A strange commute home today. Ordinarily, there is standing room only when I board the Red Line. Today, the train is nearly empty. When we reached Bryn Mawr, everything went dark. A stammering engineer announced that the power is shut down because someone is on the tracks at the Thorndale station up ahead. We're still waiting.
Wilamette Week conducted an informal experiment with two bakeries that have refused to provide cakes for same-sex marriage celebrations:
The first incident, in February, involved Gresham’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa, whose owner told a lesbian couple that “we don’t do same-sex marriages.” Earlier this month, Pam Regentin, who operates Fleur Cakes out of her home in the Hood River area, also refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding.
Both bakeries cited their religious beliefs as the reason they would not make the cakes. Both describe themselves as Christian.
“I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles,” Regentin told KATU in a May 15 newscast.
Reporters tested the limits of the bakers' religious principals by calling to order cakes for various events that would be frowned upon or even deemed outright evil by conventional conservative Christians. Here's a sample of what they found:
WW Asks - I was calling to get a quote on a cake for a midsummer solstice party. My coven is celebrating on Friday, June 21. The decoration would be very simple: just a green pentagram. We’d like to pick it up sometime that afternoon, before the bonfire. It’ll be for about 30 people.
Sweet Cake says - “For 30 poeople we have a couple options... We have two kind of cakes you could have. About the diagram you want on the cake, I’m not sure how much extra that would be.”
Fleur says - Did not pick up phone or return messages. Acknowledged receiving requests by email but refused to comment.
The bakers were also willing to provide cakes for a party celebrating a human-cloning, stem-cell research grant, a baby shower for a woman having her second out-of-wedlock child with her boyfriend and a divorce party. While I could see rationalizing the latter two, the cloning should be strictly forbidden, according to their religious principles.
I don't have time to comment further right now, but I may return to this story because I find the psychological underpinnings of moral contradictions fascinating. The truth is that rational, consciously held principles are far from the only influence on our moral judgments.
In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this.
At my most clearheaded, I would hesitate to make sweeping judgments about a person based on what they might say during an angry meltdown, other than that they may be subject to fits of rage. It isn't that the words are meaningless, but words uttered in such moments don't necessarily define the so-called true character of a person.
John J. Myers, the archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, comes to this vacation home on many weekends. The 4,500-square-foot home has a handsome amoeba-shaped swimming pool out back. And as he’s 72, and retirement beckons in two years, he has renovations in mind. A small army of workers are framing a 3,000-square-foot addition. [...]
So many leaders of the church have served it so badly for so many decades that it’s hard to keep track of their maledictions. Archbishop Myers provides one-stop shopping. He is known to insist on being addressed as “Your Grace.” And his self-regard is matched by his refusal to apologize for more or less anything.
It was revealed last year that a priest seemed to have broken his legally binding agreement with Bergen County prosecutors to never again work unsupervised with children or to minister to them so long as he remained a priest. When next found, he was involved with a youth ministry in the Newark Archdiocese.
His Majesty The Archbishop is of the ilk that was promoted by JPII and Benedict, a type that Francis wants to replace as soon as possible.
The home is on an eight acre estate. Photo at the link.
GREENVILLE, S.C. — For decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners.
All of this happened until recently inside the confines of this insular university, according to former students and staff members who said they had high hopes that the Bob Jones brand of counseling would be exposed and reformed after the university hired a Christian consulting group in 2012 to investigate its handling of sexual assaults, many of which occurred long before the students arrived at the university.
Last week, Bob Jones dealt a blow to those hopes, acknowledging that with the investigation more than a year old and nearing completion, the university had fired the consulting group, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, or Grace, without warning or explanation. The dismissal has drawn intense criticism from some people with ties to Bob Jones, and prompted some victims and their allies — including many who were interviewed by Grace investigators — to tell their stories publicly for the first time, attracting more attention than ever to the university’s methods.
You may recall that BoJo is the school that maintained a ban on interracial dating until 2000.