A Liberal, Gay Cleric Defends Campus Crusade

Peter Gomes (1942-2011)

It seems that the late Peter Gomes stared down the administration at Harvard University when they tried to oust an evangelical campus group. Gomes won.

Now, Vanderbilt is attempting to do something similar to Cru (the new name for Campus Crusade), and Cru’s defenders are invoking Gomes’s memory in their defense.

From Bob Smietana at the Tennessean:

When Vanderbilt wanted its freshmen students to learn about ethics, the school turned to the late Rev. Peter Gomes to teach them. Gomes’ book, The Good Life, was required reading for the Vanderbilt class of 2015.

Now some critics of Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy hope the school will turn to Gomes, a Harvard professor who died last year, once again.

In 2003, a Christian group at Harvard called the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship ran afoul of that school’s nondiscrimination policy because it required its leaders to hold specific beliefs.

Harvard’s administration told the group to change its ways or leave campus. But Gomes, a professor and minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard, defended the student group, saying the university was discriminating against it.

“How can a profession of faith be irrelevant in the leadership of a faith-based group?” he wrote in a 2003 letter to the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

Read the rest: Foes of Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy point to Harvard | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

Catholic Bishops Insist on Waging a Culture War

It seems that every week, Catholic bishops in the U.S. are speaking out against something. Their target now: the Girl Scouts. That’s right, it seems that the organizations whose mission statement reads, “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place,” is a threat to Catholics. From the AP:

NEW YORK (AP) — Long a lightning rod for conservative criticism, the Girl Scouts of the USA are now facing their highest-level challenge yet: An official inquiry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances.

The inquiry coincides with the Scouts’ 100th anniversary celebrations and follows a chain of other controversies.

Why? Because there are rumors that the Girl Scouts partner with Planned Parenthood. They don’t, says spokesperson Gladys Padro-Soler. She adds, “It’s been hard to get the message out there as to what is true when distortions get repeated over and over.”

Already this year, Catholic bishops have been bashing gays, claiming religious persecution, Sandra Fluke, and now attacking the Girl Scouts. Seems an odd strategy in the face of ongoing pedophilia problems.

In fact, it seems that humility and a few years decades of quiet service to humanity might be a better strategy.

Proof: Women Are Better Leaders than Men

In the Harvard Business Review, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman release the results of their study on men, women, and leadership.

In the confirmation category is our first finding: The majority of leaders (64%) are still men. And the higher the level, the more men there are: In this group, 78% of top managers were men, 67% at the next level down (that is, senior executives reporting directly to the top managers), 60% at the manager level below that.

Similarly, most stereotypes would have us believe that female leaders excel at “nurturing” competencies such as developing others and building relationships, and many might put exhibiting integrity and engaging in self-development in that category as well. And in all four cases our data concurred — women did score higher than men.

But the women’s advantages were not at all confined to traditionally women’s strengths. In fact at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows:

Read the rest: Are Women Better Leaders than Men? – Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman – Harvard Business Review.

I realize there’s a glass ceiling in business because of the “old boys’ club.” But we should be able to quickly counteract this trend in the church. Why, then, does the gender make-up of the church so heavily favor men in leadership?!?

HT: Michael Toy

Obama Gets Off the Pot on Gay Marriage

After years of hedging on gay marriage — which many of us who supported him thought was a political ploy — President Barack Obama today declared his support of gay marriage. What had been a day of mourning for many GLBTs and allies in the wake of the Amendment 1 loss in North Carolina, has turned to a day of victory.

For the first time ever, a sitting president has had the courage to voice support for marriage equality. It’s hard to overstate the importance of that. From the AP article:

In the interview, Obama said, “I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient.” He added, “I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word ‘marriage’ was something that invokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.”

Now, he said, “it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Obama said first lady Michelle Obama also was involved in his decision and joins him in supporting gay marriage.

In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people,” he said.

Well, that last quote is startlingly Christian.

Many will write this off as yet another political ploy — an attempt to re-ignite young voters next November. It may do that, or it may backfire — this may turn out to be Obama’s Jimmy Carter moment.

Regardless of the politics of it, the significance will long-lasting and far-flung, for it’s difficult to imagine anything that would do more to normalize homosexuality in our culture than this.

Kudos, Mr. President. Thanks for doing something so deeply Christian.