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February 13, 2007

Blogger Marcotte resigns from the Edwards campaign

Sad news: Amanda Marcotte has resigned as head blogger for the Edwards campaign.

Apparently, one of the last straws was a very mild review of Children of Men in which she opined that a core tenet of Catholic theology is patriarchal.

How stupid has American political discourse become when it's considered anti-Catholic to point out that the Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal?

The pope was known as the "Patriarch of the West" until last year! According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the church still has officially designated patriarchs (cf. Section V. existing patriarchs).

If you've got an all-male hierarchy in which power devolves downward from the Holy Father through various subordinate guys known as "father," what kind of structure are we dealing with?

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Let's see...
"Our Father, who art in Heaven..."

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..."

"Oh Lord, please bless..."

Not only is the Pope called the "Holy Father", but every single priest in the Catholic Church is required to be male by church law.

Indeed, if I were asked to identify an organization or entity that best exemplified the notion of "patriarchy", it would have to be the Catholic Church. Not only are men in charge of everything, but it's a non-negotiable organizing principle, declared to be the received wisdom of God himself.

In what world is it considered offensive to say that the Catholic church is patriarchal?

If I were in Amanda's shoes, the fact that I could not respond to this crap on my personal blog due to my job would have stuck in my craw. I would have resigned too.

Religions and their adherents seem to have a skewed sense of entitlement when it comes to criticism. It rises to a peculiar form of arrogance and hypocrisy when religions spend a majority of their time critisizing, proselytizing and converting all us moral degenerates and they can not bear the harsh words of outsiders.

"In what world is it considered offensive to say the Catholic church is patriarchal?"

A world in which a fellow who rages against "the Jews who control Hollywood" can portray himself as a crusader against bigotry.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit..."

In my [Episcopal] church, I'm always pleased when priests use "In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life..." instead. Yay for us, whackjob Nigerian bishops notwithstanding.

A world in which a fellow who rages against "the Jews who control Hollywood" can portray himself as a crusader against bigotry.

I thought it was the Scientologists who control Hollywood now?

So Bill Donohue got his scalp.. One has to concede that it was the breadth-depth, context and vitriol of Amada’s writings that did her in. As much as the left would like to believe that it people of faith are irrational and beyond the pale (or the corresponding beliefs and doctrines) the wider public itself doesn’t seem to think so.

Its rather odd (to me) that this should elicit any surprise. Considering recent events like the “clean Obama” by Bidden, or “Makkaka” by Allen, or Strom’s birthday party by Lott… I agree there’s too much Gotcha in political discourse.

I would say it was the television coverage that did it. Blog outreach is just to small a post to be worth that kind of exposure. If Edward was a real contender he would have never hired her to begin with.

“How stupid has American political discourse become when it's considered anti-Catholic to point out that the Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal?”
Well it is patriarchal, no-doubt.. but that synonymous in leftist discourse with misogynistic and Padagon plainly uses it as such.

My impression is that the reference to patriarchy did not really matter at all. They threw it in at the end, but it did not matter to anyone.

Once you have made a bad-porn style reference to the Blessed Virgin and the Incarnation, you have offended a core part of general Christian and specifically Catholic identity. I could list 100 examples why, starting with Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Medjugorje, Our Lady of Knock, La Virgen de Guadalupe, etc. It's true that Orthodoxy and Anglo-Catholics revere Mary, but for Roman Catholics it is a core badge of identity. Quick test - is a given building a Catholic institution? Yes, if and only if it has an architectural, sculpture or portrait image of the Blessed Virgin. Lutherans and Presbyterians don't do that, Anglicans rarely do and when doing so are specifically pro-Rome in orientation.

The term "Patriarch" is complicated due to ecumenical issues. Patriarch is a name given to the head of a [specific] church or rite as opposed to the Universal Church. Because the Latin-Rite Church (i.e. "West") is so dominant in size compared to the smaller, often ethnically defined churches in Orthodoxy and, for that matter, the Eastern-Rite Churches in union with the Pope, dropping that title was PR. But most U.S. Catholics don't use the word "patriarch" very often except in reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The word does not carry much emotional valence to U.S. Catholics unless they are Eastern Rite, which few are, and then the word is generally positive, comparable to "cardinal" in a way. "Patriarchy" is a feminist term of art, unlikely to be on the tongue of a typical middle-of-the-road Catholic. There isn't any "there" there; the word and concept are simply not fighting words. The last, weakest argument in the wingers' brief, at strongest. Do men run the hierarchy? Of course! a conservative Catholic would exclaim, and would cite the encyclical letters affirming that requirement.

But sticky material up the anatomy of the Blessed Virgin, attacking the Virgin Birth as "mythology" (you and I know the word has a specific technical meaning but the typical Catholic hardware store manager doesn't) and accusing the Church of, I guess, fabricating that central Christian doctrine to promote "misogyny" - yeah, Lindsay, that will piss Catholics off, including liberal Catholics who might vote Democratic.

In my [Episcopal] church, I'm always pleased when priests use "In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life..." instead.

Latts, my folks--both in their early 70s, both lifelong, devout, "old-school" Catholics--have been making noises about shifting over to the Episcopalians for years now, for a variety of reasons (not least of which is the Church's overt hostility towards gay people like their son). My Mom just brought it up the other day. I keep saying "Just try it, Mom...just go once, you're not making a commitment...there's nothing to be scared of...." 8^)

How stupid has American political discourse become when it's considered anti-Catholic to point out that the Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal?

If that is all Amanda wrote re: Catholicism, or was representative of her tone, then I would agree with you. However, Amanda has been disdainful toward Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, and that makes her a liability for a candidate who intends to court religious voters.

It was simply dumb of Amanda to keep the personal blogging while working for a campaign where she had already become a lightning rod and knew that her every word would be scrutinized. I enjoyed her Children of Men review, but the aforementioned paragraph jumped out at me for being a: a typically shallow and glib reading of the complicated and ever changing role of the Virgin Mary in Christian theology, and b: something that her enemies would be sure to flag and disseminate. I'm sorry that Donohue got his scalp, but to horribly mix metaphors, Ms. Marcotte gave him the rope with which she was hanged.

Quick test - is a given building a Catholic institution? Yes, if and only if it has an architectural, sculpture or portrait image of the Blessed Virgin. Lutherans and Presbyterians don't do that, Anglicans rarely do and when doing so are specifically pro-Rome in orientation.

Um, every Episcopalian church I've ever been in has had an architectural, sculpture or portrait image of the Virgin Mary. And Mary gets heavily featured in, for example, Christmas carols, or, for example, Stations of the Cross every Good Friday.

It's true that Catholics make a much bigger deal of the Virgin Mary than Episcopalians (and, being raised Episcopalian and married to a lapsed Catholic, I know). But there's still enough vestigial Mary emphasis in the Episcopal Church that you can count on the statue or picture (though not necessarily on the whole congregation actually believing in the Virgin Birth).

Well, most of the "devout" Catholics I know (and I know many, being a product of 2000 years of Italian history), the last person in our fambly with more than 3 kiddies was my late great uncle Nick (13 kiddies. Not that he was all that "devout." He needed 'em for the farms). Now, nobody gave up sex, and I KNOW the rhythm method just ain't that good.

And nobody believes in the 150 year old dogma of Papal Infallibility ("Father Money," as he is known in our house). And the Virgin Birth puts JC right up there with Alexander the Great, et al., doesn't it?

Ah, we could go on and on and on. Joseph Campbell and Edith Hamilton pretty much identified the sources of much of Catholic dogma with their studies of Greek mythology. Need we say more?

Amanda has been critical of Christianity in general, and as is her wont, she's often been so using inflammatory language. But I think the best point Amanda's made about this is that once the Church makes itself a political entity, with a political agenda that affects Amanda (and other women, and hell, other men, gay or straight), it opens itself to that. More than that, it becomes incumbent upon people like Amanda, who have such strong voices, to attack that political agenda. If that agenda is not separate from the Church and its "non-political" beliefs, that's not Amanda's problem. If you demand on bringing religion into the public sphere, you have to be willing to accept criticism of it. It's in no way bigotry. All the more reason for a strong and broad interpretation of "separation of church and state."

we all lose.

pandagon has been down for over 3 hours at this point.
Heavy traffic? Fan mail? DDOS? [Thats geekspeak for when someone floods your servers clear off the net, I think it stands for Donahue Denial Of Service]

Amanda being off the air, a proxy exchange between the liberals and those who are certain their righteousness trumps our rights is being carried on in the usual blogs comment threads. Wanna food fight? [as Brad calls them] look around.

I had to bite my tongue over at Bora's Clock blog and just stick to definitions, [my definitions, of cours]:

I am struggling to stifle my urge to say a few annoyed and doubtless in some quarters annoying things but I will just leave it at reminding people we have not yet erased or repealed the 1st ammendment to the constitutuion. Let me refresh your memories with my understanding of the two parts of that first right we all allegedly enjoy. [1]It means its ok for you to practice your religion on yourself but not ok for you to practice it on me. [2]you or I can say pretty much any crazy old thing as long as we are saying it as a private citizen speaking his/her personal mind and neither I nor you respectively nor our government can act to silence such speech.
If exercising your free speech is, in effect, your livelyhood, as it is for persons like Rush Limbaugh or Amanda Marcotte, then the enmies of your freedom do you two harms at once: they take your pay with your pulpit.

[Chris, I would have to say, is on the right track]

Bruce:

My impression is that the reference to patriarchy did not really matter at all. They threw it in at the end, but it did not matter to anyone. Once you have made a bad-porn style reference to the Blessed Virgin and the Incarnation, you have offended a core part of general Christian and specifically Catholic identity. . . . The word does not carry much emotional valence to U.S. Catholics unless they are Eastern Rite, which few are, and then the word is generally positive, comparable to "cardinal" in a way. "Patriarchy" is a feminist term of art, unlikely to be on the tongue of a typical middle-of-the-road Catholic. There isn't any "there" there; the word and concept are simply not fighting words. . . . attacking the Virgin Birth as "mythology" (you and I know the word has a specific technical meaning but the typical Catholic hardware store manager doesn't) and accusing the Church of, I guess, fabricating that central Christian doctrine to promote "misogyny" - yeah, Lindsay, that will piss Catholics off


So, when Catholics call their all-male dictatorship a "patriarchy", we aren't supposed to think that means anything, but when Amanda refers to their mythology as "mythology", they're entitled to be angry even if they don't know what it means.

Why, exactly, is anyone required to take their nonsense seriously?

Incidentally, the Eastern Catholics mentioned above have married priests. Apparently celibacy is only for some priests, which makes it a bit dodgy as a requirement for the priesthood.

What I read a few years back is that Orthodox priests are allowed to be married, if they were married before they were ordained; however, the bishops must be celibate.

So if amanda made herself a target, why is she complaining about being a target? She attacks others, so should expect to be attacked!

It was simply dumb of Amanda to keep the personal blogging while working for a campaign where she had already become a lightning rod and knew that her every word would be scrutinized

Just wanted to highlight this remark because I totally agree.

Last week it was as if Amanda stumbled into a tank of piranhas and made it out damaged but alive. This week it's as if she tied raw meat around her neck and jumped back in. Not smart. Just not smart at all.

Why, exactly, is anyone required to take their nonsense seriously?

No one is required to take Catholic dogma seriously.

Latts, my folks--both in their early 70s, both lifelong, devout, "old-school" Catholics--have been making noises about shifting over to the Episcopalians for years now, for a variety of reasons (not least of which is the Church's overt hostility towards gay people like their son).

Well, the ECUSA has a lot of problems right now, thanks to the above-mentioned crackpots and their IRD sponsors, but it's always good to have members who are more likely to stand up for the GLBT crowd than grumble about how things just didn't used to be like this. Back when Robinson was approved as bishop, our rector did a mini-series of discussions on the issues, and while he did say that nonmarital sex was clearly unscriptural, he also spent a good forty minutes outlining the various types of sexual relationships & acts in the Bible and how they are perceived today (masturbation bad then but okay now, concubinage & polygamy okay then but not now, etc.). He also stated unequivocally that gay civil marriage should absolutely be allowed. BTW, he asked us what the problem inherent in a proposed liturgy for gay, lesbian, & bisexual relationships was, and I was the only one there that picked up on the bi aspect, which really is outside the boundaries of religiously-based commitments, if you think about it.

"How stupid has American political discourse become when it's considered anti-Catholic to point out that the Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal?"

Ah, at least a laugh has come out of this whole debacle for me now. Indeed, pointing out the obvious about religion seems to be an opening for labels of bigotry nowadays, even when the institutions keep doing the very thing that gets pointed out.

1) The ability of religion to act as a base of morality and social criticism in our society while remaining immune to moral challenge and social criticism is a severe flaw in our public discourse with serious long term implications for our democracy.

2) Edwards won't even be Veep candidate. They're in? They're out? They're in again? They're out again? Strictly amature.

3) This is a huge setback for blogging in general. Blogging has freed many voices to speak without the approved filters of traditional media. Unfortunately, incidents like this indicate that bloggers are likely to remain marginalized rather than transforming our mainstream discourse.

4) :(

5) It would be desirable if the Catholic League could be made to pay dearly for this outrage.

The Bill Donohues always seem to be doubting their own faith. If an omnipotent God can whip up a universe as easily as I can cook an omelette, then why does God need defending?

This whole thing doesn't surprise me, America is as obsessed with religion as any place on earth.

"If an omnipotent God can whip up a universe as easily as I can cook an omelette, then why does God need defending?"

To be fair, it usually only takes me four days to whip me up an omelet, five tops.

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