The Return of the Queen

I haven’t been posting as much lately, what with the demands of graduate school and such, but occasionally a story happens that demands a response. No, it’s not about the Donald Trump Show, the ignominious return of the Duggars to television, the death of Mother Angelica, or whatever thing Pope Francis is doing. This story is much more important: Kathleen Battle isĀ  returning to the Metropolitan Opera:

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Terrorism, In Brown and White

Two weeks ago, Paris was rocked with a number of coordinated terrorist attacks by ISIS fighters. Two days ago, a “lone wolf” engaged in a prolonged shootout with police in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While the former has been roundly condemned by almost all Americans as nihilistic barbarians, regardless of their political orientation, the latter is seen very differently, depending on how you feel about abortion.Some on the right like Carly Fiorina have been “Not All Pro-Lifers” while others like Donald Trump have simply dismissed the shooter as some random maniac who in no way represents mainstream conservative opinion on anything:

The Friendly Atheist has compiled a bunch of tweets from users celebrating the shootings:

Clearly, terrorism isn’t terrorism when it’s being used by a cause one approves of.

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It Takes a Village to Abuse a Child: Further Thoughts on Spotlight

I saw the movie “Spotlight” this morning, and it exceeded my expectations in every way. It’s definitely an Oscar contender, and I think it’s a film everyone should see. Not only does “Spotlight” do a great job of dramatizing the Boston Globe’s investigation into the abuse scandal, but it also shows the extent to which Boston was controlled not just by the Catholic church but by what one could call “the old Irish boy’s club” that demanded silence from priests, police, survivors, their families, and entire communities. Indeed, it seems like many Bostonians had direct knowledge of abusive priests, but assumed that it was just that one guy and the church knew how to handle things. The willingness for communities to turn a blind eye to abusive priests leads a lawyer working for abuse victims to proclaim (and here I’m paraphrasing), “It takes a village to raise a child, and a village to abuse one.”

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Although “Spotlight,” the new movie about how the Boston Globe exposed the Catholic sex abuse scandal, only went national yesterday and not too many people have seen it thus far, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops isn’t taking any chances, sending out “talking points” to every diocese in the country:

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All My Skinfolk Ain’t My Kinfolk

One of Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson’s schticks is his insistence that if nominated and elected, he would be America’s first “real black president.” As opposed to the “fake black” president we have now. This assertion isn’t new, since Herman Cain was saying the same thing during his own failed presidential run, and this meme is being reiterated by white Republicans who are desperate to run a black candidate to make them seem less white and less racist. Whatever one thinks of Obama’s policies, the notion that he is somehow “less black” than Carson or Cain ignores the way in which blackness was and is constructed in the United States.

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Charity vs Solidarity

Note: Parts of this originally appeared as posts on the Bilgrimage blog.

I recently finished Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz’s book on mujerista theology in which she said that solidarity needs to replace charity as the pinnacle of Christian virtues and I heartily agree. Last year, I wrote about how the word “uncharitable” is misused by conservotrads (, and now I’m going to write about why charity falls short as a virtue.

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The Niagara Movement: The Black Lives Matter Movement of the Early Twentieth Century

110 years ago, the Niagara Movement was founded by black civil rights activist (and fellow nonbeliever) W.E.B. Dubois to directly confront racism in American society. Unlike the “accomodationist” tactic advocated by Booker T. Washington, Dubois believed that blacks needed to attack racist laws and customs head-on, and not wait for some far-off day when whites would be prepared to accept them as equals. A PDF of the Niagara Movement’s goals and philosophy can be found here:

While much of what the Niagara Movement wanted seems like common sense (e.g., universal suffrage, the end of peonage in the South, free, compulsory, and integrated high schools for children of all races, equal treatment before the law), it was considered shocking and radical by the standards of the early twentieth century, and even many black leaders thought that Dubois and his followers were being too bold. What is depressing for me, as I read the goals of the Niagrara Movement 110 years after the fact, is that many of the demands it states have yet to be properly implemented in the post-Civil Rights era.

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