Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I'm  godmother to Lydia Ruth, one of a pair of (now 2-year-old) twin daughters of my friend Ben Foster/Weasel, founder and frontman for the punk band Screeching Weasel. Ben and his wife are both Catholic converts.

I met Ben through my brother Joe, founder and frontman of The Queers, and though I've never pretended to be part of the punk scene, my hat has always been off to both bands. The respect with which Ben and Joe talk about each other when neither is within earshot slays me, especially as these are guys with nary a sentimental bone in their bodies.

Last year, at SXSW, a very unfortunate incident occurred wherein a female fan jumped onstage while Screeching Weasel was playing, words were exchanged, and Ben hit her.

An uproar ensued. Ben publicly apologized. And around minute 18:45 of the below Weasel Radio podcast, he riffs about the reaction of the punk world vs. the reaction of his Catholic friends in the aftermath. Not to polarize, obviously, but I, too, have noticed that the anti-religion-on-the-grounds-that-religion-is-rigid brigade can sometimes be fanatically rigid, closed-minded, and psychologically violent themselves.

As Ben says, the Catholic paradigm is basically that of the prodigal son who trails home after squandering his inheritance in the mire, is deeply grateful to have been invited back to the table, and realizes I'm pretty much a buffoon, trying to make my way just like everyone else...

Here's the link if you want to listen on mynorthwest.com.

If you only tune in to the clip in question (again, starting at 18:45), don't miss Screeching Weasel's "Science of Myth" directly following!

More audio at MyNorthwest.com


  1. totally unrelated but i thought you might like this song, heather, and didnt know where else to put it.



  2. Once I figured out the technology (or got myself to Gethsemani), I could have you on, Stephen!

    And Rachel--lovely, thanks so much--I listened at full blast at 6:20 a.m....

  3. Ben said, "Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular is about redemption..." - Amen that brother Ben.

    At Confession this weekend part of my penance was when I look at a Crucifix to consider the wounds of Christ and to see them as wounds of love and then to consider my own wounds and ask that he make them wounds of love also. God bless *that* priest. In context, to be clear, the wounds spoken of are the wounds we receive from or because of, directly or indirectly, others.

    I've been thinking quite a bit this Lent on the Divine selection of Peter as the first visible head under Christ of his visible Church, a broken man. No accident this selection, this intentional choice of an individual who at his core could receive word directly from the Father on the nature of the Son and who could and would deny the Son before the cock crowed. The same individual would receive visions from God on the nature of the Church and would then be backward and petty and make poor choices about the nature of the Church and even initiate dissension within Her (the Church) until he received correction.

    Brokenness and limited humanity is intrinsically tied to the very moment of the Church's institution, it was intentional, Divinely intentional. What does this say to me? Expect to brake and be broken and loved and forgiven and, perhaps most importantly, expect that it is expected that I treat others who are broken with love and forgiveness. This is the Gospel.

  4. Thanks for this post, Heather. As a Christian pastor and long-time Screeching Weasel fan, when the whole SXSW event went down, I was super heartbroken over the situation. Not so much because Ben made a mistake(I sure have a list of my own that I wouldn't want my character to be evaluated on) but because of the lack of compassion and forgiveness from the punk rock scene. I'm so glad to hear that this response I had hoped for came from Christians. It's a breath of fresh air to see someone in the punk scene receive grace.

    When the rest of the band ran for the hills, I considered offering up my guitar skills to help fill-in for the remaining shows...but I think that was more about a fan-boy fulfilling his teenage dreams. I probably could have pulled it off, though. :)

  5. Excellent post. I am not a big punk fan but I enjoyed their music, they really are good. And so true about forgiveness. As he said, there are rotten Catholics too. But the least forgiving people I know are non-believers. They forgive anyone they agree with for anything, and they are rigid about anyone else, yet they consider themselves very righteous and they become indignant at anyone else who is rigid!

  6. Oh, and my daughter is a big fan of Paramour!

  7. Love what he said around 22:00

    Reminds me of Woody Allen's comment about not wanting to belong to a club that would have him as a member. Catholicism, being a part of a club that would have me,a bonehead,as a member. What a lot of people don't get about Christianity is that the beauty of it is that it is made up of broken, weak, boneheads, who want to become saints inspite of it.
    Hope to meet you in heaven one day Heather, but not just yet...

  8. Most of punk is anti-religion, yes, but from the start it owed much of its iconography to Catholicism. And why not? You can't beat Catholic imagery.

    I love what Ben says about the Prodigal Son.

  9. Thanks, everyone, glad you enjoyed Ben's podcast...I liked what he said about joy--that the mark of the person who's onto something essential is, no matter what his or her faith (or none), is joy...a basic sense of acceptance and ease...

  10. My God...I passed a young one on the street in DC with a Weasel shirt and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why the logo was so familiar given most things The Kids wear today are not (it's funny though to see the kinds of people who'll wear a Misfits tshirt). That is some old school stuff, that is. Splendid to hear he's swum the Tiber.


I WELCOME your comments!!!