I’m speaking at the local Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship this Wednesday, on a night they call Wellspring Wednesday. I’ll be doing the talk I call Trans 101: Building a Trans Inclusive Community, and I’m very much looking forward to it.
This week’s sermons by Rev. Roger Bertschausen were also about the trans, and it was pretty amazing. For the first time ever I sat through a Sunday morning UU service, and it was quite lovely.
A friend told me a while back he went, & I said something about not liking organized religion. He said it wasn’t, so I asked if it was a disorganized religion. That seems to make UUs laugh, for no reason I understand.
Oh, the Church and its consistency with being misogynist. The Vatican has investigated and censured American nuns for being too feminist.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing most of America’s 55,000 nuns, is in trouble with the Vatican because they’ve apparently have not been vocal enough in their opposition to gay marriage, abortion, and women’s ordination . . .
This directive came as the result of a two-year-long investigation—excellent use of resources, boys—and appears to be part of what is seen as the church veering into more conservative territory. You might not think nuns would be the obvious target of any investigations, considering it’s the priests who’ve been causing most of the actual problems the church has faced recently, but of course organized religion never lets a little thing like logic get in the way.
In terms of the Vatican’s specific issues with the LCWR, it appears they’re mostly angry because the nuns have been “silent on the right to life from conception to natural death.” Also they maintain the LCWR hasn’t taken certain things seriously enough . . .
Here’s the Washington Post‘s version. Ridiculous.
This letter from local clergy in Appleton is pretty much the best Christmas present I didn’t even imagine getting:
Jesus not only preached about but a lived a message of radical inclusion. He saw God’s realm as including everyone — and especially those who were despised or downtrodden or oppressed.
That’s why we and many other Christians believe that our values are best expressed when all people and all families are treated with fairness and loving support.
It was written in response to a letter from Appleton Taxpayers United which appeared a few weeks ago, which I won’t honor by quoting. It’s lovely to read Christians who sound like Christians.
S.B. 137 of Michigan is an attempt to prevent bullying after a young man named Matt Eppling committed suicide after he was.
But state Republicans added this language:
THIS SECTION DOES NOT ABRIDGE THE RIGHTS UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR UNDER ARTICLE I OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION OF 1963 OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT A STATEMENT OF A SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR MORAL CONVICTION OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN.
So as long as you actually believe gay people will burn in hell, it’s okay to tell them that.
In our own local common council meeting here in Appleton this past week, one woman actually stood up & said she was being discriminated against if the City of Appleton paid health benefits for same sex domestic partners. Yes, I said that right: by giving same sex couples the same benefits as their straight colleagues, she was being discriminated against as a Christian. I was there. It took me a minute to understand what she was saying, to be honest.
I don’t really understand why LGBTQs have anything to do with religions that condemn them. This week, in a nearby town, a Methodist minster went on trial for two things: being a practicing self-avowed homosexual and marrying a same sex couple.
She was found guilty of the marriage – mostly because there’s a record of it happening, & her having officiated – but she was found not guilty of homosexuality because despite admitting publicly that she lives with her wife, she hasn’t actually admitted she has sex with her. Honestly, they asked her about genital contact – which did at least inspire groans from the witnesses, and she refused to answer.
What kind of bullshit is that? Oh, wait: then again, we live in a culture where a politician has to resign because of a sex scandal in which he didn’t actually have sex with anyone but his wife.
I understand the need for a connection/relationship with the divine, but I don’t get trying to find it through organized religion. Then again, I decided the Church couldn’t possibly be messengers of divine anything if they thought my having a vagina kept me from being holy enough to be a priest — and that, especially in the light of all the female saints: it just didn’t make any sense. I was raised by Jesuits, after all.
I just don’t get it. I am glad others want to fight this fight, but it definitely isn’t mine. That said, I have long thought that if Jesus were alive today, he’d be hanging out with trans street hustlers of color who are homeless in our nation’s cities.
NOM has lost a hater. A couple of weeks ago, Louis J. Marinelli jumped ship and now supports full marriage equality. He was turned off by the people who had gathered around the cause:
I soon realized that there I was surrounded by hateful people; propping up a cause I created five years ago, a cause which I had begun to question. This would be timeline point number three. I wanted to extend an olive branch in some way and started to reinstate those who had been banned by previous administrators of my page. I welcomed them to participate on the page and did what I could do erase the worst comments and even ban those who posted them.
He explains as well exactly how, as a conservative, Catholic, and Republican, he has come to see where he was wrong:
Once you understand the great difference between civil marriage and holy marriage, there is not one valid reason to forbid the former from same-sex couples, and all that is left to protect is the latter.
Indeed Christians and Catholics alike are well within their right to demand that holy matrimony, a sacrament and service performed by the Church and recognized by the Church, remains between a man and a woman as their faith would dictate. However, that has nothing to do with civil marriage, performed and recognized by the State in accordance with state law.
My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.
For those of us for whom this is obvious, it’s easy to scoff, but I got goosebumps reading his entire letter about this conversion, and interestingly, I would place it very much in a huge tradition of Christian “conversion” literature – it’s not Saul to Paul, but I’ll take it!
The NYT did get around to covering the firing of that lesbian/pregnant coach in Nashville I reported last week. Here’s the part that baffles me:
Asked if having openly gay faculty and staff members could create a conflict with the university’s Christian character, Mr. Dickens said, “there could be.”
Here’s the bit I can never work out: what about the other sinners? Homosexuality is not the only sin in Christianity. Are they going to start firing people for greed or gluttony? For not attending church services? The bullshit of targeting homosexuals – and not other “sinners” – seems obvious to me, and I don’t understand why no one seems to understand that singling out one kind of sinner – amongst so many choices! – is where the discrimination becomes apparent.
A lesbian soccer coach gets fired by a university after admitting that her partner is pregnant.
I’m not sure I can even count how wrong that is or in how many ways. How incredibly Christian of them, to fire the partner of an expectant mom.
That’s my attempt at The Onion‘s version of the headline, but here’s the scoop: The Smithsonian does an exhibit of LGBT people, and there are objections. It’s the typical “you’re defiling Christianity” issue that comes up over & over again in the art world.
You can listen to the story at NPR.
It’s rare to see an article by a parent about a child’s transition, much less one that openly struggles with the issues a religious faith brings into the mix.
Inwardly I wrestled with the changes in my child: shoulders broadening, cheek fuzz turning into beard, voice deepening. In a way it was fascinating: Who could imagine that a body would respond so dramatically to hormone treatment? And yet…where was my daughter? I couldn’t bear the thought of her disappearing before my eyes.
Outwardly, with the exception of my mother and one or two other people, I kept what was happening private. Talking about the situation felt too uncomfortable. I was embarrassed and ashamed that such a shande (shameful thing) could have happened in my family.
That year I met with a therapist several times. I also prayed. Psalm 118 was my daily focus: “I called on God from a narrow place; God answered from a wide expanse.” I hoped that God would help me open my heart in acceptance and love.
I thought of the story of the heartbroken father who came to the Baal Shem Tov for advice: “My son has turned his back on Judaism. What should I do?” The great Chasidic master replied, “Love him even more.”
I’m happy to add that I gave someone who knew this parent a few resources a couple of years ago when she was first struggling with her child’s transition. I hadn’t heard an update, & this one is about the best I could have hoped for.