Someone please tell me if my progression here is inaccurate in any way:
1) Family owners of small-town Indiana pizzeria spend zero time or energy commenting on gay issues.
2) TV reporter from South Bend walks inside the pizzeria to ask the owners what they think of the controversial Religious Restoration Freedom Act. Owner Crystal O’Connor responds, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no….We are a Christian establishment.” O’Connor also says—actually promises is the characterization here—that the establishment will continue to serve any gay or non-Christian person that walks through their door.
3) The Internet explodes with insults directed at the O’Connor family and its business, including a high school girls golf coach in Indiana who tweets “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Many of the enraged critics assert, inaccurately, that Memories Pizza discriminates against gay customers.
4) In the face of the backlash, the O’Connors close the pizzeria temporarily, and say they may never reopen, and in fact might leave the state. “I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” Crystal O’Connor tells The Blaze. “I’m just a little guy who had a little business that I probably don’t have anymore,” Kevin O’Connor tells the L.A. Times.
Rod Dreher titles his useful post on this grotesque affair “Into the Christian Closet,” and it’s apt considering the progression above. If only these non-activist restaurateurs had simply kept their views to themselves when asked by a reporter, April Fool’s would have been like any other day for them.
But as it stands, they’re now being trashed not just by social-justice mobs from afar, but by powerful politicians where they live and work. Democratic State Sen. Jim Arnold represents the O’Connors’s district.
On the one hand, there is a growing consensus that straight, gay and lesbian people deserve full equality with each other. We are to be judged by how we love, not by whom we love. If denying gays and lesbians their full civil rights and dignity is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. Gays and lesbians should not only be permitted to marry and live as they want, but be honored for doing so.
On the other hand, this was a nation founded on religious tolerance. The ways of the Lord are mysterious and are understood differently by different traditions. At their best, Americans have always believed that people should have the widest possible latitude to exercise their faith as they see fit or not exercise any faith. While there are many bigots, there are also many wise and deeply humane people whose most deeply held religious beliefs contain heterosexual definitions of marriage. These people are worthy of tolerance, respect and gentle persuasion.
If there is no attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights, the cause of gay rights will be associated with coercion, not liberation. Some people have lost their jobs for expressing opposition to gay marriage. There are too many stories like the Oregon bakery that may have to pay a $150,000 fine because it preferred not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. A movement that stands for tolerance does not want to be on the side of a government that compels a photographer who is an evangelical Christian to shoot a same-sex wedding that he would rather avoid.
Furthermore, the evangelical movement is evolving. Many young evangelicals understand that their faith should not be defined by this issue. If orthodox Christians are suddenly written out of polite society as modern-day Bull Connors, this would only halt progress, polarize the debate and lead to a bloody war of all against all.
Recognizing that culture shapes behavior and that moral frameworks matter doesn’t require thundering denunciations of the moral choices of the poor. Instead, our upper class should be judged first — for being too solipsistic to recognize that its present ideal of “safe” permissiveness works (sort of) only for the privileged, and for failing to take any moral responsibility (in the schools it runs, the mass entertainments it produces,the social agenda it favors) for the effects of permissiveness on the less-savvy, the less protected, the kids who don’t have helicopter parents turning off the television or firewalling the porn.
This judgment would echo Leonard Cohen:
Now you can say that I’ve grown bitter but of this you may be sure /
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor.
And without dismissing money’s impact on the social fabric, it would raise the possibility that what’s on those channels sometimes matters more.
A Dolce & Gabbana fashion show might not be the first place you’d look to see whether a pope’s message has taken root, but maybe it should be. As we saw after 9/11, when culture is in crisis, it’s not just political, religious, and intellectual types who respond: Even fashionistas, rightfully, join the chorus. Now, in 2015, we see the fashion world responding to a different crisis: We have become barren and unsexed in a time—like all times—when we need men, women, and children, to be fathers, mothers, and families. In the context of this crisis we hope that Oscar de la Renta is right after all, that this fashion is indeed looking forward. And we join Mssrs. Dolce & Gabbana in proclaiming: Viva la Mama! Viva la Papa! Viva la Famiglia!
In August of 1955 Emmett Till, a fourteen year old black boy, was brutally murdered by a lynch mob in Mississippi. In an act of ultimate bravery, Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother insisted on an open casket funeral for her son. For three days, the boy’s brutalized body was on display. Photographs circulated around the world. Mamie Till sought to “expose white brutality and black faith”saying, “Lord you gave your son to remedy a condition, but who knows, but what the death of my only son might bring an end to lynching … Darling you have not died in vain, your life has been sacrificed for something.” Mamie Till articulated the heart of Christology. In no way could she be heard to have willed or desired the death of her son: she merely yearned for his suffering to be rendered meaningful in a mad world. Mamie Till’s prayer was for her son’s resurrection in the form of a movement to resist the sort of violence that robbed him of his life.
No resurrection erases the tragedy of the cross. Nothing erases violence. Rebecca Brock intones precisely the hope we can have on the other side of tragedy: contact with our own grief. (…) The power of God is that presence that gets us through abuse and violence, it saves us to live on, to heal, and to work for justice.
To this end, resistance is the work of resurrection. When grief at the violence and injustice that consume the world can be truly felt, the image of Jesus’resurrection then draws humans toward seeking ways of mirroring the divine impulse toward life. Remembrance leads to resistance; “apart from the consciousness of the vanquished and the remembrance of the victims, the cry of rebellion cannot arise.” The political action of the people arises from the experience of eyes set squarely on the cross. Soelle calls this our passion. When contact with the crucified world draws us to resist violence, this is the work of the resurrection. We do not then live merely in hope that someday we too may share in the reward of a resurrected Christ and be swept out of the world of woe. Instead we find symbolized in the resurrection of Jesus a model for resisting the insistence of violence on its own totality. In short, we proclaim, “another world is possible”and we are forging it through our resistance.
There are three things that ultimately allow Sam and Frodo to achieve their quest–none of which are intrinsic to them or somehow reflective of some hidden quality they possess in themselves. The first is memory. Even when Frodo cannot, Sam is able to call his friend back to a world they once belonged to and in that world they can find the strength to press on though they are now far from it.
This implies a second thing that drives them–which is love. The reason the memory is so potent is that it contains in it so much that they love in the world. And these are not grandiose things–they are simple things, the place they once lived in, the coming of a new season, the planting of crops, and the savoring of strawberries and cream. Pippin and Merry have a similar scene as they share a bit of pipeweed from the South Farthing with Gimli, Aragorn, and Legolas after the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
There’s something deeply incongruous about all this, of course. Here are two small hobbits on the slopes of Mt Doom talking about sowing barley and hearing birds in the trees. There’s an important lesson here, however, and Tolkien very much wants us to see it, I think: the love of small things can sustain us in the face of great evil.
Political scientist James Q. Wilson called Calvin and Hobbes “our only popular explication of the moral philosophy of Aristotle”: Virtue, expressed as self-control, respect for the demands of justice and fairness, and thoughtful concern for the wellbeing of others, founds and perpetuates social and political order (and constitutes real happiness). Indeed, on one particularly tempting winter day, Hobbes puts Calvin in mind of just this fact. Calvin smacks Susie with a snowball anyway.
One might argue that Hobbes—whose insights into human nature often mirror his namesake’s “nature red in tooth and claw” outlook—exhibits the most virtue of any character in the strip. Calvin, often the foil to Hobbes’s good sense, typifies what Watterson sees to be wrong with the world: commercialization’s encroachment on art, beauty, and meaning; popular obsession with statistics and polling as indicators of policy needs or wisdom; boredom with the import of sound education; ethical egoism (tempered each December by Santa’s looming presence); and so forth.
In one story, Calvin transmogrifies himself into a tiger, only to find that he and Hobbes have nothing to discuss when they are both wearing stripes. This story illuminates another human reality, one that is elsewhere obscured in much of society: Complementarity. Uniformity, or at least the denial of distinctions, can hinder friendship as well as help it, as Calvin and Hobbes discover with the help of the cardboard box “Transmogrifier.”
The problem with this Germanophobia is not simply that it is stupid, or that it is yet another symptom of the decomposition, before our eyes, of the noble European project of integration and ever-closer union.
No, the problem with today’s Germanophobia is that, contrary to what the sorcerer’s apprentices who stoke it would have us believe, their behavior is not a sign of their opposition to the true fascism that lies on the horizon, but rather of their allegiance – and even contribution – to it.
Over the past few years, the nature of Russia’s military-ecclesiastical complex has repeatedly become evident. Kirill extended the church’s blessings to the pro-Moscow regime in Belarus after a highly troubling election. In Ukraine, Kirill completely echoed Putin’s line that the Russian-sponsored separatist guerrillas were well-intentioned local citizens who justifiably feared oppression by the Kiev regime. Kirill even granted church honors to Cuba’s Castro brothers. All is in God’s hands, it is all His will.