The other day Terry Gross did a great interview with author Anna Quindlen about her new memoir, and Quindlen spoke openly about her disaffection from the Catholic church. Quindlen is a good liberal feminist. She was deeply offended by the church's handling of the pedophilia scandal and then later by the obsession of the church with "gynecology," women's rights. Hey that turned me off too! So Quindlen voted with her feet.
I said, 'Enough' ... Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I'm not going to ratify it anymore.
Today Brian Lehrer on WYNC did an interview with NYT columnist Russ Douthat about his book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, on the disaffection of American Catholics and why their abandonment of the church is bad for society. A commenter states, "The last time Roman Catholic polemicists got exercised about heresy, a whole lot of people got burned. I find this topic incredibly offensive."
Let's be clear. Quindlen is a liberal, Douthat is a conservative.
Where is that bandwidth within the American Jewish community in our media?
No: Author Peter Beinart is the liberal, even though he's for Jewish nationalism in the name of God. And author Jack Ross is simply off the reservation, although he sounds very much like Anna Quindlen when he writes:
[I]s the rich American Jewish social justice tradition, the legacy of Meyer London, Rose Schneiderman, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwermer really supposed to be reduced to assisting in Washington bureaucratic wrangling on behalf of the loyal opposition of a foreign country, as the closely aligned J Street has essentially asked?
Beinart’s alternative is an idealized liberal Zionist tradition of the civil rights era. But liberal American Judaism in the 1950s and ’60s was ultimately defined less by the civil rights movement than by the garish Scientology-style demands for financial obeisance to the United Jewish Appeal,
Terry and Brian, please open up the Jewish conversation to liberal non-nationalist voices.
Excerpts from Quindlen summary by Fresh Air:
In Lots of Cake, she frankly describes her decision to give up alcohol as well as her reasoning for recently leaving the Catholic Church.
"The pedophilia scandals, the church's reaction to them, and their constant obsession with gynecology — taken together at a certain point, it was probably two or three years ago, I said, 'Enough,' " she says. "Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I'm not going to ratify it anymore."
Quindlen says she realizes that she doesn't need a service or Mass to get what she needs out of her faith.
"I think not going anymore made me realize how much of the good had been imprinted deep inside me, and how much of the rest I didn't need," she says. "I don't have to listen to the Gospel on Sunday to know the stories of the New Testament. They inform so much of what I write that they're practically like a news scrim that goes through my brain 24/7. And I don't have to listen to a sermon to know what to think or feel about them. It's almost as if I absorbed completely what mattered most to me, and the rest could go."
But Quindlen says she still relies on her faith.
"I still walk around some mornings and look at the world and think, 'Oh my God. This is so fantastic, and there's so many opportunities to do good and to be happy,' " she says. "And I think that comes from some deep-faith place that started in religion and now transcends it."