Sunday Roundup: An Unbelievable Week

This week, Catholic guilt is fake, Hilary Clinton is a Muslim feminist, the Westboro Baptist Church is so bored with homophobia, and Richard Dawkins finally shuts up. Yes, it has been a strange week.


Evangelical produced media seems to have near-universally poor production values. I guess when you believe your message is cosmically important; sometimes listen-ability takes a backseat. So when some Episcopalians made a “Serve Christ Maybe” video that wasn’t terrible, I was pleasantly surprised.

Now, to the news!

The Wall Street Journal recently published an Op-Ed calling for public schools to teach the Bible because it is “foundational” to Western Civilization. Rajiv Maholtra rightly points out that this is a bunch of crap: it’s just another way to give Christianity exceptional status in our culture. It’s an important book to read parts of, granted. But if we want to fix the horrendous way that our public schools teach religion, we’re going to have to do more than just throw a bible into a broken curriculum.

Besides, the Bible is a pretty boring book. The obvious solution is to make it a history channel miniseries. This week’s featured image comes from said series. Apparently, either God is Portuguese or Mary traveled a lot more than we know.

Sean Hannity attempted to tie America’s only Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison to the Nation of Islam. Ellison helped plan the Million Man March with the Nation of Islam (among others) once, and he has long since apologized for even working with the Nation. But hey – the Million Man March was a cool thing, so who really cares if some radicals were vaguely involved? What would happen if Hannity called out every Republican congressman who had associated with the far-right, white power movement?

Meanwhile, Israel introduces “Palestinian only” buses, much to the ire of Americans who remember the pain of segregation. Okay, so there are only like thirty news outlets that have actually reported it.

But it wasn’t all bad news for Muslims this week. In a strange move, Richard Dawkins opted out of saying horrible things about Muslims. I’m not linking to the article about it, though, because it’s horribly Islamophobic – it basically assumes the reason that Dawkins didn’t say anything is because he’s worried about death threats from Muslim extremists. I guess that would mean the only way to get people to not spout uniformed opinions about religion is to threaten them with death. But anyway, this argument is basically bogus because Dawkins has had no problem saying terrible things about Muslims in the past.

Who should be leading Muslim Feminism? The answer, according to Ida Lichter, is Hilary Clinton. Apparently Ida has never heard of postcolonial feminism. Well, that’s not exactly true. She actually openly scorns postcolonial feminism in her article. Yeah, can’t we go back to the old days, where feminism was about white women and about how women of other races should be like white women?

In case that made you depressed about the state of feminism, never fear! Follow the blog of Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood. Evans basically kicks ass. One example is her recent post, “Is Abortion Biblical?” which makes a bible-based case for being pro-choice.

Evans’ blog also pointed me towards Deeper Church, and a post within it entitled, “The Sexy Wife I Can’t Be”. (Post is TW for sexual abuse) In this post, Mary DeMuth talks about how badly evangelical sex attitudes suit those with problems surrounding sex: specifically, those who were sexually abused. It’s a really brave post and gives me some hope that evangelicals can start having good attitudes towards sex, beyond the sort of forced-sex-positive-patriarchy of evangelical sex therapy.

Speaking of Evangelicals not being so great on the whole “woman” thing, a woman was fired from San Diego Christian College for pre-marital sex (which the school only knew about because she was pregnant.) Of course, the problem with judging people for pre-marital sex is that you are basically judging women for pre-marital sex, since the only way you can know if a man has had pre-marital sex is if you see him doing it/he owns up to it. So the funniest thing that could possibly happen in this case would be if the school then offered the job to a known male fornicator. Oh wait, they actually offered the job to the woman’s fiancé.

Evangelical Brian Stiller wrote on how it might be time for Protestants to rejoin Rome. I don’t think Brian’s article was just stupid and pointless, I think his internet access should be revoked for a week so he can think about what he did.  In a more constructive inter-cultural dialogue, Charles Redfern wrote about how evangelicals can learn from Catholicism’s example.

More and more people condemned Roger Mahony and his abuse-condoning ilk for going to the papal conclave. But they’re there, and they’re going to choose who the next pope is. Swell.

In the most hilarious line on the Vatileaks scandal, Vatican Spokesman Fredrico Lombardi admitted that “there may have been some wiretaps.” May have?

There was no shortage of gay-priest-baiting this week. Let’s start with the best: former Dominican Friar Mark Dowd talked about how the Catholic Church needs to address how many of its priests are gay. Fair enough. Now the kind of bad: Buzzfeed published “The 25 Gayest Pictures of the Pope.” Now the extremely bad: Andrew Sullivan’s statement that the pope is gay because his secretary is handsome.

Speaking of Catholics and sex, a new poll reveals that Catholic guilt, at least when it comes to sex, is a myth.

The LDS church did a good thing this week: they moved to more strongly condemn their former ban on the ordination of black priests. Good for them! I mean, it’s a little late, but who cares?

The Huffington Post published an excerpt from former Westboro Baptist Church member Lauren Drain’s new book, Banished.  The excerpt itself isn’t terribly interesting – what I really want to know is what it feels like to be part of an organization that life-consuming. Her narrative is more of “I thought that there were many ways to interpret the bible, they thought there was one way.” Which is legit, but I feel like there must have been some more complex reasons for the split.

I usually think that Westboro-bashing is kind of meh, but Brick Stone’s “fanatic harassment” is pretty fantastic. It kind of goes downhill after two minutes, but still. Warning: this video contains extreme profanity and dildo-microphones.

Favorite quote:

Stone: “Have you ever wondered how good gay sex must be if people are willing to go to hell for it?”

Westboro Church member wearing four different articles of clothing labeled with the word “f*gs”:  “No, not really. That’s kind of a boring topic, frankly.”

Well, that’s all for this week. Tune in later for a discussion of the prophetic nature of Sarah Silverman.


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