Home/Rod Dreher/Yale-Educated Lesbian Catholic: ‘Ewww! Weirdos!’

Yale-Educated Lesbian Catholic: ‘Ewww! Weirdos!’

A woman "priest" holds a gay mass in Chicago. For some progressives, this is normal, and Latin mass is weird (Photo by John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images)

I’ll admit that I didn’t see this coming in the Weird Christians discussion: an attack from one Jamie L. Manson, a progressive termagant at National Catholic Reporter, who says:

Burton interviews Rod Dreher for the piece, suggesting that he is a founding father of the movement. In his book The Benedict Option, Dreher suggested that “Christians should abandon the culture wars and focus on living in intentional, godly communities.”

The “modernism” that Dreher rebels against are the same old realities that most Christian radical traditionalists reject: justice and equality for women and LGBTQ persons, the acknowledgment of the presence and contributions of people of color, and any suggestion that Christianity is a global church. Dreher is Euro-centric to his bones and has a well-documented race problem.

Is this the modernism that Weird Christians have grown so weary of? Burton disingenuously skirts these issues.

Instead she tries to drive the point home that many Weird Christians are so progressive they are downright Marxist! But socialism — as we’ve seen in its young, white-male dominated form in the U.S. — does not inherently disassociate anyone from racism, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia. Many Catholics who pride themselves on their commitment to social justice have lots of work to do in these areas.

Burton also indicates that Weird Christians resent denominations that are diluting the “supernatural” aspects of the faith, like bodily resurrection, and they reject Episcopal and Lutheran churches that are “overly accommodationist” and “anodyne.” One Weird Christian complains the lessons he learned in Catholic school were “simplistic” and “full of dumbed-down doctrine.”

“Weird Christian,” it seems, may be a euphemism for the spiritual elite.

Every non-progressive is sexist and racist! Even the socialists are sexist and racist if they don’t agree with Jamie! I remind you that Jamie Manson is a Yale-educated partnered lesbian activist — salt of the earth — who studied under Sister Margaret Farley, a wingnut divine censured by the Vatican for writing a book that, among other things, bubbled that “many women” find “great good in self-pleasuring — perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities for pleasure — something many had not experienced or even known about in their ordinary sexual relations with husbands or lovers.”

Womyn of the people, they are. It’s … touching. 

Manson writes for a newsletter esteemed by Catholics who don’t seem to like the actual Catholic Church, and its traditions and teachings. It’s strange that somebody like me, a former Catholic, almost certainly affirms more Catholic teaching on faith and morals than this Manson person. But that’s where we are.

Look, Manson’s lines about my rejecting the contributions of people of color are typical progressive blatherskite, but she is right that I am Eurocentric to my bones — if by “Eurocentric” you mean “loving the history and cultures of European nations.” I don’t see any reason to apologize for that, any more than someone (black, white, or whatever) who had a special love for African culture should apologize for being Afrocentric, or someone who felt that way about Chinese culture should feel bad for being Sinocentric. The problem would be in assuming that people outside the culture one loves, or who do not value it in the same way, or at all, have lesser moral worth as human beings. Which I emphatically do not believe. But you know how it goes: for white people like Manson, if you don’t hate your ancestors and their culture, you are a raaaaaaaacist.

You are also raaaaaaacist, and worse, if you, as a Christian, actively oppose idol-worship. Manson writes:

Reading this, I could not help but think of the Pachamama statues that were stolen from a Roman church and batted into the Tiber river during the Amazon Synod in October 2019. I was in Rome at the time and was both devastated and enraged by this act of desecration, which was not only racist and misogynist, it reasserted the neocolonial, white supremacist mentality that is at the root of the destruction of the Amazon and its native peoples.

Naturally, Manson is in a swivet over my tweet from February in which I met the guy who threw Pachamama idols into the Tiber, and expressed pleasure to have shaken his hand.

It’s always funny to see how progressives like Manson position themselves as tribunes of the people, but don’t seem to actually like those who don’t share their Ivy League graduate school view of the world. Tara Isabella Burton’s “Weird Christianity” phenomenon is a marginal thing by definition. Most American Catholics aren’t Latin mass devotees, true, but is it really the case that most US Catholics would identify with masturbating nuns and lesbian Catholic activists who prefer idol-worshiping syncretism to actual historical Catholicism? Hate to tell Manson, but her form of Christianity, if that’s what it is, is much weirder than what TIB writes about. But that’s the thing about progressives like her: they really do tell themselves that they speak for the People.

UPDATE: My Catholic TAC colleague Arthur Bloom’s remark on Manson’s column:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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