Some of you have been commiserating with Jeff about the divided nature of his congregation. Getta loada these apples:
Both inside and outside St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church on Sunday, the statement “Black lives matter” was said with conviction and met with opposition.
Outside, it was written on signs and chanted through megaphones by members of the community protesting remarks made late last month by the Rev. Theodore Rothrock calling Black Lives Matter organizers “maggots and parasites.”
Those “Black lives matter!” chants were met with chants of “Go Father Ted!” from counter-protesters who oppose the suspension handed down to Rothrock and argue that he was speaking the truth.
This is in suburban Indianapolis, by the way. And it goes on:
Inside, during 9:30 a.m. Mass, “Black lives matter” was said just once by Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana at the end of his opening comments to the more than 150 people attending.
His words prompted one woman to shout “You’re a coward” in the bishop’s direction multiple times before she was escorted out. More than a dozen other people gathered their belongings and walked out of the church along with her.
Breaking my usual three-paragraph rule because man, what a story. My history with the church is checkered but mostly non-existent, but I never heard a priest call an abortion provider a maggot, at least not from the altar. To call a movement working for justice by names like this? Man, no wonder the pews are empty.
But that’s our country these days. Adult babies throwing tantrums over wearing masks. White supremacists on the march. Murder hornets and ranting priests. I will not make a “who had that on their 2020 bingo card” joke here, but it applies.
OK, then. Short shrift today. Apologies. It’s supposed to be 93 today, and just thinking about it makes me want to move to an island in Lake Superior.
I’m grateful for whoever in my network flagged this piece, about the poisonous legacy of Newt Gingrich. You want to know where civility ran off to? Newt was one of the biggest traffic directors sending it over the next hill:
Gingrich was my introduction to Orwellian newspeak. He had this tic of starting every other paragraph with “frankly” and then telling a lie; it was his poker tell. Falsehoods and hyperbole came as naturally to him as smirking. He freely trafficked in conspiracy theories. His PAC circulated a pamphlet for aspiring politicians who wished “to speak like Newt.” It advised them to repeat a long list of words to describe Democrats, including sick, pathetic, corrupt.
Like Trump, Gingrich was a thrice-married womanizer who’d somehow seduced the evangelicals. He too had a skyscraping ego, nursed grudges as if they were newborns, and lacked impulse control. In 1995, Bill Clinton made him sit in the back of Air Force One; he responded with a tantrum and shut down the government, prompting The New York Daily News to run a cartoon cover of him in a diaper under the headline “Cry Baby.”
Gingrich turned the politics of white racial grievance into an art form. They may have started with Nixon’s Southern Strategy, but Gingrich actually came from the South. He intuited the backlash to globalization, to affirmative action; the culture teemed with stories about white men under siege. (Including the Michael Douglas movie “Falling Down,” about a divorced, unemployed defense contractor’s descent into armed madness.) It wasn’t long before 1994 became known as “The Year of the Angry White Male.”
Mark Souder, my former rep-for-life-or-until-he-gets-tired-of-it in Indiana, was elected in the 1994 sweep and looked up to his leader, the Newt. He mainly had an easy time of it at election time, but once in the early 2000s he was challenged by a credible moderate Democrat, and a man without reproach, Dr. Tom Hayhurst. He was the medical partner of a close friend, and I knew him a little bit. He grew up middle class in Fort Wayne, served as a medic in Vietnam, specialized in pulmonology and was liked and respected by all who knew him. And he was handsome, the sort of man who ages like Robert Redford but without the plastic surgery, which is to say: Well. Once I was ending a lunch with my friend, his partner. He was dawdling about going back to the office, and said he had an appointment with a patient who’d asked to see someone else in the practice because she couldn’t get along with Hayhurst.
“She can’t get along with Dimples?” my friend moaned. “What’s she gonna think about me?” (And yes, Hayhurst had dimples.)
Anyway, faced with this paragon, Souder went low, with ads calling the doctor “rich” and out of touch with regular people, even though he had lifelong friends all over town, few of whom were in his income bracket. Souder won, of course, and went on to flame out in the single most embarrassing sex scandal I can recall that didn’t involve an actual crime, or diapers.
You can trace that back to Newt, I guess. What a piece of shit.
And with that, let’s all start Tuesday! The mood seems to be going around.