So, what do they want?
One example is something they want is atheists out of America. We know this through messages (called sermons) from official representatives of their organizations (called churches) led by official spokespersons (called preachers). Further, we know these messages are official because the membership (called congregations) has indicated support by voting (called money) for these representatives.
Another example (as if we needed more) is elected representatives (called Republicans) trying to control other human beings (called legislation) extending the “rights” of some to the detriment of others. These are the so-called Freedom of Conscience laws.
A few attempts have failed so far, including the one in Arizona just this week, but make no mistake about it. More are on the way. This will continue until one becomes the law of the land, at which point it will be appealed (at great expense) where it will finally be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, I know that this combative group isn’t representative of all religious, conservative, Republican folks out there. There are lots of good, sincere and well-intentioned people on both sides of most any issue. (Even if one side stubbornly refuses to admit it.) But these types are supported by enough people that their messages often have as much power as a gathering storm.
The Freedom Of Conscience strategy represents a shift from the time-honored traditions of “abomination” and “you’re going to Hell.” One thing about the Culture War: It never ends and scouts are always being dispatched to probe for weaknesses along enemy lines.
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“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
–Boy Scouts of America, excerpt of proposed resolution
Wow! That sounds pretty damn compelling, right? Finally! No more unfair and unfounded criticism for this piece of Americana organization which is a fine and upstanding part of our community and never does anything wrong. This will finally shut up those annoying critics.
Alas, as the rest of the internet has noticed, the proposal only applies to “youth.” Homosexuals are still prohibited from serving as scoutmasters and den mothers.
However, something else about the line of text caught my eye. Do you see it, too? I may very well be the only son of a bitch in the universe to have caught on. Aren’t you lucky to know me? Membership has its privileges.
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Yesterday was a big day for women and sport. The World Cup Final is one of the few sporting events I actually watched. And I personally think the women on that team should be proud of themselves. They played awesome. Winning isn’t the only thing and the format dictates that someone has to win and someone has to lose.
Abby Wambach? OMG! I think I just fell in love. She’s so dreamy. Drenched in sweat, that short haircut, and scoring a go-ahead goal. All I can say is, “Wow.”
Is it wrong to be attracted to a sports star? If it is then I don’t wanna be right.
Speaking of FIFA, I don’t really know how the World Cup works. Do the athletes get paid or are they amateur status? Either way, how much do they make from endorsements and such? What would they have received if they had won? I couldn’t help but notice they were all covered in Nike logos.
In other news…
Inequity makes me angry. And the stories coming out of the upcoming Olympics are really starting to piss me off. Two in particular.
First there was the thing about “Nazi imagery” being used to promote the 2014 winter games in Russia. How in the name of hell is something like that allowed to happen? It guess it isn’t that surprising when they hire people who love and admire Hitler to handle marketing, eh? (Story.)
Then there was the bit about women’s badminton in the 2012 London Olympics. Those in charge wanted to create a more “attractive presentation.” That sounds more like Iron Chef than a frickin’ sporting event. So it was that a rule requiring women competing in badminton to wear uniforms consisting of “skirts or dresses.” Officials at the Badminton World Federation said the move would make the women appear more feminine and appealing to fans and corporate sponsors. Ah yes, the corporate sponsors. We can’t forget about them, can we?
Personally I think the time for half-assed measures has passed. Why not just make them play topless? I can pretty much guarantee that ratings and ticket sales will go through the roof. And it will be a modern-era gold rush for the corporate sponsors. Think of it? The ad space possibilities are intoxicating! You can have the Nike logo on one boob and still have one whole boob left over for something else.
I think the IOC (International Olympic Committee) should honestly go after what they want here. The IOC (which is a corporation, by the way) should send representatives to Olympic hopefuls by the time they are five-years-old to explain the facts of life. “We support your dreams. The Olympics would be nothing without people like you, the world class athletes that the world wants to see. We’ll use you like pieces on a chessboard to suit our needs. If you’re the best of the best and it meets our needs, we can make you a star. By the way, get used to being naked. God help you if you don’t meet our needs, though, even if you are the best in the world. We’ll crush you and your dreams like so much used meat.”
We find that it’s best to get those naive illusions out of the way at an early age.
And, last but not least…
My Netflix was out yesterday. So I ended up watching content on a different channel on my Roku device. We ended up on something called the SnagFilms channel, which is completely free. There were lots of interesting documentaries and such. By chance, the film we ended up watching was Training Rules.
Imagine that your had a lifetime dream that you had chased since the age of four. You become one of the best of the best, the top 20 in the nation, earn a scholarship and take your rightful place on the national stage. Then, it all suddenly ends when a person who is supposed to be looking out for you threatens to destroy everything you’ve ever dreamed about because of some arbitrary fact about yourself that she doesn’t like.
Welcome to the plot of the documentary Training Rules. The movie chronicles the effect that Penn State University women’s basketball coach Rene Portland had on the lives of women on her team.
A religious person, Portland was fiercely anti-lesbian. And if she thought you were gay, she wouldn’t just kick you off the team. She would use her awesome power and influence as the head coach of a successful program at PSU to keep you out of the sport forever. She’d make sure that your scholarship was cancelled. And she’d threaten to even prevent the transfer of credits.
Penn State, of course, did nothing about Portland even after adding homosexuality to the school’s non-discrimination policy. Which, in court, they argued, had no meaning since it wasn’t legally a contract. I love it when organizations take the high road.
I have little doubt that Portland viewed herself as a pious God warrior, but what she really did was destroy dreams and destroy lives. She was a destroyer of people.
The purpose of institutions like Penn State is to help people. To educate and support them. Not use them as disposable pawns in a high stakes game of money, glamor, prestige and corporate warfare.
Training Rules is the kind of movie that pisses you off. They say that all evil needs is for good men to do nothing. Penn State excelled at that. I highly recommend this one-hour documentary.
Maybe some day all people will have a fair shot at equity. But it sure isn’t now and it sure isn’t this planet.
Back in November 2006, Haggard was president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of Colorado Springs’ New Life Church.
He lost those positions when a male prostitute claimed that he had known Haggard for three years as a drug user and sex-for-cash client. Once the story was public, Haggard admitted he was guilty of “sexual immorality.”
In 2007, Haggard underwent three-weeks of counseling, the goal of which was apparently to cure him of his homosexuality. He also received a severance package with the stipulation he leave the Colorado Springs area.
A year later Haggard sent out a fund-raising email prompting his former church to officially terminate his “restoration” process. (Pay attention. Asking for money seems to be a habit.)
His severance terms completed, Haggard then moved back to Colorado Springs.
What has he been up to since then?
Not too surprisingly, he incorporated the name “St. James Church” and started a new church with himself as the pastor. His inaugural church meeting was June 6, 2010, and was attended by 160 people “elbow-to-elbow” to listen to Haggard give his first sermon surrounded by bales of hay. (Folksy.) You can visit the church website to make a donation. The church website speaks of the Bible calling for tithes (10% donations of income) and he describes St. James Church as a “storehouse” for those funds.
Haggard is married to Gayle Haggard, who remains very much at his side. She is prominently featured on his personal and church websites. She wrote a book entitled Why I Stayed about her experiences as Haggard’s wife and the choices she made in regards to his sex scandal. In my opinion, if that book is more than one-word in length, it’s probably not very accurate.
Just in case you’ve been wondering what ever happened to Ted Haggard – now you know!
You may not have heard about it in the major news outlets, but earlier this week there was another skirmish in the battle to “defend” marriage.
On December 6, 2010, an “open letter” was signed by 26 religious “leaders.” But let us not divert from the discussion to consider the pompous sanctimony of “open letters.” Perhaps another day.
The letter was entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment” and is significant because of the broad spectrum of religious beliefs held by the signers. A press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sang the praises of the diversity of the signers that represented “Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States.”
As I read the letter, I couldn’t help but wonder: Who out there watches over us atheists? Where is the leader of my flock?
Here’s the text of the letter:
Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.
As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.
Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The press release talks about the “unique meaning” of marriage and the letter speaks of the “unique love” between husbands and wives. Logically speaking, what does “uniqueness” prove? Absolutely nothing.
The letter says that marriage is something “permanent.” Ever heard of a little something called the divorce rate? Have we ever seen such a concerted effort to “defend” marriage against that?
The letter says that marriage is the “natural” basis of a family. How is that statement, beyond religious beliefs, proven in any way?
Let’s say you have a family consisting of one man, one woman, and two children. Now, let’s say one of the parents dies. So sorry, family. According to our nation’s religious leaders your family is no longer “natural.”
Personally I think the letter is an insult to anyone who ever grew up in a family without one or both of the “natural” biological parents, or one where the “permanent” marriage was ripped apart by divorce, and let us not forget everyone who was ever adopted. If we accept the argument that the act of procreation is what makes marriage “natural” then by logical extension anyone not raised by their biological parents is in an unnatural family.
Not too long ago there was a person on craigslist in the “politics” section. He was making reasoned arguments that homosexuals were “shit eaters” and “pedophiles” during the act of defending marriage. He even posted appalling pictures of scatological sexual activity (between two men) as his “proof.” How he came into possession of the image one can only wonder.
I don’t normally engage on craigslist, but I decided to take a shot. I knew it would be waste of time, though, especially for one anyone who expressed such illogical thoughts. Call it an “open letter” of my own, if you will. Here’s what I wrote:
There is a person trolling here using homosexual bashing as bait. If you can’t recognize the pure unabashed trolling for what it is then perhaps you have a problem as well. Trolls are best ignored.
Sexual orientation is NOT the act of having sex or engaging in a particular type of sexual activity. The picture of scatological sex that was posted recently falls into the category of deviant behavior, i.e., it violates our society’s cultural norms. It would be equally deviant if it was two men, two women, or a mixed-gender couple. Therefore you can’t simply show the same picture where one of the participants is female and declare, “See! Heterosexuality is sick!” It doesn’t work that way.
You can have a sexual relationship between two gay men that doesn’t involve anal sex. That doesn’t mean the men are straight.
You can have a sexual relationship between a mixed-gender couple that does involve anal sex. That doesn’t mean the people involved are homosexual.
Orientation is what you are. It is a preference. It is how you feel and what you are attracted to. It is not what you do. Or don’t do.
Naturally my post was flagged down and removed from craigslist in record time. Luckily, as the author, I was able to preserve a copy.
I had a friend named Klaus. One time he expressed this thought: “I don’t believe you can find love in another man’s hairy asshole.” Yes, Klaus was an eloquent fellow. And that opinion fit his worldview and beliefs. But I think it’s safe to say that the opinion is not universally shared. And that’s what makes freedom so special. We each get to make up our own minds.
To me, the big travesty here is a simple one. It is the fact that so many spend so much time and effort try to legally control and quarantine the actions of other people. Adults engaged in mutually consensual behavior should leave each other the fuck alone.
If you leave faith and religion out of the equation, what proof remains that supports the “defense” of marriage?
Don’t Stop Believing.
Today I shout with Glee! No, not the TV show.
To celebrate the legal decision against Prop 8 yours truly designed the t-shirt shown here. (Note: At no time do I make any claim that this design is clever or good.)
It’s a serious matter when the legal system overturns a vote of the people and I feel a bit sobered by that reality. A lot of people feel like celebrating, me included, but even if the legal decision is justified, striking down a vote of the people is a monumental thing to do.
The initiative process is a wonderful thing in our Republic that gives the people a direct route to lawmaking, basically an “end around” of the people who normally make our laws. Even though it is a wonderful thing, however, that doesn’t mean the will of the people is always right and/or legal. I sincerely hope the decision made today was based on solid legal grounds.
No doubt this will turn out to be one more skirmish in the overall war, but it is an encouraging sign.
Credit shouts: Tshirt image generated using the Custom TShirt Generator.