Tuesday, 5/24/16

  1. Blurred lines
  2. Why do they hate us so?
  3. I quit
  4. Fair’s fair

1

My reaction is probably tainted: My wife and I decided, after a couple of Bed & Breakfast attempts, that we’re hotel people. Or at least we’re not keen on small B&Bs, where it might just be us and the owners who live there.

Despite the exchange of money, it feels like we’re intruding on someone’s privacy. We did enjoy Ashley Inn in Charleston — every room full and the owner didn’t live there, but staff came at key times, and were knowledgeable and helpful. One recommended Five Loaves Cafe, just a short stroll away, and it was so good, reasonable and fun that we repeated it every night.

My paradigm B&B (two-thirds of those I’ve tried, too) is an owner-occupied home. So the news that you’re 50% likely to book a B&B on Airbnb, 42% if you’re black, feels to me like freedom of association, not a scandal. University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong seems to recognize this difference:

Race discrimination by sharing economy participants requires us to consider how the law should take account of subtle or even subconscious bias that results in race discrimination. Moreover, discrimination in the sharing economy adds a new twist: How should the law respond when, for example, the discriminator is not a desk clerk at a hotel but rather a private property owner renting out her own home? The sharing economy blurs the line between public and private in a way that is very popular, but that raises a host of questions that don’t have easy answers.

(Emphasis added) I’ll accept that the apparent hesitancy to rent to blacks on Airbnb has a whiff of racism to it, but so does the significant bias in who one invites on a date. Is every provider of goods and services a “public accommodation”? Does every social slight need a legal remedy?

2

On Saturday morning, I had breakfast with my pal Lance Kinzer, who drove down from Kansas, and a Catholic homeschooling mom who flew in from Silicon Valley for the conference … My new California friend told us about homeschooling and living on a small income in one of the most expensive, secular places in America. I was genuinely stunned to hear her say that most of the homeschoolers in her area that she meets are Muslims, who want to keep their kids out of the public (and private, presumably) schools in the area because of the moral climate there. This fact added to the sense I’ve been getting from corresponding with and reading Jones, a Muslim reader of this blog, that we conservative Christians who take the Benedict Option are going to need to work harder to form friendships and alliances with American Muslims.

(Rod Dreher, emphasis added) As long ago as when Dubya said something like “They hate us because we’re free,” I reacted “Maybe not. Maybe they hate us because we’re imperialist, hypocritical, and utterly corrupt sexually in our popular culture.” So I feel a surge of confirmation bias when I read things like this.

Followup question: Is our sexually decadent popular culture “Christian”? Betcha some Muslims can spin you a story about how it is, as some Christians can tell how violent Jihad is “real Islam.”

As for me, I ceased my coprophagic cultural flirtations as soon as I realized that sin does me real harm, scars my soul, and doesn’t just require a perky “Forgive me, Jesus!” when concluded to “make it all better again.”

Sacramental confession is far costlier than such cheap grace, too. Maybe that’s hard to understand, but it’s true.

3

Rod Dreher left the Roman Catholic Church when he realized (after reporting the scandal for months and then discovering that his own model priest was a reassigned monster) that he could not trust the Church enough to let his sons serve in the Altar. That was the breaking point.

Wendy Bradshaw left her public school teaching when she realized she would not want her newborn daughter there in five years — not, this time, because of exposure to a sick pop culture, but because the various political mucky-mucks and administrators had put on her students developmental burdens too great to be born. (H/T Carol Heath on Facebook)

4

When the Obama Administration began its Kulturkampf against American Catholics, my husband suggested to me that if the Church is forced to pay for its employees’ contraceptives then there should be an option clause for practicing Catholics. An equivalent amount of the Church’s money spent on other people’s recreational sex should be given to faithful Catholics to cover whatever they do for recreation—for example, golf, tennis, fishing, or weekends at the beach house with hot rock massages.

(Tracey Rowland)

* * * * *

Trump thought du jour:

The most definitive and concrete question that I face is whether I will continue to identify as a Republican. And here, I can only say that barring some public act of repudiation by the Party for their complicity in bringing Donald Trump to public life, doing so has become impossible. To be the party’s nominee for the highest office in the land means more than being put forward as a plausible option to the public. The nominee is the party’s central standard-bearer, its de facto leader and representative in all other matters. The party that nominates Trump, and the politicians and pundits who demand that the rank-and-file remain “for the sake of the party” cannot be trusted with responsibilities as serious as governing the country. And any party that cannot so be trusted does not deserve our support.

It may be suggested that this is too ‘idealistic’, that it does not properly account for the intrinsic importance of party machinery for the sake of enacting policies. That may be true. My rejoinder is that I take parties so seriously that I meet their gross and heinous failures with the only (very limited!) censure I can offer.

Will the Religious Right, once more, offer its soul for the temporal, earthly pottage of political influence? I wish I had more confidence that they would not: But its former standard-bearers have been among the quickest to yield themselves up to Trump’s influence. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson—their easy and glad capitulation should cause serious and sober reflection within the halls of the Religious Right’s central organizations. The failure of their judgment is as damning a critique I know of the theological and political formation on offer in the world of the Religious Right.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.