Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle antisemitism makes me sad.

subtle antisemitism

Protest against circumcision in Metairie, LA, 29-Oct-2018

Subtle antisemitism is problematic

There are a number of issues in our body politic that have origins in discrimination against Jews. While there are many reasons for ignorance on these, I’m still concerned. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment and talk about things that have their roots in hatred of Jews.

Circumcision

There was a protest against circumcision in my neighborhood (#themetrys) yesterday. I know a number of people who do not approve of circumcision. While their numbers are few, they make a solid case for not doing this to their infant sons. I respect that.

What I don’t respect is a group of men protesting this issue in public within days of a massacre of Jews. The Jewish people are the one single group in the world immediately connected to circumcision. Did those men standing on Clearview and Veterans in Metairie yesterday consider this when protesting this procedure? It’s unclear. It’s unclear because they did it in the wake of the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Failure to recognize context

I saw the photos of this protest tweeted by a friend around mid-afternoon yesterday. My first reaction was, this is way too tone deaf. No legitimate group looking to promote an idea or issue could possibly be this unaware of the world around them. So, my process took the next step. Clearly these people were organized. They had to know what happened Saturday. They had to know those people in Pittsburgh were gunned down at a bris, of all events. Therefore, there was a good chance the protesters were antisemitic.

Reactions from social media

I said as much on Zuckerbook. Read the responses. A number of people know the group and its agenda. They claimed the protesters are not antisemitic. Commenters presented logical reasons for their beliefs.

My concern continued. These people have a website. They’re literally “on tour” with these protests. Zuckerfriends reported seeing them in Shreveport, Galveston, and Baton Rouge, before their appearance in Metairie. That level of commitment requires logistics. It requires communication.

So, now I’m even more skeptical. They’re not operating in a vacuum. A group concerned about the bigger issues would stand down, out of respect for others who disagree with them. This group didn’t. Are they ignorant, or do they have an an additional agenda?

Antisemitism has long roots

subtle antisemitism

Pogroms in Russia. Turned away from the United States. Hitler and Himmler. These are but examples of discrimination and hate focused on Jews.

Hitler served in the German Imperial Army in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles ended that war. That accord dealt harsh terms and conditions to Germany. Those terms included demands for reparations that were unreasonable. Like many at the time, Hitler was hurt and angry and defeated. He channeled that anger not towards the British or the French, but towards German Jews.

Hitler believed the Jews came out of World War I way too nicely, while Christian Germans suffered. This is a common theme going back millennia.  Shakespeare created “Shylock, a Jew”, as his bad guy for The Merchant of Venice. That didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Pogroms in Russia

The Tsars treated their serfs badly for centuries. To make Christian serfs feel better about their lot in life, the Tsars and the Church focused the anger of the serfs on the Jews. Blood libel and profiting from Christians were two examples of “crimes” of the Jews. The Tsars allowed Christians to carry out “pogroms” against Jews. Thousands of Jews were displaced, turned out of Russian cities. Jews were attacked, injured, and killed.

Have you ever watched Fiddler on the Roof? Go back, now that you know what a pogrom is.

“Mutilation” of Christian boys

One of the common tropes of the 20th and 21st centuries with respect to Jews relates to circumcision. Groups spreading hatred of Jews claim there is a conspiracy involving Jewish doctors to mutilate Christians. This goes back long before the Nazis. That regime used this accusation as one of many to deny Jews civil rights in Germany between the World Wars.

Lack of understanding

Read. Learn. Understand. Do you have Jewish friends? Ask them why they circumcise their children. Do you think they’re part of an international conspiracy? Do you believe they should be shot down in their places of worship? Take a step back. Look at the entire picture.

Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence – touchy feely relationships in a #metoo context

Dear Prudence tackles an interesting letter

dear prudence

Slate’s “Dear Prudence” pod, starring Daniel Mallory Ortberg.

Dear Prudence advises

The latest number of the “Dear Prudence” podcast presented an easy but thoughtful situation. A woman wrote, seeking advice on how to discuss playful/casual groping by her boyfriend. The boyfriend gives her the occasional caress on her butt, or boob-grab. She’s been OK with it. Until lately, that is. The whole #metoo thing triggered her. She’s less interested in in random touching. That boob-grab that was once fine now concerns her.

Unspoken triggers?

The letter-writer expressed problems with the groping and touching of late, but did not really offer a reason beyond #metoo, in her letter. That’s her privilege, of course. If a person wants more space, end of discussion. Many things trigger this sort of reaction. Cat-calls, a work colleague who doesn’t respect personal boundaries might be the issue. Maybe it’s just too much time on social media, listening to other womens’ stories.

So, let me re-iterate: Whatever her reasons, if she doesn’t want to be touched, that’s that.

What about the boyfriend?

The letter-writer seeks advice on how to explain this to the boyfriend. She factors in potential reactions from her partner. Daniel and his guest made it clear, this is about what she wants. While the hosts understood her concerns, they wanted to be clear, this is about HER. They understood. This is a relationship, therefore, a dramatic shift should be discussed. The writer wants an approach. The reply was simple: tell him how you feel!

That’s rarely bad relationship advice. So, hopefully the boyfriend will get it. Understanding and empathy are important.

What if he doesn’t?

Short letters allow Daniel and his guests opportunity for expansion. They moved from specifics to general observations. Boyfriend behavior in #metoo shouldn’t be a challenge. Still, defense mechanisms kick in when we tell someone they’re doing something unwelcome. The hosts explained that this presented an opportunity to the letter-writer. After presenting her thoughts on the boob-grabs, she receives the opportunity to observe. Will he understand? Will he freak out? This issue changes boundaries, even temporarily. Reactions tell both partners if they’re a good fit.

I wish we could see how this turns out.

#metoo means working on relationships

Guys often resist change. They resist challenges to their masculinity. A woman rejecting an advance, even in a consensual context like this relationship is problematic. What was once playful may now be triggering. Guys need to understand how that works and adjust.

Punditocracy ignores racism – @JonFavs and @DanPfeiffer disappoint

Punditocracy ignores racism – @JonFavs and @DanPfeiffer disappoint

Punditocracy ignores racism – #whiteprivilege on the podcasts

punditocracy ignores racism

Pod Save America – Favreau, Lovett, Vietor on Tuesdays, Favreau and Pfeiffer on Thursdays.

The Punditocracy ignores racism

Pundits like the ObamaBros of Crooked Media dance around the main issue. In last Thursday’s Pod Save America ep, Favreau and Pfeiffer say all the right things, except one. They fail when it comes to addressing racism.

Southern Strategy Racism

punditocracy ignores racism

LBJ knew what would happen

LBJ got it right when it comes to Southern Strategy racism. He knew that signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would set the Democratic Party back generations in the rebel states. Nixon turned LBJ’s concern into a full-blown strategy. He ran on it and won in 1968. While Nixon’s corruption ended his administration, racism remained.

Carter’s defeated Ford because Nixon was a crook. Reagan defeated Carter because Ronnie ran as a racist. Reagan knew how to bring fear from a simmer to a boil. His rhetoric on the Black Panthers in California contributed to the fear and uncertainty of white voters. Nixon teed up the racism. Ronnie added the fear. Carter wanted people to practice compassion. Reagan wanted a 600-ship Navy.

Nixon to Reagan to Trump

The racism never left. Radical clerics like Falwell and Robertson gave racism a cross. Trump expanded the hate. Now it includes brown folks from the Middle East. When Al Qaeda and ISIS cooled down, Donnie added MS13, promoting fear.

Why don’t the pundits address racism?

It’s simple: #whiteprivilege. The Crooked Media pundits outsourced race relations to Deray McKesson. A former teacher, now full-time activist, and author, Deray hosts Pod Save The People on Crooked Media.

While Deray, along with regulars Brittany Packnett, and Sam Singyangwe, and Clint Smith, III, address racial issues, the white guys focus on white pundits. In Thursday’s ep, Favs describes how Republican pundits freaked out when talking to reporters. They told the world the nomination was on life support.

Talking to the Punditocracy

But, of course, it wasn’t. That’s because McConnell had the votes. So-called knowledgeable liberals pointed out the delays. They argued McConnell didn’t have the votes. By Saturday, they all lined up.

And the guys can’t figure out how that happened? They understand the strategy. They know Republicans raise the flags of racism and fear. While they get it, they soft-pedal the whole thing. MS13 becomes “immigration”. They don’t even mention black folks.

Those Republicans knew they had the votes. They operate with different motives. Republican operatives want guest editorials. They want spots on Tapper’s CNN show. The never-Trumpers want mentions from Hayes and Maddow. If they say, we have the votes, those opportunities dry up.

Favreau and Pfeiffer need to get off twitter. They need to talk more to their own colleagues. We’re not going to affect change by ignoring racism.

 

New Orleans Saints – LSU Purple-and-Gold? That’s an abomination.

New Orleans Saints – LSU Purple-and-Gold? That’s an abomination.

New Orleans Saints – LSU? Nope, nope, nope.

This is an abomination.

New Orleans Saints – LSU

That’s just an abomination. An abomination before King Cake Baby Jeebus. 247 Sports did a what-if article on NFL team colors. What if the pro team used the “local” school’s colors? The article paints the Saints helmet in LSU colors. It’s a failure on multiple levels.

These teams aren’t local

UT at Austin for Dallas? SMU is IN Dallas. Texas A&M for Houston? What about, you know, the University of Houston? How about Rice? They get Florida totally wrong. Tampa – Florida makes more sense. Jacksonville should pick up the school in the panhandle, Florida State.

Georgia Tech matches better with Atlanta than the hours-away University of Georgia. GaTech is ACC, not SEC, sure, but they’re in Midtown Atlanta.

Some teams make sense

Los Angeles Chargers matching up with UCLA, Los Angeles Rams pairing up with USC, those make sense. Indiana with the Colts keeps Notre Dame out of the article. I’m good with that.

LSU and Georgia are just wrong

New Orleans Saints - LSU

Double fail. Wrong school, and the Falcons are always a fail.

LSU and the Saints, simply wrong. It’s lazy. While LSU is closer to New Orleans than Georgia is to Atlanta, still, no. Yes, the two schools chosen are bigger football schools. They’re not the right matches, though. Tulane and Georgia Tech both were originally in the SEC. While Tulane’s program dropped significantly, they’re still New Orleans. They played in Tulane Stadium, then the Superdome, now in their new stadium. Georgia Tech plays at Bobby Dodd Field, on their campus. The writer looked for the big names, not the geographic fits. I concede that my University of New Orleans Privateers don’t have NCAA football, but Tulane does.

Phoning it in

The writer totally phoned this in. The tells are the Florida teams. The others indicate the writer either didn’t know or didn’t care about teams situated in the NFL cities. Fail. And an abomination!

Voter Registration Louisiana – TOMORROW – LAST DAY

Voter Registration Louisiana – TOMORROW – LAST DAY

Voter Registration Louisiana – TOMORROW IS LAST DAY

Voter Registration Louisiana

TOMORROW, Tuesday, 9-October, is the last day you can register to vote in the November 6th election in Louisiana. So, it’s important!

Check Your Registration

voter registration louisiana

“But I’m already registered”, “I’ve lived in my house for twenty years”, “It’s not a problem.”
Or is it? While you think you’re registered, the Republicans purge!
Go to ResistBot and find out. ResistBot verifies your registration. So, it’s not a scam!

Text CHECK to 50409 and follow the instructions.

Vote Save America

The ObamaBros at Crooked Media run VoteSaveAmerica.com. The site helps folks check their registration. If they’re not registered, they receive instructions.

Registering in Louisiana

Register online in Louisiana. Go to the Louisiana Secretary of State website and follow the instructions. It’s simple and important. Therefore, there’s no excuse.

You can always register in person. Do it, today or tomorrow! Here’s the procedure from the LA SOS:

Apply in person to register to vote at any Registrar of Voters Office.

You may also register in person at any of the following locations:

  • Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles;
  • Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services;
  • WIC offices;
  • food stamp offices;
  • Medicaid offices;
  • offices serving persons with disabilities such as the Deaf Action Centers and Independent Living Offices; or
  • Armed Forces recruitment offices.

To review:

  • Check your registration
  • GO REGISTER, in person or online, if you’ve been purged

You’re not done!

The November 6th elections are extremely important. Verify your registration (and fix things if necessary). So, then, TELL YOUR FRIENDS. It’s not enough that you go vote. You need to check with TEN friends. Make sure they get out to the polls.

Go tell the Texans!

Here in Louisiana, we all have friends in Texas. All your exes, too. So, make sure they’re ready to vote for Beto O’Rourke.

Go tell the Georgians!

So, we know that NOLA means “Nobody Likes Atlanta”. While you hate the Falcons, make sure your friends vote! Tell them to verify their registration. Keep on them about getting out on November 6th. Make Stacey Abrams Governor!

Why is this a big deal?

Neither of our Senators from Louisiana stand for re-election in 2018. All of the CongressCritters do, and Democrats challenge each of them. So, we flip the House, if everyone votes.

Additionally, we must pass Constitutional Amendment #2, the Unanimous Juries Amendment. Louisiana is the only state where someone can be convicted of a serious felony by a non-unanimous (10-2) vote. The Louisiana Legislature voted to put the change on the ballot. Now we have to make it law.

Bullet Journal year one

Bullet Journal year one

Bullet Journal – year one

bullet journal year one

my first Bullet Journal entry/task list, 19-Jan-2017

Bullet Journal – year one

The concept of keeping a “Bullet Journal” was all the rage this time last year. As my friends began to take up the style, I thought I’d give it a try. I’d been back-and-forth with paper versus electronic task lists for a couple of years. New apps, new systems come and go. I needed something I could stick with.

The key aspect of the Bullet Journal – often shortened to BuJo – is that it’s forgiving. The BuJo starts blank. You can set it up this week in one style, shifting to another next week.

This was an opportunity. I like the Franklin-Covey system for task management. A-B-C, 1-2-3 worked for me. The world changed since I started that system around 1989. BuJo brought me back to it.

Weekly layout, daily details

I now set up a two-page weekly layout, with a monthly calendar, sections for Monday though Sunday, next to the calendar. Then I have general task topics, such as Writing, Blogging, Podcasts, Personal, etc. Each day, I take tasks from the weekly layout, move them into a daily list, then prioritize that. Notes about the day go below that, onto multiple pages, if necessary.

Managing the writing

bullet journal year one

Standard Moleskine – Dragon’s writing notebook!

Bullet Journal year one started with me adding writing notes as part of the daily BuJo pages. I’ve decided to change that up. I’ll finish Trusted Talents (the second novel in the Bayou Talents series) in the day-to-day BuJo. The third Dragons novel, Dragon’s Defiance, now has its own notebook. Well, it’s the start of a “dragons” Moleskine. Third Talents will go that way as well. Other writing projects will start in the regular BuJo.

Will three notebooks be a problem? probably not. If something comes to me for one of the two main universes, I can note it in the daily notebook and transcribe to the project notebook.

Starting a new daily notebook

bullet journal year one

Old and New – 2017 BuJo Moleskine, 2018 BuJo Moo Notebook

I decided to buy new Moo cards for NOLA History Guy just after New Year’s. When I placed the order, the company offered me their “Moo Notebook” for a discount. I grabbed it this morning and declared it to be the continuation of the BuJo for 2018!

bullet journal year one

Moo Notebook binding

The Moo notebook has an interesting binding, making it easier to lay flat.

And, we’re off!

Military Parade – maybe it’s not a bad idea

Military Parade in DC?

military parade

US Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps (courtesy Spc. Van Der Weide/U.S. Army)

Military Parade in DC?

Yeah, I wasn’t impressed when Donnie declared he wants a Red Square-style parade. We’re not a culture of tanks and missiles. I want a military parade, though.

military parade

Sentinel, Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Eric Chan)

We fetishize military deaths in the United States. I attribute this to two main factors. First, the Puritan roots of the United States. We demand focus on the afterlife. We honor the dead more than the living. Are Forces are not better fighters for that. Let’s cheer them while they’re still with us!

Factor number two focuses around Arlington National Cemetery. The center of military ceremony in many Western countries is the royal palace. There’s Buckingham Palace in London, palaces in Oslo, and Stockholm, and the Vatican, to name a few. We don’t have a royal family in the United States. Our focus is on the dead. Turning the Custis-Lee Plantation into hallowed ground made for an interesting compromise. It gave the Union a way to ceremonially seal the victory over the Southern rebellion. It also raised the leader of the rebels up to a lofty position in our country’s military tradition and heritage. It’s an honorable and distinguished thing to do. Still, it focuses on death and the dead more than we should. ‘

Honoring the living

military parade

The United States Navy Ceremonial Guard and the United States Air Force Honor Guard are reviewed by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, during a Joint Services arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, 14 Feb. 2012. (Courtesy U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

To facilitate the honoring of military dead, each branch of the service maintains an honor guard in the DC area. The US Army has the Third Regiment, The Old Guard. The Old Guard includes the Caisson Platoon and Escort Platoons, that bear the bodies of our deceased military men and women to their resting places at Arlington. The regiment also includes other units that honor the living, such as the Commander In Chief’s Guard,  and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.

military parade

US 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment (courtesy Pfc. Rebekah Lampman, U.S. Army)

And that’s not all! There’s the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, posted at Fort Hood, in Texas. The Navy has the Naval Ceremonial Guard, Marines are first to fight, but they also have the United States Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment, which includes the USMC Silent Drill Team. There’s the USAF and the US Coast Guard Honor Guards as well. Therefore, we have the personnel for a grand parade!

Don’t forget the USS Constitution, up in Charles Town, Boston! Bring the crew, dressed in their War of 1812-era uniforms down for a parade!

Here’s a list of military ceremonial units.

Martial Music

military parade

US Navy Ceremonial Band (courtesy Chief Musician Stephen W. Hassay)

So, there are the bands! In addition to the Old Guard Fife and Drums, each service has a band in the DC area. Many bases and posts also have excellent bands. Put the DC bands on the street! Bring the service academy bands to DC. Have a contest among the other bands. Let them audition for spots in a grand parade.

Flyovers!

military parade

USAF Thunderbirds (courtesy Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer)

Fly the planes! Bring on the US Navy Blue Angels and the USAF Thunderbirds! While the jets fly, don’t forget the Army’s Golden Knights!

Focus on our Forces

military parade

Let helicopter pilots CAPT Daniel Hall and CAPT Vincent Franchino march proud!

So, celebrate the men and women of our Forces, before we put them in the ground! Honor their families! Maybe let some of the spouses and children march/ride in a parade!

Display diversity! Parade people of color, parade gay couples and our TG military personnel! They deserve it more than missiles.

#Timesup transition means #whypipo must change

#Timesup transition means #whypipo must change

#Timesup Transition

transitioning to #timesup

#Timesup Transition

The #metoo movement shined a huge spotlight on the treatment of women in the US. #Timesup transition begins with a change in political action. Personal stories morph into that action.

The Golden Globes are a forum for political activism. This year, that took the form of #timesup. This is a huge step in our national discourse. Hollywood takes on patriarchy and racism. The #metoo groundswell went well beyond the cathartic stories told by individuals. While this was good, it didn’t really break out past individuals.

White people need to insert/assert themselves

When people of color are brought to the forefront of any issue, white people tend to bristle a bit. The #metoo stories were overwhelmingly from white women. Weinstein didn’t even dignify allegations from women of color. The #timesup efforts deliberately carry #metoo that step further, turning the follow-spot away from the white people. As expected, white people pushed back.

transitioning to #timesup

Rinku Sen (@rinkuwrites)

Rinku Sen (@rinkuwrites) is the publisher of Colorlines.com. She wrote a piece for The Nation on #timesup. It dropped last Tuesday. So, Sen makes a number of important points on what she calls the “lefty critique” of #timesup. The list of “critiques” she offers is things is interesting. They’re things one hears from folks critical of “Hollywood.” This writer offers more.

Breaking the binary

Sen argues we’re “trapped in binaries.” It’s a good point. Therefore, transitioning to #timesup happens with broader perspective. So few things are either-or. Binary thinking avoids nuance. She returns the nuance:

No one knows exactly what formula will ward off the authoritarianism looming over our country and the world, but that formula probably doesn’t include the word “only.” There should and will be many tactical experiments in this period of political, cultural, and spiritual churn. Critique is easy. Actually running such an experiment is hard.

Absolutely. Either this or this doesn’t work. Many issues need nuance. Let’s try new approaches.

So, how does this apply to transitioning to #timesup?

Sen explains #timesup thusly:

#TimesUp is grounded in a progressive movement where racial justice, feminism, and workers’ rights meet. For years, organizations have worked to change the national narrative around work, violence, immigration, policing, and many other issues. Understanding that policy and politics were inadequate to the transformational task at hand, they added cultural change to their toolkit.

The #timesup movement expands progressive activism. Sen nails it upfront. She adds racial justice to white activism.

Cultural change

I regularly use the hashtag #checkyourprivilege in conversations. #Timesup integrates this. We must change the culture of white privilege.  We must change white people on the Left. Therefore, we’ll have a lot of tough conversations. It means hurt feelings. People will (gasp!) unfriend on social media. Cultural change means white folks need to catch up.

Slate’s Hit Parade – The destruction of the single

Slate’s Hit Parade – The destruction of the single

Slate’s Hit Parade podcast


“Here Comes the Sun” – the most-sold Beatles song on iTunes

Slate’s Hit Parade – How the labels destroyed the single

Slate’s Hit Parade podcast is now separate from their “Culture Gabfest” pod, and that’s a good thing. In the series’ fifth drop, the subject is the single. The recording industry hated singles, not because they didn’t make money. They hated them because they didn’t make enough money. Listeners wanted the music they heard on the radio. The labels wanted more retail sales. The way to get more money out of consumers was to sell them albums rather than singles. Problem was, a lot of albums only had the one or two good tracks that ended up as singles. The other eight-ish tracks on the album just weren’t interesting. The industry’s solution: don’t sell singles, force the public to buy the album.

The strategy worked. You wanted that Joni Mitchell tune you heard on the radio? Go buy her “Court and Spark” album. Same for artists from The Beatles to Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The industry refused to sell the tunes on the radio as singles for decades. Listen to the pod, it’s fascinating.

Singles vs Albums

Slate's Hit Parade

Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know” – lots of radio play, never a single

I never bought singles, mainly because I appropriated the family stereo at an early age. I bought albums by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Yes, and The Beatles when I was in seventh grade. My sisters had a record player and were content with 45 RPM singles. Not me. I’m not sure if my personal rejection of the single was because of any marketing strategy on part of the industry. I’m just one of those mutants that liked the “album tracks” better than the “single track” on an LP. Take Boston’s debut album, for example. “More Than A Feeling” was the big-radio tune when the album dropped in the fall of 1976. I always liked “Peace of Mind” better. No way I would’ve purchased a Boston 45 RPM, as a result. Of course, I listened to so much “head rock,” ELP, Yes, King Crimson, etc., that didn’t lend itself to the single format.

“Cassingles” and “Single CDs”

The pod’s discussion of these formats fascinated me. All these years, I never thought releasing a single-on-cassette or a single-tune CD was a thing. The connection of format to Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart made them important. I never cared. For me, it was about buying the album, then recording it to a tape for the car, then later, the Walkman. The CD, while pricey, appealed to audiophile-me.

The pod ends with the karma that was Napster and iTunes, and how the greed of the recording industry pretty much destroyed it. In that section, one tidbit caught my ear, that “Here Comes the Sun” became the best-selling tune from The Beatles’ catalog when it was placed on Apple’s music sales site. It was never released as a single, but became their best-selling single. I wonder if it was the label that kept the tune off the Hot 100 (by not releasing it as a single), or if it was Lennon and McCartney.

Independent Pod

I’m very pleased that Hit Parade is now a stand-alone podcast, and look forward to future eps.

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Mychal Judge – Gay Saint?

Mychal Judge – Gay Saint?

mychal judge gay saint

FDNY memorial to department chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM (courtesy Commons user BrillLyle)

 

Is Mychal Judge a “Gay Saint”?

It’s called a “cause” when Catholics put a person forward for canonization. The “cause” of Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, moves forward to Pope Francis. While the Church maintains that it’s difficult to become a saint, Pope Francis expanded the paths to sainthood. This profile of Judge, by Ruth Graham in Slate.com, explains how the Franciscan friar and 9/11 hero is now eligible for this designation.

Prior to Pope Francis, there were two paths to sainthood. One was Martyrdom. A martyr is one who gives their life for their faith. The second was “Confessor,” the more complicated path. These are the causes with all the rules and regulations. A “confessor” becomes a saint when “miracles” happen based on this person’s intercession with God. So, the “confessor” path is a difficult one.

Oblatio Vitae

This July, Pope Francis created a new path to sainthood. As Graham explains it:

But in July, the Vatican announced that it had expanded its criteria for sainthood, creating a new category for people who willingly sacrifice their lives for others: oblatio vitae, the “offering of life.” This new category of saints does not need to have been killed directly because of their faith, and they need display only “ordinary” virtue. As Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, put it, “Now saints can be persons who lead a fairly ordinary life until an extraordinary moment of supreme self-sacrifice.” It’s a category that seemed custom-built for Judge.

While the Vatican will no doubt admit that this category exists for Judge, it really does seem this way. Of course, there are a number of other folks who fit these criteria. It’s important to remember, to canonize someone means the Church declares, this person is in heaven with God. That’s a bold claim, coming from mortals. Naturally, they want to be as certain as they possibly can. Catholics and other students of the process of canonization will find this all interesting.

Judge offered his life

The article is a splendid profile of a complex man. Judge did indeed offer his life, particularly in service to AIDS victims in New York. Like those who worked with lepers in earlier times, Judge embraces those dying of AIDS-related conditions, offering comfort and spiritual support. Judge was a gay man, and had a long-term relationship with a nurse who also lived in Manhattan, Al Alvarado. Judge, his friends, and those championing his cause, maintain that he remained true to his priestly vow of celibacy. Like many straight priests who have intimate relationships with women, they see no problem with Judge’s relationship with Alvarado.

Fr. Judge is a man Catholics can easily look up to. And pray to.

 

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