Philocrites : Scrapbook : May 2005 Archive

Monday, May 30, 2005

Church of England will recognize priests' celibate same-sex civil partnerships

Quoted 05.30.05:

Under the proposal, a priest intending to register a civil partnership would inform his or her bishop in a face-to-face meeting. The priest would then give an undertaking to uphold the teaching of the Church of England, outlined in the 1991 document Issues in Human Sexuality. This paper prohibits sex for gay clergy.

Christopher Morgan, Sunday Times 5.29.05

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The ethics of scientific names

Quoted 05.29.05:

"Everybody is terrified of the word, 'cloning'" said Dr. David Shaywitz, a stem cell researcher at Harvard University. "It conjures up so many frightening images."

"Both sides are trying to manipulate language," he added. "People who are opposed to the research go out of their way to use that word and people who support the research are trying to find other ways to explain what they are doing."

Gina Kolata, New York Times 5.29.05, reg req'd

How New England drives young parents away

Quoted 05.29.05:

New England home prices go up, but relatively little new housing gets built to satisfy the demand. [Demographer Peter] Francese puts the blame for that lack of production squarely on the shoulders of a cherished New England institution -- the fiercely independent town.

Towns don't want to build houses because houses contain children who will have to go to school, which will cost taxpayers in the town money. "The last thing anyone wants is school kids," said Francese.

Charles Stein, Boston Globe 5.29.05, reg req'd

Blogging away, Cambodia's 82-year-old retired king

Quoted 05.29.05:

For at least three years [former King Norodom Sihanouk] has been posting his opinions, historical documents, and exchanges with diplomats or Cambodian politicians. He abdicated in favor of his son Sihamoni last fall, and is in and out of the hospital, but the Internet keeps him in the public eye in a style that may be unique on the world stage.

Miranda Leitsinger [AP], Boston Globe 5.29.05, reg req'd

Saturday, May 28, 2005

David Brooks, meet some liberal Christians

Quoted 05.28.05:

Millions of liberal Christians have lived the synthesis that Mr. Brooks describes. We have been glad to work with believers and nonbelievers alike for the relief of suffering and human dignity. Our model comes from Jesus, and has been expressed by many Christians including the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, who preached faith and organized his contemporaries to aid the poor and the oppressed.

As a liberal Christian, I rejoice in all those who are following this age-old tradition of compassion that is the core of the Christian faith for so many.

Letter to the editor, Rev. Richard A. Wittig, New York Times 5.28.05, reg req'd

Microsoft cans Ralph Reed

Quoted 05.28.05:

 Microsoft logo The Microsoft Corporation said on Friday that it had severed ties with Ralph Reed, a Republican lobbyist and former leader of the Christian Coalition who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia.

AP, New York Times 5.28.05, reg req'd

Friday, May 27, 2005

Civil war is on the march

Quoted 05.27.05:

Truth be told, the idea that the violence in Iraq is devolving into a civil war is nothing new. In fact, intelligence analysts, military officials and U.S. Senators have been warning of civil war for quite some time. It's just that at the moment the Times, and a few other news outlets, are circling back to the premise as if it were a fresh one. . . .

Call it "sectarian violence," call it "ethnic conflict," call it "civil war." But do us a favor: Just start consistently recognizing that it is happening, instead of expressing surprise at finding it all over again a few months down the road.

Paul McLeary, CJR Daily 5.27.05

Do anonymous ass-kissers still get a free pass?

Quoted 05.27.05:

So you think Newsweek didn't work hard enough to confirm the Quran-toilet story? How hard do you think Richard Wolffe worked to confirm that George Bush "knows the nitty-gritty"? I bet he burned up the phone lines working on that one.

They just throw this stuff out there week after week, and no one ever complains about it. That's because kissing ass is not a crime in America, while questioning the government often is. At least, you better not screw it up if you try. God help you then.

Matt Taibbi, New York Press 5.31.05; via PressThink

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The great malls of China

Quoted 05.25.05:

Already, four shopping malls in China are larger than the Mall of America. Two, including the South China Mall, are bigger than the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, which just surrendered its status as the world's largest to an enormous retail center in Beijing. And by 2010, China is expected to be home to at least 7 of the world's 10 largest malls.

David Barboza, New York Times 5.25.05, reg req'd

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The false prophets of the Christian right

Quoted 05.24.05:

My guess is that the leaders of the religious right know how perilous their adoption of the prophetic stance truly is. And this knowledge explains, better than any other factor, the remarkable tone of paranoia, self-pity, and even hysteria that has come to characterize their political utterances. . . .

More generally--and this is the most important point I want to make--the prophetic stance is rapidly leading the religious right and its political allies into a contempt for their own country and their fellow citizens, because, after all, the prophetic stance is implictly reserved as an extraordinary response to fundamentally wicked societies.

New Donkey 5.23.05

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We Evangelicals must put our own house in order

Quoted 05.22.05:

 Book cover: The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience It is a farce for evangelical leaders to ask Washington to legislate what we cannot persuade our own church members to live. We need to embrace the biblical teaching: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.”

Ronald J. Sider, author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, writing for Beliefnet; via Talking Donkeys 5.22.05 [Amazon, Powells]

Friday, May 20, 2005

Gay marriage is good for kids

Quoted 05.20.05:

Gay marriage is not a civil right worth having if it will wreck straight marriage or leave millions of children bereft. But it won't. In fact, gay marriage's denial, not its recognition, poses the greater risk to American kids.

Jonathan Rauch, New Republic 5.30.05, sub req'd

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

'Star Wars' theology watch

Quoted 05.18.05:

The general opinion of "Revenge of the Sith" seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion

Anthony Lane, New Yorker 5.23.05

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Who owns your liturgy?

Quoted 05.17.05:

In “modern” churches, even those that [use] biblical readings . . ., who owns the pieces? Modern translations of the Bible are under copyright. Modern prayers are under copyright. New hymns — all since 1923, unless released into the public domain — are under copyright. Likewise the choral and instrumental music. Of course, the sermon is under copyright. For those churches that use them, the modern English versions of the ecumenical creeds are under copyright, plus any denominational confessions. I’m pretty sure the Revised Common Lectionary is under copyright, its use on a number of websites not withstanding. Someone owns just about everything we do on Sunday.

Scott Wells, Boy in the Bands 5.17.05

Is blog advertising right for you?

Quoted 05.17.05:

The best blog ad looks like actual blog content. Examples of successful blog ads can be found on ReveNews and Blogads.

Blogads' creative specs run 150 x 200, plus 300 words max, with the final creative sized to fit the content. Another blog network, CrispAds, simplifies creative by only allowing text ads, while BURST! Media offers all standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) ad formats.

Hollis Thomases, ClickZ Network 2.15.05

I hope no one I might ask to be a guest blogger reads this

Quoted 05.17.05:

How hard could blogging be? You roll out of bed, turn on your computer, scan the headlines, think up some clever analysis while brushing your teeth, type it onto your site and you're off.

David Greenberg, New York Times 5.15.05, reg req'd

Tough guy Richard John Neuhaus, godfather of the Catholic press

Quoted 05.17.05:

As editor, [Thomas] Reese, whom I count as a friend, seriously misunderstood the meaning of fair and balanced. The Society of Jesus decided it would be better for the magazine and for him if he moved into a different ministry. End of story. Unless, of course, one is interested in generating suspicion and hostility against the pope. Needless to say, no faithful Catholic would want to do that.

Op-ed, Richard John Neuhaus, Boston Globe 5.16.05, reg req'd; E.J. Dionne Jr responds, Washington Post 5.31.05, reg req'd

Monday, May 16, 2005

Happy International Sea-Monkey Day!

Quoted 05.16.05:

"A Kansas City radio station actually celebrated the day last year," said [Susan] Barclay, who invented the holiday as part of a home-made campaign to promote her book, "The Ultimate Guide to Sea-Monkeys" (Street Saint Publications, $13.95). But for the most part, even avid fans are unaware that a day has been set aside to appreciate these tiny aquatic pets.

Brendan I. Koerner, New York Times 5.16.05, reg req'd

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Whaddya know? I'm a liberal!

Quoted 05.15.05:

[Despite my best efforts to be a moderate, it turns out that I'm still a "Liberal" — according to the Pew Research Center's latest study of the 2004 presidential election. Which of the eight political types identified by the Pew Center are you?]

"Beyond Red Vs. Blue: The 2005 Politlcal Typology," Pew Research Center for the People and the Press 5.10.05, via TNR &c.

Wedding writer: Why should I follow my own advice?

Quoted 05.15.05:

I wrote two books on marriage, and a hundred articles. But this is my nuptials we're talking about, and I want no part of the contemporary wedding show.

Wendy Paris, New York Times 5.15.05, reg req'd

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Air Force Academy chaplain who objected to Evangelical pressure removed

Quoted 05.14.05:

An Air Force chaplain who complained that evangelical Christians were trying to "subvert the system" by winning converts among cadets at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week, just as the Pentagon began an in-depth study of alleged religious intolerance among cadets and commanders at the school.

"They fired me," said Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister who was removed as executive officer of the chaplain unit on May 4. "They said I should be angry about these outside groups who reported on the strident evangelicalism at the academy. The problem is, I agreed with those reports."

T.R. Reid, Washington Post 5.14.05, reg req'd

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Museum of Biblical Art takes serious look at contested subject

Quoted 05.11.05:

 Sculpture at the Museum of Biblical Art / Photograph by Ruby Washington, New York Times Ms. Heller said that the mission of the museum — especially in a city like New York, where the Metropolitan Museum of Art has rooms full of world-famous examples of Bible-inspired art, especially from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance — is to help viewers reconnect this kind of art to its religious roots and functions.

"Museums shy away from discussing religion," she has written, in explaining the museum's purpose. "And because of that, visitors sometimes don't get the whole picture of how an object was valued in its day. Obviously, the aesthetic dimension is hugely important. But the part played by faith and ritual usage shouldn't be ignored."

Randy Kennedy, New York Times 5.11.05, reg req'd; Review, Ken Johnson, New York Times 5.13.05, reg req'd

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Editor's ouster worries Catholic publications

Quoted 05.10.05:

"What is happening to America is not an isolated case; it's happening to other Catholic publications all over this country," said Heidi Schlumpf, managing editor of US Catholic, published by the Claretian missionaries. Schlumpf said her publication came under fire from Ratzinger several years ago for a piece about women who wanted to be priests; the magazine settled the case by running an article explaining the church's opposition to women priests.

Publications such as Commonweal, an influential opinion journal produced by lay Catholics, are less vulnerable to pressure from the Vatican because they are independently incorporated and not controlled by a religious order or diocese.

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 5.10.05; see also "Jesuit Officials Say America Editor Resigned after Vatican Complaints," Catholic News Service 5.9.05 (thanks, Ono!)

Massachusetts lawmakers will consider gay-marriage amendment in the fall

Quoted 05.10.05:

On Monday, Senator Robert E. Travaglini, a Democrat and the president of the Senate, took steps toward convening a constitutional convention in the fall; one issue that would come before it is a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage but legalize civil unions.

Pam Belluck, New York Times 5.10.05

Novak: Romney said he'll run for president

Quoted 05.10.05:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a recent secret Washington meeting with national political operatives signaled he probably will forgo seeking re-election in 2006 in order to pursue the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times 3.8.05

Sunday, May 8, 2005

200+ right-wing blogs will form ad-supported network

Quoted 05.08.05:

The venture will be called Pajamas Media, a not-so-subtle reference to the September remarks of a CNN executive, Jonathan Klein, who said a typical blogger has "no checks and balances" and is just "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas." . . .

The economics of launching what is in effect a global blog-based wire service is complex but not insurmountable, Mr. Simon said.

"We have about seven different investment offers on the table right now," he said, "so getting off the ground shouldn't be a problem."

Syndicating advertisements through affiliated blogs so that advertisers reach a global network, according to LittleGreenFootball's Mr. Johnson, will sustain the project.

Roderick Boyd, New York Sun 5.3.05; via CJR Daily

Pagan parade in the capital of syncretism

Quoted 05.08.05:

Even by Berkeley standards, the procession was fairly odd. But, in a city where a witch once lit the Menorah at the annual municipal Christmas tree lighting before Santa Claus arrived, the pagan best was something to take in stride.

William Brand, Oakland Tribune 5.8.05

Do you have Google-itis?

Quoted 05.08.05:

I have sat bolt upright in bed at 2 a.m. and, face illuminated in a dark room by a monitor screen, found the correct century in which El Cid lived -- the 11th -- and reviewed Hungarian history in Transylvania. The truth is, we obsessives streak to Google at all hours in search of facts that masquerade as knowledge. They are of no use to anyone, yet we must own them. There should be a 12-step program for this malady.

Sam Allis, Boston Globe 5.8.05, reg req'd

Gawker Media's blog empire and its business model

Quoted 05.08.05:

Each editor is under contract to post 12 times a day for a flat fee, Mr. Steele said. (Gawker has two editors and now posts 24 times a day.) It is best to have eight posts up before noon, if possible, to keep readers coming back, he said. . . .

The idea of grouping the blogs, Mr. Denton said, was to give the company an air of respectability. "The only reason we're listed as a group at all is for advertisers," he said. "Advertisers treat Gawker titles more seriously because it's part of a group." . . .

Other critics of the blog movement wonder whether the hoopla over the commercial viability of blogs — particularly as publishing ventures — is overstated. "Blogs primarily excel at marketing and promotion for companies or individuals," Mr. Phillips of I Want Media said. "I think blogging can catapult unknown writers, and it can give them a platform if they're talented. But as a stand-alone business, I think the jury is still out on that."

Tom Zeller Jr, New York Times 5.8.05, reg req'd

Friday, May 6, 2005

Introducing Blog Heaven

Quoted 05.06.05:

Beliefnet's Blog Heaven is intended to cover a complete spectrum of religion news, commentary, trends, and personal reflection. The 25 featured blogs include Christian blogs like "The Evangelical Outpost" and "The Village Gate," Buddhist blogs like "Woodmoor Village" and "Paper Frog," the Unitarian blog Philocrites, and blogger Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.

Beliefnet Press Release, 5.3.05

ABC: Focus on the Family okay, but welcoming church isn't

Quoted 05.06.05:

After rejecting the UCC's ads that focus on inclusion, ABC television is allowing James Dobson's Focus on the Family to air two commercials during the network's season finale of "Supernanny" on May 2.

In an Associated Press story (May 2), Focus on the Family's president and CEO, Jim Daly, said the spots were an attempt by his organization to offer "faith-based" advice on parenting, despite the fact that ABC executives have twice denied recent similar requests by the UCC to purchase network time as part of its national advertising campaign.

Robert Chase, Accessible Airwaves 5.4.05; Are you angry about ABC's double standard?

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

PlayStations of the cross

Quoted 05.04.05:

"I've always just loved video games," [says the Rev. Ralph Bagley]. "I was one of the guys playing Pong. When I became a Christian in 1992, I still wanted to play, but it was hard when the best-quality games out there were Doom, Quake -- Satanic stuff, you know? Stuff that if I went to church on Sunday and came home and wanted to play a video game, I kind of felt a little bit guilty about it. I tried to find other games out there that were Christian, and there were none. Absolutely nothing. I'm the kind of guy that when I see something that's not being done, I want to do it myself."

Jonathan Dee, New York Times Magazine 5.1.05, reg req'd

Tuesday, May 3, 2005