uno itinere non potest perveniri ad tam grande secretum -- Q. Aurelius Symmachus, 384 C.E.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christians: The Original ‘Anti-Family’ Lot


Google “anti-family” and you’ll get hits from a series of right-wing organizations that claim that gay-rights groups are tearing down the nuclear, man-woman family model in America. Most of these groups at the same time profess that they are Christian, and some even use the term “Christian” as a sort of catch-all term to summarize their family ideology, as though it is synonymous with this (rather new) family ideal.

Thus an Iowan baker, confronted with two women who informed her they were not sisters but partners, refused to take their order for a wedding cake, summarily informing them, “I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.”

But Christians should have the most appreciation for different viewpoints with respect to adhering to or rejecting the dominant family model: they’ve been arguing about it since quite literally the birth of the religion. From Jesus’ remark that whoever wishes to follow him must hate his own family members to Paul’s wish that all remain celibate like him, to extracanonical writings that venerate virginity and reactionary epistles that reinforce domestic, imperial ideals, Christian history in the first few centuries is replete with disagreements over marriage, the family, sexuality, and gender.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Whose God?

Since the GOP-led U.S. House has deemed it necessary to reaffirm the Cold-War era U.S. motto, "In God We Trust," including in its resolution an encouragement to plaster the phrase anywhere and everywhere, I thought a column from my past as an editorialist might be in order. After all, if the Right is merely going to recycle its own wedge issues every five to ten years, I might as well just recycle my responses to them.

The following column was published on Jan. 23, 2002. As you can see, this issue isn't new. But a few of my views have changed or at least become more nuanced, as you can imagine. However, I leave the column as is here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rush Limbaugh, Asinus Stultus (Dumb-Ass)

Rush Limbaugh went on an uneducated rant about a classical studies student who is occupying Wall Street, betraying in the process his utter ignorance about the degree (as he does when he remarks on about anything) in the process.

In an "aw-shucks, schoolin' is for gettin' jobs!" dilution of the university experience, he essentially boils down a protester's lament about the lack of employment (because, you know, unemployment is extraordinary high, a fact he strangely omits) by trashing the entire discipline. At one point, after reading the degree description from the University of Pennsylvania, he remarks: "Now, I don't know about you, does not make me want to sign up for a major in this."