Gibson reports on Father James Martin's new book Building a Bridge, which calls on Catholic pastors and the LGBT community to listen to each other. As he notes, Father Martin's book is being praised by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, and Bishop Robert McElroy inter alia. I respond:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Comments Not Showing for Bilgrimage?

Dear Readers: Rolando has emailed to tell me that the comments are not showing for him here in the past several days. That is, he can read postings, but cannot see comments even when comments have been made in response to a posting.

The same thing has been happening to me. I have asked for assistance from Disqus, since this seems to be a Disqus bug — and am still waiting for a response. In the meantime, I've found that deleting my cache helped, but then the problem reappeared.

At that point, I tried shifting from the Safari browser I normally use when I'm online to Google Chrome, and the problem disappeared again — I could see and read comments. I'm assuming, then, that this problem my be a browser-specific Disqus interface problem. You may want to consider using a different browser if you're having problems seeing comments here.

Finally, I find that if I log into Disqus itself and go to the administration page for the blog, I can always see and respond to comments. Since you readers aren't administrators for the blog, you can't do that, of course. But I think that if you log into your own comments page and click on any previous comment you have made, that will enable you to see threads that you are not seeing when you go to the blog itself.

I'm very sorry this is happening. I appreciate Rolando telling me it was happening in  his case. I have been trying to get some assistance from Disqus to deal with this problem, and will let you all know if I receive any information about how we can fix the problem.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Recommended: Daniel Schultz's Critique of Peter Beinart on Trump's White Evangelical Supporters — Are They Really Non-Churchgoing?

Also in news commentary worth our consideration today: I highly recommend to you both Peter Beinart's essay in the current issue of The Atlantic, which argues that the (white) evangelicals supporting Donald Trump tend to be non-churchgoers and even non-church-affiliated Christians, and Daniel Schultz's response to this essay at Religion Dispatches. Beinart's essay argues that church attendance will be a corrective for Trump and what Trump stands for. Schultz is dubious about that proposal — and I think he's right to be dubious.

Gay Student Becomes Student Body President at Texas A&M, Opponent Claims Persecution Because He Is a "Heterosexual, White, Christian Male": Points to Consider

As Sam King explains in an op-ed piece in today's New York Times, last week, the energy secretary of the U.S., Rick Perry, took the astonishing step of issuing a statement about the election of a study body president at Texas A&M University. Perry is angry that an openly gay young man, Bobby Brooks, was elected president of the A&M student body, when the candidate who got the most votes in this election, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified by the student government court on grounds that he had violated strict rules at the university regarding disclosure of campaign expenses. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Backwards-Focused and Angry: Parallels Between Trump Voters and One Nation Voters in Australia

Yesterday, The Guardian published an excerpt from an essay written by David Marr for the Australian journal Quarterly Essay, entitled "The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race." The Guardian's excerpt is called "Looking Back, and Angry: What Drives Pauline Hanson's Voters." Marr's commentary on what's driving Australian One Nation voters is fascinating, because of the clear parallels between what he discovers and what has also been noted regarding Trump voters in the U.S. As Nate Silver has found, educational levels and not income levels predicted who voted for Trump. College graduates voted for Hillary by a 9-point margin, while those without college education voted for Trump 52%-44%, by far the largest gap between college- and non-college-educated voters in exit polls since before 1980.

Michael Boyle on Princeton Seminary Controversy: "Progressive Christianity Only Has a Future if Progressive Christians Have the Courage of Their Convictions"

Because I think this conversation is essential — and important — I'd like to add one more statement to the set of reflections I've posted in the last several days about the controversy that ensued when Princeton Theological Seminary chose not to give an award to Rev. Tim Keller. I've discussed that controversy in three previous postings — here, here, and here. These three postings engage, in particular, Jonathan Merritt's claim that, in pressing for Keller not to receive an award from Princeton due to his opposition to the ordination of women and openly gay folks and his defense of a "complementarianism" that requires wives to be subordinated to their husbands, liberals are marginalizing people like Keller.