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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Healthcare Debacle and the GOP Culture of Cruelty: "A Display of Incompetence and Cruelty"



New York Times, "The TrumpRyanCare Debacle": 

Anita Little Comments on Princeton Controversy: "Growing Trend to Cry 'Oppression' When the Opinions of Influential White Men" Are Challenged

In an essay entitled "The 'Marginalization' of Tim Keller: When Anything Short of Adulation Is Oppression," Anita Little, editor of the Remapping American Christianities initiative at Religion Dispatches, comments on Jonathan Merritt's insistence that Tim Keller is being "marginalized" by the liberals who objected to his receiving an award from Princeton Seminary (on this controversy, see my two previous postings, here and here). She writes, 

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Reader Writes: Trump's Election Is "White America's Dorian Gray Moment"

The following response by Dulcis Memoria to yesterday's discussion of the Princeton seminary controversy is so powerful that I want to lift it from the comboxes here and share it with all of you as a posting. Dulcis writes, 

The Princeton Seminary Controversy: Concluding Thoughts About White Male Privilege and Intersectionality



The discussion about the furor regarding Princeton Seminary's decision to withhold its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness from Presbyterian pastor Tim Keller continued at various internet sites yesterday. I blogged about the controversy yesterday morning, and about Jonathan Merritt's response at RNS to Princeton's decision.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

As Day Goes On, William J. Barber's Prophetic Moral Testimony about Trump-Ryan Take Health Care Away Death Bill



Reverend William J. Barber III speaking yesterday at a protest of the Trumpcare legislation — by way of Charles Pierce

What's at Stake with Trumpcare: Educational Resources from Social Media (and Other) Sources


From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Jonathan Chait, "7 Charts Explain the Horrors of Trumpcare": 

Princeton Seminary Steps Back from Award for Pastor Who Promotes Female Subordination, Opposes Ordination of Women and Openly Gay Folks: Controversy Ensues



Yesterday, following controversy, Princeton Theological Seminary Seminary reversed a decision to give its Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness to Rev. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian church in Manhattan. Keller has been vocal in opposing the ordination of women and openly LGBT people by the Presbyterian Church USA. He belongs to a conservative wing of that church, the Presbyterian Church in America, which is largely identified with and known for its opposition to full inclusion of women and LGBTQ people in Presbyterian churches. He also promotes the ideology of female subordination to males, using a theology of "complementarism" to justify this stance.

As Trumpcare Goes Up for Vote, Commentary on Theological-Ideological Roots of GOP Cruelty Towards the Poor



As healthcare coverage for between 20 and 30 million Americans goes on the chopping block today due to the voting decisions of large percentages of white American Christians claiming to be "pro-life," some religion-and-politics things for us to think about, most of them hot off the press:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

America Magazine Features Confession of "Porn-Addicted" Priest: In Era of Donald Trump, Diversionary Moral Analysis



Among many disappointing aspects of the papacy of Francis: the stepped-up clericalism.

As GOP Moves to Strip Healthcare Coverage from Millions, U.S. White Christian Leaders Revise the Gospels: Eric Erickson's Attack on Scripture



In what I posted earlier today, I provided an excerpt from an article David Roberts has just posted at Vox, analysing the "tribal epistemology" that holds together Trump's base, a base Roberts (along with many others) characterizes as "mostly white, non-urban, and Christian" and moved by traditionalist zero-sum values. Tribal epistemology — here's how Roberts defines the phrase:

"Alt-Right Supplied Trump with His Agenda; the Christian Right Supplied Him with His Votes": Trump, White Evangelicals and White Supremacy



Sarah Posner, "How Donald Trump Hijacked the Religious Right": 

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Irish Diaspora, Donald Trump, and Race Matters: We. Must. Talk. About. Race.


Travis Gettys, "'Irish Slaves': Historian Destroys Racist Myth Conservatives Love to Share on Facebook":

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rachel Held Evans Responds to Rev. Mike Huckabee's Defense of Trail of Tears: White Male Christian Leaders Pounce on Her





Rachel Held Evans made the preceding two tweets yesterday after Southern Baptist minister Reverend Mike Huckabee had tweeted that he hoped Mr. Trump would treat the ruling of Judge Derrick Watson putting a hold on his anti-Muslim travel ban the same way Andrew Jackson treated the Supreme Court ruling declaring the eviction of the Cherokees from their homes unconstitutional. The result of Jackson's defiance of the Supreme Court was the Trail of Tears, on which some 4,000 of 15,000 Cherokees forcibly removed from their land and homes died.

Liberal "Practicing Catholics" Express Shock That Trump Was Elected; I Don't Buy Their Shock



When I read a liberal Catholic commentator (who happens to be white, heterosexual, and married) touting himself/herself as a "practicing Catholic," and lamenting the way in which Trump's election has taken liberal or progressive Catholics by surprise, I feel like tearing my hair out. Where have all these "liberal" Catholics been for years now as some of us tried to tell them what has been brewing in the American heartland and in the heart of the white American churches?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"A Hard Core of Those Enthralled by Trump Cannot Be Convinced Otherwise": America's "Triumph of the Will" Moment



John Feffer, "The Trump Dystopian Nightmare: Nuclear War, Climate Change and a Clash of Civilizations Are All on the Horizon":

"The Abdication of Civil (and Gospel) Responsibility by White Churches Is to a Great Degree Responsible for Trump": Twitter Commentary


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Important Finding in New PRRI Survey: "White Evangelical Protestants Stand Out" — As Opponents of LGBTQ Rights, With Claims That "Christians" Are Uniquely Persecuted


Yesterday, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) published the findings of a survey it conducted in February 2017, which breaks down perceptions of discrimination by American religious groups, and which also looks at the response of various U.S. religious groups to LGBTQ rights. A key finding of this survey, confirming findings of other surveys by different polling groups in recent years: white evangelicals are a significant outlier group when it comes to the claim that Christians experience stark, serious persecution in American culture, and as opponents of LGBTQ rights. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Reactions to the Trumpcare "Healthcare Plan" = Tax Cut for the Super-Rich: "How About Everyone Gets the Same Healthcare Coverage Congress Gets. Easy!"

Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo


David Dayen, "The Republican Health-Care Bill Is the Worst of So Many Worlds":

Fundamentally, the ACHA is a tax cut bill, which just happens to make millions of Americans sicker and more vulnerable in the process.

Religion and Politics in the News: "It Is No Surprise to Me That Online Debate Has Become the International Sport of Cis White Men"



An assortment of items I've read in the past few days on religion, politics, culture — and their intersection — in American public discourse right now; these range from commentary on women's rights and misogyny to white supremacy to homophobia to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trumpcare, Some Questions You Might Ask: Will the "Pro-Life" Catholic Bishops Provide Access to Healthcare for Millions Who Lose Coverage?


To borrow shamelessly from the title of a Mary Oliver poem, some questions you (and I) might ask now that the horror show of the Trumpcare "replacement" plan for the Affordable Care Act has been unveiled:

Monday, March 6, 2017

With Help from Conservative Catholics, White Evangelicals Broke America: Religion, Authoritarianism, and Creation of Post-Truth Culture of Trump


An interesting conversation on Twitter today after Chris Stroop published his essay "Educated Evangelicals, Academic Achievement, and Trumpism: On the Tensions in Valuing Education in an Anti-Intellectual Subculture" at his blog site this morning. Drawing on his experiences growing up in the conservative subculture of white evangelical America — the people who, more than anyone else, inflicted Donald Trump on all the rest of us (with ample help from white Catholics and Mormons) — Chris has been doing yeoman's work to help unpack why white evangelicals could support a morally bankrupt authoritarian of the ilk of Trump.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Catherine Corless' Research About Mass Grave at Irish Catholic Home for Unwed Mothers and Children Confirmed: "They Leech the Light Out of a Room"


When Catherine Corless's research suggesting that there was a mass grave at a home for unwed mothers and their children at Tuam in County Galway, Ireland, first began to be circulated, the blowback from some apologists in the Catholic institution was enormous. It took real grit and determination for her to keep investigating this story in the face of claims she was lying, that she was out to get the church, that she had exaggerated her findings and what they meant, and on and on.

Good, Bad, Ugly: Week in News — "We Judge This to Be Hypocrisy Unprecedented in the History of American Politics"


The past week in tweets and newsfeed, as I've captured it for you readers (reflecting my  preoccupation with matters like the obligation to speak truth and defend the least among us, and what happens to social groups that succumb to moral vacuity and do not push back against leaders channeling dark, destructive energies):

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is the Term "Shyster" Anti-Semitic? A Footnote to Yesterday's Posting



I'm grateful to Cleveland Girl for a comment yesterday when I used the term "shyster" in a posting. She tells me that the term has anti-Semitic overtones. 

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: