#MeToo Comes for the Archbishop

The first time I ever heard the truth about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., finally exposed as a sexual predator years into his retirement, I thought I was listening to a paranoiac rant.

.. That was before I realized that if you wanted the truth about corruption in the Catholic Church, you had to listen to the extreme-seeming types, traditionalists and radicals, because they were the only ones sufficiently alienated from the institution to actually dig into its rot. 

.. McCarrick, or “Uncle Ted” as he urged his paramour-victims to address him, had such a long history of pursuing seminarians and priests that a group of Catholics went to Rome to warn against making him Washington’s archbishop (to no avail).

.. For reporters who pursued the story, it was a case where “everyone knew”but nobody would go on the record

..  the cardinal was protected, in part, because his targets were mostly younger men under his authority rather than teenagers (it was a teenage victim who finally made the story break), which didn’t fit the pedophile-priest narrative, and liberal journalists who didn’t want to appear somehow homophobic and conservatives who wanted to protect the church’s reputation had an excuse to keep his secrets safe.

..  I learned all this, I was in the same position as the “everyone” who knew about Harvey Weinstein or any other powerful man with a history of pressuring subordinates into sex.

.. it was like a tree falling in an empty forest, and no one heard the sound.

.. With the exposure of systemic abuse in so many different institutions lately, it’s become possible for Catholics to regard this as a general purgation that our church just went through first. But the grim truth is that the Catholic purgation was incomplete, because it was not quite #MeToo enough.

.. But we only found out about a few Weinsteins of the church — high-ranking clerics who used the power of their offices to effectively force sex upon men to whom they were supposed to be spiritual fathers.

.. everyone with inside knowledge knows that there are many more like hm.

.. Which doesn’t mean those stories are all destined to come out.

.. #MeToo in Catholicism seem more substantial even than the obstacles in Weinstein’s Hollywood, because priests who endure sexual advances or end up enmeshed in “Uncle Ted” relationships are in a unique bind: Their commitment to the church is supernaturally absolute and life-defining, the power their superiors exercise is greater even than that of a Hollywood producer, and the sexual acts themselves can seem so compromising — not just sex, but gay sex that breaks a vow of celibacy — as to make truthtelling feel not just costly but impossible.

.. And without worrying, either, about whether the stories make either side of Catholicism’s civil war look good (McCarrick was a famous liberal, but the next case might be a conservative), or what the revelations mean for debates about gay men in the priesthood or priestly celibacy or anything else.

Trump Shows Us the Way

Donald Trump slipped into the Oval Office through a wormhole of confusion about the American identity.

.. We were moving from a white-majority, male-dominated country and manufacturing base to a multicultural, multilateral, globalized, P.C., new energy, new technology world, without taking account of the confusion and anger of older Americans who felt like strangers in a strange land.

.. And we certainly don’t want men like Rob Porter who have punched, kicked, choked and terrorized their wives to be in the president’s inner circle, helping decide which policies, including those that affect women, get emphasized.

.. We don’t want the White House chief of staff to be the sort of person who shields and defends abusers — and then dissembles about it — simply because the abuser is a rare competent staffer. Or a man who labels Dreamers “too lazy to get off their asses” simply because they didn’t apply for legal protections in time.

.. John Kelly served as a character witness not only for Porter, after he didn’t receive security clearance because F.B.I. agents had heard the harrowing tales from his battered ex-wives. Kelly also testified as a character witness for Gen. Robert E. Lee and a former Marine who pleaded guilty to sending inappropriate sexual messages to female subordinates; who drove drunk to an arraignment; and who got charged in Virginia with sex crimes against children.

.. As a more lucid Trump tweeted in 2012 about Rihanna getting back together with Chris Brown, “A beater is always a beater.”

.. We don’t want a president who bends over backward to give the benefit of the doubt to neo-Nazis, wife beaters, pedophiles and sexual predators — or who is a sexual predator himself.

.. We don’t want a president who flips the ordinary equation, out of some puerile sense of grievance, to honor Russia and dishonor the F.B.I.

.. We don’t want a president who is too shallow to read his daily intelligence report and too obsessed with the deep state to deal fairly with our intelligence agencies.

.. We don’t want a president who suggests that Democrats who don’t clap for him are treasonous and who seems more enthralled by authoritarian ways than democratic ones.

.. who loves generals but trashes Gold Star parents

.. who wants the sort of chesty military parade that we mock Kim Jong-un for, a phallic demonstration of overcompensation that would only put more potholes in the D.C. boulevards.

.. one who could be so easily trapped in lies that he can’t even be allowed to talk to an investigator.

.. And, finally, we surely don’t want a president who seeks advice on foreign affairs from Henry Kissinger. Ever. Again.

The death of Christianity in the U.S.

Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Evangelicalism has ceased to be a faith perspective rooted on Jesus the Christ and has become a political movement whose beliefs repudiate all Jesus advocated. A message of hate permeates their pronouncements, evident in sulphurous proclamations like the Nashville Statement, which elevates centuries of sexual dysfunctionalities since the days of Augustine by imposing them upon Holy Writ.

.. Evangelicalism’s unholy marriage to the Prosperity Gospel justifies multi-millionaire bilkers wearing holy vestments made of sheep’s clothing

.. Christianity at a profit is an abomination before all that is Holy. From their gilded pedestals erected in white centers of wealth and power, they gaslight all to believe they are the ones being persecuted because of their faith.

.. Evangelicalism’s embrace of a new age of ignorance, blames homosexuality for Harvey’s rage rather than considering the scientific consequences climate change

.. Evangelicalism forsakes holding a sexual predator, an adulterer, a liar and a racist accountable, instead serving as a shield against those who question POTUS’ immorality because of some warped reincarnation of Cyrus.

.. Charlottesville goose steppers because they protect their white privilege with the doublespeak of preserving heritage

.. The Evangelicals’ Jesus is satanic, and those who hustle this demon are “false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

.. You might wonder if my condemnation is too harsh. It is not, for the Spirit of the Lord has convicted me to shout from the mountaintop

To save the GOP, Republicans have to lose

Roy Mooreism was distilled Trumpism, flavored with some self-righteous moralism. It was all there: the aggressive ignorance, the racial divisiveness, the disdain for governing, the contempt for truth, the accusations of sexual predation, the (just remarkable) trashing of America in favor of Vladimir Putin, the conspiracy theories, the sheer, destabilizing craziness of the average day.

.. Most of the party remains in complicit silence. The few elected officials who have broken with Trump have become targets of the conservative media complex — savaged as an example to the others.

.. This is the sad logic of Republican politics today: The only way that elected Republicans will abandon Trump is if they see it as in their self-interest. And the only way they will believe it is in their self-interest is to watch a considerable number of their fellow Republicans lose.

.. In the end, the restoration of the Republican Party will require Republicans to lose elections.

.. It will require Republican voters — as in Alabama and (to some extent) Virginia — to sit out, write in or even vote Democratic in races involving pro-Trump Republicans.

.. victory for Republicans will look like: strategic defeat

..  Trump and his allies are solidifying the support of rural, blue-collar and evangelical Christian whites at the expense of alienating minorities, women, suburbanites and the young. This is a foolish bargain, destroying the moral and political standing of the Republican Party

.. It is the emergency method for Republicans to detach themselves from Trump, create a new party identity and become worthy of winning.

.. Trump’s Republican opponents will not be to blame. It would be Trump and his supporters, who turned the Republican Party into a sleazy, derelict fun house, unsafe for children, women and minorities.

.. A healthy, responsible, appealing GOP can be built only on the ruins of this one.

 

Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican

evangelicalism, a transdenominational effort to faithfully represent Christ in word and deed, shaped my life and outlook, helping me to interpret the world.

.. Some of the most impressive moral movements in American politics — the efforts to abolish slavery and to end segregation and the struggle to protect unborn life — have been informed by Christianity

.. Yet the support being given by many Republicans and white evangelicals to President Trump and now to Mr. Moore have caused me to rethink my identification with both groups.

.. I consider Mr. Trump’s Republican Party to be a threat to conservatism, and I have concluded that the term evangelical — despite its rich history of proclaiming the “good news” of Christ to a broken world — has been so distorted that it is now undermining the Christian witness.

.. “Evangelical is no longer a word we can use.” The reason, he explained, is that it’s become not a religious identification so much as a political one.

.. the term evangelical “is now a tribal rather than a creedal description.”

.. the events of the past few years — and the past few weeks — have shown us that the Republican Party and the evangelical movement (or large parts of them, at least), have become what I once would have thought of as liberal caricatures.

.. Assume you were a person of the left and an atheist, and you decided to create a couple of people in a laboratory to discredit the Republican Party and white evangelical Christianity. You could hardly choose two more perfect men than Donald Trump and Roy Moore.

  • Both have been credibly accused of being sexual predators, sometimes admitting to bizarre behavior in their own words.
  • Both have spun wild conspiracy theories, including the lie that Barack Obama was not born in America.
  • Both have slandered the United States and lavished praise on Vladimir Putin, with Mr. Moore declaring that America today could be considered “the focus of evil in the modern world” and stating, in response to Mr. Putin’s anti-gay measures in Russia: “Well, maybe Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”
  • Both have been involved with shady business dealings.
  • Both have intentionally divided America along racial and religious lines.
  • Both relish appealing to people’s worst instincts.
  • Both create bitterness and acrimony in a nation desperately in need of grace and a healing touch.

.. Rather than Republicans and people of faith checking his most unappealing sides, the president is dragging down virtually everyone within his orbit.

.. Prominent evangelical leaders, rather than challenging the president to become a man of integrity, have become courtiers.

 

A #MeToo for clueless men

Not all bullies are sexual predators or sexual harassers. But most sexual harassers and predators are bullies.

.. I met Mark Halperin around the time I met Wieseltier. Halperin, too, had a reputation for mistreating women. Until now, I hadn’t heard specific accusations. But I could see with my own eyes that he was a bully who, lacking Wieseltier’s charm, enjoyed power plays over colleagues and other journalists. Our president, likewise, routinely attempts to humiliate aides and opponents alike; is it any wonder that he has also boasted of assaulting women?