As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block is on indefinite hiatus. The site will remain up in archive form while we evaluate our options, which may include a redesign or sale. ✶ Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. ✶
Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins was suspended for wearing a hijab during Advent "in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book."
This morning, I partook of the Eucharist, the culmination of the Christian liturgy where Christians through the...
President Obama threw his support behind the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act," aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. The bill, which was introduced by Chicago's state Sen. Heather Stearns and Rep. Greg Harris, could be voted on as soon as next week.
The "rooftop pastor" Corey Brooks is back from his walk across the country to raise money for Project Hood. He only raised $500,000 of his hoped-for $15 million, but says he's not giving up on that goal.
In Mechanics, Jason Prechtel gives an in-depth overview of the battle between parishioners, preservationists and Alderman Colón over the future of St. Sylvester's rectory on Palmer Square. Meanwhile, Ben Joravsky reports in the Reader on another political preservation fight.
Catholic schools that ordinarily patronize the Steppenwolf for Young Adults series are steering clear of FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life, an original piece by Sarah Gubbins that touches on issues of bullying gay students. Sex columnist Dan Savage of the It Gets Better Project is making a special appearance this Friday in a post-show discussion with his brother, Bill Savage. The play runs through March 18, with matinee performances available for school groups, and public performances Saturdays and Sundays.
Here's Cardinal George's apology statement, for posterity:
Statement from Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago
January 6, 2012
During a recent TV interview, speaking about this year's Gay Pride Parade, I used an analogy that is inflammatory.
I am personally distressed that what I said has been taken to mean that I believe all gays and lesbians are like members of the Klan. I do not believe that; it is obviously not true. Many people have friends and family members who are gay or lesbian, as have I. We love them; they are part of our lives, part of who we are. I am deeply sorry for the hurt that my remarks have brought to the hearts of gays and lesbians and their families.
I can only say that my remarks were motivated by fear for the Church's liberty. This is a larger topic that cannot be explored in this expression of personal sorrow and sympathy for those who were wounded by what I said.
For posterity, here is Cardinal George's statement:
Statement from Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago
December 27, 2011
The Chicago Gay Pride Parade has been organized and attended for many years without interfering with the worship of God in a Catholic church. When the 2012 Parade organizers announced a time and route change this year, it was apparent that the Parade would interfere with divine worship in a Catholic parish on the new route. When the pastor's request for reconsideration of the plans was ignored, the organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940's, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.
It is terribly wrong and sinful that gays and lesbians have been harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm. These tragedies can be addressed, however, without disturbing the organized and orderly public worship of God in a country that claims to be free. I am grateful that all parties concerned resolved this problem by moving the Parade's start time so as not to conflict with the celebration of Mass that Sunday.
Speaking of churches, ever wondered about that church on top of a skyscraper in the Loop? It's Chicago Temple, and there are free tours on the weekends -- or your could go on Chicago Detours' version and get an experience that ends with Champagne on the pastor's balcony.
A few people in Chicago and elsewhere are taking literal interpretation of the Bible to new extremes: believing the universe revolves around the earth -- a belief the Vatican and even a lot of creationists don't support.
Father Michael Pfleger, activist and longtime pastor of St. Sabina Parish, was suspended from his duties by Cardinal Francis George yesterday, following Pfleger's threat that he would quit the Catholic Church if he was forced to take a new position. Read the Cardinal's letter [PDF]. Pfleger's supporters are rallying outside of Cardinal George's residence this morning at 10:30am.
You may (or may not) want to steer clear of Michigan and Wacker around noon this Saturday: Anonymous activist organization Anonymous is planning a protest against Scientology, marking L. Ron Hubbard's birthday.
Jockey (provider of utilitarian and utterly acceptable undies) want you to help them. The company is looking for the man (or woman) with the right stuff to help and set a new world record. Which world record? Duh! The world record for biggest dodgeball game played in your skivvies. (Really? You had to ask?) They need 1,200+ to accomplish that feat, and, yes, in fact, they are looking for gents and ladies to partake. So strip down and dodge those balls. And by the way, for every registrant $5.00 will be donated to kicking prostate cancer in the -wait for it- balls. Participants get a free pair of undies and a tee.
One Chicago, One Nation is a new initiative aiming to "unite people of all cultures, faiths and social backgrounds to build communities for the common good" through digital storytelling, community conversations and more. To start, it's holding an online film contest worth $50,000.
Hey, Chicago hipster old-timers (and young-timers): Steven Svymbersky, founder of Quimby's, is visiting from Amsterdam and hanging out at the store (1854 W. North Ave.) today from 1 to 5 p.m. He'd love to see all his old friends, so stop by!
Billy Corgan has launched a new website, Everything from Here to There, which is intended to be a place "to discuss openly and without fear concepts of Mind-Body-Soul integration." If that's the sort of thing you're into, he's apparently taking submissions. [via]
A public grand opening ceremony Sunday for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie will feature Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, in addition to former President Bill Clinton and a host of local and international dignitaries. Thousands of guests are expected, so plan ahead for transit, and get more details in Slowdown.
A little more than a week after being removed as head of the St. Sabina parish, Fr. Michael Pfleger is heading back to the church on June 16 - with the caveat that he keep his political viewpoints out of the pulpit.
If you've driven past Wilson and Ashland lately, you've probably seen this impressive display in front of the Truc Lam Buddhist Temple. It's part of the temple's annual celebration of the birth of Buddha -- this year's celebration is this weekend, with an outdoor concert scheduled for Saturday at 8pm and an indoor ceremony Sunday at 10am. Call 773-506-0749 for more info.
Jen Rude, a lesbian who refuses to take a vow of celibacy, has been ordained by a Lutheran church in Chicago. It comes about as a test of a new resolution that gives bishops room to discipline or not, such actions. Wayne Miller, Chicago's bishop, said, "My goal is to keep people in the conversation, and I do not see this as an issue that should be dividing the church."
Opinions flared over the holidays last year when city officials opposed the showing of a movie trailer for The Nativity Story at Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza. Those same emotions will likely again be stirred after installation of a 19 foot cross was green-lighted for Easter.
The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, The Dalai Lama, will be in Chicago on May 6th. Tickets are still available for his afternoon address on "Finding Inner Peace in a World of Turmoil" at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Auditorium.
The Community Renewal Society is requesting nominations for their 35 Under 35 Leadership Awards. This Chicagoland-oriented award recognizes individuals under the age of 35 who are "using fresh approaches to tackle pressing social issues."
Did you know there are over 350,000 Muslims in the Chicago area? Yeah, that's a lot. So you have to know that a site like chicagomuslims.com is a pretty valuable resource for area Muslims and friends of the Islamic Faith. Daily prayer times, socio-economic outreach projects, and articles on Islam are all there. Be sure to keep an eye on the events section for the "Window to Islam" class--open to all--if you want to learn more about the Islamic Faith.
There's a group in Chicago called Bound 4 Life. No, it's not a band — well, not that kind of band. This group of young adults aims to demonstrate, through "Prayer Seiges," their opposition to abortion. At first I was just really excited to see what a "Prayer Seige" was, but after reading some history of the group I had these flashbacks of driving down Ridge with all these graphic anti-abortion posters surrounding me and... well, you can read about Bound 4 Life right here.
Transitions Bookplace -- a locally-owned store specializing in spiritual, growth, and grief lit -- is in danger of closing their doors after this month without more patronage. Take a break from online and chain retailers and check them out. They are located at 1000 W. North Ave.
I was looking for Milad un Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad) events in Chicago for this week (which, apparently, there are none) when I came across the website for the American Islamic College (640 W. Irving Park). While the website is a bit 1998, the actual university looks pretty cool--they offer weekend and evening Arabic courses. Or, of course, if you're interested in getting a 4-year degree from an Islamic perspective, this might be for you.
Speaking of our roadways, Eric Zorn checked in on Underpass Mary one year after the miraculous mineral stain appeared on Fullerton Avenue, and found she's mostly still intact and still receiving flowers.
There's an optional memorial for St. Patrick on March 17. If you're fasting for Lent, Chicago Cardinal Francis George gave a general dispensation reminding Catholics that they can choose not to abstain from meat on that special Friday. That means that if you're already fasting for Lent and you choose this option, you will need to choose another form of penance for that day.
Baha'is of the world start their 19-day fast on March 2. Before that, though, they party for about four days as heartily as non-drinking folks can in a holiday called Ayyam-i-Ha. Come celebrate it with them at the stunning Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. More in Slowdown. (Info on regular activities here).
One week ago, the Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation synagogue (5029 N. Kenmore in Uptown) was defaced with anti-semitic graffiti. Today, Sunday, to counter this act of violence, they are holding an anti-hate rally at the site -- religious leaders from all religions from all over the city will be in attendance as well as members of the Interfaith Youth Core. The graffitti, also, will be painted over at this event. See slowdown for more details.
All donations will benefit The Night Ministry, which provides food and medical services to the homeless in Lakeview and Uptown. Click "more" for showtimes...
Showtimes: Friday, Feb 10, 7 pm: St Gertrude's, 1420 W Granville, Chicago; Saturday, Feb 11, 7 pm: Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2515 Central Park Ave, Evanston; Sunday, Feb 12, 3 pm: Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1500 W Elmdale, Chicago; Sunday, Feb 12, 7 pm: Trinity Lutheran Church, 3637 Golf Road, Evanston
You may be one of the 2 million Muslims to recently come back from hajj (annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia)--welcome back, and hajj mubarak! (Want to know more about hajj? Wikipedia can help out, so can this article in the Sun-Times.)