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    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Come, Spirit . . . November 26, 2015
      . . . help us sing the story of our land.Recently my friend Pete and I watched Terrence Malick's 2005 film The New World. It's a beautifully rendered historical drama depicting the founding of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith (played by Colin Farrell), Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Quote of the Day November 25, 2015
      Let me tell you: The facts are out. In Minneapolis, black people are almost nine times more likely to be arrested for minor offenses than white people. Black youth are almost six times more likely than their white peers to be arrested for low-level crimes. Black people consistently report bias in how they are treated by police, and the numbers support this. […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
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    • Two Thanksgiving Videos: Brothers and Sisters Under the Skin, and Our Chance to Atone for the Holocaust November 26, 2015
      And two more Thanksgiving videos for you this morning (with greetings and a statement of appreciation for readers outside the U.S., who aren't celebrating this American national holiday): the video at the head of the posting, featuring Appalachian singer Sam Gleaves reminding us that we're brothers and sisters under the skin despite our incidental […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • God's Mercy and Hate Rhetoric in the U.S. Public Square: A Thanksgiving Meditation November 26, 2015
      A little (American) Thanksgiving day meditation I shared this morning on Facebook. Since a friend there told me she thought it was valuable, I now think to share it with all of you here, too — and with greetings to many readers of this blog who aren't celebrating the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving today, but whom I don't intend to exclude by framing […]
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
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    • Rest in Peace Father John McNeil September 25, 2015
      One of the very great patron saints of the gay rights movement in the Catholic Church and the  US passed away on September 22. I can't begin to express how much I owe to him and how deeply his death has moved me. I feel somewhat the way I felt with the news of Thomas Merton's death so many years ago - that there was no longer anyone left that one c […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Cameron )
    • Back from Summer Camp August 31, 2015
      Just returned from eight intense non stop weeks of summer camp with Czech kids. Exhausted beyond words, but I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. Thankfully, the world and it's woes were far, far away from us.Now it's back to reality.Here are some of my adorable kids walking through the forest in a happy mood.
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    • Pro-life violence November 29, 2015
      Reading about the latest pro-life violence against Planned Parenthood ... Suspect in deadly Planned Parenthood attack said 'no more baby parts,' official says. For more ... Why the history of anti-abortion violence cannot be ignored and Anti-Abortion Terrorism Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will ...Words matt […]
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Vatican Corruption, Media Dysfunction, Pope Still the 4th Most Powerful Person in the World

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Fraud worth millions, machinations of the Vatican Bank, the true extent of the pope’s treasury” and “offerings of the faithful withheld from charity, theft and trade scams” during the reign of Pope Francis are the subjects of two recently published books. One includes tape recordings revealing the pontiff’s hands-on management of the smallest details of his fortune.

Yet the mainstream media reported that these books prove the pope desires a “Church of the poor” and is “reforming” the Vatican despite opposition from the “old guard” obstructing his “clean-up.”

Due to this type of deceptive reporting, Pope Francis is still the fourth most powerful person in the world behind only Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and Barack Obama, but ahead of Xi Jinping. Continue reading

The Synod: More Egregiously False Reporting by the Media on Pope Francis

The following is a portion of the pope’s speech given yesterday at the close of the Vatican synod on the family:

[The synod] was about urging everyone to appreciate the importance of the institution of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, based on unity and indissolubility, and valuing it as the fundamental basis of society and human life. …
We have seen, also by the richness of our diversity, that the same challenge is ever before us: that of proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of today, and defending the family from all ideological and individualistic assaults.

[Pope Francis has called the movement in many countries to accept same-sex marriage as “ideological colonization that we have to be careful about that is trying to destroy the family.” In his recent speech to the UN, the pope “reminded the UN of their duty to recognize ethical limits, … ‘for carrying out an ideological colonization by the imposition of anomalous models and lifestyles which are alien to people’s identity and, in the end, irresponsible.’”]

The above quote from yesterday’s speech was omitted by the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters and Religion News Service. As has been true for this pontificate, only the good stuff gets reported. Continue reading

Pope Francis Judges Gays to be Objectively Disordered, Transgender Rights as Dangerous

Today, Pope Francis heads to Philadelphia to lead the World Meeting of Families. Before leaving for this trip to Cuba and the US, he said, “The family, as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses … is deformed by powerful contrary projects.”

The Catechism states that homosexual acts are a “grave depravity.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI – added in 1997 that even the homosexual “inclination” is “objectively disordered.”

So Pope Francis can change this anytime he wants, but he won’t.

The pope said in February 2015, “Let’s think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings. Let’s think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory that does not recognize the order of creation.”

“The ‘gender theory’ Francis is denigrating is the medically and anthropologically supported concept that gender is a construct imposed by society. It is commonly cited in defense of transgender rights, since it shows gender can vary despite society’s expectations.” Continue reading

Pope Met with Bill Donohue, Nuns Fighting Obamacare. He Insulted Native Americans and Sex Abuse Survivors.

Catholic League president, Bill Donohue, who “demagogically conflates progressive and liberal dissent with hate,” met with Pope Francis yesterday following his prayer service with the US bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.

Also not shown on his public schedule, the pope visited the Little Sisters of the Poor,

the religious order that is involved in a contentious legal battle with the Obama administration over the order’s refusal to comply with an accommodation to provide contraceptive coverage to its employees …
One, it showed that the pope is behind the bishops in their battle with the Obama administration, support which the pontiff signaled in his talk at the White House earlier that day. [“Pointedly, Francis turned and looked at Obama as he delivered the line” about religious liberty.]
And two, it demonstrated how the pope likes to address contentious topics in a low-key, behind-the-scenes way.

Yesterday, Pope Francis canonized Fr. Junipero Serra, “who has a large degree of responsibility for the death of approximately 100,000 California Indians and the complete extermination of many Native tribes, cultures and languages.”

In his sermon, the pope claimed that Serra “protected and defended Native Americans from mistreatment and abuse.” Jeb Bush was in attendance.

Two days ago, three former US ambassadors to the Vatican appointed by President George W. Bush endorsed Jeb Bush for president. Among them was Mary Ann Glendon who was appointed by Pope Francis to his board of the Vatican bank. Glendon also served on the board of several theocon “think tanks” and is probably most famous for refusing an honor from Notre Dame University because the school awarded President Obama an honorary degree. Glendon is just one of the many plutocrats appointed by this pope to a Vatican position.

“I like Jeb Bush a lot,” the prelate of Wall Street, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said. “I especially appreciate the priority he gives to education and immigration.”

The most immediate danger from this pope is to children around the world. Yesterday, Pope Francis praised his bishops for their response to the clergy sex abuse crisis. He noted their courage in facing “difficult moments in the recent history of the Church in this country without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”

By failing to commit to any action to protect children, the pope put all prelates on notice that they can continue to leave them exposed to dangerous pedophiles as the pope himself did with his ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski. The US bishops can continue their lobbying to allow all American child sexual predators to avoid apprehension and prosecution.

“His remarks today confirm what we’ve long said and suspected: this pope, like his predecessors, is doing and will do little if anything to bring real reform to this continuing crisis,” Barbara Blaine, president of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said. “Those who care about kids must focus on secular authorities, not Church figures (however popular they may be).”

“The hurt and desolation that this pope of mercy has heaped on the survivors in this one miscalculated section of an address is jaw-droppingly stunning [and] a slap in the face to all the victims,” said Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of the SNAP.

“This tin ear towards the victims of sexual abuse is a resounding rebuke to survivors and its damage is heavy,” wrote Kristine Ward of the National Survivor Advocates Coalition.

Members of SNAP are holding a vigil in New York to remember the hundreds of victims who have committed suicide. They decried how the pope’s “callous defense of bishops opens new wounds [and] provokes pain in hundreds.”

A broader danger is to our democracy. Most progressives have relied solely on the very corporate media they claim to distrust for their papal information with no skepticism.

When the conservative Jeb Bush made a statement about the pope’s encyclical on the environment similar to JFK’s famous “I believe in an America … where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope” – Bush said, “I don’t get my economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope” – it was reported as further proof of the pope’s liberal credentials.

Right-wing bloviators are dismissed as “clowns” by the liberal press except when they criticize Pope Francis. Then they are relevant commentators.

Progressives don’t remember that two and half years ago they scorned Church leaders for “banning contraception and sterilization worldwide, criminalizing abortion globally, endangering women workers’ contraceptive coverage under Obamacare, barring LBGTQ rights and marriage equality, halting stem cell research, overriding the right to a death with dignity [and] protecting the Church over her victims” – all positions embraced by Pope Francis.

If those who consider themselves to be sophisticated and knowledgeable accept without question the mainstream media’s carefully constructed image of Pope Francis and have lost their historical memory, what can we expect of the general electorate in future elections?

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009))

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is the BIG EVENT for this pontificate. Ever since popes crowned the Holy Roman emperors, with few exceptions they have sought geopolitical influence and power.

Pope Francis “is due to meet President Obama and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. [He] will be going with a particularly dense international agenda: the Holy See, after all, is playing a frontline role in many of the planet’s most burning issues.”

“The Pope’s grip on the world stage means his pastoral actions will have widespread political implications. This prediction … appears in the White House and State Department’s documents.”

“The first time a pontiff will be addressing Congress rivals a presidential inauguration and State of the Union wrapped into one.”

“The improbability of a pope standing before a joint meeting of Congress comes in an era of wider acceptance of the Catholic faith as it intersects with public life and US politics, and indicates a comfort level between the two that wouldn’t have been imaginable several decades ago.”

“Some Jesuits say quietly that Bergoglio, despite being a Jesuit, is closer ideologically to Opus Dei … Bergoglio’s ‘personal, undisputed, austerity has always lived with a determined and sustained pursuit of power, first in his congregation, then in Argentina and now the universal Church. Bergoglio is a strategist and a politician,’” noted Oscar Chamber, professor at the Salesian Center for Studies in Buenos Aires and Franciscan Theological Institute. (Opus Dei is a secret society of multinational financiers)

Pope Francis’ favorable rating among liberals has fallen 14 percentage points from 82 to 68 percent according to a recent poll. I would like to think that the other third still believes in “the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless” as regards its reporting on the pope and/or remembers that two and half years ago most Americans understood that Catholic prelates carried water for the Republican Party and other plutocrats around the world, and that these same prelates elected Bergoglio as pope.

This guide is meant to provide the information omitted by that media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: New York City

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to the Pope’s US Visit: Washington DC and Philadelphia.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Philadelphia

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC and New York.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading


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