From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/31/3108901/wealthy-popes-criticism-hurdle/
By Jeff Spross
December 31, 2013
Ken Langone, the billionaire founder of Home Depot, is worried Pope Francis’ recent criticism of the wealthy and capitalism will be a “hurdle” for rich donors.
Langone is heading up an effort to raise $180 million for the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and told CNBC that at at least one potential seven-figure donor was “concerned” about the Pope’s remarks. He’s apparently brought the issue up more than once with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York: “I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’” Langone said, adding that “you get more with honey than with vinegar.”
Neither Langone nor Dolan, who appeared on the network separately, revealed the identity of the donor in question.The statements that have them worried came from Evangelii Gaudium, the first major written statement of Francis’ papacy:
Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor…
Dolan said he assured Langone that “the pope loves poor people” and “also loves rich people,” and that the donor had misunderstood Francis’ message. Langone himself suggested the pope’s view of capitalism has been skewed by his experiences in Argentina, arguing there’s a “vast difference” between that experience “and how we are in America.”
But this misses the point. As Elizabeth Stoker points out, the Pope’s point is fundamentally theological, not political, and thus policy differences between capitalism in Argentina and in American are irrelevant. Blind defense of free market capitalism “compromises fellowship between people by perpetuating the wedge of inequality” — and as of 2011, the United States was even more economically unequal than Egypt.
The idea that possessing significant wealth inherently makes it harder to behave morally is a bedrock part of Christian ethical thought. In a well-known passage from the New Testament, a rich man asks Christ what he must do to fully follow God’s law. When Christ responds “sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor,” the man walks away dejected, prompting Christ to observe that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
By Amy Goodman
December 30, 2013
It is almost 2014…
Sometime around two A.M. on the morning of December 31 1968 I came out to some of the best friends I ever had. I didn’t exactly articulate every thing that rather hysterical night, but I set foot on the path that lead to my coming out and starting the process of changing sex. The actual coming out as transsexual took a couple of months, initially everyone assumed I was coming out a gay.
That was a long time ago.
That was before Stonewall.
At that point coming out meant something.
It was daring. We didn’t have same sex marriage in over a third of the states. We didn’t have all these corporations with non-discrimination policies.
Now we have a national coming out day, which is something meaningful to newbies… I guess but pretty damn ho-hum to me.
Coming out is meaningful to the person doing it, a statement of self.
But for most of us, the folks who made coming out a common thing…
It has been a long time since coming out was something courageous or daring. After all being LGBT isn’t strange or alien, it’s just something some people are.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in kindergarten through 12th grade is set to take effect in California on Jan. 1. To get ready, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for staff and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.
But educators also are watching and waiting. The first-of-its-kind statute could end up suspended within days of its launch if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the November ballot.
To obtain a public vote on the law, a coalition of conservative groups has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures. Counties have until Jan. 8 to verify them through spot-checking.
The secretary of state can approve the referendum, determine that it failed or order a review of every signature.