aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Guest post by Jen.
“It’s Passover,” explained the first student, refusing her classmate’s offer of pretzels. The second student, a fundamentalist Christian, apologized for forgetting.
Anti-Semitism seems relatively uncommon here, and, to my great surprise, charismatic Christians seem to interact more comfortably with Jews than with other (non-charismatic) Christians.
...all of historic Palestine—including all the land west of the Jordan which was occupied by Israel after the 1967 war—must be under the control of the Jewish people, for they see that as one of the necessary stages prior to the second coming of Jesus.
I am working to commit the taxonomy of fundamentalist Christianity to memory.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
There’s an upside to Ratzinger
...there are encouraging signs on other issues of global justice from Ratzinger’s history. Take the issue of the Iraq War, Ratzinger opposed “preventive war” and spoke out in support of the US working through the United Nations. And on social justice, while Ratzinger is well-known as “the Enforcer” who attacked Libertation Theology advocates throughout the developing world, his major statement against the trend, Instruction on Certain Aspects of the “Theology of Liberation” is actually a very strong statement of his view of the Catholic Church’s commitment to economic justice, even as he attacks church leaders for not emphasizing spirituality during such campaigns and for endorsing ideologies that he sees as based on violence. But the commitment to justice is clear.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Movement on the religious left
We desperately need an active, vocal religious left in this country. I am exhausted by the visibility of those who proclaim that both the Constitution and our bodies must become subservient to a theocratic state. That is not how I was raised, and that will never be how I understand the teachings of Christ.
He points to this from Glenn Smith at DriveDemocracy.org:
Those on the left who are waiting for progressive religious leaders to add their voices to the national political debate need wait no longer. A powerful assembly of religious leaders from a variety of traditions gathered at Riverside Church in New York on April 4. Their message was loud and clear: the militarism of Bush, the widening divide between rich and poor, the failure to provide families with health care, education, safe neighborhoods, even food, demands a revolution.
I’m glad to see it. The person I most associate with the call for a religious left is Amy Sullivan. She caused quite a ruckus this week and took a good deal of criticism, including the gratuitous swipe that “it’s bad enough she has to wave religion in our faces like we’re heathens.” (More here and here.)
I’m a post-atheist agnostic myself. Organized religion is not my cup of tea, but I have a Christian partner and I’ve seen him take flak for it. I’ve had the evils of religious intolerance, persecution and war quoted to me time and again. Those same people, mainly left-leaning friends, find it hard to acknowledge a history of protest and acts of leftist resistance rooted in principled religious commitment.
For me it’s clear that history and those principles add up to a valuable contribution to any winning liberal strategy.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Begala on the liberal John Paul
I wouldn’t have called Pope John Paul liberal but I’m glad to see that Paul Begala did yesterday on Inside Politics:
BEGALA: The Holy Father is liberal. And in fact, when [CNN contributor] Carlos [Watson] was speaking [earlier in the program], I was in the green room. Underneath, some producer had written, “Many Catholic doctrines are conservative.” Absolutely correct. Many are liberal as well. The Holy Father bitterly opposed President Bush’s war in Iraq. He came to St. Louis—and I was there—and he begged America to give up the death penalty. President Bush strongly supports it, as did President Clinton and others. Many of the Holy Father’s views—my church’s views—are extraordinarily liberal. The Pope talked about savage, unbridled capitalism, not Bob Novak’s kind --
This after Wolf Blitzer opened the segment by suggesting that while “I’m sure Bob [Novak] is a good Catholic, I’m not so sure about Paul Begala.” A joke implying that liberals can’t be good Catholics?
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Scots bishops OK re: Gay Episcopal Priests
The bishops of the Scottish Episcopal church yesterday defended their admission that they ordain gay clergy as their stance threatened to exacerbate divisions in the worldwide Anglican communion.
The church’s March 4 statement that a relationship with a member of the same sex is not “a bar to the exercise of ordained ministry” was only taken up in the Scottish press and then by the BBC yesterday.
The statement added that the church sought to be welcoming and open to persons of homosexual orientation.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The religious left
A friend of mine here is, surprisingly enough, an openly lesbian ordained Baptist minister.
See? We’re everywhere.
At dinner a while back, I asked, in an accidentally rude manner I choose not to quote here and that nixed the possibility of a fruitful exchange of ideas on the topic, where’s the religious left?
A series of Supreme Court decisions taking prayer and Bible reading out of schools, and culminating with Roe vs. Wade—as well as, it must be noted, some civil rights victories in the South—angered conservative evangelicals, and convinced them that government would not remain neutral, allowing them to simply live as they wished. Similarly, many Catholics—who had largely stayed away from politics while assimilating amid anti-Catholicism—were outraged by the Roe decision, and they developed into a politically active force, forming pro-life groups organized not by diocese but by congressional district. Both of these groups were embraced by Republican strategists desperate to form a political majority, who recognized that they could find common ground in the belief that government should stay out of their lives. It was a match made in heaven.
So what of the religious left?
There are signs of hope. After the election, the religious left commissioned and received a report that brutally, but accurately, assessed the movement’s weaknesses and past mistakes. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners magazine and the progressive Call to Renewal organization, has a new book on the New York Times bestseller list and has been blanketing airwaves on a national book tour, chatting up Jon Stewart, Charlie Rose and Terry Gross. And millions of Americans, outraged by post-election assumptions that “moral issues” are defined exclusively as conservative concerns, are hungry for a way to mobilize their religious progressive numbers. They may have to go hungry a while longer. When I asked the assembled leaders how they planned to mobilize their congregants to oppose the Bush budget, the response was meek: “We have some listservs ... we’re asking people to contact their representatives.” After an election season in which the Christian Coalition distributed 70 million voter guides, the religious left will need to do more to make itself heard.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
A conservative makes the case against ID
I understand why biologists get angry and frustrated with ID-ers. All the ID arguments have been patiently refuted many times over. The ID-ers response is to come back with… the same arguments.