The Catholic Church
- The Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Culture hosted a plenary assembly on "Women's Cultures" on February 4-7. The misguided conference was a laughing stock.
- Pope Francis launched a new tribunal intended to hear cases of bishops who failed to protect children and vulnerable adults from clergy sexual abuse.
- In June, the Catholic Church officially released Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Some right-wing figures looked askance at the encyclical.
- In September, Pope Francis visited the United States, making stops in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. Clergy abuse and the environment were among the issues he discussed.
- An anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress launched a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, accusing the organization of selling fetal tissue for profit. The smear campaign revitalized anti-abortion activism in the U.S.
- With the 2016 presidential election just around the corner, Religious Right leaders pushed their agenda with fresh vigor at events such as the Response Louisiana, the U-Turn Conference, South Carolina's Pro-Family Rally, CPAC, and the Values Voters Summit.
- Republican candidates shared misguided and sometimes disturbing views during debates in Cleveland and Las Vegas.
- In November, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee spoke at the Freedom 2015 conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The event was a fundamentalist circus, with Kevin Swanson screaming about gays, hell, manure, and pus-filled sores on stage, and Geoffrey Botkin spouting dire warnings about America.
- Donald Trump's xenophobia was on full display at a December 7th Pearl Harbor Day Rally, where he called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States". His anti-Muslim statement triggered widespread outrage.
- On January 7th, gunmen killed twelve people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine based out of Paris, France.
- On June 17th, a gunman killed multiple people at a historic African American church in Charleston, South Carolina.
- On November 13th, Islamic extremists launched a series of coordinated attacks in Paris, France. Some Religious Right figures used the tragedy as an opportunity to pontificate on President Obama and immigration, while others lashed out at Islam as a whole. Some particularly callous figures even engaged in victim blaming after the Paris attacks.
- Among some right-wingers, fear of Islamic extremism mutated into fear of all Muslims and Syrian refugees. Fortunately, reason and empathy are holding their own against irrational fear.
- On November 27th, a gunman killed three people and injured nine others at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Spring, Colorado. Anti-abortion activists quickly trotted out "No True Scotsman" arguments after the smoke cleared.
- In April, the Obama Administration condemned conversion therapy, to the chagrin of of the so-called "ex-gay" movement.
- In May, Irish voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment permitting same-sex marriage. The vote showed the world that the Catholic Church no longer had a stranglehold on Irish attitudes.
- On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. The Religious Right was livid.
- As LGBTQ equality made gains in 2015, anti-LGBTQ activists continued their struggle against equality with the Unite 4 Marriage Rally, the National March for Marriage, and the Restored Hope Network Conference, and the World Congress of Families IX Conference.
- In my neck of the woods, Oath Keepers and ATLAH World Missionary Church held a racial unity event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 4th. It quickly devolved into an anti-gay, anti-Obama circus.
- Kim freakin' Davis. That is all.
The Christian Patriarchy Movement
- The Duggar family's honor was forever sullied when long-buried reports of sexual abuse surfaced. In Touch Weekly reported that a police report named Josh Duggar as an "alleged offender" in a sexual abuse probe when Josh was still a teenager. To make matters worse, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar completely mishandled their son's behavior.
- Josh Duggar resigned from his position as executive director of Family Research Council Action. Mike Huckabee defended the Duggar family. The Learning Channel (TLC) eventually canceled the Duggar's reality show, 19 Kids and Counting.
- It got worse ... and worse ... and worse. Gawker reported that Josh Duggar had a paid account with Ashley Madison, a dating website devoted to extramarital affairs. In Touch Weekly reported that adult film actress Danica Dillon had a "traumatic" and "terrifying" sexual encounter with Josh Duggar. The Duggar family announced that Josh checked himself into a "long-term treatment center", but the credentials of the center were seen as dubious by some observers.
I want to thank all my readers for visiting Republic of Gilead in 2015. Let's continue to warily watch the Religious Right in 2016!