In presidential years, the farther-right GOP candidates line up at the FRCA “Summit” to preen and toss red meat. This time most of them showed up, even Trump (but not Jeb!?) The Summit also runs a straw poll, of course, and this time ted Cruz, perhaps the nastiest of them all (but it’s a tough choice), won.
Still, despite the flurry of media attention that followed the disclosure, the visit turns out to be not exactly a big deal.
To be sure, Francis is on record as being against same sex marriage, and LGBT issues generally (even if he said “Who am I to judge?”); and has repeated the “religious liberty” meme which the American right (including its large Catholic wing) has been turned into a dog-whistle for protecting homophobic discrimination. None of this is new, even if he went out of his way to NOT repeat any of it in public while he was here.
In all his public, to-the-country statements repeatedly (& honestly) trashed the right wing Catholic political agenda, and the bishops’ alliance with them. If I was scoring all this, it would go: 20 for Francis’s good stuff, 1 (so far) for bad. In sports or politics, that would be a landslide or a rout. And in Vegas, betting on the pope saying progressive things while in the USA would have been a very big, loud winner.
Compare: the Davis meeting was held in private, with no papal aides, news media, or Davis’s lawyer; it lasted only a few minutes; the pope’s reported pleasantries were boilerplate; and when asked later, he did not seem well-briefed on her case.
Further, the fact of the meeting was embargoed until the pope was safely back in Rome. And late on September 30, the Vatican was still declining to comment on it, sounding embarrassed and blindsided. Some ballyhoo.
Of course, homophobic crusaders like Davis’s “Liberty Counsel” and the “Alliance Defending Freedom” were ecstatic at the news leak, and insisted that it showed that Francis was on board with their campaigns. They can’t be stopped for grabbing this patronizing shred of recognition.
But time to cue the Evita sound track again:
She only got a rosary, a kindly word– I wouldn’t say the Holy Father Gave her the bird, But papal decorations, never a hope . . .”
Papal decorations? Yeah, there are lots of them. They weren’t likely in this case; but just so you know.
But the rest of us could shed a tear for Parks, King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose witness and martyrdom were twisted by a creepy group whose worldview would have all of them spinning in their graves.
In today’s NYTimes (09-28-2015, the front-page article on the pope’s visit quotes a so-called expert in “Catholic Studies”:
<< “I was frankly taken aback at how savvy [pope Francis] was,” said Stephen Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America. “He was clearly aware of all the very divisive issues for Catholics in American public life but talked about them in a way that didn’t give ammunition to either conservatives or progressives in the United States to use in their political wars.”>>
It is intriguing to me that, among the many reviews of Go Set A Watchman I have read in the past ten days, none mentioned Harper Lee/Jean Louise’s acerbic reflections in it on her experience as a New Yorker.
A Response to “The Dream World of Southern Republicans,” by Howell Raines, New York Times – July 12, 2015 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/opinion/sunday/will-demographics-transform-southern-politics.html?_r=1
Sorry, Mr. Raines, but from my crossroads perch in North Carolina, this rosy forecast is mostly eyewash. I WISH it was so, but I don’t see it.
Raines is right about demographic change in the region. But does he think southern Republican white supremacist politicians are all illiterate bumpkins, who can’t read the same reports, and take potent countermeasures? Not a chance.
Anti-Disestablishmentarianism: The Word for Southern Marriage Holdouts Do kids still joke about learning to spell “anti-disestablishentarianism”? I used to think it was a fake, something made up, like Mary Poppins’s “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
But no! It was real. And in fact, I just realized that TODAY, for the very first time ever, I can use the term in a piece of factual writing, in its actual meaning. Because that’s what going on in a few holdouts spots across the American South: fits of Anti-Dis-Establishmentarianism.
Linda Barnette said in a letter of resignation, effective on June 30, 2015, that
“The Supreme Court’s decision violates my core values as a Christian,” she wrote. “My final authority is the Bible. I cannot in all good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples under my name because the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is contrary to God’s plan and purpose for marriage and family. . . .” Acquaintances said Barnette’s husband is a pastor who worked with Billy Graham Ministries for many years. “I choose to obey God rather than man,” Barnette wrote.