Pope Jim Garlow I joins the Münchhausen martyrdom brigade

Jim Garlow is a silly, silly man. We've written here before about the Münchhausen martyrs -- privileged people who prefer the self-congratulatory fantasy of persecution. And, as Kyle Mantyla reports, Garlow is an extravagantly ridiculous example of this. Speaking at the Family Research Council's "Watchmen on the Wall" conference (the name of which is, itself, a gloriously pompous example of Münchhausen-martyrdom fatuousness), Garlow denounced same-sex marriage. In doing so, he also … [Read more...]

‘Rights for me, but not for thee’

"Rights for me, but not for thee" creates all sorts of problems. For example, if the rights are not for thee, then they aren't actually rights, and so I can't be confident in the rights for me either. "Rights for me, but not for thee" means that even my rights aren't rights, merely privileges -- and privileges are a whole lot more precarious than rights. Another problem with this view is that those who embrace it also tend to imagine that its opposite must be true -- that "rights for thee" … [Read more...]

On thrones and princes, a clarification and an apology


I think there are (at least) two problems with my post yesterday about thrones -- two problems arising from my mistakes. One of those problems requires some clarification, which I'll try to provide here. And it requires an apology, which I will provide here. The other highlights what seems to be a deeper contradiction in my thinking, and that will take another post to sort out or, at least, to try to articulate more clearly.* Here I want to try to clarify what my visceral antipathy to the … [Read more...]

Unlimited arm-swinging is not a credible religious doctrine

Here is an ugly story from New Jersey, via David Badash, "‘For Going Against God’s Will’ Catholic Hospital Denies Gay Man HIV Meds": “Joao Simoes sued Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Union County Superior Court,” the Courthouse News Service reports. “He says that the hospital admitted him in August 2011, but that requests for his lifesaving medication were not honored, and his sister was denied visitation rights.” Susan V. Borga, M.D., from the Department of Behavioral Health … [Read more...]

The Pennsylvania constitution is not constitutional

I did not know this about my state of Pennsylvania. Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Article 1: Declaration of Rights Religion, Section 4. No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth. WTF? How is that not a religious test for public office? I'm guessing/hoping that this was originally … [Read more...]

The American Game of Thrones


The other day I mentioned the "thrones" of the U.S. Catholic bishops. That was not a figure of speech. They have cathedra -- big fancy chairs that serve as the thrones of bishops. What are these thrones for? Well, they're only symbols, some might say. But all thrones are only symbols. They are symbols that the people who sit on them believe that they reign over others. The picture here to the right makes me feel fiercely Baptist. This is a picture of an American throne. This particular … [Read more...]

More on More and religious liberty


Here's Sarah Posner on the unintentionally revealing invocation of St. Thomas More as the U.S. bishops' symbol of "religious liberty": Invoking More as a symbol of religious freedom is highly problematic, for some of the Bishops' evangelical allies, but especially for how citizens understand our democracy. More, politician, philosopher, counselor to King Henry VIII and later his Lord Chancellor, opposed the Reformation — not just Martin Luther, not just Henry's efforts to secure a divorce … [Read more...]

Freedom for all three religions: fundraising theater

The Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Catholic fundraising group that portrays itself as a defender of religious liberty, seems to be hoping to corner the market on fundraising from anti-Muslim conservative Catholics. That's bad. But it has had the felicitous side-effect of pushing the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty -- another conservative Catholic fundraising group that portrays itself as a defender of religious liberty -- to carve out a niche among slightly less anti-Muslim … [Read more...]