Notable News: Week of March 16-22, 2013

It’s been quite a week.  The big things have been the Steubenville case in the news and Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week on the blogs.  There’s been lots of other good stuff as well.  Here are some highlights:

1. On Steubenville

I don’t think I need to rehash the verdict.  What had me ready to reach through my computer screen and throttle people was the horrifying response.  First, the judge warned the teens about the use of social media.  Really? Social media is at fault here?  And also, nothing about “how you treat women who can’t consent to sex with you” was apparently not something he felt he needed to address; too busy admonishing them for their use of social media, I suppose.

When he sentenced the boys, Judge Thomas Lipps urged all those who had followed the case “to have discussions about how you talk to your friends, how you record things on the social media so prevalent today and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends.”

Meanwhile, news outlets were also active in their campaign for worst response.  Fox, MSNBC, and CNN all ran the name of the victim.  I think CNN wins this round, though, for lamenting that the rapists’ lives were ruined by the guilty verdict:

“What’s the lasting effect though on two young men being found guilty juvenile court of rape essentially?” Crowley wondered.

“There’s always that moment of just — lives are destroyed,” Callan remarked. “But in terms of what happens now, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law.”

“That will haunt them for the rest of their lives.”

As well it should, Candy Crowley.  As well it should.

Be sure to check out this excellent response from Christianity Today on rape and human dignity.

2. On spiritual abuse

The Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week link-up has been going on this week.  You can read everyone’s stories at the following pages:

Day 1: Hosted by Hannah Chellase at Wine and Marble

Day 2: Hosted by Joy Bennett at Joy in this Journey

Day 3: Hosted by Shaney Irene at Faith-Filled Thoughts from the Front Porch

If you can only read one of these, make it Shaney’s from today.  The topic is why we need to care about spiritual abuse.

Simultaneously, Elora Nicole has been posting about abuse all week, and Rachel Held Evans has been hosting a week-long series of guest posts and interviews about different kinds of abuse (and frequently the way they intersect).

If you have been spiritually abused and need a safe place to find hope and healing, I urge you to check out this web site.

3. On homophobia and progressive Christianity

One of the reasons that I identify as a progressive Christian but refuse to identify with the progressive Christian movement is that I don’t always find myself in alignment with other “progressives” in areas of importance to me–chiefly, feminism and LGBT issues–and how churches need to grow on those points.  (For example, I don’t think it’s right for old, white, heterosexual cis-men to sit around thinking up ways to “make room” at their table for people who are not old, white, heterosexual cis-men.)  I also find that progressives have this strange attitude that refusing to tolerate bigotry is somehow not in line with the goal of tolerance.

Anyway, for all of those reasons I was very interested in what Kristin Rawls, a fellow writer I follow on Twitter, had to say about her interview with folk singer Michelle Shocked.  It’s quite a read; I suggest you click the links in the article for some background on the situation.

Since the news of her antigay rant went viral, Shocked has issued a public mea culpa of sorts. It’s probably significant to note that 10 of 11 of the shows on her tour have been cancelled since. I read it as an unprincipled attempt to placate LGBT people -– note that she says she supports tolerance, not acceptance, and that she’s calling for LGBT people to tolerate the people who trample on our rights. Anyone acquainted with post-evangelical faux-progressive Christianity
has heard it all before.

4. On having fun with my words

A couple of weeks ago, I was tweeting about an evangelical novel I was reading that had some…interesting views on spiritual warfare.  One of my followers made an off-hand comment about the “royal family of Hell,” and it sparked something in me.  This week’s fiction on my other blog was inspired by that tweet.

The real reason for Lucifer’s disquiet was the fact that his daughter refused to tell him which demon she had ensnared. She had remained silent, and no amount of demanding, pleading, or wheedling would draw it out of her. It was both maddening and worrisome.

He suspected she had gotten herself involved with a junior demon far below her station as Princess of Hell and was appropriately ashamed to admit it.

Have a great weekend, folks!



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