Gay St. Pat’s * “Teflon Pope” * Defending Osteen: Wednesday’s Roundup

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The Islamic State is an equal opportunity killer, for what that's worth. Gays can march in NYC's St. Patrick's Day parade. Whoa. A lesbian teacher is pregnant, and fired from Catholic school. Tough question for Pope Francis, and on this day in history ...

  • John McGrath

    Depends on what you mean by mercy. In the past the fanatics of the Inquisition considered it a mercy to its victims to deliver them from error and give them the possibility of eternal salvation.

    In Islam one aspect of mercy is the mercy pouring out on all creation from Allah, a mercy sent to all. BUT there’s another mercy, the mercy received by responding to Allah’s mercy through the proper practice of Islam, including jihad, the defending of Islam from its enemies. It’s really not that hard to get how fanatics would see what ISIS is doing as defending Islam from a nearly 300 year old attack by the West, with the US now taking the lead.

  • John McGrath

    What will cardinal Dolan do? Good question. He’s been invited to march as the Grand Marshall, and seems to have accepted. As long as he does not speak on behalf of the poor he should hold on to his big donors. Pleasing those donors is always on his mind.

  • Larry

    Then again, a Native American child was reportedly sent home from the first day of kindergarten because he had long hair, which is part of his Navajo religious tradition but against the dress code rules of the school. Paging the Becket Fund!

    Not going to happen. The Becket Fund would never handle a client who is not a corporation or an obnoxious Christian seeking to impose on the public.

  • John McGrath

    The brutality of Cromwell towards Irish Catholics is open to question by responsible historians. Take the famous “massacre” of Drogheda, for instance,. Instead of having been slaughtered, as the legend goes, the Catholic residents may well have been forced to leave the city for another nearby location (outdoors) as Cromwell sacked and destroyed the city. This issue is currently being investigated.

    If Cromwell were so genocidal towards Irish Catholics (and Anglican Irish royalists) how did so many survive in Ireland? Contrast the survival of Catholics in Ireland with what happened to Protestants in Spain.

  • Larry

    ISIS uses religion for pure political purposes. It is about the only way they can operate in Iraq without appearing to the general public as a foreign rogue militia/warlord band out for conquest. ISIS is from Syria, backed by Saudi Arabia, and has no direct cultural/political ties to Iraq.

    People are discussing their religious beliefs as opposed to noticing their behavior is not much different from any other warlords we have seen in history. Islamicism is a pretext and a way to get funding. Much like how during the Cold War, anyone with a gun and professed Marxism could be loaded to the gills with AK’s and semtex at the drop of a hat from the USSR.

    Their invasion was simply a target of opportunity. In Syria there is still enough of a coherent military opposition from both the government and rival militias to make their lives difficult there.

  • David Gibson

    Larry, the Becket Fund has actually defended many non-Christians and others, such as Muslims facing discrimination.

  • John McGrath

    The pope has made it clear that he wants to hear from national synods before he does anything about married priests, etc. He’s practically promised to allow synods that want married priests to have them. But the synods have been so trained, like abused wives, to wait for the Vatican to tell them what to think that they have not even heard what the pope has said. The exception s the elected head of the Italian bishops, who has called for the acceptance of “non-traditional” couples whatever he means by that.

    Obviously the pope needs to appoint a few women cardinals proposed by national synods, as if there’s a synod anywhere that might propose that. Actually, Canada, if prodded, just might.

    In reality the Catholic church will not change in any meaningful way. This pope is doing the Jimmy Carter symbol thing, you remember, the sweater as a symbol of avuncular chumminess rather than the suit as the symbol of patriarchal authority. That sweater didn’t change much, and was not continued as a practice by successor presidents.

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  • John McGrath

    In hisitorical Islam religion and politics are not to be separated. There is no such thing as using religion for political purposes. Such a rule prevailed under the historic Caliphs, and ISIS is claiming to be reviving the Islamic caliphate which was headquartered in Baghdad. It would be nice to take them at their own word instead of imposing western categories of thought on them. “Know your enemy” is a useful adage when engaged in conflict. “Know your assumptions about your enemy” is not a useful way to go.

    P.S. Under the Caliphs the religious “authorities” had very little authority, and none over the state. But the state was Islamic, with the Caliph playing the role that Mohammed played in the Median state. The other caliphate, in addition to Baghdad, was headquartered in Spain, and ISIS has said that Spain is next. ISIS may be wrong on Islam but it does take the idea of the Caliphate very seriously. As a result it is getting increasing respect for state building in the west. terrorism as a method of state building is not sufficient (and is not what westerners admire about the state building skills of ISIS) but it is a well established method of state building, often practiced in the west, sometimes with the enthusiastic support of the clergy.

  • Tobin’s chart is graphical gibberish. Aside from its simplistics it is factually flawed. For example, lumping conservative Jews together with orthodox Jews is preposterous.

  • Larry

    What ISIS claims and what they do are two separate things. One must separate public image and propaganda from actions and the situation on the ground. The “Caliphate” thing is merely PR to cover the fact that they are nothing more than rampaging warlords out to carve a piece of Iraq for themselves.

    ISIS operates in Iraq because they have the assistance of local factions such as ex-Baathists and Sunni tribal leaders who are dissatisfied with the government. These same factions invited and then kicked Al Queda out of their region when they started to take liberties with the populace. Unfortunately for them, without the US troops around they lack the ability to remove the unsightly ISIS as they did with Al Queda.

    You are relying more on stereotypes and cheap generalizations than actual history. For about a century the main political/religious fashion for the Middle East was secular nationalism and even radicalism. At best religion was equated with tribal/ethnic elements of society for the last 200 or so years.

    Being an Arab/Kurd/Egyptian/Iraqi took precedence over being Muslim. It was not until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Saudi reaction thereafter, and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, that Islam became something to be subsumed by those government, rather than suppressed. Nasser, Assad, Saddam, and their kind did not exist in a vacuum. They were the product of this nationalism that was prevalent at the time.

    Prior to 1979 Middle Eastern terrorists were mostly radicals. People linked with the “Red Army” groups all over the world. Most of what we know as Islamicism today is a very very modern movement (dating back to the middle of the Cold War). It was not a serious element to the region until after the collapse of the USSR. Without the outside conflict with the superpowers, Middle Eastern autocrats had to use something to direct potential revolutionary violence and dissatisfaction away from themselves. Jihad fits the bill perfectly. Get people mad at the foreign devils and die in a foreign conflict rather than plot the overthrow of the local dictator.

    As for the Caliphate, it died in the 13th Century thanks to the Mongols. It was never revived. The Ottomans used Islam as a way to maintain a coherent identity for a polyglot empire. At best invoking it is like how the Nazis referenced Germanic tribes of antiquity. Sounds scary and allows for pomp and circumstances for barbarism.

  • Larry

    They “jumped the shark” after Hobby Lobby.

  • Larry

    “If Cromwell were so genocidal towards Irish Catholics (and Anglican Irish royalists) how did so many survive in Ireland? ”

    Ironically most Holocaust deniers make the same argument. Just because a population survives massacres it does not mean that actions were not genocidal.

    The best response would be that the population of Catholics in Ireland was too great to destroy using the methods available in the 17th Century. They were also necessary for the economy of the region. Oppression worked better than total genocide. The Protestant population in Spain was miniscule in comparison.

  • Theodore W. Johnson

    What is the definition of “props” in the context in which you use the word(?) – twice! Perhaps you need to post a glossary of RNS jargon.

  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Members of America’s largest gay power group now have to get out and walk.

    No more having the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade come and salute them in their Cathedral.


  • David Lloyd-Jones

    Head of New York’s most powerful gay employer, absolutely the logical man for Grand Marshall.


  • David Lloyd-Jones


    Orthodox and Conservative Jews have been known to use the same brands of toothpaste, gasoline, and… and…

    All the chart says is we have roughly similar positions on a bunch of social questions on Pew’s surveys. Why should that surprise you?


  • In regards to the Osteens, here we are with the Green Family (Hobby Lobby) claiming their freedom of religion is impinged upon by female workers getting contraceptives–and there are many other examples today–and then we have Mrs. Osteen disavowing her own freedom of religion by stating that the “house of worship” is not really that at all, it’s a social club. And I’m sure she’s “made happy” every week with the offerings that come in, all of which is undoubtedly plowed into their new house or auto or business because these donation are unregulated. Freedom of religion is the right to worship where and when and how you please, within limits and without state sponsorship. Why don’t we just call today’s Christian churches what they are–soup kitchens for the very very rich.

  • “So yeah, if you love God to get money, that’s a real problem. But if you love God no matter what, but also believe that loving God might somehow naturally lead you to attain a more prosperous life — what’s wrong with that?”

    🙂 MONEY! 🙂
    IT’S A HIT!

    Let’s try sorting this out
    by turning to the Bible for God’s clear wisdom 🙂

    “You cannot serve both God and Money.” – (Matthew 6:24)

    “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

    “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! – (Acts 8:20)

    “Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others–all she had to live on!” – (MARK 12:44)

    “The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.” (1 Samuel 2:7)

    “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9)

    “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4)

    “I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” (1 CHRONICLES 1:11-12)

    “Don’t extort money….be content with your pay.” – JESUS (LUKE 3:14)

    “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

  • Billysees

    @ Atheist Max

    Thought you’d like to read this engrossing article from our English friends who seem to always do a great job of reporting on american issues.

  • Garson Abuita

    That’s simply not true, even by a cursory look at their recent cases.