During a particularly bleak moment in February, I signed myself up to read Shakespeare plays with strangers via Zoom.
One of the things I have learned with my new Zoom pals — many of whom, it turns out, are professional Shakespearean actors and have been very gracious as I’ve bumbled my way through iambic pentameter — is that the villains in Shakespeare’s plays like to make themselves known: “I am a plain-dealing villain,” says Don Juan in Much Ado About Nothing. “O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven,” says Claudius in Hamlet. “I am determined to prove a villain,” says Richard III.
This week’s villainy similarly lacked subtlety: The Roman Catholic Church refused to bless same-sex unions, inflicting pain on LGBTQ people of all denominations. Eight people — six of them Asian women — were killed by a man who saw them as “temptations” he needed to “eliminate,” an act of terrorism that takes place amid increased rates of hate crimes committed against Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities. Racism, capitalism, and misogyny found fresh ways to deny the image of God.
In Shakespeare's plays as in real life: When evil makes itself known, pay attention.
1. If We Are Equal Before God, We Must Be Equal Before the State
It is well past time for the Equal Rights Amendment — now ratified by 38 states and supported by a supermajority of the populace — to be fully enshrined as the 28th Amendment. By Ally McKinney Timm via sojo.net.
2. Police Reform Is Not Enough. We Need to Rethink Public Safety.
Today, community activists and law enforcement officers who see eye to eye on precious little agree on this: We rely too much on the police. By the editorial board of The Washington Post.
3. What Do You Do When Sacred Vows Defy Church Doctrine?
Reflections on a forbidden wedding in a time of denominational divide. By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann and Bill Wylie-Kellermann via Sojourners .
4. I Thought Gay Celibacy Was My Only Option - I Was Wrong
Growing up gay in the Catholic Church I knew I had to follow the rules. Until I realized they didn’t actually work. By Patrick Flores via Vine & Fig.
5. Racism Infects Our Politics and Theology. God Calls Us to Change Them
In many ways, the entire justice system and our government that supersedes it is on trial. By Terrance M. McKinley via sojo.net.
6. 12 AAPI Organizations to Support Amid Increasing Anti-Asian Violence
Listen, donate, and take action. By Rachel Charlene Lewis via bitchmedia.org.
7. The Deadly Consequences of Purity Culture and Hate
The Georgia spa shootings were an act of white American Christian terrorism. By Angela Denker via sojo.net.
8. The Uneasy Intimacy of Work in a Pandemic Year
How capitalism and the pandemic destroyed our work-life balance. By Constance Grady via Vox.
9. Doom and Success in the World of Startups
Truth, race, and satire in the novel Black Buck. By Elinam Agbo via Sojourners.
10. ‘A Disservice to the Policymaking’: Most Interns in Congress Are White, Report Finds
Rep. Ayanna Pressley says a congressional internship “changed the trajectory” of her life, and she and other advocates say a lack of intern diversity causes pipeline problems. By Barbara Rodriguez via The 19th.