Philocrites : Scrapbook : June 2006 Archive

Friday, June 30, 2006

Upper-middle class plea for conservation

Quoted 06.30.06:

Imagine a world devoid of pristine wilderness for my progeny to explore on the weekends in the sport-utility-vehicles of the future, leaving my youngest son, Dylan, with nowhere to blow off steam on off-road adventures. Imagine a world in which my beautiful middle son, Connor, is denied his twice-daily half-hour hot showers because of water shortages. Picture what it would be like for my oldest boy Asher, preparing to start his first semester at Stanford, to have to go without basic amenities such as cable television, satellite radio, central air, or massage chairs, all because of the shortsighted squandering by his parents' generation of our non-renewable energy sources today.

Brenda Melford, The Onion [satire] 6.28.06

Three dioceses ask Archbishop to let them leave Episcopal Church

Quoted 06.30.06:

The dioceses — Pittsburgh, South Carolina and San Joaquin, Calif. — appealed to the archbishop of Canterbury to be freed from oversight by the presiding bishop of the American church and to answer to a different primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion. They did not specify a particular primate. . . .

"This is to say as we have long said that we are legitimately the Episcopal Church in this place," Bishop Duncan said in a telephone interview, "and that we believe that we'll be recognized by the world as the legitimate inheritors of the Anglican trademark."

Neela Banerjee, New York Times 6.29.06, reg req'd

Diocese of Newark nominates gay priest as bishop

Quoted 06.30.06:

Propelling the Episcopal Church in the United States closer to a possible schism with the global Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark nominated a gay priest on Wednesday as one of four men to be considered for bishop.

The nominations came the day after the archbishop of Canterbury, the nominal leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, proposed a plan that could force the Episcopal Church either to renounce gay bishops and the blessings of same-sex unions or to lose full membership in the communion, the world's third-largest body of churches.

Tina Kelley, New York Times 6.29.06, reg req'd

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Still dreaming of a powerful religious left

Quoted 06.28.06:

Getting on MessagePower matters. The religious right knows that but doesn't like to say it, since doing so would involve confessing how much it already possesses. The religious left, as seen on TV, knows it, too, but doesn't like to believe it, since doing so would involve admitting it doesn't have any.

The real religious left — the one yet to be organized — will recognize the reality of power and appreciate its nuances; its applications. . . .

Jeff Sharlet, High Plains Messenger 6.26.06; buy 'Getting on Message: Challenging the Christian Right from the Heart of the Gospel' from

Conservative Christians do give more aid than liberals

Quoted 06.28.06:

As a forthcoming book by statistician Arthur Brooks, Who Cares, demonstrates, religious conservatives give more to charity than liberals do by any measure. Not just in sheer numbers, but as a percentage of individual income. And not just to their churches, but to charities that really do provide food, medicine, and education for the poor. The one victory the tepid religious left of the moment can claim is the media misconception that religious liberals are more charitable, that they care more about the poor. They're not, and they don't.

Jeff Sharlet, High Plains Messenger 6.26.06

Archbishop of Canterbury proposes 'covenant' to reign in liberals

Quoted 06.28.06:

The archbishop, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, said the "best way forward" was to devise a shared theological "covenant" and ask each province, as the geographical divisions of the church are called, to agree to abide by it.

Provinces that agree would retain full status as "constituent churches," and those that do not would become "churches in association" without decision-making status in the Communion, the world's third largest body of churches. . . .

Archbishop Williams said in his statement, "The reason Anglicanism is worth bothering with is because it has tried to find a way of being a church that is neither tightly centralized nor a loose federation of essentially independent bodies."

But that decentralization will continue to be a cause of conflict unless it is addressed, he said, adding, "What our Communion lacks is a set of adequately developed structures which is able to cope with the diversity of views that will inevitably arise in a world of rapid global communication and huge cultural variety."

Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee, New York Times 6.28.06, reg req'd

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mass. multifaith coalition criticizes archbishop over gay marriage stance

Quoted 06.27.06:

The [Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry]'s decision to confront the Catholic hierarchy illustrates the tension that the marriage issue has created in interfaith relations and highlights the resentment that liberal religious leaders have expressed about what they view as the inordinate attention paid to conservative religious voices.

At a worship service before Boston's gay pride parade earlier this month, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, implicitly criticized the Catholic bishops, saying, "Religious leaders that are local to our community . . . have been quite vocal about the need to preserve marriage as they say it has always existed. When they say this, they demonstrate either incredible ignorance or a willful duplicity."

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 6.27.06, reg req'd

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wal-Mart's contributions to religious pluralism

Quoted 06.25.06:

Wal-Mart has transformed small towns across America, but perhaps its greatest impact has been on Bentonville, [Ark.,] where the migration of executives from cities like New York, Boston and Atlanta has turned this sedate rural community into a teeming mini-metropolis populated by Hindus, Muslims and Jews.

Michael Barbaro, New York Times 6.20.06, reg req'd

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Forget left vs. right; populist nationalism vs. progressive globalism is next

Quoted 06.15.06:

The populist nationalist party would be liberal on economics, conservative on values and realist on foreign policy. . . .

It would be against the war without seeming na´ve and dovish. It would be against corporate power without seeming socialist. It would tap the passions aroused by immigration and outsourcing and cohere with the populist uprisings taking place in different forms around the world.

The progressive globalists, on the other hand, would be market-oriented on economics, liberal on values and multilateral interventionists in foreign affairs. . . .

It would thrive among the educated, among aspiring suburbanites, among hawks and among immigrants who look to the future more than the past.

David Brooks, New York Times 6.15.06, sub req'd

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Southern Baptist reformer wins Convention presidency with support of SBC bloggers

Quoted 06.13.06:

In a major upset, outsider Frank Page of South Carolina was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention over two candidates closely tied to the SBC's conservative power structure. . . .

Page agreed the bloggers, a new phenomenon in SBC politics, made a difference. While the bloggers are few in number, he said, "I think there are a large number of leaders who do read those blogs. I think they played a role beyond their number — perhaps an inordinant amount of influence given their number — but they are a growing phenomenon in Southern Baptist life."

Greg Warner, ABP News 6.13.06; see also Blog controversies promise stormiest SBC since '91 (ABP News 6.5.06); via Nathan Newman (TPMCafe 6.13.06)

USA Today interviews my buddy Brian

Quoted 06.13.06:

Brian Flanagan, 28, is a very patient Catholic, a student of theology who sees church change as a shift across centuries. In his lifetime, he doesn't expect it to cease calling homosexual behavior a sin. Yet Flanagan, who is openly gay, waits and hopes.

"I know many gay Catholics who have been hurt by the institutional authorities within the church. . . . They couldn't go to church without being angry. But that has never been my experience."

He says he finds much that's "amazingly positive and fruitful" in a Catholic view of relationships: "To be kind, to be respectful, not to treat sex as throwaway or frivolous or treat people as instruments. To think of fidelity and commitment."

Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today 6.12.06; see also God and gays: Churchgoers divided (USA Today 6.12.06); Brian's blog: Baptized Pagan

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cuenin, liberal Catholic priest, speaks at Boston pride service

Quoted 06.11.06:

The Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, a longtime advocate of outreach to gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church, did not criticize or dispute Catholic teaching during his remarks, and he quoted several times from a 1997 document issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which declared that "the teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended."

However, the symbolism of a Catholic priest appearing at a gay pride worship service is likely to raise eyebrows at the chancery. . . .

Organizers said they believe Cuenin is the first Catholic priest to preach at the pride service, which claims to be the longest-running such service in the country.

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 6.11.06, reg req'd; background: Cuenin forced out of his vibrant liberal parish (10.2.05)

Mitt Romney's innovative fundraising

Quoted 06.11.06:

Since July 2004, Romney has set up affiliates of his political action committee, the Commonwealth PAC, in five states. By having donors spread their contributions across the various affiliates, Romney has been able to effectively evade the $5,000-per-donor annual contribution limit that applies only to federal committees, which most presidential aspirants set up to build initial support for their candidacies.

The multistate system is helping Romney raise money quickly from relatively few contributors, and foster valuable political relationships around the country. It also is a strategy several potential opponents for the Republican nomination cannot use: Federal office-holders, under new campaign finance rules, are barred from operating such state affiliates.

Scott Helman and Chase Davis, Boston Globe 6.11.06, reg req'd

Friday, June 9, 2006

After 2-month hiatus, Fafblog! returns

Quoted 06.09.06:

"The world hasn't ended!" says Giblets eatin our last piece a world. "It just happens to be going through a naturally-recurring cycle of world and not-world!"

"I dunno Giblets," says me. "The scientific consensus on the world seems to be that world-endification is caused by human activity like burnin fossil fuels an deforestation an that time we blew up the world."

"The world was a grave and gathering threat!" says Giblets. "There was no peaceful way to contain its mounting arsenal of earthquakes, hurricanes and foreigners."

Fafblog! 6.6.06

Thursday, June 8, 2006

The return of 'night conservatives'

Quoted 06.08.06:

Even more than Reagan, Bush has espoused a conservatism without limits, which ignores the fallibility of American power, the fragility of public finance, or the need to tell hard truths — a Prozac conservatism that stays sunny by escaping the real world. No such conservative is likely to be elected in his wake (sorry, George Allen). But, while night conservatives are the natural successors, they are ill-suited to winning the White House, a job for which only optimists need apply.

Peter Beinart, New Republic 6.12.06

Congress and the Court must restrain executive zeal together

Quoted 06.08.06:

Today, on the right and the left, there are similarly combative declarations about the importance of defending constitutional principle regardless of the political consequences. This could lead to impeachment or to sweeping efforts by the Supreme Court to save the country in the war on terrorism. By embracing judicial unilateralism as a mark of their devotion to principle, however, extremists on both sides risk dooming themselves to electoral failure. If the courts embrace the invitation to unilateralism, they risk a backlash that could imperil their effectiveness and legitimacy in ways that will make the current attacks on judges look like shadowboxing. Congress can best serve the country by imposing legal restrictions on the president, rather than trying to remove him from office or protect him from any oversight at all. And the courts can best serve the country in the future as they have served it in the past: by reflecting and enforcing the constitutional views of the American people.

Jeffrey Rosen, New Republic 6.12.06, sub req'd

Monday, June 5, 2006

Transhumanist bestiary

Quoted 06.05.06:

Remember those kids who played Dungeons & Dragons and ran the science-fiction club in your high school? They've become transhumanists. Their resident immortalist, Aubrey de Grey, walks around in sneakers, a ponytail, and a 14-inch beard that he strokes like a cat. One of the CCLE officials at the conference calls herself Wrye Sententia; the other dresses like an LSD trip. This was the kind of conference where people talked about the Matrix the way Christians talk about the Bible, and where speakers apologized for their discomfort with piercings or tattoos.

William Saletan, Slate 6.4.06

Pentagon: We'll win through humiliation and degradation!

Quoted 06.05.06:

The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times 6.5.06, reg req'd

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Ifeanyi Menkiti, Wellesley prof, buys Grolier poetry shop

Quoted 06.03.06:

Born in Onitsha, Nigeria, Menkiti, 65, received his bachelor's degree at California's Pomona College and his PhD in philosophy from Harvard. He has taught at Wellesley since 1973 and has published three collections of poetry. He and his wife, Carol, who helps with the store, have four children. He has been a Grolier friend since he came to Cambridge in 1969 and gave poetry readings at the store in the early 1970s. "The thought of this thing that we all loved so much going down the drain was just too much," he said in an interview at the store.

David Mehegan, Boston Globe 6.3.06

Boston measles outbreak spreads to Christian Scientist

Quoted 06.03.06:

The state's first measles outbreak in seven years has spread to a man who works at the Boston headquarters of the Christian Science church, raising fears that the disease will spread among church members who do not believe in vaccinations. . . .

In 1989, a Boston measles outbreak began when a worshiper carrying the virus attended Sunday school services at the Christian Science campus, leading to 15 infections.

Stephen Smith, Boston Globe 6.3.06, reg req'd

Friday, June 2, 2006

Christian right activists attack fellow evangelicals

Quoted 06.02.06:

Rich Cizik, vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals, the largest such umbrella group in the US, is also feeling battered. His mistake has been to become interested in the environment, and he has been told that is not on the religious right's agenda.

Mr Cizik, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Presbyterian church and otherwise impeccably conservative on social issues such as abortion, stem-cell research and homosexuality, believes concern for the environment arises from Biblical injunctions about the stewardship of the Earth. The movement's political leadership, however, sees the issue as a distraction from its main tactical priorities: getting more conservatives on the supreme court, banning gay marriages and overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 abortion ruling. . . .

"This is nothing more than political assassination. I may lose my job. Twenty-five church leaders asked me not to take a political position on this issue but I am a fighter," he said.

Stephen Bates, Guardian 5.31.06