A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘christianity

[NEWS] Some Pride links

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  • Christianity Today notes how the Bible verses used to debate same-sex marriage have changed over time.
  • On the subject of same-sex marriage, Lawyers, Guns and Money observes the differences between this court case and past cases involving interracial marriage, Savage Minds looks at the anthropological perspective, and the Tin Man reflects on the achievement.
  • Locally, Torontoist looks at the political history of Pride, the National Post observes the decision of Patrick Brown, Progressive Consrrvative leader, to march in pride as the first leader to do so, Elton John’s Torontonian husband David Furnish reflects on his history growing up gay in Toronto in the 1970s and 1980s, and an epochal 1976 kiss-in at Yonge and Bloor is described in the Toronto Star in the context of LGBT activism.
  • Internationally, CBC reported on the police attack on a gay pride march in Istanbul.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes the heavy level of pollution in Toronto Harbour following recent rains, and suggests Toronto is set to get gigabit Internet speeds.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about her recent vacation in Donegal.
  • Centauri Dreams revisits Robert L. Forward’s Starwisp probe.
  • Crooked Timber speculates that there is hope for rapid action on climate change.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on an inflated hot Jupiter orbiting a F-class star.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a vintage supercomputer pamphlet.
  • Far Outliers looks at the collapse of the Comanche empire in the 1860s.
  • Language Log looks at the controversial English test in France.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reacts to an overly broad pulling of computer games with Confederate flags.
  • Steve Munro reacts to the state of streetcar switches.
  • Torontoist looks at a queer art exhibition at Bay and Wellesley on sex ed.
  • Towleroad shares a straight-married Scottish bishop’s tale of same-sex love.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that remembering the Civil War does not requite keeping the Confederate flag.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how few Crimeans identify with Russia and looks at Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian influence on Russia’s Finno-Ugric minorities.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams reports on a theory suggesting the distant dwarf planet Sedna and its kin were captured from another star in the sun’s birth cluster.
  • Crooked Timber reports on a Dutch court ruling arguing that the Netherlands is legally obliged to reduce carbon dioxide output.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that hot Neptune Gliese 436b has a comet-like tail.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that DARPA is working on Martian terraforming bugs.
  • Far Outliers looks at Comanche inroads on bison herds in the 19th century.
  • Geocurrents maps the recent Turkish elections, looking for patterns.
  • Marginal Revolution argues that the campaign against the Confederate flag couldn’t work if the two American political parties were competing for rural white votes.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares an Economist ranking of the top tne economies in 2050, Indonesia ranking notably higher.
  • Torontoist notes a local publication of nerd fangirls.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian Orthodox Church’s ongoing losses in Ukraine will marginalize it internationally.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams reports on the Planetary Society’s solar sail.
  • Joe. My. God. links to Miley Cyrus’ coming out story.
  • Language Log criticizes the numbers given for Chinese language speakers.
  • The Power and the Money looks at the fragmentation of the Mexican political scene.
  • Savage Minds considers the academic boycott of Israel.
  • Towleroad notes a sad case of homophobia in Northern Ireland.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the two Ukrainian Orthodox churches not under the control of Russia are moving towards union.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO reports on the campaign to tear down the east Gardiner Expressway.
  • Centauri Dreams considers what the universe would look like outside of a galaxy. (Dim, mainly.)
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin links to his Salon article about corporate influence in politics.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a periodic nova that may be a white dwarf drawing matter from a substellar brown dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Titan’s karst terrain is quite young, geologically speaking.
  • Far Outliers reports on the importance of horses to the Comanche.
  • Language Log describes the genesis of some supposed Chinese proverbs in 18th century Europe.
  • Savage Minds looks at how you can be an anthropologist in the aftermath of a disaster like the Nepal earthquake.
  • Spacing Toronto considers the Gardiner Expressway.
  • Torontoist argues that John Tory just isn’t as good as we’d have liked him to be.
  • Towleroad notes how the Russian Orthodox Church has cut off links with Protestant churches in Scotland and France for being insufficiently homophobic.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the continuing heavy out-migration of ethnic Russians from the North Caucasus and looks at changing patterns of ethnic intermarriage among non-Russians.

[BRIEF NOTE] On the pro-gay transformation of Michael Coren

The transition of Canadian broadcaster and journalist Michael Coren, from a conservative Roman Catholic commentator most notable to me for his homophobia to an Anglican who has embraced gay issues, has from my perspective been sudden and remarkable. That homophobia was actually the motive force behind his religious transformation, as he wrote on the 16th of May in the Toronto Star, is still something of a shocker to me.

It’s been an interesting two weeks. I was fired from three regular columns in Catholic magazines, had a dozen speeches cancelled and was then subjected to a repugnant storm of tweets, Facebook comments, emails, newspaper articles and radio broadcasts where it was alleged that I am unfaithful to my wife, am willing to do anything for money, am a liar and a fraud, a “secret Jew,” that my eldest daughter is gay and I am going directly to hell. As I say, an interesting two weeks.

The reason for all this probably seems disarmingly banal and for many people absurdly irrelevant. At the beginning of May it was made public that a year ago I left the Roman Catholic Church and began to worship as an Anglican. More specifically, from being a public and media champion of social conservatism I gradually came to embrace the cause of same-sex marriage, more liberal politics and a rejection of the conservative Christianity that had characterized my opinions and persona for more than a decade. I’d won the RTNDA Broadcasting Award for a major radio debate where I opposed equal marriage, I was the author of the bestselling book Why Catholics Are Right, I was Michael Coren, for God’s sake — certainly not someone who would ever appear in the pages of the Toronto Star!

The change was to a large extent triggered by the gay issue. I couldn’t accept that homosexual relationships were, as the Roman Catholic Church insists on proclaiming, disordered and sinful. Once a single brick in the wall was removed the entire structure began to fall.

I refused to base my entire world view and theology, as so many active Catholics do, around abortion, contraception and sex rather than love, justice and forgiveness. Frankly, it was tearing me apart. I wanted to extend the circle of love rather than stand at the corners of a square and repel outsiders. So I quietly and privately drifted over to an Anglican Church that while still working out its own position on many social issues, is far more progressive, open, relevant and willing to admit reality.

He wrote again about this transition, at length, in The Walrus in the appropriately named “Coming Out”.

As a middle-aged, very white, very straight, very Christian man, I was obliged, first reluctantly and then eagerly, to explore the complex dynamic between faith and homosexuality and to work out a new narrative. The crux of that narrative: God is love. The love I felt when I first saw my newborn children, when I watched my mother dissolve into Alzheimer’s, when I found my late father’s diaries that spoke of his pride in our family, when I feel closest to the Christ I worship. Jesus spoke of love for everybody and called for forgiveness, justice, truth, turning the other cheek.

As my faith has deepened over the years, I have tried to broaden the circle of inclusive love rather than guard the borders of what I once thought was Christian truth. Instead of holding the door firm, I want to hold it wide open. I have realized that Christianity is a permanent revolution, a state of being in which we believers must challenge our preconceptions every moment of every day. How dare I—with all of my brokenness and sordid, banal sinfulness—criticize someone simply because he or she wants to live life fully? How the hell dare I?

The standard Christian response to homosexuality is the familiar but entirely inadequate mantra “love the sinner but hate the sin.” In other words, a gay person’s sexual and romantic attractions—much of their being and personality, and all that they want in a lasting relationship—is sinful, but they themselves are just fine. By way of analogy, the teachings go, Christians love alcoholics but not alcoholism, love those who commit adultery but not the act of adultery itself. Such logic presupposes that same-sex attraction is no more central to a person’s identity than substance abuse or unfaithfulness—which any reasonable person knows to be untrue.

I’m still taken aback by this all. The apparent thoroughness of Coren’s transition, triggered directly by his recognition of homophobia, impresses me. Really, the only thing coherent I can say about this is that I hope that I, too, am able to make similar shifts in my thinking when I recognize a fault in my worldview.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 2, 2015 at 2:25 am

[LINK] “It’s Easy to Defend a Molester If You Value Godliness Over Consent”

Jazebel’s Jia Tolentino penned a distressing essay suggesting that many conservative defenders of the Duggar family, and their coverup of Josh Duggar’s abuse of his children, are working from an entirely different paradigm from the one progressives use, one where consent is not a factor.

[F]or the Duggar camp, the only sexual behavior that can be spoken about without apologizing is sex within the bounds of marriage. Everything else is wrong, and more similar for it. On the other side of the equation—the progressive camp—what’s right is what’s freely agreed to. It’s a standard determined not by religious doctrine but by a straightforward interpersonal equation—a yes and a yes, every time.

These two conceptions of sexual morality are inherently separated and, at their extremes, incompatible. I’d guess that progressives aren’t upset to de-prioritize someone else’s Judeo-Christian morality; I wonder if Christian conservatives are upset to de-prioritize consent.

The Christian sexual tradition is based—as it is on the far right, firmly—in the idea of near-unconditional female submission. Even in 2015, it’s inevitable that a sexual belief system with God as the standard and arbiter leads to a standard where consent matters less. In the worst cases—as is visible in some reactions to the Duggar situation, where his error is located in some vague over-sexualization rather than a knowing breach of consent—sex with God as the arbiter can lead to consent barely factoring in at all.


Written by Randy McDonald

May 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm


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