How bracing it must have been for the assembled worthies at Log Cabin's "Spirit of Lincoln" dinner to hear a Bush administration alum slamming the most pro-gay president in history for his shortcomings on gay issues. I happen to know that the persecution of Anwar Ibrahim began long before the Obama administration. As for the evils of ISIS, does Mr. Wolfowitz take any share of responsibility for aiding its rise? But go ahead, sneering men of privilege, and look for liberal targets of your scorn while your own party does its best to smash the foundations of our republic.
As I said in 2007, Hillary Clinton is a formidable woman and is not to be underestimated. In the past few days she has reminded us of this.
Vatican, on pope and Kim Davis: "I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no other comments to add" http://t.co/CWzZWhVmn5— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 30, 2015
I hardly know what to say about the revelation that the pope met secretly with Kim Davis while here in Washington. I cannot say I was surprised, given the harsh anti-gay things he said when he was Cardinal Bergoglio and his inviting the likes of Tony Perkins to a confab last year. But after my first angry reactions as I was reading my Twitter feed, I thought of my gay Catholic friends, some of them extraordinary activists and the most admirable of people. Then I thought of love ones whose spirits were crushed by religious homophobia. And I thought of the representatives of the Archdiocese of Washington that fought us on every major piece of pro-LGBT legislation before the D.C. Council for the past three decades. And my main feeling is great sorrow.
I left the Church 45 years ago, not because I was gay but because I did not like the authoritarian mindset and the expectation that I should let others do my thinking for me. But though you can leave the Church, the Church does not so easily leave you if you were born and raised in it. This is family for me, who growing up had a nun for a cousin and a priest for an uncle. I know that people I care about and respect are in pain. I don’t feel like marshaling arguments right now. Even though I myself counseled against wishful thinking with this conservative pope on account of his pastoral gifts, that doesn’t remove the sadness one bit.
All I can say, as I said long ago to a lover whose guilt and self-hatred stole him from me, is that you are not disordered, and no God could be sadistic enough to give you this love and this desire and then condemn you for it. That so many persist in doing so, and urge the cruelty of lifelong celibacy on us as the only acceptable option, is wickedness supported by cherry-picked lines from ancient texts most of which the quoters blithely ignore. I can’t blame anyone for getting their hopes up. I learned a crucial lesson long ago, that each of us has a separate journey to make. Just consider, if you are a bit frayed at the moment, that there is more fellowship around you than you may realize.
One of the good early reactions to the confirmation from the Vatican is from Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry.
UN agencies urge states to protect rights of LGBTI individuals http://t.co/exdfDJ8lYM— JURIST (@JURISTnews) September 29, 2015
Nice. Everyone is not pleased, of course.
Pope: ‘Basis of marriage’ being called into question http://t.co/CXXWVondwq— Washington Blade (@WashBlade) September 24, 2015
Pope Francis said in his remarks to a joint meeting of Congress today:
Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family.
Your Holiness, my family is of value and is not a threat to anyone else's. Your church has denigrated our love and fought our civil rights and protections every step of the way. Please tell your brother bishops to stop it.
.@JohnKerry, once denied communion over his support for abortion rights, gets a rare handshake from the pope as he enters House chamber— Josh Lederman (@joshledermanAP) September 24, 2015
Blessed are the peacemakers.
My column this week looks at how the GOP is sinking in brainlessness and bile. Here's an excerpt:
Any sufficiently shameless and ambitious politician knows that a smoothly delivered fabrication on live television impresses millions more than will read the next day's refutations. Take Carly Fiorina (please), the never-quite-senator from California with her bag of imaginary business triumphs, whose numbers shot up after her well-delivered zingers at last week's Republican presidential debate.
Never mind that repeated investigations of Benghazi have turned up no sinister actions by Hillary Clinton. Never mind that several state investigations have turned up no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. Carly has to appease the Ignorati (as I dub the right-wing base), so she touts a nonexistent fetus-harvesting video. Just as her $40 million golden parachute cushioned the impact of being sacked by Hewlett Packard, her bump in the polls softened the blow of being called a liar.
The facts don't matter any more. Donald Trump pushes a discredited link between vaccines and autism. Mike Huckabee says the Dred Scott decision remains in effect despite the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Ben Carson says no Muslim should be president, ignoring the Constitution's Article VI prohibition against religious tests for public office. Marco Rubio dubiously claims North Korea has the capacity to hit America with a nuclear weapon. Jeb Bush says, "My brother kept us safe," as if 9/11 never happened. Bobby Jindal (in the "undercard" debate) raises the specter of an influx of terrorists by falsely saying Obama wants to "short-circuit the vetting process" for Syrian refugees. If one lie flops, you move on to the next.
In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Here is the Times editorial condemning the American policy of looking the other way on the child rape occurring on American bases. The Times editors are right: this is unacceptable. It is outrageous beyond words, and it is a crime.
A Dangerous Pope: Pope Francis is an even more harmful adversary to the LGBT community than his predecessor Th... http://t.co/Nx1LXdFW8h— Metro Weekly (@metroweekly) September 21, 2015
I agree with Tim Rosenberger. As I wrote in my review of the papal exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" for Metro Weekly in December 2013:
Despite the Catholic Church’s many historical crimes, I support those who seek to engage @Pontifex on LGBT and women’s issues. But they should enter with their eyes open, and not be tempted by his manifest charms into committing what we might call the sin of wishful thinking.
If the reactions I am getting from American leftists are any indication, Labour will not budge because (to use an American reference) any criticism of Corbyn makes you the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy. This is the Manichaeism of the Left: someone is either a saint or a devil, so if you criticize him in any way you are calling him a devil, and they are delighted by his unflinching radical views so he must be a saint. If you are committed to actually getting things done, as I am, you are the worst kind of sellout. This obstinate attitude, so contemptuous of any kind of pragmatism, is self-sabotage. But they refuse to see it. So Labour falls. British liberals committed to creating change by engaging the machinery of government will have to look elsewhere.
With Schumer and Cardin opposing McConnell's machinations, and a deadline of Thursday for congressional action, the Iran deal looks secure. The Republicans ought to be doing their jobs and keeping the American government operating, but since Obama's first day in office they have placed thwarting him ahead of all else. This is moral treason, and when she is hauled before Congress again next month, former Secretary of State Clinton should let them have it with both barrels. In the meantime, the Nobel committee should announce the recipient(s) of the Peace Prize by Oct. 9.
I suppose it's nice of Vlad to call up Elton to talk about gay rights, though I wonder if it carried a whiff of "I'm watching you every minute." In any case, it isn't a sign of impending moderation, in light of the news above.
British gay and human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who is Green and Left, raised questions about Jeremy Corbyn's troubling associations despite on balance supporting him. American leftists cheering Corbyn would do well to heed Tatchell's caution.
While Jeremy is right to dialogue with Hamas and Hezbollah as part of a peace initiative, as Tony Blair and the Israeli government have done, he was wrong to call them “friends”. These are Islamist political parties with poor human rights records that are not consistent with humanitarian values, let alone his own left-wing views.
Jeremy says he doesn’t agree with their policies but I have not been able to find any instance, until very recently, where he has publicly criticised either Hezbollah or Hamas, both of which are guilty (alongside Israel) of war crimes and the abuse of their own citizens.
Jeremy was also wrong to call the Islamist extremist Ibrahim Hewitt “my very good friend” and to share platforms with him, given that Hewitt allegedly supports Sharia law, which stipulates the death penalty for apostates, blasphemers, adulterers and gay people....
Jeremy has also made misjudgements on Russia, Ukraine, Syria and Iran. He says he wants dialogue and negotiations, not war. I agree. But this should not include collusion - even if unintentional - with human rights abusing regimes.
Tatchell, whom I greatly admire for his courage, decency, and integrity, told me, "Corbyn will give a much needed shake up to UK politics."
I have no doubt of that. On the other hand, taking back Number 10 Downing Street from such a hard-left position seems a long shot. We shall see.
On Wednesday at the Cato Institute I attended a fascinating and funny lecture by British author David Starkey on his book Magna Carta: The Medieval Roots of Modern Politics. Following him were comments by Jonah Goldberg of National Review. The moderator was Cato Senior Policy Analyst Marian L. Tupy. Cato offered this description:
The Magna Carta was a milestone that circumscribed the power of the sovereign for the first time in human history. In his new book, distinguished British historian and television personality David Starkey looks at the origins of the Great Charter in the 13th century, its significant early revisions, and the ways in which it has been interpreted and reinterpreted by subsequent generations. Starkey explains how core principles of this quintessentially English document migrated to the North American colonies and eventually became the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution.
Near the end of the video I ask a question of Jonah Goldberg.
The United States Senate today struck a major blow for diplomacy before war. I wrote about the Iran deal in July.
His Holiness will be three blocks south of me when he visits the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. I am not planning to fight the crowds.
The breathtaking mendacity of a war criminal. (Compilation by the White House.)
This is a presentation by someone with the seriousness, the experience, and the judgment to become president. I wrote early in the 2008 election cycle that Hillary was formidable and not to be underestimated, and she demonstrates it again here. Contrast this with the glib and reckless attacks on the deal by several Republican candidates. And I liked her humor, after a coughing fit due to allergies during the interview following the speech, when she quipped that "Republican histamines are everywhere."