“White History Month”

Two years ago, during my first year of teaching at Wabash College, I was invited to give a "Chapel Talk," a weekly lecture on the speaker's choice. Since I have a natural aversion to controversy, I wrote and delivered the following talk on a bland and safe topic: Black History Month and the notion of race.Since it's February again, I share it here in video and text. I have not done much more work in the philosophy of race since writing this talk, but I do hope to return to it sooner than … [Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: USCCB to Think About HHS Amendment Sanely and Without the Advice of Drudge, Huff Post, or Alike

February 1, 2013 ---In a shocking press release, United States Conference of Bishops made several unexpected moves in response to the Obama administration's proposed modifications to the HHS mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, known by many as Obamacare. In a brief three-sentence memo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan implied a number of cryptic, esoteric, and ridiculous things. Two of the three sentences were particularly disconcerting to American Catholics: We welcome … [Read more...]

Guns AND Religion?

During Obama's first go-round in 2008, there was a big flare-up surrounding his comment about rural voters bitterly clinging to guns or religion. It was the equivalent of Romney's inelegant 47% remark from this past fiasco election.I've already gone on the record about guns here: "Those Immune to Violence Arm and Disarm." I hope I made myself clear. I am not impressed or persuaded by either side of the Newtown-fueled gun aftermath. I wrote, "I don’t have any solutions because I remain u … [Read more...]

Abortion or Religion? A Quandary

When I taught at Wabash College, there was a Protestant non-demoninational congregation down the road that had a strong presence on campus and was well-known for its anti-Catholicism. Rock Point Church. They were especially prominent among athletes---I personally know of two (former) Catholics whom they convinced to leave the Church. I didn't mind the evangelical side. We do that too. It was their toxic pulpit, ringing with an aggressive, Jack Chick-style of  rhetoric, replete with the usual … [Read more...]

The Culture Wars Are Over

It began when a mostly intelligent, cheeky, and sometimes rabble-rousing group of students I befriended at Wabash College found themselves short on fresh ingredients. Their publication, The Wabash Commentary, was born from the conservative side of the culture wars, the attempted counter-reformation to the 60's and 70's. Of course, at Wabash, an all-male liberal arts college founded in 1832, things were running a decade and a half behind --- and I consider this proclivity towards t … [Read more...]

Those Immune to Violence Arm and Disarm

My late Tio "Manino" (short for Marcelino) had an bottle of Mexican brandy beside his recliner. Presidente. He was well into his eighties, past his drinking prime, so I asked what it was for. He replied that, with all the break-ins and robberies and murders that were commonplace in his neighborhood, especially ones targeting the elderly, he had come up with a strategy: if a thug entered his small trailer-house he'd tell him there's nothing to be stolen, nothing of value, but he'd invite the … [Read more...]

The Politics of Guadalupe

In loving memory of Fr. Sam Homsey C.PP.S. (1910 - 2004) As a teenager, I played basketball on a small cement slab behind the parish rectory where we lived. My Dad was the pastoral coordinator at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (in Brady, Texas) at the time. I was told that the place I played at was once the entryway for a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In that small chapel, there would be Spanish-language Masses offered for the Mexican faithful who attended Mass in Spanish. I d … [Read more...]

Haw Wins: Pagan Christianity and the New Apologetics

In my recent reflection on James Wellman's book on Rob Bell, I tried to steer away from dismissing Bell altogether. I tried to be generous without being dishonest. I'm not sure if I did that, but I was left with an aloof sense that I didn't really have my say. "Oh well, no need to always be so critical." I moved on to my next book assignment: From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart. In it, I found nothing less than a complete take-down of the religious fads that Rob Bell and others have come to … [Read more...]

Notre Dame and Its Rather Silly Catholic Malcontents

Notre Dame is the premiere Catholic institution of higher education and research in the United States of America. Period. I don't have a single degree or academic affiliation motivating me to say that. This assertion should be self-evident.Keyword: should.I am also a life-long fan of the Fighting Irish and, with their recent athletic success, I've been hearing fellow Catholics --- including some of my nearest and dearest friends --- say all kinds of negative things about Notre Dame's … [Read more...]

The Scandalous Abortion of Savita Halappanavar

(WARNING: I'm pissed and I'm not mincing words or emotions here. I'm not reporting, I'm venting. I'll post links to other stories and all that jazz later, once I cool down.)These idiots --- who denied Savita Halappanavar an early induction that would have saved her life --- deserve court and confession, prison and penance.These idiots also happen to be my religious kin. They used the word 'Catholic' and their Irish national identity carries a long, storied relationship to my Church. In … [Read more...]


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