Saturday, May 17, 2014

Taking a Break from Blogging

I've decided to take a break from blogging and devote more attention to work, personal matters, and recharging myself right now. I'd like to thank all my readers for visiting Republic of Gilead and sharing comments.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Commentary Tidbits

Overturning Tables: Where’s the Great Conversation, Gutenberg?

Pilgrim's Road Trip: The almost-apologies of Gothard, Phillips, Mahaney, Driscoll

The American Prospect: By Grace Alone

Gay Star News: The rise and rise of the anti-gay religious right

Think Progress: Las Vegas Police Host ‘Choose Purity’ Event Claiming Premarital Sex Turns Girls Into Prostitutes

Huffington Post: Meet Brother Dean Saxton, Who Believes Women Are To Blame For Their Own Rape

Vice: Slut-Shaming Preacher

Stuff Fundies Like: A Timeline

The Local: Despair and poverty turn French to far right

News Tidbits

New York Times: Supreme Court Allows Prayers at Town Meetings

The Province: Trinity Western University launches legal action in defense of its homosexuality policy

Los Angeles Times: Vatican to debate teachings on divorce, birth control, gay unions

United Methodist News: United Methodist body considers change to sexuality stance

Newsweek: Women Come to Power in the Vatican

Raw Story: Kentucky spends $18 million busing kids to religious schools in spite of state constitution

Ms. Magazine: Google Removes Misleading Crisis Pregnancy Center Ads

Religion News Service: Pastor John Makokha Welcomes Persecuted LGBT Community To His Church In Kenya

Pink News: Christians who believe gay parents ‘blight’ a child’s development hold London conference

3 News: New Zealand: Pahia’s controversial 'gay healer'

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

News and Commentary: Vatican Hearing Edition

For the second time this year, the Catholic Church is being held accountable on a world stage for clergy sexual abuse of minors. Back in January, Vatican representatives appeared before the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, after which the committee released a hard-hitting report on the Holy See's responses to clergy abuse, institutional maltreatment, and LGBTQ issues.

This week, the Catholic Church has been pressed once again to explain its response to clergy abuse. The U.N. Committee Against Torture (under the aegis of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) questioned Holy See representatives at a hearing in Geneva on May 5-6. The hearing is part of the committee's monitoring process of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the Vatican ratified in 2002.

For your edification, I have gathered news articles and commentary pieces on the hearings below.

New York Times: Vatican Envoy Questioned at U.N. Over Response to Abuse

Washington Post: At UN, Vatican sex abuse compared with torture

Los Angeles Times: Vatican panel on sexual abuse meets, plans to tackle church coverups

The Guardian: Vatican releases figures on how it disciplined priests accused of sex abuse

NPR: Vatican Tells U.N. Committee That Abuse Claims Have Dropped

BBC News: Vatican: States must tackle child abusers among clergy

The Center for Constitutional Rights: Understanding Clergy Sexual 'Abuse' as Torture

RH Reality Check: At UN, Vatican Continues to Claim Limited Jurisdiction on Sexual Abuse of Children by Priests

The Daily Beast: Torture the Little Children? The Catholic Church Says It’s Not Responsible

Monday, May 5, 2014

American Culture Warriors in Africa

Political Research Associates and Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma are raising awareness of the American Religious Right's anti-gay activism in Africa with a new book. American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism highlights America Religious Right figures who are spreading homophobia across the globe through "culture war" campaigns. The book offers strategies for concerned Americans who want to tackle the export of homophobia.

American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism will be released on May 19th, the same date PBS is schedule to broadcast the documentary God Loves Uganda.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Commentary Tidbits

Cracked: 5 Insane Lessons from My Christian Fundamentalist Childhood

CNN: Why God Does Not Belong at Graduation

Towleroad: Anti-Gay Wingnut Peter LaBarbera Chats with Harlem’s ‘Jesus Would Stone Homos’ Pastor

Religion Dispatches: Duggar Daughters Talk Sex, Courtship, and Fear of Ungodly Men

Politico: Rick Santorum bucks Republican orthodoxy in book

Relevant Magazine: How Not to Talk About Purity

Homeschoolers Anonymous: Why the Distance Between “Christian Patriarchy” and “Complementarianism” Is A Sleight Of Hand

Think Progress: How A New Book About Gay Christians Is Reviving Evangelical Homophobia

Godless in Dixie: Anti-human Theology: Learning to Hate Yourself

News Tidbits

KPCC: Some victims of Catholic Church sex abuse oppose Pope John Paul II reaching sainthood

Pink News: NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher: We should aim for a sub-culture of ‘traditional marriage’

The Advocate: Hispanic Evangelicals to Feature 'Ex-Gay' Speaker

Star Observer: California’s gay conversion therapy ban heads to Supreme Court

MSNBC: Transgender woman sues Christian university that expelled her

Daily Mail: Church of England split fear as African bishops speak out over clergy flouting a ban on same-sex weddings

Monday, April 28, 2014

Christian Purity Culture Reaches Out to an Even Younger Audience

Christian purity culture is performing outreach to increasingly younger audiences. One example of this trend is the Pure in Heart conference, which promotes Christian purity to girls ages 7-12. The conference invites mothers to bond with their daughters, guide them to God, and encourage them to embrace purity. Pure in Heart will be hosting events in Frederick, MD and Cincinnati, OH in 2014.

Conference speakers include Susan Henson (co-author of purity-themed children's books such as Life Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss and Life Lessons from the Squire and the Scroll) Melanie Bogner (who has worked with the Children’s Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Bill Gothard ministry), and Marlae Gritter (executive vice president of Moms In Prayer International, a mother's ministry which places high value on sexual purity and "biblical womanhood").

"I believe Satan feeds us a lie that if we weren't pure, we cannot pass on that legacy of purity to our children, and that is exactly what it is. It's a lie." -- Maryann Loveing, Life Action Ministries

"Haley's Story" one of the conference promotional videos, presents modern girlhood as an ominous time. Things such as bad language, peer pressure, and "boy-crazy girls [and] the way they dress" make it difficult to cultivate purity, the narrator argues.

"Do you have any idea how hard it is being my age these days? It's like a video game, except you're the one getting shot at. We're seeing all this stuff and we don't even know it. It's the peer pressure, the bad language. Like, why can't they just say 'crackerjack'? It's the boy-crazy girls, the way they dress, and you should hear the things that the guys are saying. It's just really hard to have a pure heart these days. Oh, and FYI, I used to think this all started in about the fifth grade. No. Uh-uhn. Not anymore. Try the second grade."

As much as I support parents bonding with children and girls rejecting toxic messages from society, I wonder how closely this event will conform to other Christian purity messages. As purity culture performs outreach to girls through purity balls, pro-abstinence events such as Silver Ring Thing, and gatherings such as Pure in Heart, we need to consider the impact this will have on children.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Commentary Tidbits

Center for American Progress: The Global Reach of Religious Liberty Rhetoric

Political Research Associates: Beyond Lively & Warren: U.S. Conservative Legal Groups Changing African Law to Persecute Sexual Minorities & Women

Right Wing Watch: Glenn Grothman Says John Kerry Upset God By Condemning Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown

Friendly Atheist: The (First) 7 Problems with the Hobby Lobby Bible Curriculum

RH Reality Check: Straight White Men Don’t Have to Fear the Anti-Sex Political Crusade

Recovering Grace: There Is No Victim: A Survey of IBLP Literature on Sexual Assault and Abuse

The New Civil Rights Movement: Mormon Leaders Omit ‘Gay’ In Survey Asking Students ‘What Is Your Sexual Orientation?’

Heresy in the Heartland: Not On Your Side, Debi

Rhymes with Religion: Sex offenders, faith communities, and four common exploitations 

Alternet: How Christian Purity Culture Enabled My Step Dad to Sexually Abuse Me   (Trigger warning)

Squalto Rant: The Mysterious Methods the Right Uses to Choose Its "Heroes"

Gin and Tacos: Freedom from Logic

News Tidbits

Al Jazeera America: At Baptist ‘sex summit,’ leaders reaffirm anti-gay marriage stance

Associated Press: Oklahoma District Bible Class: Sinners Will Suffer

ABC News: Are Evangelicals Out of Touch With Mainstream Views?

Huffington Post: Franklin Graham Says Gays Can Go To Heaven If They Repent

Raw Story: Christians have grabbed ‘theocratic control over public schools’ in Louisiana, critic says

Pink News: AFA: It’s not safe for Christians to be photographers, bakers, florists, teachers, innkeepers...

Religion News Service: Cedarville University shuts down dissenting student newspaper

WITF: Research on birth control contradicts comments from Bishop

The New Dawn: Liberia: Take definite stance on gay marriage, says Catholic priest

London Evening Standard: 'Deport this wicked Nigerian witch-hunter as a danger to children'